SolarWinds Netflow Traffic Analyzer Review

Alerts us whenever a device is down but it cannot do metric performance monitoring


What is our primary use case?

SolarWinds is a traditional enterprise network monitoring platform. It provides an event-triggered alarm. 

This is as opposed to ThousandEyes which is an application for delivery and performance metric monitoring. ThusandEyes is a service delivery tool for SaaS-based applications, with service delivery monitoring and circuit performance metric monitoring. Also, whereas SolarWinds is on-premises, this solution is cloud-based. Their analytic tools are on a cloud-based portal, but we have a physical, agent-based performance monitoring tool installed across the site.

How has it helped my organization?

SolarWinds has improved our organization because whenever a device is down, we get an alert. Or when a major interface is down, we get an alert. This is important since we need to know when a device or major link is down.

What is most valuable?

In the case of ThousandEyes, the feature I've found most valuable is that it is an active synthetic monitoring tool. It provides per-hub packet loss latency information across the private and public internet. This provides us with capability outside our network.

SolarWinds is traditional. It's old school and SNMP-based. It provides event-triggered alarms. We rely on the features to monitor our network device to see if it is online or not. It tells us if the interface is down or up or if the device is down or up.

What needs improvement?

Regarding SolarWinds, no major comment or improvement. We just use it. Because it's an old-school technique, we only rely on it for alerts, events, system logs, etc. That's why I said we don't put any effort into it.

Since we've only just begun using ThousandEyes, we're not sure yet. But there probably will be issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SolarWinds for a long time.

In terms of ThousandEyes, we just deployed it. We finished the Proof of Concept and deployed before the New Year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of Thousand Eyes is good. It meets our use case requirements.

As for SolarWinds, it is a traditional platform used everywhere. It has been on the market for 15 to 20 years. And within our organization, it is stable, too.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

ThousandEyes will definitely be scalable because it's a cloud-native solution and they use a leveraging agent to collect. Cloud is more scalable compared to an on-premise deployment.

It is only our network team of 15 networking admins working on these two applications. And it requires around one or two people for deployment and maintenance of these solutions.

We are using SolarWinds every day as our monitoring platform and we don't have any plans to increase usage.

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

Before using ThousandEyes we only used SolarWinds.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of ThousandEyes is very straightforward. It's not complex. It is really simple from a deployment and configuration perspective. Because we have multiple sites, the majority of the deployment time is for logistics and not for configuration or setup. It's very straightforward and simple to set it up. We are a global enterprise, so it did take a while. We used a vendor as a professional consultant service to help us deploy. It was a good experience working with them.

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

We pay for yearly licensing on both solutions. 

We have already seen a return on our investment by going with ThousandEyes. We already see the benefit, which is that we get visibility. That's the only thing we wanted. We can pre-benchmark service delivery and monitor across different sites on the cloud.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing ThousandEyes, we evaluated Riverbed. We select a solution based on our use case. Our main purpose here is to monitor service delivery on the cloud and Riverbed cannot do that. Riverbed could replace SolarWinds but does not have that capability, which ThousandEyes does. So that's the main difference.

What other advice do I have?

As for advice for people looking to implement either solution, it's on a case-by-case basis as each person has different requirements. In our case, one can do somethings and can't do others. It's not the silver bullet that can fix everything, but we selected them based on our requirements.

On a scale of one to ten, I'd rate SolarWinds a 5. It does not flow. It cannot do our metric performance monitoring. So it is very limited. They can do it but in a very limited fashion. It is only good for SNMP-based alerts.

Regarding ThousandEyes, I would give it a seven, because you can set a threshold but they are not really alert-based. They can generate an alert but they can't say if a device is up or down, they cannot monitor.

So you basically have to supplement with each other, that's why we still have both.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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