Im starting a new thread to try and hammer out the requirements we are looking for as an onplus alternative. Im hoping that the cisco onplus team will chime in and add the current featureset from the existing service and current users will add what they would love to see.
My Specific requirements for a replacement are as follows.
Single/Affordable device to be deployed per site
SNMP AND WMI support through single device
Central Server - Preferably hosted but not a nessecity.
RDP/SSH/TELNET/VNC Tunneling through remote device from central
Support for Overlapping address space
Thats all from me. Please feel free to add to this where possible as I know that Ihiji have taken an interest in developing their product and are asking for feedback from the current cisco onplus community.
In addition to the requirements that Ross has specified, I'd like to add the following categorized as Must have, Nice to have, or Wish list:
In addition, I'd like to elaborate on a couple of items Ross has listed
Finally, it would be great to create a modular/extensible environment and create a "marketplace" where develpers could provide addons and extensions to add additional functionality to the monitoring appliances (think Spiceworks addons/plugins or Synology's addons/plugins or Netgear's Storage appliance addons/plugins). This marketplace could also be used for the vendor to create a core product and then sell addons and plugins to people who may need additonal or specialized features and capabilities. These extensions could be provided as either free or purchased additions to the core device
With all of that said, I have been rather impressed with the Ihiji's offering, even with the OnPlus features it doesn't have, but the recurring service portion of the product stilll seems to need a bit of price tweaking to fit the needs of those of us who work in the small side of the SMB market.
One feature missing from this list that OnPlus currently offers (that I personally use a bunch) is the tunneling of HTTP/HTTPS pages to the site with optional proxy URL-rewriting behavior, such that poorly behaving device UIs that write out HTTP href's with absolute URLs (e.g. http://192.168.1.1/main.pl) can optionally be modified on-the-fly to relative URLs.
This feature is a bit harder to pull off than it seems, as OnPlus servers must terminate HTTPS traffic from the client browser, decode it, establish a second HTTP/HTTPS connection through the on-prem CPE to the target device over an encrypted tunnel, and then re-write return HTTP traffic from the device on-the-fly to change absolute URLs to relative ones. This allows you to click the links in those webpages that would otherwise cause your local web browser to try connecting directly to a non-local LAN address. The feature should be optional, and only as a last-resort for use with poorly behaving devices, because normally you wouldn't want the [OnPlus] service decoding anything between you and the target device (even if only in memory).
Apache with mod_proxy, or the like, running on the CPE could possibly be used to accomplish some of this.
I like the features that are already listed... the following are features that others have already listed and that I wanted to show support for (and comment on):
Agentless is required, but an option for an agent would be great... I'm thinking of the ability to monitor laptops or tablets\mobile phones.
I think a multiple devices based on the size of the network is a great idea. I'd also like to add an idea to have a Virtual Appliance option for larger networks. VMware is my personal favorite, but supporting both VMware and Hyper-V would be the best solution. Using a vAppliance would allow administrators to use their current infrastructure and allocate more/less resources to the vAppliance to achieve their goals.
SNMP and WMI Support
Very much required for monitoring!
Very much required, would like options for cloud based or on-premise. I would still suggest the license for an on-premise option use a SaaS subscription model.
SSL is required for most of my clients. I also need to make sure no firewall config is needed (no port forwards). Connection mediation would be better than using Ijihi’s server as a relay (and more secure).
I would also like to have the ability to use an SSL tunnel to proxy HTTP/HTTPS traffic for web browser based configuration of on-site devices (exactly what Michael Holloway mentioned).
Personally, we wouldn't offer client portals to this solution for a majority of our clients... but there are a couple who would love to open a dashboard and see a 1000 foot view of their "Corporate IT Health". An easy to read dashboard with easy to understand health indicators would be great. The ability to drill down into sites and devices would also be nice.
User and Role-Base Permissions
User permissions are key, Role-Based Permissions would be a fantastic option and minimize our administration of privileges.
Advanced monitoring is always nice to have as an option, our company focuses mainly on windows servers, windows workstations, managed switches, and SMB class routers (ie the Cisco RV180W) as well as SMB class APs. We need accurate monitoring of these devices via SNMP and WMI. I would like the ability to monitor VMware environments (we use ESXi Free heavily) and the ability to upload custom MIBs would be a nice feature, but not required for our use.
Network Troubleshooting Tools
Basics like Ping, Tracert, and the like would be very nice to have... also ARP tools would be useful.
Device configuration backup and restore would be great. The ability to use a TFTP server to supply running configurations on boot would also be fantastic! Local copies are great, but also archiving the most recent 1 or 2 copies of device configs in the cloud would be a great additional feature.
Keeping the offering non-public is essential.
I also have some ideas to add to the discussion...
