BMC Software: Sweating the Big StuffBy Baselinemag | Posted 2004-07-01 Print
Software customers say the company's Patrol product can be tough to deploy. Once in place, they say, it successfully monitors critical applications.
"When you bring on a product like BMC, you feel some pain," says Steve Huffman, information-technology director of Memorial Hospital & Health System in South Bend, Ind. "Even if the product were free, there's a monumental cost in getting it up and running and configured properly."
Two years ago, Huffman's group spent roughly six months rolling out Patrol for about 50 AIX, HP-UX and Windows 2000 servers, which run its PeopleSoft and Cerner health-care information systems. The project involved training systems administrators on Patrol and figuring out which metrics to gather from each server. The key benefit, Huffman says, is that Patrol provides the same view to both the operational staff and senior information-technology managers. "It's one tool for everybody," he says.
Unlike major competitors, BMC offers tools to emulate how an application will handle additional load and pinpoint where bottlenecks will likely occur with Patrol Perform & Predict, says Boris Gdalevich, capacity manager for Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing company in Teterboro, N.J. "Lots of tools analyze trends, but not many provide the ability to predict," he says.
But some BMC customers have hit serious potholes. John S. Camp, chief information officer at Wayne State University in Detroit, says that four years after initially rolling out Patrol, his group still has difficulty getting it to work properly in the university's 80-server data center. He says problems with Patrol have included an agent that "went haywire" on an IBM supercomputer and the software's inability to collect information from a Windows NT server cluster.
Dave Wagner, BMC's director of enterprise assurance solutions, says such cases typically are the result of a company that's overly ambitious. "If you find a customer who's been struggling with an implementation, they probably don't have the level of maturity they need," he says.
BMC Software Operating Results*
* Fiscal year ends March 31
Includes support expenses
Source: company reports
Total assets - $3.04B
Stockholders' equity - $1.22B
Cash and equivalents - $908.9M
Long-term debt - None Shares outstanding - 227.9M
Market value as of 6/25 - $4.02B
** As of March 31, 2004, except as noted
Includes short-term investments
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