When the facts are fiction

NOTE: I am a ServiceNow employee, so this post is SUPER biased.

A colleague sent me a link to a solution that was being compared to two products in our IT Operations solution suite. The facts that they outlined are fairly innacurate and I felt compelled to set the story straight. Device42 created this page https://www.device42.com/vs/servicewatch/ to attempt to showcase how their product is superior to the Service Mapping and Discovery modules in some key (and some random) categories. Let’s look at each of them individually, but first let me remind you that I am a ServiceNow employee, opinions expressed here are my own, and I am NOT an expert on the Device42 product.

  • Integrated Solution – Not sure why we scored an X on this since the foundation of our go to market is built on the fact that we have an integrated platform built on a single unified database backend. When we acquire products, we actually strip them down to the core IP and rebuild them to be native on the platform. The Discovery and Service Mapping modules are built to automate population and maintenance of the CMDB and I can’t think of another way to get any more integrated.
  • Cloud Option – The only option ServiceNow has. We are born and bred in the cloud for a cloud first world. We didn’t create a cloud “version” of our on premises solution. We have and will always be in the cloud.
  • On-premise option – Technically incorrect to say we don’t have this option. Talk to one of your account managers about this if you have some incredibly specific reason that you want/need to run ServiceNow in a dark datacenter away from foreign government eyes and keyboards.
  • Agentless Discovery – Yep. Nothing to maintain, no agents to install, we see everything because we don’t have to already exist on the system first. We can also discover and map systems that don’t ordinarily have an agent. I will also add, not having another piece of software to maintain on your server makes upkeep easier and reduces your attack surface and reducing risk.
  • (Optional) Agent based discovery – Not sure why this option exists if agent-less works well. And again, to be technical here, we can integrate with any number of agent based solutions (SCCM comes to mind) if you are hell bent on putting yourself through the extra steps.
  • Automatic Service/Application Discovery – Aha! The magic of automation. Again, not the most accurate statement given the Kingston release. Service Mapping now leverages a bulk mapping effort to identify candidate business services AUTOMATICALLY! And Discovery has ALWAYS automated the discovery of applications and CI dependencies.
  • Resource Utilization – Just another place to put an X I suppose because there is little context here. Are they claiming that their agent uses no resources? Is their agent less technology able to glean information from a system without actually consuming resources? Kinda of impossible right? And how much resource utilization are we talking about? A WMI query takes milliseconds to complete, right? So it’s pretty dang low. I haven’t done a head to head comparison but I’d be willing to guess that this is equal and shouldn’t have even been on the list.
  • Native Windows – Check
  • SNMP – Check
  • Cisco UCS – Check, and an oddly specific callout. Discovery and Service Mapping can talk to any infrastructure.
  • Native Load Balancer – Check (why they think we can’t discovery a load balancer is interesting)
  • Native VMware – Check
  • Native other Virtualization – Check (again, not sure what information led them to this but reading our documentation usually helps dispel myths https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/jakarta-it-operations-management/page/product/discovery/reference/r_DiscoveryForHyperV.html)
  • Native public cloud – Check (funny that they reference Fuji which is end of life. Current release is Kingston which is 5 releases since Fuji and we’ve been cloud native since Geneva) Our cloud management framework is extensible to discovery ANY public cloud
  • Native privat cloud – Check (see VMware, and other virtualization above) Unless they are talking about a private cloud I’ve never heard of, we’re referring to the cloud you built on premises using some level of virtualization. All of which we support.
  • NMAP Discovery – Again, time to double back and update your site to refer to current releases. See the following documentation about how we leverage NMAP to do credential-less discovery. Yes, that’s a real thing! https://docs.servicenow.com/bundle/kingston-servicenow-platform/page/product/mid-server/reference/data-collected-nmap.html
  • Netflow – Check
  • RESTful APIs – Check
  • Orchestrate Automation – The reference in the article is a to a web hook or a one way push integration which we do in fact support. Not only that, but with the introduction of Integration Hub in Kingston, your admins can create widgets that can be exposed to your non-dev community so that they can also participate in automation exercises. Orchestration and Automation shouldn’t be limited to the developer community only!
  • My favorite is the dollar sign comparison. Anyone can put four dollar bills on an article to insinuate that they cost more. Two things, 1) you get what you pay for and 2) if you aren’t looking at the value you will derive from the outcomes your solution will provide, then you aren’t vetting your solutions properly. There are multiple factors that go into the total investment aside from just the licensing cost. Get a real comparative quote from your account manager and go through a value comparison exercise. Heck, go use the self-service one we have on our website here https://www.servicenow.com/success/value-calculator-it.html

Lots to consider here as you are doing your evaluation with ANY product. I’ll give the same advice I give to most of my clients. Some person in marketing that produces an article that does a feature by feature comparison has very little idea what it is like to live in your shoes every day. Do yourself the favor of looking objectively at the solutions you are considering and determine what’s important and how each of those products address those needs.

Figure out what problem you are solving and which product will solve it best!

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