We need some sort of syslog support… whether it is a store and forward to a server at Ijihi or it’s a store and forward to a server owned by us (or the client). We absolutely need syslog support. This was a feature that On-Plus was lacking, but it was on their roadmap. Ijihi may be able to charge an “add-on” fee for hosted storage of Syslogs… but the pricing would be a key element.
The 400 lbs gorilla in the room :-)
Different options may be the only way to make everyone happy without going broke.
Pricing for the device should be no more than $250 if a subscription is not included in the price... $350 for a device plus one year of service for the device would be a good starting point.
For smaller sites, a per device pricing may be more beneficial... 10 devices at $6/device/year is not too bad... that is $60/year.
Site pricing at $200 a year would a good starting point as well.
In our primary market, we do have a hard time getting monitoring solutions in place. On-Plus was a product we could sell... Ihiji's current pricing isn't going to work. The good news is that they know that and are working on something that will work for On-Plus users. I don't think I will be able to get my smaller clients to consider the solution for more than $50/site/year. I think I can sell the box for $300 if it includes one year of service, then $50 a year after that.
Use of Service
In our case, we would use the service as a monitoring solution to support our helpdesk (supporting the client). We would have to forward on the cost of the hardware to the client, and we would add an optional line item to our support contract for proactive monitoring. We would have to keep the cost down or the customer would decline. Our only other option is to eat the cost ourselves which we cannot afford to do.
Overall Impression of Ijihi
I like where Ijihi is, I like their plans for the future, I also like their willingness to work with us to make their service what we need/want it to be. I’ve talked with Mike over at Ijihi and he is very excited about opening up their service as an alternative to On-Plus.
I’m impressed with the look and feel of the service and can easily imagine a 32” TV on the wall in our Helpdesk showing Ijihi’s dashboard all and alerting our techs to possible issues that need to be addressed. With that being said, I work with some of the most cut-throat SMBs out there when it comes to frugality. Due to this, we don’t have a lot of money to throw at a solution, even if it saves us time and manpower… and our customers don’t like absorbing support costs. On-Plus was affordable enough that we were able to develop a solution that a majority of our customers would sign-off on. I don’t think Ijihi can get that low in their pricing… but I’m hoping that we can find a happy medium that works for us.
Thanks for all of the feedback and keep it coming.
What are your expectations in regards to tech support?
ihiji is RMM ...Simplified
Personally, a monitoring solution is not considered a P1 solution for us... but I guess that would depend on the SLA we are giving our customers.
I think having tiered subscription options would be great...
(Here is an example)
1 hour response time to phone or email inqury
4 hour resolution time for critical issues
12 hour resolution for non-critical issues
24/7 Support Hours
2 hour response time to phone or email inqury
8 hour resolution time for critical issues
16 hour resolution time for non-critical issues
24/7 Support Hours
3 hour response time to phone or email inqury
12 hour resolution time for critical issues
20 hour resolution time for non-critical issues
24/7 Support Hours
4 hour resonse time to email inquiry (email only)
24 hour resolution for critical issues
48 hour resolution for non-critical issues
9am - 5pm Support Hours (Local time to Ihiji)
Tier 4 should be included in all monitoring subscriptions.
Tiers 1 - 3 could either be an addtional price per site, per client (client of the partner), or per partner.
That is just a suggestion, it would be great to have 24/7 support 4 hour response times for no addtional cost... but that would make the product very expensive.
Another nice-to-have feature I was thinking about during the time I wrote the ON100 UPNP discovery code and monitoring services was adding a DLNA service to the ON100 as a 'leave-behind' that might allow the local customer IT folks, or just a curious CEO, to go out and buy a DLNA-capable digital photo-frame and point it at the ON100, which could serve up current images of the status of the local network. Fluff for sure, but potentially a useful tool when trying to get the customer to buy.
Needless to say, I haven't chimed in for awhile because I wanted to hear what others had to say. As well, we're still deploying OnPlus until we run out of product, find an alternative solution (which ihiji is a consideration), or something else happens.
For what it's worth, I'll give my opinion on all of this. OnPlus serves a dual purpose for us. The desire was to have a solution that fit some very specific needs, and OnPlus met those fairly well.
First it was targeted at SMB clients. Because of it's simple deployment model, low cost, and basic monitoring and management functionality, it allowed us to create a managed solution that fit the SMB client's price point and provided some visually appealing discovery and reporting as well as some very basic up/down and standard resource monitoring and alerting.
Second we targeted at the Mid-Market clients. The multi-vlan discovery capabilities combined with visually appealing network map and reporting really paid off here by providing an executive level view of a client's network.
