From an architectural perspective, if you take a close look at Network/Remote Monitoring and Management (NMM/RMM) solutions on the market today, you will not find much difference between them. Most continue to rely on a central server architectural design that is decades old. Vendors also follow a traditional centralized development release cycle approach that is just as old. They add functionality on top of functionality to their solutions with each release, and rarely is any functionality removed. The interfaces become cluttered and hard to use, and the solutions become increasingly complex to enhance, install, maintain and use. As everything becomes more complex, the solutions become more expensive.
The biggest obstacle that many small and medium sized organizations face in acquiring an NMM solution is complexity and cost. Either the complexity of the solutions require technical resources to install, maintain and use the solutions, which are well beyond their capabilities, or the solutions are way beyond their budget. In many cases it is both.
Organizations are not all the same with their needs. Many simply do not need all of the functionality that vendors pack into their solutions. There are many organizations that need basic functionality, while others need more extensive capabilities, and then there are those in between. The centralized architectural approach that vendors have taken requires that they introduce functionality to their solutions release after release. This approach is not capable of accommodating the differing functionality needs of organizations. It’s a take it or leave it approach. Organizations who need less functionality are forced to sift through cluttered interfaces to find and use the functionality they need if it exists.
The reaction to this has been two fold. Organizations are either going without a NMM solution or they turn to managed service providers (MSPs). Unfortunately, MSPs face many of the same issues that individual organizations face with NMM solutions. The RMM solutions have the same architectural design limitations as NMM solutions. They are just as complex and expensive, and in some cases more so. While MSPs can insulate their customers from much of the complexity of use, they cannot insulate them from the cost and lack of flexibility. It is still a take it or leave it proposition, and RMM solutions leave MSPs unable to truly customize their service offerings to their customers.
There needs to be an architectural shift in NMM/RMM solution design that not only simplifies the solutions, but also puts organizations in control of what they need. A decentralized architectural design that moves away from a central server design and employs a modular design that allows organizations to select the functionality they need. This approach will significantly reduce complexity and cost, placing NMM/RMM solutions within the technical reach and budgets of organizations of all sizes.
At Vallum Software, we believe we have achieved this goal with the Halo Manager solution. The Halo Manager architecture is decentralized, which eliminates the need for a complex central server install. This architecture also allows for the implementation of specialized applications called Halo Applications. Halo Applications each have differing functionality to choose from. The customer installs the Halo Manager with some core functionality, and then selects and installs Halo Applications to customize the Halo Manager solution to their specific needs. Both are easily installed.
The day of the monolithic solution packed with functionality is gone. We think Vallum Halo is the next gen NMM/RMM solution architecture.
About the Author:
Lance Edelman is a technology professional with 25+ years of experience in enterprise software, security, document management and network management. He is co-founder and Director of Technology at Vallum Software and currently lives in Atlanta, GA.