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ATCIS

Fingbox to Domotz Pro Migration / Integration

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ATCIS

On June 15th 2016, I received an E-Mail notification from the Fingbox Staff titled "Important update about your Fingbox subscription".  After doing some additional research on Domotz as a whole and their Domotz Pro product offering, I must say that I am in distress looking for a Fingbox alternative as Domotz Pro has some significant shortfalls.  Below, I have copied and pasted portions of the E-Mail I received and will comment as to why Domotz Pro is NOT a good fit for us Fingbox subscribers:

 

 

As you may have heard in recent weeks, Fing has now joined forces with Domotz, a leading provider of professional network monitoring software. In order to allocate more resources to improving Fing, we are merging Domotz PRO and Fingbox services into 1 professional grade product. 

Merging Domotz Pro and Fing has important implications on your Fingbox account. Here is what you need to know. 

 

Fingbox/Domotz Pro Integration
We are no longer offering any new subscriptions or license extensions for our Fingbox service and plan to retire the application on July 31st 2016.

 

That's BAD News for us Fingbox subscribers!  I've been a Fingbox subscriber since 2012, and Fingbox has been one of the most important tools in my Technical Support arsenal.  

 

We encourage all existing Fingbox users to migrate over to Domotz Pro, where you'll be able to get all Fingbox features plus many more at a similar price point.

 

That is just a BOLD FACE LIE!  Allow me to explain.  Fingbox has Windows Agents know as "Sentinels" and requires NO additional Hardware purchase / installation.  I currently monitor 12 networks with Fingbox.  Being forced over to Domotz Pro, I would have to purchase a minimum of $880 worth of hardware to maintain the same monitoring capability.  Additionally, an annual Fingbox subscription costs me less than $100 per year.  Domotz Pro at $3 per month, per network, is going to wind up costing me over $430 per year!  That's more than four times the cost of my annual Fingbox subscription!  In what parallel universe is that considered a "similar price point"?  Give me a break!       

 

Domotz Pro is Domotz's professional network monitoring software, which costs only 2.99 (USD/Euros/GBP)* a month per network for monitoring an unlimited number of devices. The software also offers an enhanced set of functionality compared to Fingbox, 

 

Really?  I have to mention the lack of Windows compatible Agents again. . .

 

ranging from remote power management and remote connectivity to automatic port mapping (check out all the features below).

 

After July 31st 2016 all Fingbox accounts will be retired and any unused portion of your Fingbox subscription will be reimbursed to you.

 

Gee, thanks a lot, Fingbox / Domotz!  That is so generous of you!  You're going to refund me 20 bucks, and for all intents and purposes poke out my eyes (the ability to see what is going on with my networks).    

 

 

You are also able to add any unused portion of your Fingbox subscription to your Domotz Pro account, should you decide to migrate. 

 

 

 

In conclusion:  Do my comments above sound bitter?  You're damn right they do!  I'm pissed!  Based on just these few differences alone, I can't see why ANY Fingbox subscriber would migrate to Domotz Pro.  So Domotz Staff. . .  I'm sure that this rant has gotten your attention.  What are you going to do about it?       

 

 

 

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LFalkenburg

In the beginning I had the same hard feelings about switching from Fingbox to Domotz. They are still lacking a lot of features. The "I have to install additional hardware"-point was easily circumvented by rolling out VMWare OVFs to our customers with the domotz Agent. That wasn't really fun but it works well. 

 

After we spoke about our doubts to switch over to domotz we tried to put aside our emotions and instead picked up the conversation on every level at domotz we could reach. Now, 1,5 month later we can say, if domotz is keeping up the pace they showed in this short period, we will see a potent monitoring software till the end of the year. From the start we had no problems to set up the agents, get everything working and the push notification for alarms combined the team management was our point to say, we switch over. Domotz set us in a position where we easily give our customers access to only their network to setup their own alarms. We wanted that for years in Fingbox.

 

I have to admit that the marketing of domotz was and is still many steps further than the real product. But they are delivering. Fingbox was just a "black box" - you pay, get service and thats it. For years nothing really changed. Support? Never ever.

 

What I didn't understand. As a Fingbox subscriber you get half a year or so free to test domotz. Just take the virtualization method and give it a try.  

