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Old 08-17-2007, 03:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Boxtone or Zenprise?

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I hear Boxtone is more expensive and offers a bit more functionality. I am looking for a more detailed comparison from any forum members who have used both products.

Main need = "in house" monitoring
Secondary need = access for partner monitoring from outside of our network

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Old 08-19-2007, 09:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When I went into my evaluation for them, I had to look at purchasing a product that would not only be scalable for an ever-growing BES environment but also scalable for an ever-growing support environment. We were picking a product that would be used by my team of engineers and administrators, as well as one that could be used by our systems operations center, network operations center, deskside support personnel, and help desk and customer support center, as well as upper management for pulling reports. This means that a few hundred people would be using the solution - not exactly feasible for an application-based solution and why a web-based interface was my number one requirement. Spreading the use across multiple departments allows for either a capital expenditure or a multi-department spread of expenses ...definitely helps with the bugetary numbers.

The only reason Zenprise ever made it into our doors was because I was told on the phone that they had a web-based solution. During their presentation, they backtracked on this and said they *might* do one later on but it wasn't in their plans at that time. The BlackBerry module for their product suite was built and put to market in 90 days. It's a work-in-progress that is not honestly worth it's price tag (even at the 'giveaway' prices they're offering). Reporting is based on SNMP data which may or may not accurately reflect the log data they capture in the application. Solutions for issues are pulled from RIM and Microsoft KB articles and are not customizable for in-house solutions that are gathered from experience, message boards (such as BBF), etc.

We have recently decided to go with BoxTone. Initially, the money involved was a concern. Management was sold after Dan and Jon's presentation, although I still tasked myself with evaluating other products, Zenprise being one of them. BoxTone has it's faults, but they are far outweighed by the positives (web-based interface, drill-down abilities, Help Desk module and ping tests, customizable alerting, custom-configurable groups, etc). They also have a development team and product manager who are more than willing to bend over backwards to fix issues and add new enhancements and fulfill feature requests.

Give them both a call and have them come in for a presentation (or even do a web demo). It'll give a fairly accurate view of what each has to offer and should only take up 1-3 hours of your time total. I honestly fell asleep during Zenprise's on-site presentation, but that's neither here nor there...
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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jibi - great information...many thanks!
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have seen both and BoxTone is by far the best of the two, whether it is worth the extra money is another thing that only you can decide. If budget is tight Zenprise is a very good product, I only wish they did a version for Domino as I was sold and ready to sign on the dotted line when they asked "I assume your Exchange, right?!"
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I managed to stay awake during the web presentations for both Zenprise and Boxtone. Zenprise is more geared to the admin of the system. They also provide some server and exchange monitoring as well, although in my case I use other tools to monitor my servers and Exchange. Two things that cause me pause on zenprise is the SNMP (v2) requirement and Domain Admin account needed.

I've looked at the Boxtone web demo twice now and had them inspect of BES logs. The BES Logs health check was very informative and they went through each page of the report, providing info and explaining what was being displayed. I also, like the fact that one boxtone install will provide monitoring for both of my Exchange organizations (two domains without a trust). One install is a big plus for me.
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Of evaluating both of these, I like boxtone as it's got some slick capabilites .. Zenprise does some nice stuff but frankly I know where to find most of that information on my own with our inhouse tools .. this puts them all in one place ..

Boxtone is not cheap .. it's tough when the CAL is almost equal to the Blackberry CAL, add in T-support per BB and it all adds up.

That being said, once you have a few thousand BB's you need something ..

Currently I'm feeding SNMP to Openvue and using BES Alerts for support staff .. it's kinda hodgepodge but it's better then nothing.

Still no update from Blackberry on the NextTxt solution they were supposed to put out this summer.
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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the blackberry/NextText was supposed to be shortly after WES. I guess my definition of shortly is different from theirs. Maybe blackberry is holding the release to increase the feature set. [shakes his to clear the fog and come back to reality]. Well, maybe not.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The BlackBerry Monitoring Service (formerly NeedText) has apparently been delayed due to legal issues (I assume of the open source web applications, such as Apache or JBOSS, as we've yet to see releases of Web Desktop either).

As for licensing, it appears Zenprise has restructured their base pricing to a more comparable figure to BoxTone. In other words, the pricing advantage they once had may longer be all that valid of a discussion point.
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Differences btwn Zenprise & Boxtone

The biggest differences between the two products is around monitoring and troubleshooting. Boxtone is focused on monitoring and does that really well, but is not focused on troubleshooting. As a result, a user will get a series of alerts when a piece of the infrastructure goes down and will use their own experience to try to identify the root cause of the problem. Zenprise on the other hand automatically correlates these monitoring alerts, provides the root cause of the problem, and most importantly, provides detailed step by step resolution instructions on how to fix the problem. If you're looking for a tool that will do troubleshooting for you and tell you how to proactively fix problems, take a look at Zenprise. You can find a demo of the product at: Zenprise - Proactive Troubleshooting for BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Resolves BlackBerry Infrastructure problems, Supports BlackBerry 4.0 and higher.

The other big difference between the products is the degree of depth in identifying issues in Exchange or Active Directory that could cause problems with BES. Zenprise will actually look at configurations (as well as errors in the application log and performance issues with SNMP/WMI data) to identify things like when patches applied to Exchange break BES (e.g., patches that change dll versions on Exchange), when permission changes occur within AD on the BESAdmin account, when DNS records are incorrect & prevent name resolution to the SRP network, when a user's password in Active Directory has expired, etc.

Bottom line, they're both great products, just depends on what you're looking for.

[Full Disclosure] I'm a Zenprise employee
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Old 08-28-2007, 12:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Have you guys even used Boxtone? Just curious, because saying that they don't provide root cause analysis and troubleshooting is a bit absurd and quote overstated. Also, one of the biggest differences for me were the asthetics of the product - web-based portable versus client-based installation. Perhaps that's not that big of a blip on the Zenprise radar, but in a day and age when everything is moving to the web, it ranks pretty high up on my and many others' list of high priority requirements.
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