SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Review

Some of the valuable features are NPM, NCM, and the NTA module.


How has it helped my organization?

The way NPM determines the network nodes status gives you the trust that you will not receive fake alerts!!

SolarWinds allows network administrators to easily monitor the network by customizing the pages to see what exactly is needed. this is in addition to the deep statistics shown for nodes and interfaces like response TIME, packet LOSS, interfaces CRC, interfaces errors, as well as the rich graphs for all network elements.

For companies with multiple branch offices in different governments/countries, administrators can set their network nodes on the map provided by SolarWinds to easily monitor all locations at the same time.

Using the VNQM module, you can put a probe in each branch, configure all these probes with a couple of clicks, and easily monitor the response time between branches. You can also monitor internet connectivity for the branches themselves.

What is most valuable?

Beside the fancy features of both NPM and NCM, I adore the NTA module that provides deep details on ingress/egress traffic for any interface. With a few clicks, you can correlate who is accessing what and when, beside the bandwidth consuming applications/users.

What needs improvement?

I believe that SolarWinds should spend more effort in reporting. You can easily generate reports for technical engineers, but not such summarized reports that need to be sent to managers!

You can generate a lot of reports related to all modules either NPM , NCM , NTA or VQNM and we don’t have any problem in that.

The problem is that – compared to another vendors developing another H/Ws or S/Ws – you can’t generate such reports full of charts to summarize a kind technical info for managers.

To Elaborate more , looking for some products like McAfee , Fortigate , tenable … etc , you can find the reports in terms of tables and charts beside the tables and easily customize the charts type and location.

Once , I opened a case with our local vendor who contacted Solarwinds as well , asking about creating a report that includes something exactly like the below graphs to show to the management and they answered “No Avaialbility” !! also the below graphs are taken from our NTA module which should be added normally to a report!

Again , it’s a shame that you generate a PDF report from Solarwinds like the below, where headers appears in the report and text shown an clear text not a rich one!!! Simply the report is not generous although having a good technical info but to be seen by me not by managers .

Finally, I think they need to make reporting easier and more simple & dynamic.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I didn’t experience any stability issue in any of the modules we used.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Like any other vendor, SolarWinds recommend a maximum number of elements to be monitored by each polling engine. In case you have more elements to be monitored, you can deploy additional polling engines.

I managed to monitor more than 13,000 network elements using the main polling engine and four additional polling ones. It was really a great experience for me to handle all these engines with no problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

For more than seven years, I didn’t refer to the support team as I used to depend on myself to solve any problems. But I have referred to them in a couple of cases and they were very helpful.

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

We used WhatsUp Gold and ManageEngine OP Manager.

How was the initial setup?

It is very easy to install. There is no need for experience to install it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have used other applications. After evaluating SolarWinds, we think it’s a good choice.

What other advice do I have?

Even you have your own monitoring system, you need to try others to judge well and know where you are standing. Just visit the website and download a 30-day trial version.

SolarWinds user community, THWACK, is a very informative one where users share their experience to solve problems and suggests development for all SolarWinds modules.

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