 

Their support is really quick and competent and domotz staff was friendly on every emotional conversation level I had reached in the beginning ;-)

 

Regards

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Domenico

Dear ATCIS,

first of all apologies for delay in reply as your rant had already gotten our attention when you first sent it to us by email a few days ago. I am the CEO of the company and the lucky guy who gets to answer the odd pissed off customer we do get from time to time. I normally do so within 24-48 hours but this past week has been an extremely strenuous one at Domotz as we are experiencing an exceptional period of growth lately and your email was so in the very pissed off category that I wanted to devote enough time in answering it, but i never found it.  The fact that I am finally doing so at 2.29am on a wednesday hopefully gives you a sense that we do care, other than that we don't sleep. 

 

In response to your comments, I would like to highlight the fact that we DO NOT require you to buy any hardware. As another ex pissed off, (but more mildly so) customer has very kindly pointed out (huge thankyou bytheway), we do offer the option to install a Domotz agent for free by downloading a software version of it, just like a fingbox sentinel. We do not yet have a windows version (it runs on linux) but you can install a domotz agent on a windows server by virtualizing it. Virtual Box offers a relatively easy and costless solution to do so and we do offer a ready made package for it. Happy to send instructions if you do care. 

 

As per the cost, the breadth of services we offer are normal priced at $30 to $50 per month by our competitors, so we are actually dirt cheap at $2.99 per month. You might argue that you couldn`t care less about the functionality that we offer but that doesn`t mean that we are ripping you off, we may be just the wrong software for your specific needs. 

 

As per the statement which you called a lie, 95%+ of our Fingbox customers monitors 2 networks or less and falls within the home automation space (either as a consumer or a professional), hence our statement about offering much more functionality for a similar price point. I do appreciate that this is not your specific case but our statement remains valid for 95% of our user base. 

 

Our offer of reimbursement of 20$, although not a lot of money, is exactly what you paid for the service. The unfortunate reality is that the Fingbox service is not commercially viable at the price point at which it has been offered thus far. You should be happy for having enjoyed four years of free riding at sub cost pricing rather than be pissed off at us for trying to put the product and the company on a sustainable trajectory. For your information, the same people who have created and have been behind Fingbox thus far are now both employees and shareholders of Domotz, so it's not like we have taken a company, killed its product and kicked everybody out. We combined the two startups. We are investing considerable resources in improving our free Fing App for our 13M happy users (we are on track for releasing a major upgrade in mid september). On the professional side, we have two products overlapping each other in many ways, Domotz PRO and Fingbox. We have picked the one with the best chance of commercial success and are working hard to migrate any functionality that may still be missing from it.

 

I understand that there are not a lot of alternatives to Fingbox at the price point it came at. This is not just by chance - not many people can sustain running money losing businesses. We would genuinely like to help you enjoy the functionality you used the enjoy with Fingbox, under commercial terms which make sense for both sides. This is the reason of our 6 months free offer, which frankly we did not have to offer. If you think there is any chance you would still be interested in trying this out, please write back to support@domotz.com and we will help you as much as we can. We have 5 people on the support side (which costs a lot more than $2,99 per month) and they are much faster than me in responding - even faster if you don't scare them off. If on the other end you have reached the end of the line with us, I do wish you the best of luck in finding alternative solution and feel free to share them even on this forum as it is a market that we cannot service at the moment. I promise we are not in the business of pissing off our users but regardless of what we do, or how hard we try, some people will not be happy and we'll have to live with that. Thanks again for reading this and apologies again for any inconvenience we may have caused you. 

 

DC

domenico@domotz.com

 

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ATCIS

In an effort to save time, allow me to reply to both posts above in one continuous stream of consciousness. . .  

 

In the beginning I had the same hard feelings about switching from Fingbox to Domotz. They are still lacking a lot of features. The "I have to install additional hardware"-point was easily circumvented by rolling out VMWare OVFs to our customers with the domotz Agent. That wasn't really fun but it works well.

Virtualization would certainly be a viable option in environments with big beefy Servers with ample resources for such things.  The issues I have with VM’s are these: (a.) overall added complexity, (b.) added security vulnerably attack vectors, and (c.) one additional ‘machine’ per network that needs to be tended to, i.e. patches installed, rebooted, etc., etc.  I just checked one of my Windows Servers running Fingbox and what do you know. . .  the Fingbox Sentinel only uses a hair over 5MB’s of RAM and an almost unmeasurable number of CPU cycles.  In this day and age, I call that efficient!      

After we spoke about our doubts to switch over to domotz we tried to put aside our emotions and instead picked up the conversation on every level at domotz we could reach. Now, 1,5 month later we can say, if domotz is keeping up the pace they showed in this short period, we will see a potent monitoring software till the end of the year. From the start we had no problems to set up the agents, get everything working and the push notification for alarms combined the team management was our point to say, we switch over. Domotz set us in a position where we easily give our customers access to only their network to setup their own alarms. We wanted that for years in Fingbox.

