MMSoft Pulseway; Small Enterprise – Evaluations and Value Comparisons from PC Journal

MMSoft Design’s MMSoft Pulseway, which begins at $three,200 per consumer per yr, is a robust IT administration device that covers quite a lot of floor, with glorious capabilities within the areas of asset administration, infrastructure administration, and utility efficiency administration (APM). MMSoft Pulseway is a ground-up cellular utility, though the corporate additionally gives a desktop consumer that provides a subset of the knowledge (out there via the web-based interface utilized by different units). MMSoft Pulseway will not be solely feature-rich, it is also at the beginning a Software program-as-a-Service (SaaS) providing which actually leverages that design selection for ease of use, and to ship a really mobile-friendly really feel.

Whereas it isn’t as feature-capable in APM as Stackify (our Editors’ Selection winner in that class), MMSoft Pulseway carried out excellently as each an asset supervisor and an infrastructure administration device—a lot in order that we felt it deserved an Editors’ Selection award in each classes.

Set up

MMSoft Pulseway’s cellular functions can be found within the Apple App retailer and Google Play plus within the Home windows retailer for each Home windows Cellphone and Home windows eight.1 on a pill. In the event you select to put in an on-premises server, it requires Home windows Server 2012 or increased plus SQL Server 2008 R2 or increased. Further necessities embrace one public, static IP tackle and an SSL certificates. The MMSoft Pulseway REST API makes it attainable to push and pull info from exterior the appliance must you want that performance.

Agent set up consists of working an installer program after which choosing from a spread of choices introduced on the agent administration console. Determine 1 reveals the choices out there on the Server Modules tab of the consumer supervisor. Discover from this screenshot that MMSoft Pulseway helps Microsoft’s Hyper-V, VMware’s ESXi, and Citrix’s XenServer virtualization merchandise. It additionally helps Amazon Internet Companies (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure cloud service monitoring.

Different tabs embrace Home windows Server Backup (WSB), System Middle Operations Supervisor (SCOM) plus a number of different third-party merchandise. The primary time you choose a tab (comparable to VMware), you’ll discover a pop-up dialog asking, “do wish to obtain the extra parts to assist this perform?” As soon as the module completes downloading, you can be introduced with an extra display screen to enter the tackle of the VMware vCenter or ESXi host plus administrator credentials.

We had been capable of shortly configure a connection to Azure utilizing the Credential wizard. To hook up with Azure, you first should get hold of your subscription ID (because the credential created should match). After getting your subscription ID, it have to be entered within the Azure Subscription wizard so it’s accessed while you hit the Generate New Certificates button. This may create the required certificates that should then be uploaded to Azure. As soon as that step completes, you have to be prepared to observe your Azure account from MMSoft Pulseway.

The SNMP tab lets you monitor SNMP units together with issues comparable to community switches. We had been capable of uncover a HP 3800 swap and have it show on the primary MMSoft Pulseway webpage below Roles. The final configuration step required to truly acquire info from the swap is to configure SNMP Administration Info Base (MIB) variables of curiosity. This step may deter anybody from going any additional with SNMP monitoring because it requires a data of SNMP Object Identifiers (OID), that are made up of a number of digits much like an IP tackle.

The native server possibility does require a number of issues to be configured previous to set up, together with an present native copy of SQL server. SQL Categorical editions increased than 2008 will work for this goal. Past the SQL server requirement, you will need to set up a DNS entry for the server, with a main identify of pulseway.yourdomain.com pointing to the general public IP tackle. That is required for all cellular connections so as to join with the server.

For asset managers, putting in the brokers throughout platforms was additionally simple however initially took a while (primarily as a result of quantity). In the event you bodily want a barcode or label on the property, or you’re coping with a lot of non-network-capable property that you just want tracked that means, the bottom MMSoft Pulseway product will not be the best selection for you. Nonetheless, there may be an add-on within the Enterprise version that can permit the usage of barcodes in asset administration eventualities.

MMSoft Pulseway - Figure 1 - Server Modules tab

Asset Administration

When performing asset administration duties, we acquired real-time information noticeably quicker than techniques that depend on scheduled community scanning comparable to Asset Panda, BMC Monitor-It!, and SysAid.

While setup requires the installation of agents, we did not need to initiate or schedule a network scan or audit nor take any action to receive updates. A key point here is that, despite providing so much asset detail for each networked device, the MMSoft Pulseway user interface (UI) is attractive and simple. It’s a joy to use and is our current favorite interface from all of the cloud-based asset management services we’ve tested. Part of the fun was the nearly instant response when navigating into machines.

The notification options are detailed compared to other asset management tools such as Asset Panda and GoCodes. You can select services and scheduled tasks to manage, as well as performance counters, file browsing features, certificates, maintenance windows, and network connectivity, to name a few.

MMSoft Pulseway offers remote desktop access into Windows machines. Don’t assume that limits the capabilities to troubleshoot cloud-based servers and other operating systems. You can kill processes, restart, log out, suspend, and lock your non-Windows-based assets from the mobile client. The availability of real-time status updates from the mobile application is a game changer. While you do need to install the agent software first, once you do, the rest is easy. MMSoft Pulseway offers information including real-time status, system resources, logged-in users, network performance, Windows updates, IIS, SQL Server, Exchange, Active Directory (AD), VMware, Hyper-V, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-enabled devices. MMSoft Pulseway also supports Debian, Windows, Unix, Raspbian, MacOS, and various flavors of cloud servers.

Automated asset updates along with MMSoft Pulseway’s deeper view into software usage results in more accurate data, without any proactive configuration beyond setup. Either notifications are on so you can track something specific or you can navigate to the specific device to learn more from the Web or mobile app.

