SolarWinds NPM Review

It is very flexible, and the reporting is quite nice.


What is our primary use case?

My primary use case for this is for monitoring router switches, and using the solution to support the collection of this information for us.

How has it helped my organization?

It can even support Windows or monitor a Windows server, even on the application level, because they have this module called Server Application Monitor. You have WMI support. You can even monitor performance centers. You can also look at the process monitors, if it is processing or not. It's quite powerful. 

Also it supports IP SLAs, so you can have even more information from a remote site. You
can monitor something like the performance, like mid-latency and other stuff.

What is most valuable?

When you buy the product, there's a lot of things. You can configure a lot. There's some variable in the report so you can customize the alert that you get or what triggers you want to generate the alert. It is really very flexible. Reporting is also quite nice. You can write your own SQL. 

Of course, if you have a small team and you have so many sites to monitor, then the
alerts will help you already. Let's say you're monitoring MPRs out there, you know
that the neighbor route could go down, so you know the site is already on a secondary
link instead of primary. You are aware of what's going on, or if things go down, then you
can react quickly.

What needs improvement?

I think it's a great product. It has ease of use. Just add the IP with the correct credentials or SAS and multistring, and you can already collect all that information including you have NTA, then you're going to have NetFlow. Anything that has an IP that you want to monitor up or down, they can monitor it. If you have SNMP support, they can also collect the information for you.

Also it supports IP SLAs, so you can have even more information from a remote site. You can monitor something like the performance, like mid-latency and the like. You can customize the alert that you get or what triggers you want to generate the alert. It is really very flexible, a flexible solution. Reporting is also quite nice. You can write your own SQL if you need to.

Also' maybe if SolarWinds would have something you may subscribe to that would be like a polling engine on your site, so all the reporting would go directly to SolarWinds, They could then manage the database and everything else. That would be a nice asset to have.

The only other issue I have is that sometimes when upgrading, it becomes complicated to manage the upgrade.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

You sometimes lose some statistics, but if you have HA, then you have a backup that will pick up the monitoring. I think it's going in the right direction.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I only use a single instance at the moment, but I see there are some things there like HA that is quite interesting. Of course, it will cost more to support, but if the company wants it, then maybe yes.

How is customer service and technical support?

Very seldom. I will contact them directly. Usually, the thing I notice in SolarWinds is you go to the community, it is called THWACK. I never personally contacted tech support.

How was the initial setup?

It's simple. I installed it. You just look at documentation, install a database, install the server and add the NTA. They have some recommendations, a separate database, but we didn't follow them. We just set up with the same server. Yes, it's easy. It's only the upgrade from the older version to the newer version where things start to get complicated.

What other advice do I have?

It's a bit tricky when you go to the cloud already. I don't know what's the right metric myself, what should you be monitoring. Then, the newer trend right now is they don't even have the concept of a virtual machine. Some deployments, they will just have containers, and a container can be on any machine that they can shoot up anytime and deploy the apps there. But, my question is: How do you monitor the performance? What metric are you going to use?

Overall, when considering a new solution, I always consider:

  • Ease of use
  • Ability for data collection
  • Generation of alerts.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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