I understand what you are saying and concur that for some that would be a valuable feature.  Not so much for our company, as all of the networks that we monitor have zero (0) IT Staff, so they couldn’t care less about receiving their own alerts as they would have no one to resolve the issues that arose.    

I have to admit that the marketing of domotz was and is still many steps further than the real product. But they are delivering. Fingbox was just a "black box" - you pay, get service and thats it. For years nothing really changed. Support? Never ever.

I concur with that as well, but as you might have gathered from my previous rant, I felt that Fingbox was a good value for the money.  The only feature that I wished for and never got was the ability to delete dead hosts that hadn’t been connected to the network for X number of months.  One of the networks we monitor, belongs to a Hotel.  There are currently over 16,500 hosts in Fingbox for the simple fact that there is no simple way to delete all hosts at once that have not been seen for let’s say six months or longer ago. . . 

What I didn't understand. As a Fingbox subscriber you get half a year or so free to test domotz. Just take the virtualization method and give it a try. 

Nothing to understand, really.  Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Hence my rant above.  To date, I have yet to find a cost effective SaaS provider similar to Fingbox, so ultimately I don’t see another alternative but to do exactly that.  Fingbox spoiled us as a company with regard to the situational awareness that it provided.  I can’t imagine going back to the stone ages and trying to live without something similar. 

 

Dear ATCIS,

first of all apologies for delay in reply as your rant had already gotten our attention when you first sent it to us by email a few days ago. I am the CEO of the company and the lucky guy who gets to answer the odd pissed off customer we do get from time to time. I normally do so within 24-48 hours but this past week has been an extremely strenuous one at Domotz

Believe me, I understand.  I wanted to reply to both of these posts the same day they were posted, but the 16 to 18 hour days made that impossible.  A guy’s got to sleep (and eat) sometime, right?   

as we are experiencing an exceptional period of growth lately and your email was so in the very pissed off category that I wanted to devote enough time in answering it, but i never found it.  The fact that I am finally doing so at 2.29am on a wednesday hopefully gives you a sense that we do care, other than that we don't sleep.

I hear you.  It’s after 6 AM Eastern Daylight Time here and I’m doing the same exact thing.  Being a small company CEO, in addition to wearing multiple other hats is not the same as our Fortune 500 counterparts who have corner offices in some ivory tower.  We are in similar boats you and I; I’m guessing. . .

In response to your comments, I would like to highlight the fact that we DO NOT require you to buy any hardware. As another ex pissed off, (but more mildly so) customer has very kindly pointed out (huge thankyou bytheway), we do offer the option to install a Domotz agent for free by downloading a software version of it, just like a fingbox sentinel.

Pardon me, but I MUST disagree with you there.  Running Virtualization software, creating a Virtual Machine, etc. and so forth is NOTHING like having a native Windows software package that runs in the background as a Service.  You are talking about Apples and Oranges differences to me. 

We do not yet have a windows version (it runs on linux) but you can install a domotz agent on a windows server by virtualizing it. Virtual Box offers a relatively easy and costless solution to do so and we do offer a ready made package for it. Happy to send instructions if you do care.

There is a VERY important word in that sentence above.  That word is “YET”.  Does that mean that you guys are in fact working on authoring a Windows Agent?  I’m not sure I understand the logic of not developing a Windows Agent first, considering that more than 85% of the computers in operation around the world run some flavor of Windows.  The Fingbox folks understood this, and provided same, in addition to OS X, Linux and Raspberry Pi.  It makes me laugh when you compare a Windows Service that consumes a measly 5MB’s of RAM and an almost imperceptible number of CPU cycles to a VM, regardless of how small it is. 

 As per the cost, the breadth of services we offer are normal priced at $30 to $50 per month by our competitors, so we are actually dirt cheap at $2.99 per month. You might argue that you couldn`t care less about the functionality that we offer but that doesn`t mean that we are ripping you off, we may be just the wrong software for your specific needs.

I couldn’t agree more.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a SaaS company comparable to Fingbox.  If I had, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. 

As per the statement which you called a lie, 95%+ of our Fingbox customers monitors 2 networks or less and falls within the home automation space

I must say I find that statistic SHOCKING. . .  and in my view, a statement that is only 95% true is still a lie.  At the very least, the statement is misleading.  It might be true for 95% of the ‘Home Automation’ space, but I would say it is less than 50% true for the IT Professional space.  How small would an IT Services company need to be having less than ten customers and still able to survive?    