MMSoft Pulseway - Figure 2 - Individual System Details

Infrastructure Management and APM

MMSoft Pulseway had the most feature complete infrastructure management capability of any of the products we’ve so far tested in this category. Using the MMSoft Pulseway Manager, you can connect to an Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure account and manage virtual infrastructure in the cloud, while simultaneously using the software to monitor and manage locally-deployed AD, Microsoft Exchange, and a host of other applications and services. On the virtualization front, MMSoft Pulseway supports Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and various flavors of VMware out of the box. No additional plug-ins are required for monitoring any of these virtual infrastructure sources as opposed to other products such as ManageEngine OpManager and Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold.

MMSoft Pulseway’s visually appealing interface continues to shine when performing more rote infrastructure management and APM tasks. As this review went to press, MMSoft rolled out a new HTML5-based version which looks to be even better than the current Flash-based UI. The screen transitions and use of colorful icons are easy on the eyes and also serve to clearly organize its many tools and features. Systems can be grouped together to make it easier to associate specific resources together. Extensive details for individual systems are available through the installed agent (see Figure 2).

MMSoft Pulseway makes it easy to execute commands either one at a time (see Figure 3) or through a Microsoft PowerShell interface to run a script. Just like you can to a client desktop for remote support, a remote terminal session can be established through the MMSoft Pulseway service to any server running the client agent. This makes it easy to connect to internal resources without the need to establish any additional services like a virtual private network (VPN).

Figure 4 shows the details for one Azure test virtual machine (VM) along with buttons to perform the most common functions of restart, shut down, and delete. Our Azure portal management console shows a total of six VMs while the MMSoft Pulseway display showed three. However, this is likely due to the fact that three of the Azure VMs were in a deallocated condition. On a local VM plane, we found that MMSoft Pulseway provides somewhat better insight into Hyper-V and VMware virtualization platforms when compared to Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold.

MMSoft Pulseway - Figure 3- Executing Commands One at a Time

Life as a Mobile Manager

MMSoft Pulseway really shines when you use the mobile client. Actions for responding to most common requests are available from the mobile app on Android and iOS devices, including restart, log-out, and terminal actions on Mac OS and Unix-based platforms. You have the ability to fully remote in to Windows machines from your mobile device, a huge win for IT staff within companies who can more readily react to outages before they are noticed by those outside the department.

The mobile application comes with a handy “Enter Maintenance Mode” option, which you can use to disable notification on a networked device while you are making changes. This reduces unneeded warnings and duplicative efforts, as other members of your support team can see the issue is being actively worked on. Each setting selected is tracked, providing a reviewable log. A notes field and tagging ability add to a technician’s options for describing an asset.

We loaded the MMSoft Pulseway app on an Apple iPad 3 to test these mobility features. The user interface looked very similar to the Web interface but felt even smoother on the touchscreen device. We were able to navigate through the different servers and see alerts with just a few touches. While you probably won’t do a lot of typing to enter script commands with the on-screen keyboard, you could get it done. A nice Bluetooth keyboard would make the mobile experience on the iPad especially useful.

Because of the focus on security, there are a few Web application drawbacks to consider. After 15 minutes, the Web application makes you log in again. Without an option to save your username or password, this can seem repetitive if you are using the Web application for more complex analysis and reporting. This mildly irritating circumstance appears to be an intentional decision to limit security risk, and is fairly easy to work around in practice (and, given the nature of the data being exposed, this level of security seems justified).

Additionally, if you employ two-factor authentication (2FA), the time limit isn’t an issue for your secured mobile device. You can also see reports and perform most actions from a mobile device, including accessing reports from all networked assets. In fact, we stopped using the Web client because the mobile application did everything we needed, more efficiently and without requiring us to log in every 15 minutes.

MMSoft Pulseway - Figure 4 - Details for One Microsoft Azure Test Virtual Machine

A Few Weaknesses

Reporting is not the strongest aspect of the MMSoft Pulseway product. At present, a total of 18 canned reports exist, with no way to modify or create new ones. The reports display on-screen and can be sent by email. It is possible through the management console to view the system logs from individual systems but no easy way to export those logs directly from within the product.

Price may also be a blocker for some. As an asset manager, MMSoft Pulseway Professional allows for up to 200 systems for $3,200 per year with one user account. The Enterprise edition is $10,440 per year for 500 systems, and $20,880 for 1,000 systems and five user accounts. One thing to note about asset management pricing: all assets are basically “systems” and assets included both monitored and networked devices, so your system count may not include every asset type. It can be hard to justify spending more if your company has a tight budget, unless you can advocate for the possible savings of shorter response times for outages, and prove you are saving on software licensing costs by reducing duplication.

From an infrastructure and app management perspective, the SaaS professional version comes out to $1.34 per system per month for one user account, one concurrent remote desktop session and up to 200 monitored systems. The enterprise SaaS version starts at $1.74 per system per month for up to 50 systems, and includes five user accounts and one concurrent remote desktop session. The on-premises version costs $1.20 per system per month and starts at 100 monitored systems.

Overall, MMSoft Pulseway definitely takes the top spot in both our infrastructure and asset management roundup categories. The new HTML5-based UI will only make the user experience (UX) even better. Some of the corner capabilities such as the Microsoft Azure monitoring and the SNMP device agent are a little rough around the edges but, from a feature standpoint, MMSoft Pulseway is definitely the most complete.

While it actually supports more application platforms than Stackify, MMSoft Pulseway didn’t offer quite as much monitoring detail on the APM front, which is why it doesn’t win the Editors’ Choice in that category. However, because it covers so much ground so well, IT departments that want to standardize on one tool box across all of these categories should definitely give it serious consideration.

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