SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer Review

Saves time in everyday operations by managing all of our devices using a single pane of glass

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for everyday network monitoring. This includes the flow analytics, and seeing what's online and what's not online. It is a key part of everyday operations.

How has it helped my organization?

Visibility in the network is huge. Using the NetFlow analyzer, along with their NPM and NCM modules, are key for keeping our network up to date and for visibility.

This solution is a huge time saver. Without it, you're making and you're analyzing flow patterns and making changes on a switch by switch, or router by router basis. This gives you that single pane of glass where you can really manage all of that, and push out to all of your devices no matter what the size of your environment is.

What is most valuable?

The NCM module is by far the most useful feature, as I am able to provision and employ changes to our entire infrastructure with a single tool. 

I like that it is able to monitor multiple devices and it's vendor-agnostic.

What needs improvement?

This solution would benefit from having more security-based communications between the actual devices and the software itself. After dealing with a bunch of other vendors who are very security-focused, it would be nice to see that included in other products as well. It may be a case where they have not kept up with certain security aspects as technology has changed.

I would like to see visual maps for all of the devices that are interconnected. They do have a feature that exists now, but I think that it can be worked on. There are some competitors out there that are doing a better job at that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is limitless and scales very well. You can use these tools for a single branch network or your entire enterprise and there is no difference in the deployment. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

There was no solution in place before this one. The network really scaled up quickly, and it had not been necessary before adding more branch properties led to more problems. 

What about the implementation team?

The original deployment was completed before I started to work with the system, so I am not sure who deployed it. As we scale, it is us, the engineers, who do it all ourselves. I feel that it speaks to the product because we don't actually need professional services, as it's pretty easy to do it yourself.

What was our ROI?

This solution makes us more effective, allowing us to save time.

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

For our environment, we pay approximately $25,000 USD yearly. It is a lot cheaper than a lot of the other vendors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I know that we evaluated NetBrain. Although they do not necessarily claim to be a network monitoring tool, a lot of the features offered by SolarWinds are also available. My understanding is that the price point was an issue.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is researching this type of solution is to know your environment. Regardless of the vendor you choose, know the costs associated with all of your endpoints.

I love using the tools provided in this solution. There is always room for improvement, but ultimately, I have always been happy with this product.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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