What is most valuable?
The features like trends, capacity planning, recommendations, and diagnostics are the main items I focus on for added value. The trends help me when I am looking at how my VMs are performing.
There are times when we need more performance out of certain VMs. With trends and capacity planning, you can really focus on the items and help get a better picture of how you can move things around to streamline your infrastructure.
The Recommendations are a life saver. They have valuable, daily information regarding your VM network. I don’t always follow the recommendations but when I do, it’s usually automated, so there is no other interaction needed from me. It’s like having another employee.
The diagnostics simply help me make sure I am meeting my required KPIs.
How has it helped my organization?
VMAN recommendations have helped us manage the VMs to perform more efficiently. It notes everything from storage to processor utilizations. It helps us, in the organization, to make informed decisions about whether or not we need to expand the infrastructure. This saves us time and money.
What needs improvement?
I would like it to be fully integrated into Orion.
Although there are many pieces that are integrated and make it a very good application for managing and monitoring your VM environment, I would like to see more of it in Orion. I don't want to switch between sites for information.
I believe that some of the trends and environmental maps and items like that in Orion would be very beneficial. We create NOC views in Orion, which would add many of the VMAN dashboard items. This would add value.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using this solution for more than four years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I had some stability issues. I lost my environment. But with the help of SolarWinds support, I was able to get back to a stable platform and install the upgrade to VMAN to bring me up to v7.
The Appliance for VMware would lock up and I was unable to shut it down properly. If I didn’t reboot, I could not see the VMAN admin console.
So I was had to shut it down through VMware, thereby corrupting the appliance. SolarWinds was not sure why this happened. After several days, we were better than before, and there has not been a hiccup since.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We didn’t encounter any scalability issues for our infrastructure. We only have a 50 VM license and we are currently using 27 of them. We are not one of the lager enterprise environments. The speed and stability has been great.
Since 2012, we only had the one major issue. That is pretty good. If Windows were that reliable, what a world we would live in.
How are customer service and technical support?
At times, it’s been difficult to get through. However in the past twelve months, they have reformed their ways and it’s been fantastic.
I have used SolarWinds with three different companies in the past 17 years, and they have never failed to help me. Sometimes it takes some time, but they always get you going.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Of course we used other products, and we still do. One product cannot do everything you want it to do, at least not at a price you can afford. Sometimes it’s better to run a tiered approach, such as with security, so all your eggs are not in one basket, so to speak.
However, most everything else we use is freeware, or open source. SolarWinds is the only fully paid product we currently own.
How was the initial setup?
I found the setup really very easy, if you are familiar with deploying *.ova files. Setup was a snap, and the setup wizard really walks you through everything.
Their documentation is very detailed. If you need support, you can reach out to technical support and also use THWACK, which is world class and ahead of its time.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Well I have always said SolarWinds is very “proud” of their products, meaning they are expensive. I cannot afford to purchase all the licenses I need for all SolarWinds products. But in the case of VMAN, I have exactly what I need and room to grow.
That being said, you are not going to find a better solution on the market for the price.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We were only using tools from VMware and didn’t look at other options. Knowing SolarWinds from using Orion and other applications they sell, I wanted to have my monitoring software to be as integrated as possible. So we looked no further.
What other advice do I have?
DO IT!!! You will not regret it. This product is so helpful out-of-the-box. Even for larger environments, you have a very short roll-out timeline, fantastic benefits, and results.