(either as a consumer or a professional), hence our statement about offering much more functionality for a similar price point. I do appreciate that this is not your specific case but our statement remains valid for 95% of our user base.

If we had so few networks to monitor, manage and maintain, we would be out of business.  Based on your previous statement, it boggles my mind why anyone interested in ‘Home Automation’ would spend $30 to $50 per month on such a service.   

$30 to $50 per month Our offer of reimbursement of 20$, although not a lot of money, is exactly what you paid for the service.

I think you misunderstood my point.  I don’t care about the 20 bucks. . . at all.  What I do care about is that Domotz acquired a company that my company depends on to run more efficiently and then decides to kill it.  I’m sure that you will disagree with that statement, but for those of us who are Fingbox devotees, that is essentially what you are doing.  The only way you could convince me otherwise would be if you came out with a Windows compatible agent and offer a discount to those of us who need to monitor 10 or more networks, before the end of the six-month free trial.        

The unfortunate reality is that the Fingbox service is not commercially viable at the price point at which it has been offered thus far. You should be happy for having enjoyed four years of free riding at sub cost pricing

Happy = YES.  More like “thrilled”!  In case it is not painfully evident by now, my team and I were huge fans of Fingbox.  I guess the old saying is true: “All good things must come to an end”.  Too bad. . .  Fingbox rest in peace, you will be missed! 

rather than be pissed off at us for trying to put the product and the company on a sustainable trajectory. For your information, the same people who have created and have been behind Fingbox thus far are now both employees and shareholders of Domotz, so it's not like we have taken a company, killed its product and kicked everybody out.

Well, that is good news.  So if that is true, where are the Windows Agents? 

I understand that there are not a lot of alternatives to Fingbox at the price point it came at. This is not just by chance - not many people can sustain running money losing businesses. We would genuinely like to help you enjoy the functionality you used the enjoy with Fingbox, under commercial terms which make sense for both sides. This is the reason of our 6 months free offer, which frankly we did not have to offer. If you think there is any chance you would still be interested in trying this out, please write back to support@domotz.com and we will help you as much as we can. We have 5 people on the support side (which costs a lot more than $2,99 per month)

Duh?  I really wish you would quit with the misleading remarks.  You make it sound as if we don’t understand how business works.  Obviously you could not afford to pay five support employees if you were only bringing in $2.99 per month.  On the other hand, if your customer base reached 100,000 networks monitored at $2.99 per network per month, that’s $3,588,000 per year.  So yeah, at that price point, I think you might be okay. . .  

and they are much faster than me in responding - even faster if you don't scare them off. If on the other end you have reached the end of the line with us, I do wish you the best of luck in finding alternative solution and feel free to share them even on this forum as it is a market that we cannot service at the moment.

You are trying to be funny again, aren’t you?  We have already established the fact that there are no other similar alternative solutions, or at least none that I am aware of (yet).   

I promise we are not in the business of pissing off our users. . .

Of course you are not.  If you were, you’d be out of business before you even got started.  With the nature of the Internet, news (especially BAD) travels fast.  And now that I have had the opportunity to vent, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that the gravy train that once was Fingbox is approaching the end of the line.

One final question:  I assumed that Fingbox would stop working at 12:01 AM August 1st.  Well, here it is 6:10 AM August 2nd and it’s still functional (which also makes me happy).  I was wondering, when do you guys plan to put Fingbox out to pasture for good?  Any chance you might consider leaving up and running ‘till the end of this month?  

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lokibjensen

<my little rant>Sorry, I felt like I had to chime in here.  ATCIS, do you realize that companies go out of business all of the time and leave people high and dry?  We were the number one reseller of Cisco's OnPlus agents until Meraki forced Cisco to ditch the platform and all of the engineers with it.  We didn't even get the three years of service we were promised and the boxes ended up being door stops.  Try explaining that to your clients.  The folks at Domotz have bent over backwards to try and merge the two companies with as little damage to others as possible.  I get that you're pissed, I get that this is a problem for you.  I completely understand where you're coming from as I've been there.

 

However, Domenico obviously spent a lot of time trying to respond to each of your concerns and really does mean well.  He is doing what he can to make his business a success and he has absolutely no responsibility to you or to anyone else to keep Fingbox alive.  Your sarcastic responses do not help any situation at all and quite frankly make you look bad.  After all of your jeering comments, poking and prodding, at the very end you ask for a favor?  Well, Domenico is probably much nicer than I am.

