SolarWinds NPM Review

It has a very large base of information which results in very customizable UnDPs.

Valuable Features

  • Real-time netflow data
  • Highly customizable alerting & reporting
  • Very large base of information, further customized by high compatibility with MIBs from many, many vendors, resulting in very customizable UnDPs

Improvements to My Organization

Being a global company with many highly-sensitive manufacturing lines and process control environments, SolarWinds consistently delivers real-time and accurate views into the deepest parts of our environment. Though my role is 100% network-side, SolarWinds has greatly benefited our team of systems-side admins as well.

Room for Improvement

Because SolarWinds is built upon a SQL database, some level of SQL query knowledge is necessary if one really wants to take customization of alerting/reporting to a deeper level. This is really difficult for someone who

  1. Doesn't have the time to devote to this
  2. Doesn't have a strong background in any sort of software development/coding

Use of Solution

I've used it for three and a half years.

Deployment Issues

I was not around for the initial deployment, but I've been responsible for maintaining the environment over the last three and a half years, including product upgrades and migration(s) to new VMs.

Stability Issues

At times, we've had trouble with lost data within the database. These were largely resolved by moving to a more stable database server. I don't recall any recent issues now that we're on 11.x.

Scalability Issues

Yes, but only due to our own willingness (or unwillingness) to deploy additional polling engines. We're actually researching this feasibility right now, so that we can support a greater number of devices globally while maintaining a centralized "pane of glass" for administration.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

This is one area where SolarWinds can do better. Customer service, in terms of account renewals, and licensing, and so on, is very quota-based. They need to make their sales/transaction quotas, and that's about all that matters. They can be very pushy when it comes to the purchasing process. I think this is probably due to SolarWinds being THE solution for network/systems monitoring, and they know they have some level of a monopoly on the industry. SolarWinds is also not a cheap product -- it's very expensive under a CapEx consideration, and annual renewals are about 10-20% of the initial CapEx. So, it's not inexpensive.

Technical Support:

This is also an area where SolarWinds could do a lot better. Every time I've opened a case, they agree to a screen-sharing session (GoToMeeting/WebEx, etc) as an absolute last-resort. Sending me KB articles and other suggestions is always the first three to four emails, until I can formally get them to agree to take a look "in-person". I greatly enjoy working with Cisco TAC mainly because of their complete willingness to dive head-first into the issue by STARTING with a screen-sharing session. It gives me, as a customer and end-user, a much greater appreciation for Cisco's interest in resolving the issues, and making sure our production-affecting problems are no longer present.

Previous Solutions

In-house implementation.

Initial Setup

As far as I know, SolarWinds was really the only option at the time.

Implementation Team

It was an in-house implementation.

Other Solutions Considered

As far as I know, SolarWinds was really the only option at the time.

Other Advice

Don't assume SolarWinds is the right choice. Evaluate LOTS of other alternatives. These days, SevOne is a very promising competitor. But if you choose SolarWinds, dive into it as deeply as you can. Take advantage of their free online classroom training sessions (it's thousands of dollars for you to pay for from a third-party training vendor).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 visitor found this review helpful

Good info

27 March 15
Ravi SuvvariReal UserTOP 5LEADERBOARD

Very valuable inputs regarding NPM Review Micheal; Thank you for sharing Ravi Suvvari

07 April 15
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