Auvik Review

With real-time and historical monitoring, we know when devices are offline or if there is high utilization

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is network monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the things that I like the most is being able to see what is connected to each switch port. If there are 300 switch ports, I can find out which port any given computer is connected to on the network, assuming it is physical. We then can label certain ports as uplinks, servers, or storage. It is easy to find where a lot of traffic is coming from because we can get to that individual switch level, which is a lot easier to do in Auvik than it is to do native in the equipment.

What is most valuable?

Remote accessibility of the network devices is the most valuable feature. I often have to log into switches and routers to make changes, and I can do so from any computer as long as I have an Internet connection. I don't need to have my laptop or a VPN. Auvik is faster.

Auvik automatically updates our network topology. The topology map is drawn in real-time. Seeing the network versus visualizing is helpful. With real-time and historical monitoring, we know when devices are offline or if there is high utilization, specifically with the SNMP monitoring and SSH monitoring.

Its network discovery capabilities are really strong. With the right access, it can detect additional networks, then scan those networks. 

What needs improvement?

It is easy to use, yet not easy to administer. If I am a technician, then I just need to log in to a switch or see what the network is doing and what it is connected to, which is very easy to do. If I am an administrator, then I have to maintain, clean, and label that environment. Auvik's utility in that regard is cumbersome. It is hard to find where certain things are configured. Also, it is sometimes hard to figure out why Auvik is doing what it is doing.

There is a weakness with the network discovery capabilities, e.g., if it has access to virtual machines, then it is picking up on networks that don't matter. These are private virtual networks on individual computers, but Auvik doesn't know the difference. So, it is constantly coming up with new networks that it thinks it needs to scan. In my environment, I have 250 computers with probably 100 people who are running Hyper-V. Each one of those instances is creating virtual networks that it is getting discovered, then I have to tell it to ignore it. I have never seen the ability to say, "Ignore the networks or submits that look like this."

Sometimes, the UX is difficult to navigate for certain aspects. For example, I like to keep the generic devices out of the topology, so I often will purge those, but I only want to purge the ones that are offline. In the managed devices section, although you can filter by generic device, you can't filter by up or down status. You can only do that in the device section, not the managed device section. So, I have to take a picture of the generic devices that are offline, then navigate to another area where I can actually delete these objects, then select them using a picture. I can filter in one place, but I can't delete. Then, in the other place, I can delete, but I can't filter the same way.

For how long have I used the solution?

At this company, I have used Auvik for a year and a half. Prior to that, I would say that I used it for about three or four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been fine. I get notifications for network maintenance and there hasn't really been an issue with that.

It requires no maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The major limitation is the multi-tenant aspect. For example, if I was to put this in a business that had six corporate offices, which is a pretty big business, I wouldn't want all of that under one tenant. I would want that under separate tenants for each location, but there would need to be an eagle eye view of the six locations from a high level, and you wouldn't get that in multi-tenant.

Auvik for MSPs is great because you can segment/isolate the different clients. However, Auvik gets overwhelming when it is a big business with multiple locations, hundreds of networks, and thousands of ports. I think that would be difficult to manage. If you are talking 5,000 to 100,000 switch ports, then you are talking about a lot of networks with a lot of different viewings and protocols. There really is a limit. There is almost no support for any kind of routing protocol. Where there is the Layer 1 and Layer 3 bars that tell you if it is physically connected or Layer 3 routed, the Layer 3 router should really include things, such as, what is the routing protocol that it found or the ability to see a trace route of how it is routed.

How are customer service and technical support?

Sometimes the technical support is really good, and sometimes it is just terrible. Some of the gentlemen and gals are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to networking. They know the product and are very helpful. Then, some of them don't really get engaged in the support. They will just send an article/link, like, "Read this and do it on your own." I don't reach out to support because I can't find an article or do it on my own. I reach out because there is something I don't understand or don't know how to do. Making sure that they understand what it is that I am trying to accomplish requires a conversation, and some are willing to get on a phone call and some of them are willing to. The ones who are willing to get on a phone call are the ones that I have the best experiences with.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty complex. The company that I work for moved out of an office where we had 60 to 70 switches. Now, we are down to about 12. Therefore, the setup was more complex back then, although we only had one location. Now, we have one location and one data center. The deployment took four to six hours.

Auvik's setup time and automated network mapping and documentation provides time-to-value. It is very valuable in that sense. For a small environment, it rolls out for you very quickly, e.g., five minutes. Roll out the collector and let it do its scan, label one or two networks that are there, throw in the credentials, make sure it is identifying everything, and you are done. Then, it just kind of works. The amount of value that you get then in perpetuity to the relative installation is very high, but as a single IT company or an employee in a single company, that quick rollout isn't as valuable because I am only doing it once.

What about the implementation team?

I did the deployment myself. I have used Auvik before, so I just set the collector using VMware OVA. I put a collector in our office, labeled the networks and set exemptions from the scan, and then just let it go. Obviously, I tried to enter all the credentials that I could at the time, but then I found I had to make modifications to group policy so the computers and servers could be accessed. So I probably just threw it out there and then added the credentials later. If I had to do it again, I would have put the credentials in first then threw it out there.

What was our ROI?

We are not making a profit on Auvik. It is an expense.

Although networking is only a small piece of what I am doing, it can be a time-intensive aspect. So, the time required is significantly less using Auvik than it is to manage the devices individually.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As an individual IP company, Auvik is a little bit pricey. It is a little expensive, but as an MSP owner, I have a small side business. So, I'm an Auvik customer in that sense too. In that, I think it's reasonable to pay $10 to $15 a device or less depending on the endpoint. For the amount of capability that it has, it is very reasonably priced.

There are devices monitored at no charge, such as:

  • UPS batteries
  • VMware ESX hypervisors
  • Wireless access points
  • Printers
  • Dell EMC iLO cards.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I would probably compare Auvik to PRTG Network Monitor. I think Auvik is a lot faster than PRTG Network Monitor. I am not a very big fan of other solutions. I have never really tried them. 

Auvik gives us inventory. I don't think PRTG Network Monitor does that. So, I can integrate Auvik with our IT Glue cloud status, then we have an inventory of network devices that we don't have to manually create. It saves some time there. PRTG Network Monitor doesn't do that.

PRTG Network Monitor is easier and simpler to set up because it is not trying to do everything that Auvik is trying to do. Once you point it at a device and give it the credentials, it just starts monitoring. At the same time, it doesn't show the relationships between other devices; it doesn't show those connections. It is not an apples to apples comparison. 

We haven't had any SolarWinds Orion products. Now, we wouldn't buy that at all. Auvik is far easier than Orion.

What other advice do I have?

My team members aren't really using it. The other guy is kind of a junior IT guy, and I think it is still intimidating to him. My boss is a higher level engineer, but he is too busy managing to do anything technical. He just relies on me to tell him if there is anything he needs. He mostly wants the solution for the monitoring. He wants to know when a hypervisor module is failing or a hypervisor server goes down.

If you don't put in the credentials, Auvik can't log in and grab those device backups. Once you put those in, then it is automated. It logs in and grabs the configurations. Although, Auvik doesn't support all devices. So if you don't think you have certain types of hardware, it doesn't do anything for you.

Networking has a high learning curve and Auvik lowers that learning curve. It doesn't eradicate or eliminate it though. You still need a pretty strong level of understanding of networking in order to understand the GUI visualization that it is presenting. Just like any other tool, the time invested is largely going to determine the quality of your return.

Auvik has a little ways to go, but I still highly favor it, so I would rate it as an eight out of 10.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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