To be perfectly candid, I would prefer not to see a product that goes out there any tries to compete with the other RMM solutions. We also utilize both Kaseya and PacketTrap. In the Mid-Market, and higher need SMB, we deploy those solutions for the more in-depth monitoring of servers, desktops, and network devices. We deploy them in conjunction with OnPlus. Long story short, OnPlus provides site availability, network discovery/mapping, and some top level reporting. Kaseya provides in-depth monitoring and management of Servers and Workstations. PacketTrap provides in-depth monitoring and management of Network Devices and VoIP solutions. That's how we use them.
My point with all of that is I could see having a solution that provides the "OPTION" to manually input OIDs and WMI variables, but I would really hope there isn't a lot of focus given to those types of areas ongoing as I feel there are already solid solutions to meet those needs and I don't think it would be a good idea to try to compete in that space. Keep it simple.
Based on all of that I've outlined my suggestions below pooled from others and adding some of my own.
Single/Affordable device to be deployed per site (My cost of about $150 per site for 3 years was pretty spot on by Cisco)
Hosted Central Server
RDP/SSH/TELNET/VNC Tunneling through remote device from central (including Mike's point on HTTP/HTTPS tunneling)
Support for Overlapping address space
Tunneling to be provided through SSL wrapper whenever proper or appropriate
Customizable Email and SMS notifications
WAN Uptime, latency, jitter, and throughput graphs and reports
Support for multiple sites and/or monitors per customer (groups)
Simple to deploy and configure (I really like the OnPlus Activation model)
Basic Network Troubleshooting tools from the dashboard (ping, traceroute, nslookup)
Multi-VLAN support (Trunking)
No direct resell to end clients
Apple iOS and Android app and/or browser support
Remote diags and reboot of core device
Ability to manually add devices
Auto discovery and network mapping by connected device via CDP, etc.
Branding per Client Group/Site
Basic WMI monitoring and alerting of CPU, Memory, Disk
Custom Branding (site and reports)
I also liked VReid47362's idea of the marketplace and Mike's DLNA functionality as pretty cool future ideas.
I also feel support should be simple. Though I can see some merit in Daren's ideas, I personally prefer a simple approach.
Well, that's what I've got for now. I hope it's useful.
I agree with Shawn
my input would be
tech support online help forum and email support would be fine, I have rarely had to call Cisco support, online help forums and goggle work just great and getting help from fellow users is 9 out of 10 better than the MFG.
pricing is the deal breaker for all of the alternatives, ihiji looked like a good replacement but at 20 times the yearly cost for service and hardware cost on top of that makes it a non starter.
Have you looked at PRTG Network Monitor from Paesler? We have been using their products for years from IP Check to PRTG once they consolidated them into one product. It does not do tunneling or remote connections but they have a great dashboard with wonderful monitoring and tracking for WMI/SNMP/many more, and even custom sensors. I am not getting anything from them but I definately recommend their product every chance I can get.
My only wish is that they had a hardware appliance like OnPlus or ihiji so we do not have to deploy on existing system or put in our own hardware.
I haven't looked at that product. That said, I do run Kaseya and PacketTrap for our in-depth monitoring. I was looking at OnPlus, and now potentially ihiji, as a lower cost more basic monitoring solution for clients that prefer just the basics. The main functions that I'm losing from OnPlus that I'm hoping can be replaced by ihiji are the appliance (like you mentioned), remote access tunnel (which ihiji just released their ConnectNinja), auto-discovery, multi-VLAN support for auto-discovery, and the auto network mapping.
Please rate all helpful posts and mark correct answers to assist others searching for solutions in the community.
We use LabTech for RMM but fully depend on PRTG for monitoring and alerting. They have very flexible notifications including HTTP requests which we use for push notifications to iOS devices. They also do email and many other options. As I said it is very flexible and has many levels of access by users/groups to the web interface. It is customizable and has the ability to create "maps" using backgrounds which can be helpful for equipment location. They also generate reports and can email showing uptime and SLA calculations.
Also it is free for 10 sensors (20 if you do a link back to them.)
I thought this would be a good opportunity to update you all on our progress. As you mentioned, the remote tunneling feature was released last month and provides full remote access to any device and any port on the remote network. Our timeline for first version of autodiscovery is within the next 30 days. We should also have more in-depth monitoring of WAN connections (jitter, latency, speedtest) within 45-60 days.
Obvisouly there are plenty of other features in our roadmap but these have been the ciritical ones highlighted and we've been hard at work.
ihiji is RMM ...Simplified
Thanks for the update. Please continue to keep us all up to date as advancements are made.
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I have to say any time I go to a product site and you cannot find pricing the assumption is that it is expensive. And it typically is.
Maybe I am cheap buy we use a combination of Nagios variant, Cacti, Spiceworks, Uvnc and VPN tunnels. We host everything ourselves. We love open source and hate being under the control of other companies.