 

Your statement "and in my view, a statement that is only 95% true is still a lie" is laughable.  You are reaching so hard to find something wrong with the response you received because you still feel hurt that something you enjoyed for so long is gone that it's clouding your sense of reality.  In the end Domotz is providing a much better service than Fingbox at a FRACTION of the cost of any other service like it, and with new features and improvements added all of the time.  Believe me, I've spent years looking for a replacement for OnPlus.  This may not be ready for us yet, but in time I'm sure it can and most likely will be.  Seeing the changes they've made in just over a year of being around it's really quite extraordinary.  I think it's something you would be able to offer your clientele and make some good RMR at the same time.

 

Think forward and not backwards.  Change is good.  Think of this crisis as an opportunity.  </my little rant>

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LFalkenburg

 

8 hours ago, ATCIS said:

What I do care about is that Domotz acquired a company that my company depends on to run more efficiently and then decides to kill it.

 

Yeah! Sounds like a Nokia Support Center is blaming Microsoft for killing a dead horse. Sorry, but your rants reading a bit overaggressive to me. 

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VicAndr

We are on the same boat as ATCIS. Understandably - he is frustrated and angry, but in the whole essence of the matter he is right. If not ATCIS' overaggressive tone (agree with others here - it doesn't help contractive conversation) I would sign myself under his almost every statement.

 

Being Fingbox subscriber for 3 years, we (I mean our company as a whole here) didn't receive any notifications in regards to service conceallation. We didn't know that Fingbox Cloud is scheduled to shut down, until on July 19th I sent an email to Domotz complaining about Fingbox Cloud service suddenly became sluggish, unresponsive to the point that it was almost unusable. I also asked them to remove shameless Domotz promotion from Fingbox login screens. Only then I received response from Domotz, that Findbox Cloud is actually going to be shutdown altogether at the end of July. What a great news it was!  Domenico, if Domotz wanted to build the trust and keep "13M Fingbox happy users" around, you would have better treated them; especially those who paid for Fingbox services.

 

Now in regards to the cost. I wouldn't touch this subject - since, obviously, it is not up to us to decide prices for Domotz products and services - it is sole prerogative of Domotz. However, do not mislead Fingbox clients saying that they'll "be able to get all Fingbox features plus many more at a similar price point" - that is far from being the truth. Domotz is not even close to Fingbox in terms of pricing. Not even for a client with a single network, let alone the ones with multiple networks. Besides, Domenico, if you re-read your own post you, may catch yourself contradicting to yourself. First you say, that Domotz services are at a "similar price point to Fingbox", then later you admit that "the unfortunate reality is that the Fingbox service is not commercially viable at the price point at which it has been offered thus far". The question is then - how Domotz may be commercially viable if it provides services at a "similar price point"?

 

Fingbox was a simple yet great idea flawlessly implemented. With its simplicity, portability, scalability, features set, ease of implementation, affordability, and world-wide reach – there was (and still is!) nothing like it. The problem with it though was - there was practically no development on Fingbox Cloud side. There was a lot of room for improvement, enhancement, adding new functionality to entice new corporate customers and yet - the way Fingbox Cloud looked and worked right before shutting down was practically the same as it was back in 2013 when we first purchased the subscription - there were almost no changes. Even OUI database was not updated for a long time. Essentially Fingbox was "set and forget" kind of service. So I would challenge the statement that it was "not commercially viable". Whoever stand behind Fingbox covered the cost of maintaining its services, collecting subscription fees, and investing close to nothing into the development.

 

I do not understand what was the need to kill Fingbox?! Yes, Fingbox and Domotz have much in common, but they are not the same: what Fingbox could do, Domotz can't. Domotz has number of limitations comparing to Fingbox. On the other hand, many of those extra "goodies" offered by Domotz are not much of a value for enterprise customers. Why not to keep the both products alongside: Domotz for home automation and small businesses and Fingbox for enterprise customers, reasonably invest into Fingbox development to move it forward? If you have something to offer - then go ahead and change price structure to reflect changes and make services more "commercially viable".

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ATCIS

Dear VicAndr,

 

Thank you!  I was beginning to think I was alone in this mindset.  I found your post above to be very well stated, and agree with everything that you said.  Now that some time has gone by, I have conceded defeat with regard to the eventual shutdown of Fingbox, and am working through the various stages of grief.  I do apologize for my apparent harsh tone in my original posts, but I do stand convicted to the original ideas contained within them.  Regarding your statement: "Only then I received response from Domotz, that Findbox Cloud is actually going to be shutdown altogether at the end of July."  I don't know about you, but my Fingbox Sentinel's are still happily chugging along.  That fact has helped ease my frustration indicated above, because as of right now, I still have the visibility into my networks with Fingbox as normal, and that is helping me intelligently (and calmly) plan for a graceful transition to the Domotz Pro service.  Unfortunately, I've have had to contact each of my previously monitored customers and inform them that this value added service that used to be FREE to them is now going to cost the equivalent of a premium Starbucks coffee each month.  Once I explained it to them like that, I only lost about 15 or 20% of those customers, which was unfortunate, but acceptable losses.    

