Redefining the Landscape of System Monitoring: an Interview with Pulseway's Founder

Pulseway provides a product of the same name that's built to enable IT personnel and give them the ability to monitor, manage and automate their systems and the tasks or applications that they host. And, the best part is that they can do all of these things anywhere and everywhere, from their pockets. In fact, I wrote about Pulseway once before, so check out that article for an introduction.

Pulseway is the Swiss Army knife of IT management, all accessible from your fingertips. You don't need to be glued to physical computer or connected to your employer's network. You are able to manage everything from either a web browser or mobile device—all you need is internet access.

I recently sat down with the founder and CEO of Pulseway, Marius Mihale, to ask him not only about exciting new things going on with the company, but also to find out where the company is heading.

Petros Koutoupis: Please, tell us a bit about yourself.

Marius Mihale: I am the Founder and CEO of Pulseway. I created both the software and solution about eight years ago. I initially designed the product with the goal of making the lives of IT administrators easier. It all started when I was attempting to shut down a server remotely but could not find a mobile application to aid me in this. This is how Pulseway was born. And while users can also access the same administration functions via a web browser and through our website, our core application is the mobile app: you can monitor Windows, Linux and Mac OS alongside various applications from your mobile device and take the necessary actions as they are needed.

PK: What has the demand been for such a solution?

MM: In 2011, we released a trial version of our product and almost immediately received a lot of wonderful feedback from the industry. It was this feedback that helped us shape the application we have today. Today, there are more than 300K registered free user accounts and more than 4,500 paid business and managed service provider (MSP) accounts worldwide—more specially, in both Europe and the United States.

PK: How has the IT management landscape evolved in the past year?

MM: Most of the actions we take and the features we implement are based on the needs of our users. We pay careful attention to our customer feedback and requests. And we implement a lot of this feedback, with simplicity in mind.

For example, in our last major version release of Pulseway, 6.0, to address some of the concerns from the field, the Pulseway application changed the way companies are able to onboard new agents and members by defining a new organization structure. Systems, user accounts, et al., can now be arranged by Organization, Site and Agent Group. Not only does this increase efficiency, but it also increases technician productivity. Our new concept of teams and organization has been simplified and allows for faster deployment.

To enhance agent security, agents authenticate to a server based on the associated agent group token. Users are typically part of a single team. That team's permissions will dictate the access level a member will have (for example, Full, Read-only or No Access) to an organization, site or agent group.

In that same release, users are now able to configure antivirus and operating system patching policies. OS patches can be immediately pushed or scheduled to end users and installed.

PK: What does the 2019 look like for Pulseway?

MM: As always, we will continue to operate on consumer feedback. Users have and will continue to add value to our product. Keeping up with the trends, we will invest more time in installing Pulseway on Hypervisors from all sorts. We will continue working to integrate better in cloud VMs, load balancers and databases.

Our developers will add more autotask integration into the product to help generate tickets as needed.

In our 2018 release, we added OS patching, where Pulseway checked for updates for systems or groups of systems. Defined policies check and apply those updates without user intervention. In 2019, we will extend this function to third-party software patching. And again, actions can be defined to install those third-party applications and keep them up to date.

Also, we will leverage machine learning on the first release of Pulseway AI. This platform will collect data from all customers and send alerts to those customers to define whether it is a serious alert. The artificial intelligence behind it will react in a future recurrence of the same or similar issue. It will learn from user functions and suggest alerts based on patterns detected. More investment will be made into this technology, where RMM will be a smart assistant and will automate a task in order to know how to respond whenever an issue arises.

PK: What about multi-cloud?

MM: This is one of our greatest strengths. If you deploy your ecosystem (such as servers and applications) on a single infrastructure, you will probably rely on that service provider's tools to manage and measure your environment. For instance, if you deployed on AWS, you will use the AWS tools as provided by Amazon or other third-party developers.

Now, if you deployed across multiple environments (for example, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and on-premises), in order to keep track of all your appliances and applications, you will need to bounce across multiple tools in order to accomplish a lot of the same.

With Pulseway, you are given an integrated view of all of your environments under a single platform. Pulseway brings you a unified and real-time view of the status of your most critical IT systems.

We are also trying to stay ahead of this trend and are making good progress by adding more controls with APIs to restart and modify existing cloud services, load balancers and more.

PK: How else are customers making use of Pulseway?

MM: We have noticed our customers deploying Pulseway on user workstations. They have expanded beyond servers and are automating a lot of routine tasks, such as operating system or application patching and system monitoring on employee machines. Did the employee open up a port that shouldn't have been opened in the first place? Was a virus downloaded?

Speaking of viruses, our API allows system administrators to update the antivirus application's definitions on all selected machines and, in turn, receive alerts when a machine is affected, and then from their mobile device, they can act on those same alerts.

One case, which occurs quite frequently, is when IT personnel head home for the day and maybe are on the train. They will receive a notification that someone is locked out of their AD account. From their pocket, that administrator will be able to re-establish employee access to that same account. They can act fast and ensure that the employee is productive once again.

PK: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

MM: The core users and promoters of Pulseway have always been IT administrators. They see the value in our product and continue to spread the word on our behalf. And we will continue to appreciate that.

Petros Koutoupis, LJ Editor at Large, is currently a senior performance software engineer at Cray for its Lustre High Performance File System division. He is also the creator and maintainer of the RapidDisk Project. Petros has worked in the data storage industry for well over a decade and has helped pioneer the many technologies unleashed in the wild today.

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