What is our primary use case?
We really needed something for reading logs, so we can go back in time, and also something to monitor our network and our infrastructure in real-time. I use it for everything as far as monitoring in real-time goes, to see what's going on in our network, along with Kace.
It's deployed on-premises, but it's using the cloud to get to you. You can use it on-premises, but we prefer the cloud.
How has it helped my organization?
Its network discovery capabilities are very quick and very precise. It really drills down and finds different devices. It found devices I didn't know existed. As a network administrator, that is horrifying. Our team is pretty small and we were hired to tighten things up. Auvik has helped us to do that. It has taken a while, but we found some little switches that people put in years ago that I didn't even know existed.
In addition, it has decreased our mean time to resolution. Something that would take me a couple of hours now takes 30 minutes.
What is most valuable?
For what I do, the real-time monitoring is the most important feature. When I log in, I can drill down into the network where I'm seeing the issues. It sends an email, "Hey, I cannot communicate with the server." Sometimes it's a false positive, but when I see it several times, there is something else going on and I drill down into that.
It also automatically updates network topology. Once it discovers something new, and we allow it, it will update it within the interface. Then, when you log in to the cloud, it shows it. It's kinds of neat. It shows you exactly where things connect. We can see and connect the dots. It shows you, for example, that this switch has access here, which has access there. And maybe you didn't want it to have access there. It helps you drill down and say, "I didn't want to go this far."
It does out-of-the-box backing up of your running-config for your routers or for your switches. If I need it, it just takes seconds. I can just go to our Auvik port in the cloud, and it's there.
You have to use MFA with it, always. And it's constantly updating for security, and that's very important in today's environment.
What needs improvement?
This is not even a bad issue, but when Auvik can't get to your network or can't get to a device for whatever reason, it does send you alerts. But sometimes we get false positives, which every now and then is not a big deal. But it would help if they made it a little easier to suppress some of the alarms. But that's really a feature I don't have to have. Sometimes more is better. If you had to twist my arm and to make me come up with something, that would be it.
For how long have I used the solution?
We bought Auvik in the fall, about eight months ago.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Generally, we have not had an issue. If it's going to be offline, Auvik will tell you well ahead of time that they're going offline for maintenance. It's almost never down. It's only been down twice and the most recent time it was back up very quickly.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's very scalable. I would definitely give it five stars on that. In our environment, it's looking at 1,562 devices.
How are customer service and technical support?
I've only had to use their technical support a couple of times and they were top-notch. They were polite and, both times, it was a very dumb question on my part and they didn't make me feel dumb. They are very sharp men and women.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We didn't have a solution before Auvik, other than manual scripts that fit our needs until we grew. Once we grew and it got so overwhelming, Auvik really helped with that. It was very robust, but it wasn't all over the place. When it was said and done, we really loved the whole platform. It was very user-friendly.
How was the initial setup?
It tells you right out-of-the-box the credentials that it's going to need, such as SSH, your logins, et cetera. You set up the network that you want it to go monitor and, with the IDs and passwords, it pulls all the information in. You have to open up and allow Auvik in from your firewall. There are some prerequisites you have to take care of to use it and you may want to suppress a few alarms, out-of-the-box. It took a couple of days and then it had what we need, right there.
It took some getting used to, but I started figuring things out. And they were always available for any questions that we had.
Currently, it's just our director, the engineer, and myself who are using Auvik in our company. We're looking to get everybody more access but we just haven't gotten there yet. I'm still trying to figure it out myself, to learn more as I go with it.
As a cloud-based solution, it requires no maintenance on our side, unless we have to update a password. But there's nothing for us to do in Auvik in terms of maintenance.
What was our ROI?
For me, part of the return on investment is just knowing it's there. If you need to pull back for litigation, or our 911 facilities are down, that's when you get your return on investment. You don't know how much your return is because it prevents stuff from happening, stuff that could be very costly.
The time to value is excellent. It's worth every penny that you pay for it. It will save you money. It might not be something that finance or an accountant can see, but if you look at what it's preventing, or what it's helping you monitor in the long run, where downtime and the like could be an issue, it helps you get ahead of the game and you're saving money in that way. We're government, so we're not making money outside of taking your taxes, but at the same time, it is saving money. You may not be able to put a dollar value on it, but I can tell you, you are saving money.
For me, it's security. That is why we have it; for security and to help prevent something from happening that would cost a bunch of money. That's where it saves you. And for auditing purposes, it helps you with litigation.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I didn't deal with the pricing of it. Our director did. It took some back and forth negotiating, but we did get close and came to a compromise. Definitely look for your sales rep to take care of it. They really went out of their way to help us out so that we could get the product.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at several products, including Splunk, NetScout briefly, and PRTG. SolarWinds was a product the company used before I got here but we just didn't use it after I started.
With Auvik, I really like the reporting. That's really what sold it, along with the layout. It was just easier to get around and it made more sense. I don't have to sit down and really study logs. And it works in real-time. Some of the other products took a while to give us the reporting, but with Auvik it is right there. If I have an issue with, say, a switch or there is a network where everything is going down at times, Auvik has a great reporting tool and I can just pull up my reports. I can see all the problems I've had. And you can pinpoint things. It tells you, "Hey, you might want to look here. And these could be the reasons why this is happening." The other products didn't do that.
The auditing of the syslogs was important to my director. That was a big selling point for her and that's how we finally got her to buy Auvik. She really likes those for auditing purposes. It was exactly what she was looking for. And for the rest of us, the engineers, it had what we were looking for. It does it all.
What other advice do I have?
My advice is to use their technical support. Yes, you can learn it on your own and it will help you, but don't be scared to use their technical support. Their support is top-notch. Most of them have probably forgotten more about network security than you have ever known about it. Use them. They want to help you. They have training available, so use the training. They offer it to you as part of the package. Watch the videos and do the training, but do not be scared to use their technical support. They're there to help you.
For what Auvik's doing with the switches, I use it all the time. I always look at my emails for any reporting that it does. I usually know a site will go down, because of alerts from Auvik, before anyone calls. Anything from Auvik goes to my alarm. As soon as it reports, I know they're down, even before they call. I use it a lot.