SolarWinds NPM Review
SolarWinds NPM can monitor all SNMP supported devices in real time. But why can't it run in Chrome?


Valuable Features:

1.NPM can help keep a watch on the network and devices like switches, routers, access point. It can monitor any SNMP enabled devices in real time. 2.NPM can easily scale up when your network grows beyond the usual limits and it can monitor the network and connected devices with same efficiency and speed. Scale up is primarily handled by Orion Hot Standby Engine which keeps a watch on the health and functioning of the primary NPM system. 3.The Orion website has the ability to run from machines other than the Orion server and allows additional web server to be added. This allows more users to access the Orion web portal without impacting the overall performance. 4. It supports multiple vendors and thus can monitor majority of the network devices 5. Microsoft Active Directory support

Room for Improvement:

1.The user interface is not intuitive enough and needs improvements in certain parts. 2.The web interface does not have a good support for some browsers like Google Chrome. It officially supports IE and Firefox. 3. Windows Vista systems are not officially supported from SolarWinds.

Other Advice:

Solarwinds NPM has lots of features not found in some other network performance monitoring tools e.g. seamless integration with Microsoft Active Directory. It can easily scale up when there is a need to support and monitor higher number of devices without impacting the overall performance. There are certain pain points that need to be addressed like improving the overall user interface and support for more number of web browsers.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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4 Comments

it_user1068VendorLEADERBOARD

There is a free network monitoring tool known as Wireshark that is just perfect at what it does best, monitoring how networks perform. Therefore, why should any network administrator consider Network Performance Monitor when they have a free option that works well. In short, what makes NPM stand out in this market? Why would you recommend it over any other product offering similar functions?

23 June 13
it_user3876ConsultantPOPULAR

NPM has two user interfaces. One is System Manager that runs from the NPM server's console and the other one is Orion web console which is used for monitoring and managing network and node status. So in which area of UI you think that there is space for more improvement?

13 September 13
it_user69183Real User

Tina, Wireshark is NOT network monitoring, but rather packet analysis. Think broad overview of the network vs. in-depth analysis of transactions on one part of your network. Both have value, and both are necessary.
As I said, Wireshark is packet analysis. It allows capture of every single packet as well as some great in-depth analysis. It also offers considerable stream analysis. Better people than I can, and have written books about it without exhausting the possibilities.
Network monitoring is more statistics gathering - how many packets, error rates, and buffer overloads start the picture. But there's more. Your Cisco switches (as an example) have thermometers, did you know? It's possible to configure any decent network monitoring suite to poll those thermometers for temperature readings. You can set an alert, too - flash the screen, net send, or email (pager) if it exceeds a critical value. And there's more you can track - service or application status, file access, CPU/memory statistics, web page availability. Want to know if an SQL DB is running? That's available too, as well as a host of custom stats for major applications.

NPM utilizes both SNMP as well as WMI. Yes, it's very Windows centric, which is a shortcoming, but it does have the ability to get more in-depth information about the operation of a Windows server than SNMP really offers.
Now NPM (just one component of Solar Winds' Orion) is not the only network monitoring application out there. There are other proprietary systems, the best known of which is probably HP Network Node Manager or IBMs Tivoli. There are also open source applications like Nagios and MRTG. Generally the open source is more effort to set up but free, and less Windows specific. NPM is obviously more expensive than free, but far less than big system software. The choice is yours, I don't know anyone who has tried them all. But you might want to start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_network_monitoring_systems .

12 November 13
kapilmalik1983ConsultantTOP REVIEWER

As far as open source is concerned, would you recommend nagios, icinga or zabbix?

12 November 13
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