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LogicMonitor User Group in Los Angeles March 7

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One week from today, we’ll be in downtown LA for our first LogicMonitor User Group on March 7 (rsvp online).

Our fearless founder Steve will be presenting our latest releases and talking through our API’s and new functionality such as Netflow and some roadmap ideas.  You’ll also get the chance to rub elbows with other LogicMonitor customers to swap best practices on infrastructure monitoring, server monitoring, performance tuning, virtualization, etc.

LA Picture Downtown241

We’ll meet at Pitfire Pizza in downtown LA and we’ll be supplying the pizza and beer.  Nothing says good pizza like fake tatoo’d fingers.

woodfire

We’d love you to see you there – signup here.

 

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On my flight out to the ConnectWise IT Nation event, I thumbed through the Wall Street Journal old school style and ran across an ad for the WSJ Wine Store claiming you can save $100 on a special Thanksgiving pinot. My first reaction was to ask myself, “Why is Rupert Murdoch selling wine to WSJ readers?”. I suppose it’s his form of product extension — when companies add connected products in an effort to increase stickiness, average revenue, usability and sometimes, happiness. This particular stretch might actually be a distraction from WSJ’s core business, but you can imagine a couple of cigar smoking fat cats enjoying their pinot and telling each other how great the WSJ is and complaining about the election results. At least that’s probably Murdoch’s premise.

For LogicMonitor, the idea of product extension is more simply tied to the fundamental user experience. You may know that LogicMonitor was founded by SaaS industry vets who built out the datacenters for web businesses like Citrix Online and ad networks like ValueClick. “Tech Steve” founded the company leveraging a deep understanding of the IT ops technology that lives in the datacenter. The experience made him want to solve the age-old monitoring problem that legacy solutions still struggle so hard to do well with their premise-based technology. So later, it wasn’t a surprise that web-based businesses started subscribing to our SaaS monitoring service in large numbers as they exhausted their ability to rely on open source monitoring tools like Nagios.

As early adopters, the web-based businesses pushed us hard to monitor all sorts of new technologies, and bake the functionality into the same software platform so that it “just works” in the same way. Responding to their requests, we queue up the development of most any new datasource (the sw package that we drop into our platform to monitor a given device or app) that can be deployed among our greater user base and then incorporate it into the product. Sometimes this takes a day (other times weeks), but it gets done and represents our core philosophy to make our customers’ lives easier by making their monitoring way better than they could have imagined.

What we stumbled on along the way is that other business segments aside from web-based companies have unmet monitoring needs as well. Managed service providers (MSPs) are a prime example. MSPs take a variety of forms, from value added resellers to System Integrators to Cloud Providers. Not only do MSPs need to monitor their own infrastructure, more and more of them are turning away from the thin margins of the equipment trade to a recurring revenue services model and need to ensure uptime and performance for their hosted or managed services.

LogicMonitor uniquely solves a problem for these MSPs in that they can use a single portal to manage their own infrastructure along with their customers’, wherever the services live. Many MSPs provide role-based access of their LogicMonitor portal to their customers, offering a higher level of service by not only showing the customer what they are paying for, but also how their services are performing. Transparency is an important value in today’s competitive MSP market.

Back at the office the scene is a whir of activity. Mostly engineers cloaked in LogicMonitor tees, flip flops and pens behind the ears with a mantra of getting things done and empathizing with our customers monitoring needs and determined to build the best product. Empathizing with our customers means finding ways our product can be connected seamlessly with their other fundamental technology solutions. That’s why we recently announced Puppet integration for scaling web businesses like Cedexis – to eliminate human intervention when deploying servers and apps, and know with confidence that what they deploy is automatically monitored.

The most recent example is ConnectWise integration. ConnectWise is a professional services automation solution used by several thousand MSPs. And although we had a work around in place for some time (by sending alert emails to ConnectWise to open a service ticket), our customers asked for a more thorough integration to utilize ConnectWise in a best practice manner. We just announced our integration and will continue to advance the functionality between LogicMonitor and ConnectWise. Which reminds me of why I got on the flight to Orlando in the first place and had a chance to read the paper. If Murdoch can sell wine as a WSJ product, maybe we should start selling pocket protectors. We could use them back at the office.

