Viakoo Health Monitoring Profile

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Aug 26, 2016

Viakoo, the company of ex-Intransa leaders, says they have created a monitoring tool for security networks that is easy to deploy and offers integrators an RMR stream.

We spoke with CEO Bud Broomhead about Viakoo product and pricing. In this report, we analyze Viakoo's service offering, pricing, limitations and comparison to Solarwinds and Nagios.

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Outlook *** ******

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Comments (12)

Viakoo PennyAlert

Viakoo Free Monitor

Viakoo Health Monitor

It's tough to take a company seriously that doesn't seem to know what it's own go to market strategy should be...

It's tough to take a company seriously that doesn't seem to know what it's own go to market strategy should be.

These guys are more experienced with exit market strategy...

The other part of the market question is who are they targeting as a customer? End user? Integrator? A large enterprise corporation might have the infrastructure in place for a Solarwinds deployment and maybe even the technical expertise to set the system up for proper device monitoring but large mid level companies without the knowledge depth might find this a very useful out of the box (by comparison) tool.

An integrator might like this as a tool to resell value to their clients having a truly proactive maintenance program to monitor the systems and prevent downtime. It seems like Viakoo makes a lot of sense in this model given it is doubtful that an integrator will deploy solarwinds to monitor multiple client networks. The question is will the market actually value this?

Finally, what if they licensed and/or embedded their software into a VMS or incident/situational awareness application as an option to go from basic health monitoring to robust/highly aware health monitoring?

Obviously they are still trying to find the pricing model and customer but I think this one has more staying power than the last company. This product tailors IT health monitoring to our industry and solves problems for people. Solving problems has value. We will have to wait and see how much value it is worth.

We have several integrator partners who we setup with their own private realm that integrates their branding. Their end-users see the service as an extension of their integrator. There are other partners who use it to deliver managed services solutions that helps them scale effectively. These partners may only show their customers periodic reports that are generated by our system but their customers rarely get a login. Finally, we have numerous end-users who have contracted with us directly.

From a scale perspective, our preference is through partners but these partners need to be able to see this as a strategic add to their portfolio and sell it as such. It is harder if it's treated as just another thing in a transaction.

Business case justification comes straight from eliminating costs of informational truck-rolls and in the time-to-resolve problems. People with regulatory requirements around their infrastructure save a significant number of man-hours because of our ability to measure and produce reports on device uptime and retention as well as just reporting current configuration in an automated way.

Less tangible but still valuable is the impact of credibility with stakeholders when you are the one discovering problems before they do and have demonstrable proof your operations are under control.

Hope this helps.

Does Viakoo pull its data from the vms or from the network?

I'm working on getting a clarification on this. All of the information is collected from the Viakoo agent on the VMS, which Viakoo says does not create any network traffic, it just monitors the VMS and incoming data.

We pull data from any and all available sources we can. If it helps alert or diagnose problems and we can get it, we include it.

At a base level, we collect performance and environmental information from the recording server. We also leverage networking protocols to get performance and environmental information from connected devices. If devices have enabled SNMP support, we collect that as well. From the VMS, we get configuration information as well as device connection information. All this is automatically collected based on what our agent discovers from the recording server.

Users can add switches to collect SNMP information from them. If users have supported storage systems, they can add those into the collection as well.

The more information we collect, the more comprehensive the alerting and more accurate the root-cause & diagnostic information. This same architecture works for Access Control systems as well as any other system that has software applications talking to IP-based devices. The value we deliver is prompting customers to pull us into other systems that they have to manage. Even if we don't support whatever the application maybe, we can at least provide monitoring capabilities on arbitrary servers and workstations. It gives our users a single monitoring mechanism for everything they are responsible for.

Beyond being able to more accurately detect problems associated with physical security networks, the cost differential between us and SolarWinds is pretty dramatic. The other problem with SolarWinds is that it doesn't effectively answer the question of whether a Video Surveillance system is actually working properly. At best, it can tell you whether devices are up or down. It is also reliant on SNMP which isn't broadly supported by much of the IP-cameras inventory that is out there. Even where users have SNMP-based cameras and encoders, they have to put in a significant amount of work to enable that feature in each device. We work with all that stuff out of the box and just get better if SNMP is turned on.

Nagios requires a significant amount of sophisticated understanding of what to monitor as well as a significant amount of time to build scripting to filter out the noise. In the end, it still misses things because it can't integrate the measures into clear answer, you have to over-alert and then figure it out. It comes down to whether you have the skill and can afford the time it takes to do a good job with it. Even then, there are things it just won't detect for you.

"From the VMS, we get configuration information as well as device connection information."

From any VMS, or supported VMS? If only supported VMS, how many VMS systems?

What about uptime of network equipment that has IP addresses, but do not support SNMP?

"the cost differential between us and SolarWinds is pretty dramatic.."

Yes, almost anything will be cheaper that Solarwinds.

Supported VMS systems listed here: http://www.viakoo.com/interoperability/

From this link, you can see we officially support 24 of the top VMS systems and 4 of the top Access Control systems. Currently, it is limited to MicroSoft Windows-based solutions.

That said, it takes us roughly 15-minutes to do a minimal integration (auto discover cameras and critical VMS processes).

It takes us a few more hours to a few days to integrate to the degree to get camera names and stream configuration.

Integrating to the point of deriving retention is usually another week.

If there is a VMS that is not on this list and you have an active customer, let us know and we could probably support it with a relatively short engagement.

Sorry, missed your other question:

What we are doing is monitoring not just device responses to protocols across the network, but also the IP traffic between the device and the application. In this way, we can determine whether there is an active connection and not just "electrically alive."

SNMP data from the devices can give us uptime data on the device as well as what it thinks it is sending out and not just what the recorder is receiving. Some multi-channel encoders can also tell us per-channel information, et cetera, through SNMP data. All that gets associated with the stream which not only alerts to issues but becomes trended performance information you can threshold on just review in diagnosing issues.

Hopefully, this answers your question.

"What about uptime of network equipment that has IP addresses, but do not support SNMP?" Do you monitor if these devices are up or not?

At a minimal level, if you give us a device at an IP address that you want us to monitor, we can track whether that device is responding to network pings. If it doesn't respond, we can only assert that it isn't responding, we can't assert that it is down or up.

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