Evolving network monitoring technologies and what's next for OpenNMS

We're continuing our conversation with Alan Brown, who joined NantHealth as SVP and GM of OpenNMS in February 2024. In part two, he shared what he’s most excited to take on and the trends and challenges ahead for the industry. In this post, he’ll dive into evolving network monitoring technologies and where OpenNMS goes next.

How do you foresee network monitoring technologies evolving over the next five years?

In addition to leveraging and addressing AI/ML, I think the Nirvana state everyone is looking forward to is a true single pane of glass that delivers insights into how your end-to-end business infrastructure is performing. The network hardware, the software, and the security are all integrated so that an IT department that's already stretched thin has a single dashboard that shows the health of your systems and enables them to solve problems quickly.

The challenge is that network topologies are going to continue to complicate with expansion beyond corporate data centers to cloud computing, remote workers, and IoT, all pushing capabilities to the edge. For every vector that's pushing us to consolidate, there's an equal and opposite force pushing more complexity into the system. I think the challenge for these network monitoring companies will be picking the spot where they can add value. I don’t think OpenNMS will try to be all things to all people. Our focus will be building upon our extensible capability and solving customer problems.

In that sense, I think partnerships will be very important to us. Our customers want to hear that we're already working with vendors they have in their tech stack, and we can integrate with them easily without immediately forcing them to play parent to two fighting children. That's a nightmare nobody wants.

There's a lot of energy going into new network protocol open standards and getting into these streaming telemetries. The whole idea is to give more power to our customers so they can gather best-of-breed solutions from different products and integrate without having to unnecessarily commit to one company that gives you an A plus product in one regard and bundles in C Minus products everywhere else.

Customers want A Plus solutions for all functions and want them to integrate easily and play nice out of the box. Showing that we are living and breathing those open standards is critical.

Alan Brown

"Our customers want to hear that we're already working with vendors they have in their tech stack, and we can integrate with them easily without immediately forcing them to play parent to two fighting children."

What excites you about the future of OpenNMS?

I'm really excited about deepening our customer focus and leveraging our incredible tech base to solve our customers' pressing problems. We don't have to reinvent the widget and then go sell it. We have a unique and powerful tech base that's incredibly extensible, and there's real opportunity to grow the business by solving actual problems that no one else can solve for our customers. We don't want to be everything to everybody, but we want to solve mission-critical issues that translate across every one of our clients.

In a highly competitive and segmented space with a lot of players, it’s not just tech that will win. Our customer-driven strategy to deliver complete solutions, built on our trusted and extensible tech platform, that solve real customer pain points and deliver relevant customer value will be what takes this company to the next level.

Alan Brown

How will you measure success for OpenNMS?

My two key measures are intertwined: customer satisfaction and employee fulfillment. We want to make sure we’re meeting our mission of tackling our customers’ challenges and adapting to their roadmap feedback and requests. And in the tech industry, our most important resource, and means through which we achieve our goals, is our people. At the end of the day, we don't have a big factory with overhead cranes and conveyor belts. We have people developing solutions. We want to make sure we’re meeting their career expectations at NantHealth and OpenNMS. For us, employee fulfillment and customer satisfaction are really the two most important indicators of success.

Conclusion

We appreciate Alan taking the time to share his thoughts about where OpenNMS is today and the bright future ahead. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions for him, feedback about the company or the solution, or just want to share your views on the industry.