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Domenico

Hi guys, 

hate always to be the bearer of bad news but the Fingbox cloud will come down for real at the end of this month (August). We left it on a month longer than expected as we were delayed implementing some of the gaps in features (port/service monitoring being the biggest  one- we are releasing it in domotz mid of next week) and we didn't want to leave anybody hanging.


VicAndr, we did send email to everybody in early June, apologies if you didn't get yours but I can ensure you we didn't treat you any different than anybody else - maybe you used a different email address or it went to your junk mail folder. As per the accuracy of my statement, please not that - for the record - clients with a single network, the overwhelming majority of fingbox users, were charged over 5 euros per month by Fingbox whereas they are now paying 2.99. They are actually better off believe it or not! (unfortunately most happy people don't write on forums, as they are too busy being happy...)

 

As per the merits (or not) of shutting down Fingbox, I think enough has been said.

You are totally right though that we are not targeting the enterprise market. It's actually by choice as It made up an insignificant fraction of our revenues and it would have been the worst place to invest our limited resources. Our 13 million Fing users (and please note that these millions are Fing users, not Fingbox users which were in the thousands) are mostly consumers, prosumers and small businesses, not enterprise customers which we could count using our hands and feet and who paid consumer price for the service. If you were sitting in our seat, looking at the same information set, I am pretty sure you would have taken the same decision as we did. I understand that it sucks to be on the other side of the trade, but i can't do much other than send my regrets and try to help as much as I can. It's not that I am purposefully trying to bunny you off. I actually welcome your passion on the topic and we will definitely look at bringing back some of the very nice to have Fingbox features (small footprint executable, windows support, etc.) once the company is established in other (easier) markets and have some bandwidth, hopefully by middle of next year. And if in the meantime, the biggest block in migration is price because you are monitoring a gazillion networks, do send me an email at domenico@domotz.com and we can talk about it. Best of luck to all. DC

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VicAndr

In my previous post I mentioned that FingBox and Domotz Pro (just Domotz hereafter for short) are not the same: what Fingbox could do, Domotz can't and vice versa. I’d like to bring a user perspective on the matter and elaborate a bit on differences between two products, highlight where Domotz falls short (comparing to Fingbox) and why switch to Domotz is not for everyone.

 

Why I am doing so? According to Domenico, people who came up with idea of Fingbox and stand behind Fingbox Apps, sensors (aka sentinels) and the Cloud are now work for Domotz. Fing App earned reputation of one of the best network tools both on GooglePlay and iStore. My hope is that sooner or later Fingbox’ “parents” either “marry” the best parts of both products and extend Domotz product’s usefulness to a wider clientele (unlikely scenario for a number of reasons in my view), or give those 13M happy Fingbox App users an enhanced version of Fingbox Cloud. In fact, due to similarities of the products, Domotz (I mean as company) may actually run the very same Servers/Network Infrastructure behind both Domotz and Fingbox Clouds.  Domotz and Fingbox apps may simply represent different interfaces on the client side – those interfaces would focus on different features, provide different functionality, pull different data from the cloud and present them in a different form. But at the end – they would connect to the same Cloud.

 

I spent some time searching the Internet for products similar to FingBox (I mean Fingbox as a whole – apps, sensors and Cloud). I didn’t focus on products/services cost – I just wanted to find something which might serve as a replacement for FingBox in terms of its functionality and well-designed mobile clients. Nothing! Regardless the cost – there is absolutely nothing on the market which can do what FingBox does!

 

In regards to Fingbox Domotz is in the unique position for success – they have a great niche product to start with, a capable team of developers including those who put pieces together in the first place, a large number of devoted users, and a smart entrepreneur who proved to be successful on a business side of things and now leads Domotz. You don’t need to start development from scratch, folks – great deal of essential work has already been done – just take what you already have, build on it, and bring it to the next level!

 

Now, let’s get down to some specifics – why Fing and not Domotz.

