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20 August 2006



Hi Stephen,

I _am_ a sys admin and I took a look at Hyperic HQ a few months ago -- I liked it, but the enterprise pricing is too steep - $780 a year for each machine, up to two CPUs. Add another $780/yr. for each pair of processors in a given machine - $1560/yr. for, say, an IBM x365 - that's a lot of money for a mid-level server, never mind the big SPARC DB machines. (An enterprise license is needed for just about any environment that would have to deal with SOX or HIPPA, for things like RBAC.)

A few hundred servers (or fewer if they're 4- or 8- way boxes) and you're at a quarter-million bucks, annually. At that sort of money, suddenly the C-level execs start asking "why not (Tivoli/OpenView/whatever)?". If they're spending that much, most will be wary of some "new guy".

My former employer didn't even consider the product due to the price. Something like Manage Engine ( was coming out far cheaper, with similar out-of-the box functionality. I liked Hyperic's design and think it would be more flexible in the long-run, but a Tivoli replacement it is not (money-wise, that is).

Javier Soltero

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the feedback. Our website notes that larger environments such as yours may opt to obtain a site wide, enterprise subscription which is not done on a per machine basis. We'll make sure to make that clearer on our documentation.


Geoff Coupe

Hi, Stephe,

Yup, your blog is on my list of RSS feeds. Call it nostalgia for the days when I had to worry about this sort of thing...

My eye was caught by your phrase: "away from the internal toxicity of ROI and TCO discussions with the CxO and an incumbent sales force". I don't think you're being entirely fair here. ROI and TCO measures are, it seems to me, entirely valid ways of comparisons between alternatives. Indeed, if the new tools can slip into the existing infrastructure as symbiotes, and then demonstrate that they are reducing TCO, then I'd be all for them. I would agree with you if what you meant was that the sales force of the established vendors had internal proxies in the customers company. That can certainly be toxic. But ROI and TCO? If, in your view, these measures themselves are toxic, then what you you put in their place?


Good Lord -- It's Geoff Coupe.

You are correct in your interpretation. I've seen too many internal proxies use (for example) things like the Microsoft TCO arguments around Linux. Those TCO studies were missing critical cost items but if the exec hasn't the time to detail dive, then the summary numbers can get the vote.

I'm worried (and your opinions and experience are relevant here) that the vendors have focused the discussions too much of late on the cost side (features and pricing) and indeed scoped ROI that way. The business value (versus IT cost or cost savings) seems to have become lost in the noise since fiscal restraint and lowered budgets arrived. The business value in how a system serves the company's customers would seem to be more valuable to the bottom line. (I might need a separate post here, because that's a reasonably large discussion on its own.)

Geoff Coupe

Stephe, I agree with your view that business value is the way to measure, and TCO should include such elements. It is, of course, often difficult to measure objectively, but that's half the fun :-)

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