Vunetrix v-Cloud Network MonitoringBy Ethan Ace, Published Jul 09, 2012, 08:00pm EDT
Network monitoring systems have seen limited adoption in security, generally priced within reach of only large-scale enterprise deployments. Additionally, VMSs now provide many of the features found in these higher-end systems, making dedicated monitoring software unnecessary. Now, software provider Vunetrix has announced a hosted version of their monitoring platform, called v-Cloud which aims to make network more affordable for smaller systems. In this note, we overview this offering, its pricing structure and how it competes against VMS alerting functions and Vunetrix's current offering.
For those unfamiliar, Vunetrix offers a network health monitoring system which supervises various performance parameters, such as ping up/down, bandwidth, server load, disk space, and recording time. This manufacturer marketing video introduces the basics of the service and covers the various parameters which may be monitored:
This monitoring software was first offered on pre-loaded appliances, to be installed on-site. Users may see our original coverage of Vunetrix for more information.
v-Cloud offers the same services as Vunetrix's on-site appliance-based system, without requiring any hardware on site. The site is connected to Vunetrix's servers via VPN, typically via the VMS server or another Windows PC on site. This may be a logistical issue if site IT staff objects, but generally is a simple installation process. This allows for quicker and easier deployment, since no hardware must be shipped, configured, and deployed. This may be especially valuable in smaller and multi-site deployments, as time constraints are usually greater in these projects.
Pricing and Availability
Vunetrix's v-Cloud is priced per sensor per device. For example, in a 20-camera system, applying ping and bandwidth monitors to all cameras would count as 40 sensors. Sensors are tentatively priced around $10 USD each, per year, meaning this 20-camera example would cost $400 per year.
Vunetrix is resold through a dealer network, with no direct sales.
v-Cloud is far less expensive for small surveillance system users than their appliance-based offering. The appliance starts at $300/month for 100 endpoints ($3,600/year), though this includes all available sensors, users need not pick and choose.
However, like the appliance-based offering, not all users will see the value in this service, as many VMSs can generate emails when cameras go up or down, servers fail, hard drives near capacity, and other parameters. Because of this, many users may see no benefit to the service, as most needs can be met with the VMS. For those using VMSs which lack email notifications, Vunetrix may be an affordable means of offering monitoring. Vunetrix may also monitor functions which the VMS does not, such as server processes, CPU and memory load, UPS status, and environmental conditions. Depending on the system, these functions may be desired beyond what the VMS provides.
Overall, we expect that v-Cloud will have modest impact, making network monitoring more palatable for sophisticated mid-range users who may have been unable to afford it. Overall, however, high end systems will most likely continue to use more expensive offerings, and the low end of the market will see little value in paying for this service.
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