Monolith trying to slide into Canada

When your competitors are companies with initials like IBM, HP, CA and BMC, you could be excused for trembling a little.

But privately-held Monolith Software, which makes so-called “managers of managers” software for providers and enterprise-sized organizations against products from those giants, shows no signs of backing down.

The company, whose Linux-based browser solution called Technology Management Suite is now on version 3.2, is trying to get a foot in the Canadian market through recently-started proof of concept tests at Fusepoint, a Toronto managed services provider and Look Communications, a Milton, Ont., IPTV and Internet provider.

Neither company would be interviewed about their tests.

But Monolith president Jeff Parker said his company’s solution offers a reasonably-priced and flexible alternative to products from major brands. Monolith can monitor any network device through SNMP, syslog, TL1, log files, flat files, databases and applications.

It’s better-known competitors include IBM Tivoli Netcool and HP’s Network Node Manager. But Parker said Technology Management Suite has certain advantages.

“What we’ve done is build a solution set off a single base” called ITM Core, he said, which lets an entire system be managed from a browser instead of a command line. That means there’s only one interface for role-based access control through the included portal, Parker said.

On top of the core are added any of six modules: Event Manager, which allows the management through a dashboard of every device and application on the network; Action Manager, which integrates fault management, trouble ticketing and escalation notification systems; Metric Manager, which captures metrics; and Inventory Manager, which finds all SNMP enabled devices.

There’s also Netflow Reporter, a performance management and traffic analysis solution that collects, summarizes and reports on Cisco Netflow statistics.

These modules are more integrated than the suites that competitors sell, Parker said. One of the things that makes Technology Management Suite different is its open source Linux-Apache architecture.

While ITM Core can run on Windows Server 2007 or a version of Linux with the 5.x kernel, it comes with the MySQL open source database (now owned by Sun Micrososystems). Monolith sells the suite in modules or as a whole in what it calls the M-suite ITM bundle. However, it comes with what Parker calls “available source” licencing, meaning business can access the source code to extend or enhance it to their custom applications.

While competitors’ pricing is “borderline ridiculous,” Parker said, Monolith can offer special pricing for smaller organizations. For example, the entire suite can cost as little as US$30,000 for a limited solution with about 200 devices. Most customers buy the unlimited device version.

Nor is the suite resource-hungry, he said. A system can run on the entire suite on a single dual-core server with around 4GB of memory.

“I do think they have a good opportunity,” said Dennis Drogseth, a vice-president at Enterprise Management Associates, a Boulder, Col., consulting and IT management firm. “One of the things I like about them is they’re not trying to do rocket science, create the work’s most advance analytics. They’re trying to create a flexible framework for bringing in [network] information, analyzing it, correlating it and customizing it.”

The suite appears to offer quick time to value in terms of deployment and ease of use, a fluid design and flexible analytic capabilities, he said.

Although smaller than its competitors, that should not keep it from being considered by IT buyers, he said.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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