While we are not able to share the client’s name, we can tell you it has the leading portfolio of global, multi-platform entertainment brands. Through television, film, digital content, live events, merchandise, studio production and more, it connects with billions of people in almost every country in the world.

The Challenge

Our client has always been an early adopter of new technology and service solutions. It is one of the strategies that have enabled it to maintain its competitive edge in the home entertainment industry. It was an early adopter of ServiceNow ITSM; however, it was never able to gain all of the promised benefits because ServiceNow ITSM lacked an automated method to populate our client’s Configuration Management Database (CMDB). A fully populated and accurate CMDB is essential to connect impacted assets to such events as incidents, problems and changes. To ensure impacted assets are not overlooked or misunderstood, a CMDB should also provide critical dependency and relationship details for all infrastructure components and the services they support.

The client’s inability to maintain the accuracy of the CMDB resulted in business users who rely on it to consider the data as unreliable. Looking to resolve this situation, the ITSM and infrastructure management teams at the company sought a discovery solution to populate automatically the CMDB with all infrastructure elements, including their configurations and, most importantly, the relationships and dependencies between them.

The Players

As expected ServiceNow’s discovery solution was considered, but the client, particularly the budget-holding infrastructure team, wanted to see what other options existed that included better features and, perhaps, at a better price.

After researching several offerings, the client narrowed the field to three vendors for an in-house proof of concept:  ServiceNow, Virima and Device42. On paper, the three solutions made very similar claims, and each promised to integrate completely with the ServiceNow CMDB, but it was critical to determine which could deliver the goods.

Proof-of-Concept Evaluation

The in-house evaluations were performed in the same lab environment, which comprised of devices and applications typically deployed throughout the company’s global data centers and operated by the various brands. By comparing each product in a known environment, the staff testing the solutions were able to review objectively the discovery capabilities, asses the usability and confirm ServiceNow CMDB integration. ServiceNow, which was the ITSM team’s “preferred” solution before the test, was first, followed by Device42 and then Virima.

Evaluation Criteria #1 – Discovery

The client wanted to test each product’s capability to discover various types of data center infrastructure components, including physical servers, virtual servers, hypervisors, network infrastructure and storage. All three candidate products required similar configurations to run discovery and each returned decent results, but Virima was superior because of the breadth of from-the-box probes that allow for a deeper discovery of more device types than either of the other solutions. Scheduling scans was easy with Virima, so the data was sure to remain fresh. Configuration Item (CI) updates were clearly displayed and the move to the CMDB process could even be automated with granular business rules. In addition, the information on the discovered devices was returned in a format that was cleaner and easier to ingest into the CMDB, making the data much more consumable for the infrastructure and ITSM teams. Advantage Virima.

Evaluation Criteria #2 – Application and Service Dependency Mapping

Given how important it is to understand all asset relationships and application/service dependencies to achieve effective ITSM and IT Operations management, the client was very interested to see which solution was best at discovering them automatically. Once again, Virima’s breadth of probes and relational algorithms outperformed the competition. The client was also very impressed with how the various relationship maps were automatically displayed in colorful visualizations that could be arranged and saved, according to individual preferences. Advantage Virima.

Evaluation Criteria #3 – ServiceNow CMDB Integration

With the discovery and mapping tests complete, the client validated each solution’s capability to integrate with its ServiceNow CMDB. Virima’s solution only required entering credentials for the ServiceNow CMDB and the from-the-box mappings took care of the rest. Even Virima’s relationship mappings appeared in ServiceNow, but their standard gray-scale displays were no match for Virima’s dynamic, eye-pleasing visualizations. Advantage Virima.

Evaluation Criteria #4 – Price

At some point during the testing process, Device42 was eliminated for technical reasons, resulting in a two-horse race between ServiceNow and Virima to assess which offered a better value. Given Virima’s clear advantage to this point, you may be wondering why ServiceNow was still being considered. You’ll recall the client’s ITSM team had a heavy preference to remain with ServiceNow across the board for the “sake of simplicity.” The infrastructure team, however, had a highly vested interest and it owned the budget and Virima was the clear technological winner. Being a multi-billion-dollar business, the client’s procurement department wanted to contribute to the assessment too. Anyone who has priced a ServiceNow solution will not be shocked that even with all the clear technological advantages, Virima was 45% less expensive than ServiceNow. Advantage Virima (that’s 4 of 4 in case you weren’t keeping score).

The Results

At the end of the almost three-month technical and value evaluation process, the client chose Virima. The director of infrastructure who was instrumental in selecting the vendors and setting the parameters of the head-to-head vendor evaluation stated, “Virima was hands down the best solution. Virima won on functionality, ease of deployment and licensing costs. Since the deployment is so straightforward, we plan to mostly tackle it ourselves, saving even more money on implementation services. Virima offers an incredible total cost of ownership, which really helped make the case to senior management to go with a company not named ServiceNow.”

As an aside, even the client’s loyal ServiceNow ITSM team was impressed by the capabilities of Virima Discovery, coupled with its ease of use and tight integration with ServiceNow CDMB, the team could see what made Virima the clear-cut winner over ServiceNow and Device42.

Organizations of all sizes and in all industries trust Virima Discovery because it provides the breadth, depth and scale to eliminate any uncertainty about supporting, managing, securing and reporting the existing IT assets. Keep your asset and configuration inventory accurate and available to those who need it to make timely and accurate decisions. To learn more visit www.virima.com.

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Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard COO Virima Technologies - Mike joined Virima Technologies (Atlanta, GA) in 2010 and oversees Virima ITAM/ITSM SaaS product sales, marketing and field services organizations. He has been providing solutions to solve complex IT challenges in a variety of industries for over 25 years.