– This article was contributed by Kevin McGibben, CEO at LogicMonitor

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VMworld 2012 took place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco a few weeks ago. The weather was surprisingly nice, but the real buzz was inside the convention hall.  We had a pod in the New Innovators section of the Vendor Expo in Moscone West.  It being our first VMworld (as a sponsor), we were very impressed.

I was initially a little skeptical of our location, but it turned out we got a good bit of traffic and talked to dozens of prospects who were very interested in learning more about cloud-based technology infrastructure monitoring.  One of the surprises of the event was how many current customers stopped by to say hello and share how LogicMonitor is working out for them.VMworld Cloud Monitoring Booth from LogicMonitor

One customer had an interesting story about how LogicMonitor saved his movie. He had gone to see the latest Batman movie “The Dark Knight,” and apparently he’s one of those guys who pays attention to his phone while in the movie (you know, like every other SysAdmin in the world).  Half way through the film he got a text message alerting him to an issue.

He immediately logged into LogicMonitor and checked the systems he was responsible for and quickly realized the problem wasn’t on his end. He proceeded to dig around in the other systems in LogicMonitor and was able to pinpoint the issue and relay it to the team responsible.  Ironically, he was the super hero at that moment.  LogicMonitor not only helped him save the day, but it also saved the movie.

The takeaway here is that LogicMonitor helps provide insight into the entire infrastructure and so helps with collaboration across multiple teams.

You never know when the storage guy might help the virtualization guy or the database guy solve a major problem, even if by just proving the issue isn’t the database. This type of collaboration is invaluable when it comes to monitoring. It streamlines the troubleshooting process and motivates the right professionals to action sooner, allowing them to focus on and solve the problem much quicker.

I don’t think there is one SysAdmin out there who enjoys the length of time it takes during the thrill of the hunt, when trying to pinpoint the reason for a major problem or outage.

Needless to say we felt we had a great show. It was fun to be there and talk to really smart and interesting people. If your organization uses VMware in their infrastructure I would highly recommend attending this conference next year – same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

 

 

 

LogicMonitor in London…Where to Next?

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Coinciding with a break in the London rain, September 25th marked our first UK LogicMonitor User Group. (Earlier this year we started regional User Group events as a way for customers to interact with our team, hear about product updates, and share experiences with other users.)

CEO Kevin McGibben with the LM UK team.

At the London event, attended by some leading online media, SaaS and MSPs in the London area, we began with a “lunch-and-learn” to review enhancements in our latest product release. We spent the balance of the afternoon in a LogicMonitor portal, demonstrating the latest features, fielding questions and providing a sneak preview into some future additions.

A few meeting highlights:

  • Great interest in tuning the LogicMonitor dashboard to present business-level metrics
  • News of extended Engineering support hours (9am-1am GMT) was well-received
  • Unanimous interest in a native iOS application
  • Most of the feedback was positive, and we were successful in eliciting valid critiques that help us continually improve
  • We agreed on methods to more proactively update clients of product updates

All in all it was a fantastic event. Good venue, lots of war stories, many laughs.

We’re looking at adding LM User Group events in Q4 in Los Angeles and Q1 of next year in NYC. If you are interested in interacting with our team and other LM users, don’t be shy – let us know where you want to see us next!

 

Well it actually turns out it was completely full.  When MSPmentor picked up the story about LogicMonitor going to the San Diego VMUG to talk virtualization monitoring, they chose a photo of a surfer riding a giant wave to accompany the article. We thought it was in reference to San Diego, but after attending the VMware User’s Group conference we now realize it could have just as easily been a visual metaphor for the VMUG wave that’s breaking, in nicely-timed sets, across the nation.

