CA Technologies breaks free with CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap
By Gabey Goh October 9, 2013
- Free standalone version of CA Nimsoft Monitor released, support to be community-driven
- Aimed at driving reach and earlier adoption in product and valuation cycle for enterprise customers
IN a move designed to reach out to a larger customer base and answer the needs of the mid-market segment, CA Technologies has released CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap – a free version of its IT monitoring platform, CA Nimsoft Monitor.
Aimed at the IT management market for emerging enterprises and departmental/ line-of-business customers, Nimsoft Monitor Snap would enable resource-constrained customers to quickly achieve enterprise-class visibility into the health of the diverse IT resources that support delivery of their business-critical IT services, CA claimed.
Speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) via phone on the eve of the offering’s general availability on Oct 8, Stephen Miles (pic), vice president, Service Assurance, Asia Pacific & Japan, at CA Technologies, said that Nimsoft has been a successful part of the company’s technology business since its acquisition.
The IT management software and solutions giant acquired Nimsoft in 2010 for US$350 million in cash. CA Technologies typically caters to high-end large-scale enterprise needs and the rationale for the purchase was to enable it to address smaller organisations, thus opening up new revenue streams.
“It has helped us grow very rapidly in the developing and new market segments, and tap into new customer bases such as managed service providers, communications service providers and small and medium-sized enterprises,” Miles said.
Interested organisations can download CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap for free for up to 30 monitored devices each, with unlimited monitors.
The initial release supports English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
It is built on the same code base as the upcoming CA Nimsoft Monitor 7 release and CA Technologies plans to synchronise future releases of both products, which will continue to retain the same code base.
Miles claimed that the seventh and latest version of Nimsoft Monitor takes the possibilities further, with the team building out and extending the solution to include mobile touchpoints.
“It is a key growth engine in the Asia Pacific market and the bedrock of out distributed products business. As part of the Service Assurance team at CA, I can tell you that a lot of our focus and attention is on this release,” he added.
Making monitoring a snap
According to Miles, Snap can be up and running in as little as an hour, rather than requiring extensive setup and configuration. It is touted to provide robust performance and availability-monitoring capabilities for network resources, physical and virtual servers, storage, databases and more.
Unlike existing freeware, freemiums, time-limited trials, open-source tools or mid-market commercial products, Snap is a single, fully integrated solution that does not require multiple products with varying levels of integration.
“Snap was designed to do something different. Freemium offers are not new to the market and we will be competing with many. However traditionally, free versions of enterprise software come at the expense of the capabilities of products, be it restricted features or other catches in terms of what’s embedded into the product,” Miles said.
“We decided to take a slightly different approach, to offer extremely rich functionality from a product capability perspective. We hope that with a great user experience and a great product, customers would be enticed to move forward with a commercial upgrade,” he added.
While Snap supports up to 30 devices, Miles said that there is nothing stopping a company from downloading another instance of the software and using it simultaneously, the only caveat being the need to switch between two different management windows.
In terms of support, Snap offers dashboards, alarms and guided workflows to help users quickly pinpoint and resolve issues. In addition, there are built-in ‘tips and tricks’ and best practices that flatten users’ learning curves and speed time-to-value.
As a free offering, there is no official support but CA Technologies has created a community support site, CA Snap Central, which is open to everyone and intends for support to happen on a peer-to-peer basis.
The site will feature a community discussion board, free documentation, a knowledge base, instructional videos and a forum for sharing ideas for future releases.
However, Miles did share that a few CA Technologies employees familiar with the product will be active on the site to help drive the support community and offer guidance during the early phases of the software’s adoption.
Will ‘free’ translate to conversions?
Miles said that the intention with a freemium model is for it to become a vehicle for driving reach and earlier adoption in the product and valuation cycle for enterprise customers.
In an interview with ZDNet in July 2012, Stephen Hurley, a professor of marketing at Hult International Business School, said the free or limited trial versions of software usually have enough "tasty" functions and capabilities that provide value to users.
He said the freemium approach remains the "best way" to win contracts, with enterprises taking the plunge to purchase when they realise a lot more can be accomplished efficiently with the full version of the product or when the program becomes embedded deeply into the company's processes.
Responding to DNA's queries via email, Michael Barnes, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, said that CA Technologies is in the midst of re-establishing itself as a leading enterprise IT provider in Asia Pacific.
“Core to this strategy is helping CIOs drive, manage and optimise IT/ business transformation. In other words, providing capabilities and solutions to enable private cloud and ‘as-a-service’ delivery of applications or application capabilities,” he added.
Barnes noted that cloud-based access to tools like Nimsoft are central to this strategy, specifically for extending the company’s reach in areas like service assurance and infrastructure management, including application and system availability, performance and monitoring.
“The freemium structure will appeal to Asia Pacific organisations with limited resources which are nonetheless keen to embark on the path towards private cloud enablement and ‘as-a-service’ capabilities,” he added.
When asked how he thinks the market reaction will be like to Snap and more importantly, will it truly translate to commercial purchases, CA Tech's Miles admitted that these were questions he could not answer at this point.
“We’re doing this because we believe that it will be wildly successful or else we wouldn’t have done it at all. The numbers from downloads to installs are unknown and from an install to a commercial upgrade is unclear at this point. We really don’t know as this is the first time CA has attempted this, and it all depends on how this plays out over the next few months,” he said.
When asked what the price range would be for the commercial solution, Miles noted that depending on what options were taken and what is required, the price would start at US$25,000 upwards for the perpetual licence, along with a yearly maintenance fee.
“We are commited to this approach to the market and for other products as part or our go-forward strategy to be more accessible to a larger customer base, and to raise awareness and greater adoption of our solutions,” he added.
CA Nimsoft Monitor Snap is available for free download now, and runs on Microsoft Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2012, requiring 2GB of available memory and 15GB free disk space.
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