The first presenter at Network Field Day 4 came to us from another time and place. Stewart Reed came to us all the way from Brisbane, Australia to talk to us about his network monitoring software from Statseeker. I’ve seen Statseeker before at Cisco Live and you likely have too if you been. They’re the group that always gives away a Statseeker-themed Mini on the show floor. They’ve also recently done a podcast with the Packet Pushers.
We got into the room with Stewart and he gave us a great overview of who Statseeker is and what they do:
He’s a great presenter and really hits on the points that differentiates Statseeker. I was amazed by the fact that they said they can keep historical data for a very long period of time. I’ve managed to crash a network monitoring system years ago by trying to monitor too many switch ports. Keeping up with all that information was like drinking from a firehose. Trying to keep that data for long periods of time was a fantasy. Statseeker, on the other hand, has managed to find a way to not only keep up with all that information but keep it around for later use. Stewart said one of my new favorite quotes during the presentation, “Whoever has the best notes wins.” Not only do they have notes that go back for a long time, but their notes don’t suffer from averaging abstraction. When most systems say that they keep data for long periods of time, what they really mean is that they keep the 15 or 30 minute average data for a while. I’ve even seen some go to day or week data points in order to reduce the amount of stored data. Statseeker takes one minute data polls and keeps those one minute data polls for the life of the data. I can drill into the interface specs at 8:37 on June 10th, 2008 if I want. Do you think anyone really wants to argue with someone that keeps notes like that?
Of course, what would Network Field Day be without questions:
One of the big things that comes right out in this discussion is the idea that Statseeker doesn’t allow for customer SNMP monitoring. By restricting the number of OIDs that can be monitored to a smaller subset, this allows for the large-scale port monitoring and long term data storage that Statseeker can provide. I mean, when you get right down to it, how many times have you had to write your own custom SNMP query for an odd OID? The majority of the customers that Statseeker are likely going to have something like 90% overlap in what they want to look at. Restricting the ability to get crazy with monitoring makes this product simple to install and easy to manage. At the risk of overusing a cliche, this is more in line with Apple model of restriction with focus on ease of use. Of course, if Statseeker wants to start referring to themselves as the Apple of Network Monitoring, by all means go right ahead.
The other piece from this second video that I liked was the mention that the minimum Statseeker license is 1000 units. Stewart admits that below that price point, it argument for Statseeker begins to break down somewhat. This kind of admission is refreshing in the networking world. You can’t be everything to everyone. By focusing on long term data storage and quick polling intervals, you obviously have to scale your system to hit a specific port count target. If you really want to push that same product down into an environment that only monitors around 200 ports, you are going to have to make some concessions. You also have to compete with smaller, cheaper tools like MRTG and Cacti. I love that they know where they compete best and don’t worry about trying to sell to everyone.
Of course, a live demo never hurts:
If you’d like to learn more about Statseeker, you can head over to their website at http://www.statseeker.com/. You can also follow them on Twitter as @statseeker. Be sure to tell them to change their avatar and tweet more. You can see hear about Statseeker’s presentation in the Packet Pushers Priority Queue Show 14.
Statseeker has some amazing data gathering capabilities. I personally have never needed to go back three years to win an argument about network performance, but knowing that I can is always nice. Add in the fact that I can monitor every port on the network and you can see the appeal. I don’t know if Statseeker really fits into the size of environment that I typically work in, but it’s nice to know that it’s there in case I need it. I expect to see some great things from them in the future and I might even put my name in the hat for the car at Cisco Live next year.
Tech Field Day Disclaimer
Statseeker was a sponsor of Network Field Day 4. As such, they were responsible for covering a portion of my travel and lodging expenses while attending Network Field Day 4. They did not ask for, nor where they promised any kind of consideration in the writing of this review. The opinions and analysis provided within are my own and any errors or omissions are mine and mine alone.
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