 

Our company is a not-for profit with relevant repercussions (funding, outdated servers/equipment, staff shortage – you name it). It has 7 locations with over 1,500 network nodes (severs, workstations, and other network devices) spread across those locations. As a minimum each location has 2 wired subnets (regular LAN and the one dedicated to VoIP) and 2 wireless ones (Corporate WiFi network with WPA-2 Enterprise authentication and Guest one with Captive Portal authentication). Wired LANs and Corporate WiFi network are all aggregated into intranet through inter-site VPN links, so that essential network resources could transparently and securely be accessible across all company’s locations. On top of the aforementioned head office has many more subnets, two of which (DMZ and Client VPN) are also aggregated into intranet.

 

As a part of our network management toolset, Fingbox serves us as an inventory, monitoring, alerting and troubleshooting tool for all wired and wireless network segments aggregated into intranet. It provides single pane of glass to look at all essential networks in real time. Fingbox presents each host as an independent inventory item - you may assign an appropriate icon to that item, edit name if needed, add all kinds of comments, specify physical location, add tags,…

 

Depending on your focus when you look at a list of network hosts you may turn different type of sorting: by IP address, MAC address, name, state, vendor, last change. Searching and filtering capabilities of Fingbox are simple but incredibly useful and efficient. Some company staff periodically roam between sites. With the help of Fingbox we could pinpoint their location at any time by tracing MAC address of mobile device they carry.

 

Fingbox has some security benefits too. We can see list of regular hosts on any given segment and could quickly identify intruders.

 

Here is what set Fingbox apart Domotz Pro:

 

  1.  Fingbox sentinels are available for any major OS. That eliminate complexities of deployment, save on cost, and helps to speed the whole process up. Whether we like it or not, MS Windows continues to dominate the World. …and Fingbox authors got it.
    What about Domotz? Well, don’t you have a NAS from the 3 major vendors? Oh, you don’t!? Not a big deal – instead of Fingbox get a “cheap” Domotz box for your every network. Still don’t like it? Why not to set it through a virtual machine then?
     
  2.  Control on scanning frequency and scanning parameters (response timeout, retries count, and so forth). You do not want to overburden a busy corporate network with auxiliary traffic. Also it is important to get a right balance between speed of network scans and reliability of the results. Especially when it comes to so vastly different type of networks as wired and wireless.
    Being designed for pros Domotz “Pro” doesn’t have such ability.
     
  3.  Ability to adjust network to be scanned to any size. Domotz is limited to segment size of 256 IP addresses only. We have one network segment which is 4 times over maximum manageable capacity of Domotz.
    That’s not a big deal for Fingbox, but no-go for Domotz.

     

  4.  Ability to define TCP ports to scan various network hosts AND set alerts accordingly. That is especially important to monitor services health on different servers.
    As far as I am aware of – Domotz cannot do that.

     

  5.  Ability to scan remote networks through defined TCP-ports list. We host number of webservers, and other application servers in-house (in our head office) which serve clients across province of Ontario. We use TCP port scanning feature to monitor our servers’ availability and responsiveness from our clients’ perspective. So if a service went down for whatever reason – you receive an alert.
    Can Domotz do that?

     

  6.  Each host in Fingbox has a log of its online/offline status changes. For various reasons we require the log depth 1-year. Fingbox may keep it for a lot longer (not sure is there any limit on log depth).
    Domotz? Status changes are kept for 1 month max.

     

And lastly few words in regards to Domotz Pro app. There is a reason (or few) why on GooglePlay it has relatively low rating. Did you check Fing’s ratings? Do you see the difference? Fing is an excellent network app in itself. Combined with a cloud services though – it is a killing combination.

 

So why Domotz app has such a poor ratings. I think partially – because, it can't be used by itself; and as LFalkenburg stated in his post, “the marketing of domotz was and is still many steps further than the real product”. …and partially due to the app itself.

 

In terms of design – Fing is exceptionally well-made. It strikes a right balance between “look and feel”, usage efficiency, and functionality.

 

...and Domotz app? In my view, it has an excessive focus on “bells and whistles” rather than on usage and presentation efficiency. As the result it is almost twice as “heavier”, more demanding on smartphone specs, and require newer versions of Android and iOS to work.

 

Majority of Domotz users are expected to use their smartphones as the main client tool. Screen real estate is a scarce resource in the case of a smartphone. Due to design choices made, Domotz app packs noticeably less info on the screen and require more “screen taps” to get the job done.

