SolarWinds NPM Review

You can build a live inventory of the equipment you manage.

What is most valuable?

  • If you are almost in the dark, SolarWinds can give you a quick view of what you have and you can start basic monitoring.
  • The user interface is good.
  • You can build a live inventory of the equipment you manage.
  • You can start structuring and digging deeper into Network Performance Management and Diagnostics.

How has it helped my organization?

  • It helped to bring a basic monitoring in place that could be a platform for additional information you need to manage a large IT infrastructure.
  • IT network visibility can help the organization a lot.
  • It provides a buy-in from other IT groups (database, Windows, applications)

What needs improvement?

Scalability: In general, the scalability for most organizations is OK.

The product is also used by larger companies and TELCOs. They encounter scalability and stability issues. You need a dedicated person or team to keep everything under control.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used the base product for more than 12 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

You certainly can have stability issues. The system runs on Windows Server and a dedicated MS SQL Server.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You need a lot of polling engines for larger networks (50K+ interfaces). This will consume additional resources, such as licenses, support, and patching.

How are customer service and technical support?

SolarWinds does not provide professional services. You have to rely on partners that provide this service.

If there is an issue, you will have a pretty slow response. You need access to the SolarWinds portal to register a ticket.

In general, the response time of SolarWinds should be improved.

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

In general, it is mainly switching from open-source systems to a supported system.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup worked fine. This depends on the system and scale you are trying to implement.

General advice is to build the monitoring as a layered approach.

Add devices/systems by categories, starting with basic monitoring ICMP and SNMP, and then add specific metrics to the system.

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

The pricing depends on what company you are. If you are you an enterprise or TELCO, the pricing is really great.

If you are a smaller company, it can become expensive and also complex to get it running.

For SMBs, you have to sit down and think what you are going to do. Some companies outsource a lot to get rid of the IT pain.

What other advice do I have?

  • Create a very simple requirements list.
  • In general, do not start a paper comparison.
  • Install the product or let someone help you with the install and configuration so you will get a quick start.
  • Do not try to find out everything yourself.
  • Based on what you have seen, you can build the so-called "gap analysis".
  • If you go for SolarWinds, it will not solve all your IT problems. You will also need complementary tools.
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We resell SolarWinds as one of the many other products. We also advise customers not to buy SolarWinds based on companies’ requirements and future plans. Depending on the requirements, we advise to do a pilot with at least two to three products. In a one- to two-month trial, you can learn a lot.
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