SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Review

The valuable features are AppInsight for SQL and active directory templates.


How has it helped my organization?

  • We are able to correlate application performance issues with bad SQL queries to the database.
  • It allows us to identify missing indexes or bad vendor coding.
  • It gets us to root cause quicker, especially in identifying whether or not it is something within our control.

What is most valuable?

  • AppInsight for SQL: Enables us to see the relevant error log entries on the same page as performance parameters.
  • AppInsight for Exchange: Presents the array of processes and the 66+ databases that make up our Exchange service in-house, in a single view. This allows us to analyze and isolate problems quickly. We have seen problems occur with a single database, a small collection of users, that we were able to correct before all the users on that mailbox server went down.
  • Active Directory Templates: Allows us to be aware of issues or failures of any of the complex components providing our Microsoft Windows Active Directory services throughout our enterprise.

What needs improvement?

SAM AppInsight for SQL: The ability to ignore fragmentation of specific indexes.

One of the components of the AppInsight for SQL is monitoring of table statistics. A data element within in that set is table indexes. There are certain tables in our databases that we expect to have a high level of fragmentation all the time. It is just the nature of the applications.

However, there are many tables where we would want to know if the indexes become an issue because they adversely impact performance. My comment related to an ability to ignore certain tables within a database but not the whole database.

This way, the status of the database or any of the applications upstream would not be impacted by these specific tables.


What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had issues with this version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, we have been able to scale up to monitor everything we want without any issues. If we needed to poll more frequently, we would need to add additional polling engines.

In addition, the use of agents that can be deployed on local servers helps to offload processing from the primary poller.

How is customer service and technical support?

The times when I have needed technical support, they have been responsive and able to resolve my issues.

I use the THWACK community a lot to resolve issues without the need for technical support.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward. Upgrades are getting easier over the eight years that we have been using the products.

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

Having used various other vendors for monitoring over my career, the SolarWinds products give outstanding value for the price. They satisfied our needs for the mid-sized to large organization we have.

When planning for the number of licenses to purchase, make sure you understand all of the elements within an application required to really understand performance well. In our case, we quickly came to the conclusion that an unlimited license for SAM was the way to go.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn’t evaluate other options. I had previous experience and my boss was willing to go with my advice without having to do a comparison.

What other advice do I have?

  • Spend the time to examine the recurring issues in your infrastructure. Are there one or two things that come up repeatedly?
  • Determine what data would help avoid the problem.
  • Implement monitoring, alerting, policies, and procedures that collect and make use of that data.
  • It’s about shifting the work from responding to your customer’s problems to correcting systems and conditions before your customers even notice.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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