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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Zenoss Gives a Deep Dive Into Zenoss-as-a-Service (ZaaS)

interview-zenoss-zaas

I initially became intrigued about Zenoss as a Service (ZaaS), the company's fully hosted SaaS delivery option, while attending a Zenoss GalaxZ event last year.  With ZaaS, a customer gets the benefits of modern monitoring without having to worry about deploying, managing and upgrading their Zenoss installation.  This option also eliminates the need for architecting an IT monitoring infrastructure for high availability since Zenoss takes care of that for you.  To find out more, I spoke with Brian Wilson, Zenoss Chief Customer Officer, who gave me a deep dive into their SaaS... or, ZaaS offering.

VMblog:  Can you tell us a bit about Zenoss-as-a-Service (ZaaS)?  

Brian Wilson:  Zenoss introduced ZaaS in 2013 to take away the burden of managing an on-premise software product. We did this so IT organizations could focus on the software-defined IT operations experience that Zenoss provides in the cloud and at Enterprise scale. Four years later, we see the market's overwhelming acceptance of the cloud for core IT functions, coupled with more IT leaders recognizing the need for infrastructure monitoring from a cloud platform.

VMblog:  And what benefits does it provide? 

Wilson:  We're seeing more and more clients attempting to understand the health of extremely large IT infrastructures through the vast amounts of data that this very infrastructure produces. Managing the platform that consumes and analyzes that data is becoming too large and complicated a job to handle effectively or efficiently in-house. We're able to better implement that function in a cloud platform. ZaaS allows us to quickly and easily relieve the administrative burdens of the on-premise platform and focus instead on value-add of software-defined IT operations. This is the best of both worlds for our customers. In addition to a higher customer satisfaction than on-prem deployments, we're seeing faster time-to-value and lower cost of ownership.

VMblog:  How does innovation and adaptability within the SaaS platform compare with an on-prem solution?

Wilson:  Going forward, Zenoss will leverage the continuing evolution of technology occurring with public cloud providers and bring to bear capabilities from a SaaS platform that are just not possible on-prem. We're looking forward to GalaxZ18, our annual user conference, where we will announce new capabilities with our solution and highlight the innovation associated with a SaaS platform. In addition, AWS Enterprise strategist and evangelist Mark Schwartz will serve as our keynote speaker, discussing Digital Transformation and the SaaS environment.

VMblog:  What about specific verticals that are adopting ZaaS?  Are there any that are proving faster than others?

Wilson:  We continue to see broad adoption of ZaaS across various industry verticals, and recently we engaged with several financial institutions to discuss a move to ZaaS. Interestingly, given the need to remain competitive in a fast-moving industry, financial institutions have become early adopters of SaaS technology. In general, about 18 months ago we saw a shift in which cloud actually overtook on-prem alternatives as the preferred and more widely accepted solution for large institutions from a security and reliability standpoint.

VMblog:  Are your legacy clients moving from on-premises Zenoss installations to the SaaS version?  And if so, why do you think that is?

Wilson:  About a third of our overall uptick in ZaaS product adoption is coming from our on-prem client base. We're excited about this because not only is the product doing well with new clients, but it validates our expectation that our SaaS solution would provide additional value to customers who have been with Zenoss for many years. We've built our technology to make those migrations straightforward, even for clients on some of the older versions of the Zenoss platform. The paths to move up to the ZaaS offering are well understood, including bringing along the data, the third-party integrations, and any custom ZenPacks the client has added on, whether written by the client, by a third-party developer, or by the Zenoss community. The integration experience remains identical in our ZaaS platform, and that will continue going forward.

VMblog:  You've been partnered with ServiceNow for quite a while now.  Can you talk about the integration work that's been done thus far, and how your customers are using it?  How are you leveraging ServiceNow integration with updated versions of Zenoss?

Wilson:  We've partnered with ServiceNow for more than three years, and our ServiceNow integration remains one of our most popular (top 5) integrations. At Knowledge15, we were one of the first certified integrations to be announced for the incident management helpdesk system and the CMDB offerings from ServiceNow. We continue to invest in those integrations to increase our capabilities. We recently upgraded our CMDB integration to a bi-directionally shared model of information between the ServiceNow CMDB and the Zenoss service model. This allows us to maintain parity between the two systems and provide insight to ServiceNow so that when we see service models change within hyperconverged infrastructures, we pass that back to the CMDB on a real-time basis.

We'll continue to invest in those integrations as ServiceNow evolves its product set and as we see the industry evolving. Our ServiceNow integration is also a key component of our software-defined IT operations. As the leader in event correlation in infrastructure, it's important to our clients that we're able to pass those events seamlessly to alerting systems such as ServiceNow that manage the operations and take the necessary remediation steps through our ZaaS platform.

VMblog:  What is the impact on Zenoss as companies begin to explore or continue to explore AI or machine-learning initiatives?

Wilson:  We're hearing so much in the industry about machine learning and the ability for smart AI systems to determine or infer relationships between disparate data elements in infrastructure. Zenoss believes that combining that machine-informed view with the logical product dependency maps in the service models will provide even a higher level of intelligence and insight into IT infrastructures.

VMblog:  And are you seeing any scale limitations with ZaaS?

Wilson:  It can be easy to make an initial assumption that a SaaS product is suited for a smaller client or downscale client, but what we're seeing is quite the opposite. Some of our largest clients are looking at the cloud as a way to help their organizations scale-and scale very quickly. We also see an opportunity to provide our solution to customers in every range, as this scalability allows us to provide benefits to all of our markets seamlessly, for both new and existing customers.

VMblog:  Curious, is the ZaaS product a major competitive differentiator for Zenoss?

Wilson:  Absolutely. We don't see any other high-quality, deep-infrastructure monitoring platform available from the cloud. If you look through all the vendors associated with the space, each one has some sort of key limitation, and Zenoss is the only company that's able to execute on that right now. We've continued to develop and grow our SaaS product while maintaining a very strong on-prem presence with customers on every continent of the globe.

VMblog:  Finally, can you talk about your future plans for ZaaS?

Wilson:  We're continuing to focus on the growth of ZaaS in the channel. We work closely with our global systems integrators to define an industry-leading vision of how we can partner with companies like Cognizant and NTT to provide a ZaaS-based offering that they can incorporate with their own transformational business proposals. The Zenoss-as-a-Service platform removes an extra layer of management and allows them to be more efficient in their proposals and more agile in terms of deploying the technology.

Just like every other IT organization in the world, Zenoss long ago recognized the value and the potential the cloud represents to the enterprise. We're proud of our success to date with our ZaaS product, and we're even more excited about our future.

Join us for GalaxZ18, June 20-22, 2018, to hear much more about the innovations we're delivering to global enterprises.

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Published Friday, January 26, 2018 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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