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SolarWinds NPM OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SolarWinds NPM is the #4 ranked solution in our list of best Network Monitoring Tools. It is most often compared to Zabbix: SolarWinds NPM vs Zabbix

What is SolarWinds NPM?

Check the health and performance of your entire network for easier troubleshooting and faster results using SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. NPM lets you quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance problems and outages. Now with built-in deep packet inspection and analysis you can immediately determine the impact of network or application latency on user experience.

SolarWinds NPM is also known as Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor, SolarWinds Network Bandwidth Analyzer.

SolarWinds NPM Buyer's Guide

Download the SolarWinds NPM Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

SolarWinds NPM Customers

Microsoft, Federal Express, Hewlett-Packard, and MasterCard

SolarWinds NPM Video

Archived SolarWinds NPM Reviews (more than two years old)

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KD
IT Expert & Data Center Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Scalability is very good for physical machines. For virtual machines, the scalability is challenging.

Pros and Cons

  • "We had some interfaces where the SFP Ports were having some problems after a while. We found which of the SFP Ports was having the error and changed it, so the bandwidth become okay."
  • "We are looking to change away from this solution because of the documentation and the solution doesn't have enough integration in our country. The documentation is too weak."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for our network LAN and some problem that we saw in our switching networks.

How has it helped my organization?

We had some interfaces where the SFP Ports were having some problems after a while. We found which of the SFP Ports was having the error and changed it, so the bandwidth become okay.

What is most valuable?

The error handling interface has been helpful. 

Mostly, we use the bandwidth monitoring because we experience problems with the bandwidth.

What needs improvement?

SolarWinds is not an all-in-compassing product. We need other products like Cisco and HPE to work with it.

It couldn't find the error to the problem because it was missing detail in the reports. The reports that we received from it weren't clear.

We aren't getting the solution that we need from the device.

We are looking to change away from this solution because of the documentation and the solution doesn't have enough integration in our country. The documentation is too weak.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good.

We use it every day. We use it as a monitoring tool.

One person maintains the solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good for physical machines. For virtual machines, the scalability is challenging.

We have 10 users for 2000 devices. Most of the users are admins.

We have no plans to increase our usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't called the technical support team. 

There wasn't enough SolarWind's documentation to fine tune the system.

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

For networks, we prefer to use Cisco Prime.

For service devices, we use HPE OneVIew. This is helpful for HPE services.

How was the initial setup?

The enterprise setup was complex because we have too many devices (about a 1000 routers). It is very challenging to tune all these devices.

Maybe the support team didn't train us well on how to use the product. We might need experts to train us.

Deployment took about six months.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it ourselves. For deployment, two people worked.

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

It is expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are having some problems. Our network can't find the problem. We will probably go use Cisco Prime.

We have also considered switching to Zabbix due to its support and deployment.

Some solutions are open source and free.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Kashif Asrar Khan
ERP / HMIS / EMR Specialist at Fauji Foundation
Real User
Solarwinds – Excellent choice in NPM if you are concerned with System & Network Performance
Solarwinds is a scalable, comprehensive and reliable software for monitoring any SNMP enabled devices with auto detection feature supporting across the board in operating systems diversification. Strong Areas: It gives you SMB to enterprise level accompaniment in managing layer 2 and layer 3 network, monitoring of server’s performance and high availability grapple through support of several hardware vendors like Cisco, HP and Motorola. Timeless configuration and management of Solar Wind for MS operating systems and compatibility with open source OS has coupled its influence in management and monitoring of wireless network, virtual servers with seamless integration to Active directory. It has efficient network device snapshot ( switches, routers, systems). View for directory…

Solarwinds is a scalable, comprehensive and reliable software for monitoring any SNMP enabled devices with auto detection feature supporting across the board in operating systems diversification.
Strong Areas:
It gives you SMB to enterprise level accompaniment in managing layer 2 and layer 3 network, monitoring of server’s performance and high availability grapple through support of several hardware vendors like Cisco, HP and Motorola.
Timeless configuration and management of Solar Wind for MS operating systems and compatibility with open source OS has coupled its influence in management and monitoring of wireless network, virtual servers with seamless integration to Active directory.
It has efficient network device snapshot ( switches, routers, systems).
View for directory structure maps and network designs for troubleshooting in efficient and shortest time.
Possible Cons:
Cost is one of the arbitrary perspectives when comparing this software with freeware and open source available like cacti, MRTG, Nagios, NetXMS etc.
leading dashboard complexity for novice users and compatibility with few browsers like Opera and Google Chrome are might be the possible cons of the software.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about SolarWinds NPM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
540,984 professionals have used our research since 2012.
reviewer1168221
User at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
An extensible and scalable solution that suits our expanding network

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for network node monitoring and alerting.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has scaled as we have grown.

What is most valuable?

It is very extensible with 'SWQL' and APIs to where we are beginning to integrate it with network automation. This solution has a very large and active user community.

What needs improvement?

