Welcome to Opsreview.com
I have spent decades at various companies rolling out our own solutions, working with open-source solutions, evaluating and sourcing enterprise solutions. I've racked & stacked my knuckles bloody at datacenters, and I've also needed a rosetta stone to decipher the never-ending list of cloud products introduced each quarter. Most importantly, I've run a few of these things over the years and have some input on a few that have worked, as well as some that have not been the right fit (learned of course, the hard way).
Determining the right solution for your environent and needs:
There are several key factors that should be involved when performing your due diligence on any product, platform, or solution.
What kind of staffing do you have available? Even the best solutions will need tuning over the course of time.
A team of 3 engineers can gradually fall behind keeping up with the month-to-month maintenance of some of even the best, matured open-source solutions. Conversely a team of 1 engineer may be able to stay on top of several premiere enterprise platforms. The last thing you want is a solution that you cannot reliably maintain or scale and what's worse – is when engineering or internal customers begin down the road of obsolescence – ignoring metrics due to unreliability, now that no one can properly tune them as the business needs, infrastructure, and demands grow. Therefore, the solution should also scale with staffing needs, not just business or infrastructure.
What is your budget? Realistically..
This is a loaded question for sure. You may not be the decision-maker. You may have a long road of pitching your ideal-candidate solution internally for both adoption and purchase once you do decide on something. You'll even likely have to put some thought into Make vs Buy stratgeies, as there are sometimes comparable, mature open-source solutions to premiere SaaS solutions. In practice and in our careers, I tend to see a blend of both options and techniques in the industry as there is no such thing as one-size fits all. Of course no one wants to pay top dollar for everything – that goes for even the best funded, profitable companies; hoIver, there's always a balance to seek when deciding which solution to approach and whether it is ideal to affect your costs up-front or operationally over time to maintain.
Who will be the primary user of this solution?
Sourcing the right solution for the target audience matters. You don't want to spend hours setting things up and handing it over to internal customers who eventually find it too cumbersome or simply don't want to learn to use it. There's no value in these kinds of setups and neither side likes working on shelfware. I also find overall dissatisfication at the C-levels when they are lured into buying a toy that no one wants to play with, creating friction at all levels.
Is the vendor reliable? Or does this become a “you get what you pay for” situation?
More often than not with regards to SaaS solutions, you need them to be available and not possess a track record for the occasional catastrophic meltdown and outages. With Enterprise solutions, you should also expect either an SLA or just wealth of support; in some cases with open-source I have found community support to be far more applicable and have a higher chance of experiencing the same exact issues, as they could be running a much more similar technology stack to yours.
Have they had any major security breaches?
As the industry has become much more security-conscious, I need to also be mindful of how well a vendor fares in this category. A vendor with major past security incidents could point to a systemic way of thinking that you may want to avoid. I've seen all too often now the impact and costs associated to the extreme case of a zero-day vulnerability introduced by a vendor. Sometimes, it's good to know where hardware is assembled in the case of those of you looking for Network equipment and Firewalls.