What is most valuable?
I love the GUI. Almost everything is accessible through the web interface. It is very user-friendly. It is easy to drag and drop resources wherever you want them.
NPM also includes additional features that come in handy, such as a web SSH console, SYSLOG and trap collectors, and Wireless Heat Maps.
A new feature has now been included called NetPath. This allows you to see the status of a path all the way to an endpoint, even through the internet. This is awesome!
I like having the ability to add custom pollers for anything.
I also like how SolarWinds is integrating all of their products together so you don't have to go different places to get to each monitoring solution.
HA was also added, but there is still a little way to go with that.
How has it helped my organization?
I have been able to customize so many things using SolarWinds. I have set up baseline configurations and quickly remediated devices against them. I am using the SYSLOG and trap functions for my non-priority devices. I have NetPath set up to cloud services, so that I know who is at fault when something is down, such as a website, email services, and SaaS.
SolarWinds has also allowed us to be proactive, because now we can spot issues before the user tells us.
What needs improvement?
I think there needs to be more granularity in the permission sets in almost all of the SolarWinds products. I want to be able to specify almost everything that a specific user group can do. I am being a little picky with this, as there are some permissions that can be set. I just want more.
The reporting is good, but I want it to be a little easier when creating custom reports. The reports are all on the website now, but it takes some know how to get some to display the way you would like.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using SolarWinds products since the implementation of the Engineer's Toolset in one of my environments in 2004.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
The latest release was the smoothest deployment I have ever done. I have now installed NPM 12.0.1 in 6 different environments and all went very well.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The only times I have had issues with stability have been when I did not apply adequate resources. There is no real all-inclusive recommendation to go by. You really need an experienced consultant to look at your specific environment to spec out what would work best for you. If you don't, you will probably have issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I have NOT encountered any scalability issues. I have always speced out at least double of what was required at that time. This has allowed me to add more and more to the SolarWinds architecture. SolarWinds does scale very easily with additional pollers.
How are customer service and technical support?
Customer service has gotten a lot better. They recently revamped that area. Technical Support
Some tickets take longer than I would like to get resolved, but compared to other vendors, it is very good. I usually have a major fix done in a few days. Minor things are fixed the same day. Then there is always the Thwack community that can be used to find answers to almost anything. I use that way more than tech support.
The techs in tech support are very knowledgeable. I have almost always had good experiences with them.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have used numerous other products to do some of the same functions. I have used WhatsUp Gold, LogicMonitor, HPE OpenView, CiscoWorks, LMS, Spiceworks, PRTG, ManageEngine OpManager, Splunk, CA Spectrum, Zenoss Service Dynamics, etc. Nothing really compares to the cost-effectiveness that SolarWinds gives you. Their cost structure and customization ability is what sways me to SolarWinds. There are some areas that are done better in other products but overall, SolarWinds is better.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is pretty straightforward, as long as all of your devices are set up properly to talk to SolarWinds. However, it does get complex when you start configuring customizations for your environment. You have that with any product. The great thing is that SolarWinds ALLOWS you to customize.
What about the implementation team?
I did implementation in-house, but I am not an average user. I have been using this product in various places for years. I would recommend a SolarWinds consultant to get the most out of the product.
What was our ROI?
I feel that you see your ROI in the first month. SolarWinds gives you a place to look to find your problems. It eliminates a lot of the guessing when troubleshooting. It gives you historic and real-time data. Alerts are your friend and you get alerted BEFORE the user calls to complain.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The price points are more than competitive when compared to other vendors. You get so much more for, in most cases, so much less. You can buy the level of license that you need and upgrade very easily when you need to. The support is also included for 1 year after you purchase the license, even when upgrading. Maintenance costs after that are pretty normal, at around 20% of the cost of the product.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Before choosing, I did an extensive evaluation against 9 other products. Most are listed elsewhere in this review. This was by far the most cost-effective solution that met all of our monitoring needs.
What other advice do I have?
Make sure you have a very good machine for your database server. It will most likely use the most resources. As you add more modules, the database will grow and there will be more transactions being written with each module. You want to use RAID 10.
Ensure you have the correct resources allocated to the SolarWinds server, as well. When you spec out your machines, double that for growth. Once you start using SolarWinds, you will want to invest in other modules.
Also, you should really get a SolarWinds consultant a least for your initial install. SolarWinds is great out-of-the-box, but you really need some expertise to get the most out of it for your environment. SolarWinds is a great product that can do a lot. Customization is almost limitless.