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Cittio's WatchTower 3.0

The Upshot

WatchTower enterprise management system is easy to set up and maintain. Customizable dashboard displays, SNMP monitoring, groupings of network and system devices, and tight integration with technical books from the Safari publishing project distinguish it from competitive products. WatchTower monitors network and systems availability and performance, including Web, e-mail, DNS, DHCP and database services.

Many SMEs (small to midsize enterprises) have a hard time balancing features, cost and ease of use in a network-management system. Simple, inexpensive network and systems monitoring applications, such as Ipswitch's WhatsUp, SolarWinds' Network Management Toolset, Neon Software's LANsurveyor, Castle Rock's SNMPc 7.0 and the open-source GroundWork Monitor line, are either SMB or tactical enterprise-monitoring solutions. EMS suites from BMC Software, CA, EMC, HP, IBM and Mercury Interactive have broad capabilities for strategic management, but are costly to buy and maintain, serving only the largest enterprises.

Cittio's WatchTower is easy to install and maintain, and has a portal interface lets IT reach out to others in the organization. Unfortunately, the product's utility doesn't begin to justify its price tag. Few companies will be able to make the business case.

$400 per node, plus 18 percent annual maintenance fee; $30,000 for 100 nodes.
starts at $2,500 for 50 users; subscriptions, $19 per user, per year

Cittio positions its WatchTower 3.0 EMS (enterprise management system) as easier to use and less expensive than high-end tools such as Hewlett-Packard's OpenView, IBM's Tivoli or CA's Unicenter. However, there's a host of less expensive, similarly functional network-management tools from Castle Rock Computing, GroundWork, Ipswitch, Neon Software and SolarWinds. What sets WatchTower apart is a customizable UI and a unique documentation feature that automatically links to an enormous range of help resources. Customizable dashboards, device grouping and good monitoring management make this package a solid, though pricey, choice for the SME.

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