We waxed up our Surfliner, paddled south and dropped in. The conference was great for us from a vendor perspective – lots of smart, friendly, interested IT people – and by default they were VMware junkies and so perfect potential LogicMonitor clients. We believe that virtually (pun partially intended) every VMware user that takes a look at LogicMonitor will become a client.  (Monitoring a vCenter – which could control any number of ESX Hosts, which could translate into literally hundreds of virtual machines – counts as one host when it comes to our SaaS charges?  Come on!  We thought about wearing shirts that said “stick it to us” but were afraid of gross (in more ways than one) misinterpretations.)  Our ability to monitor and alert on not only VMware but the entire IT infrastructure surrounding it – from storage to networking gear all the way up to application statistics (Apache, IIS) and databases (MySQL, MS SQL) – all in a single pane of glass makes us a slam dunk.  Add in lightning quick setup, true ease-of-use (we don’t just say it, it’s true) , cool dashboards and graphs, real-time business metrics, etc., and it’s a one-handed 360 slam dunk.

The event was pretty jam packed, and, along with handing out microwave popcorn swag to everyone who walked by (did you know some workplaces actually ban popcorn making at the office! Isn’t that un-American?), we took a very un-scientific survey of the attendees that stopped by the table.  Most of them had great things to say about the event.  Which might explain why there are now more than twenty VMUG events scheduled around the U.S. for the second half of the year.  Shaping up to be a pretty decent sized and tempting looking wave.  Looks like we better stock up on sunscreen.  Oh, and popcorn – bans be damned!

View Photos of the event

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Sometimes the truth hurts.  Well the truth is what we didn’t find at DevOps Days was a throng of adoring fans waiting to throw their undergarments at us. Come to think of it, that would be kind of gross anyway, especially with the DevOps crowd…no disrespect.

What we did find was:

a) our marketing table nestled so close to our competitor’s that…if our tables had been teenagers, we would have sent them to the Principal’s office (see PHOTO below…with competitor’s name shamelessly Photoshopped out and replaced with ours) … and,

b) a lot of companies and DevOps teams that were fairly embedded in their custom-rigged, hard-fought and hard-won monitoring solutions.

If only, in real life, we could just Photoshop out the competition…

In our last blog post we talked about the “suck” factor in monitoring.  Well, maybe for some, blessed with sizable IT budgets and IT brains, monitoring doesn’t suck so bad at all.  In fact maybe for those who take pride in their ability to cobble together a patchwork of complex solutions into one grand “comprehensive” solution, it’s sort of a way of life… a job within a job, a golden chalice, a worthy opponent for any Real Mensa up to the task.

 

When I was a kid I entered a Soapbox Derby  – a racing event where the entrants spend the better part of a year (usually with their dads) making, honing, tweaking, and polishing their own motorless downhill race cars.  Well I was new in town and my dad was busy with a new job, so I saved up and bought a Soapbox Derby Car from an enticing ad in the back of Popular Mechanics. The car was amazing. It was beautiful, took me fifteen minutes to put together, and with very little time, effort, or expense I placed an easy second in the popular Derby out of more than three dozen entrants.  I loved it.

When, on the trophy stand, I told everyone I’d bought the car, they called an emergency meeting and, despite having no written rule to back up their judgement…took the trophy right out of my hands and disqualified me from the race. My car was arguably better, faster, sleeker and more attractive than most of the others in the field, but I hadn’t spent hundreds of hours and piles of money and put the requisite amount of blood, sweat and tears into it… so it didn’t count.

Sometimes the truth hurts.  Well the truth is I just completely made up that story.  Sorry, but I was searching for something analogous to what we didn’t find at DevOps Days and that fake memory seemed to kind of fit.  It seemed more rich (and fun) than just coming straight out and saying, “When I was out last week I went to DevOps Days – an event where the participants spend a good part of their year (usually with their team) searching, honing and tweaking a multitude of products like Nagios, Cacti, collectd + graphite + pnp4nagios, Muni,  etc. etc. to create their own monitoring solution…” and so on.

Plus, admit it, it conjured up a nice little twinge of boyhood nostalgia for a few seconds, didn’t it?  Oh well, it did for me.  It also caused me to realize what to do with the rest of this quarter’s marketing & event budget –  we’re taking out a full page ad in the back of Popular Mechanics.

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