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ATCIS

Dear VicAndr,

 

Wow!  That was one of the best forum posts that I have ever read!  I know that took you a long time to compose.  From one Fingbox fan to another, THANK YOU!  I hope that Domotz executives are paying attention and take notice of your very comprehensive comparison, and implement the appropriate enhancements to Domotz Pro and incorporate the features of Fingbox that you noted above that are lacking in the Domotz Pro product.  

 

I was not even aware of the 256 host limit that you mentioned in paragraph 3.  Why is that even a thing?  Having a 265 host limit screams "This product is designed for HOME and Small Business use ONLY".  Surely that will be one of product shortfalls that gets addressed early on. . . 

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Domenico

Dear VicAndr, 

cutting through the bells and whistles, which I understand you are not interested in, here is a quick follow up on your points:

 

1) Domotz availability on OS other than Linux. As I have stated several times already, this is a know fact. For 99% of our current clientele this is not an issue. I understand that the remaining 1% includes you, ATCIS and i am sure a few hundred others. Few hundreds unfortunately at $36 a year (or even $75) don't make a business, which is why you are not finding any Fingbox alternatives out there. In any case, a Windows version is in the roadmap but unlikely to appear before H2 2017 in light of our current workload. 

 

2) control on scanning frequency. Sending a few bytes over a gigabit network every 30 seconds is not exactly a stress. Having said this, controlling the frequency of scans, and that of speed tests, is also something we have in the pipeline and which will appear by Q1 2017 at the latest.  

 

3) Size of network. We currently support /24 subnets. This does not mean though we are limiting our users to 256 devices, so your statement is incorrect. We already support multiple VLANs and we don't impose any limitation on those. Because of user demand, we are also about to release support for /22 subnets (expected in Q4 2016). We are unlikely though to release support for anything beyond /22 subnets . Anybody who falls into this category is outside of our target client group. 

 

4) and 5) Port/Service monitoring. As I already mentioned in previous posts, we will offer service monitoring (and related alerting) within Domotz before the end of next week (it is the reason why your Fingbox is still running). So you can take these ones off your list. 

 

6) Log depth. Because of our support for SNMP, the set of diagnostic data being stored in the cloud by Domotz is much larger than the one by Fingbox hence the one month historical window. It is not a problem to extend the time window to a year for the limited set of data which FIngbox used to store. 

 

I am honestly fascinated by how much time you are devoting to this. If all you are looking for is device inventory and status monitoring, you'll be happy to hear that we are indeed about to give those 13M happy Fing App users a taste of the Fingbox Cloud (your second scenario) so, sooner or later, you will get what you want (or very close to it) anyway. 

 

and dear ATCIS, I am happy to see that we do agree on something. As I have written ad nauseam, Domotz PRO is indeed targeting Homes and Small businesses. We are not after the enterprise market. Feel free to put it in bold, yellow background and 44 font. I know you don't like it but it's a feature, not a limitation. 

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ATCIS

Fingbox died September 2nd 2016 at 9:05 AM EDT

 

Rest in peace Fingbox, you will be missed. . .  :(

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ATCIS

For anyone who is still paying attention, it looks like LFalkenburg who commented above isn't quite as pleased as he once was ;)

 

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LFalkenburg
7 hours ago, ATCIS said:

For anyone who is still paying attention, it looks like LFalkenburg who commented above isn't quite as pleased as he once was ;)

 

 

Yes, because in the beginning we gave DOMOTZ a chance and I hoped they are going in the "right direction". Our Licenses will end at the end of the year and I am losing hope they will fulfill our base needs.

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yelti_be

We use /16 networks at every site.

Is it a possibility to select a sub set?

10.10.0.0/16 is the full network

For example we would like to scan only

10.10.1.0-10.10.1.254

10.10.10.0-10.10.10.254

10.10.224.0-10.10.224.254

 

On 25-8-2016 at 2:36 AM, Domenico said:

3) Size of network. We currently support /24 subnets. This does not mean though we are limiting our users to 256 devices, so your statement is incorrect. We already support multiple VLANs and we don't impose any limitation on those. Because of user demand, we are also about to release support for /22 subnets (expected in Q4 2016). We are unlikely though to release support for anything beyond /22 subnets . Anybody who falls into this category is outside of our target client group. 

 

 

 

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Giancarlo
16 hours ago, yelti_be said:

We use /16 networks at every site.

Is it a possibility to select a sub set?

10.10.0.0/16 is the full network

For example we would like to scan only

10.10.1.0-10.10.1.254

10.10.10.0-10.10.10.254

10.10.224.0-10.10.224.254

 

 

 

Please contact our support (support@domotz.com). We can manage this case.

 

FYI: the limit is now /22 subnets

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