This solution would benefit from expanding on the capabilities within the API. Network automation is a hot topic now, and SolarWinds needs to be focused on developing the product with that in mind.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two years, but it has been in my company for much longer.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We…

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for network node monitoring and alerting.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has scaled as we have grown.

What is most valuable?

It is very extensible with 'SWQL' and APIs to where we are beginning to integrate it with network automation.

This solution has a very large and active user community.

What needs improvement?

This solution would benefit from expanding on the capabilities within the API.

Network automation is a hot topic now, and SolarWinds needs to be focused on developing the product with that in mind.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two years, but it has been in my company for much longer.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are a larger and dispersed company so there are many, many network nodes monitored by NPM. It has been able to expand and scale to manage that well.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MV
Information Technology Director at a transportation company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Flexible options for remote access saves time maintaining workstations, but better integration with endpoint security solutions is needed

Pros and Cons

  • "I can do everything remotely, including running PowerShell scripts or performing standard updates."
  • "I would like to see integration with antivirus or other security endpoint solutions."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to monitor workstations and to remotely perform workstation software upgrades.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has improved our organization because it saves time, in that I do not need to visit every workstation in order to update it. I can do everything remotely, including running PowerShell scripts or performing standard updates. I can also help customers remotely.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is remote access and the fact that there are multiple options to choose from. These include VNC (Virtual Network Computing), RPC (Remote Procedure Call), and Splashtop.

What needs improvement?

This pricing for this solution needs to be better.

I would like to see integration with antivirus or other security endpoint solutions. There are only one or two solutions that they integrate with.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes, the responsiveness is slow, but overall the stability of this solution is good. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We only have between one hundred and one hundred and fifty nodes, so it is difficult to judge the scalability of this solution based on that.

We have two people in the company who are responsible for this solution, and it is used on a daily basis.

We do not plan to increase its usage because we do not expect to increase the number of workstations or network devices.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is a paid service for this solution.

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

We did not use another solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for this solution is pretty straightforward.

It took about a week to set up everything. First, we started with all of the networking devices and then we moved on to the workstations and servers.

What about the implementation team?

I handled the implementation myself.

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

The cost is based on the number of nodes, so it is expensive when you have a lot of them.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anyone who is implementing this solution is to be well prepared. You need to know your network infrastructure before you start implementing. Otherwise, it will take longer than necessary to set up.

This product does what it is meant to do, although it takes ample time to get what we want. I would say that whatever is indicated in the product description, it does well.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
DO
System Administration at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Email alerts notify us in the case of problems with network devices or critical services

Pros and Cons

  • "This has helped us to monitor the availability of our routers, switches, servers, and virtual environments."
  • "Application Performance Monitoring should be included in this solution."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for infrastructure monitoring, including servers and network devices.

How has it helped my organization?

This has helped us to monitor the availability of our routers, switches, servers, and virtual environments. We also use it to monitor our services. When a critical service goes down, SolarWinds will send us an email alert. It also supplies us with information that makes it easier for us to find the root cause.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the notification that we get, via email, when a device in our network goes down.

What needs improvement?

The user should be able to customize the dashboard to their own requirements. Right now, we have to design separate dashboards for visualization. For example, there is one for the environment and another for the infrastructure. I would like to design a single dashboard that contains my visualized environment, my physical environment, my services, and my processes. This would make the job of monitoring easier.

Application Performance Monitoring should be included in this solution.

The reporting is in need of improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very nice. This is a good solution, compared to other monitoring solutions.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues with respect to scalability. As we get more devices, routers, and servers, we simply add them to SolarWinds for monitoring.

There are nine people that manage this solution and receive email alerts. We have six people with read-only access in our NOC department, and there is also an admin console that the remaining three people are managing.

How are customer service and technical support?

There are a lot of guides online, and whenever we have issues we consult them. Most of the guides are "do it yourself", and we have not encountered any problem that has necessitated contacting technical support.

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

Prior to this solution, we were using HP NNM, the Network Node Manager. With HP the monitoring was in silos, whereas SolarWinds gives us a unified dashboard. This is the reason that we switched.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for this solution is very straightforward.

The time required for deployment depends on the number of devices that you want to monitor. For example, if you want to monitor a hundred devices then I think that it will take three or four days.

In our environment, we are monitoring more than four hundred servers and approximately two hundred network devices. Our deployment took about three weeks to complete.

Two or three staff are suitable for deployment.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation in-house.

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

We have a perpetual license for this solution, and my impression is that this solution is cheap.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In addition to this solution, we evaluated SCOM. We found that SolarWinds is better.

What other advice do I have?

SolarWinds is a great solution, and I think that for anybody looking for a nice infrastructure monitoring tool, this solution will do the job.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MA
Network Administrator at Libyana Mobile Phone
Real User
It has customizable features, but they are complicated to use

Pros and Cons

  • "The set up was very easy. We didn't have any problems with the setup. The deployment took less than an hour."
  • "The aesthetic widgets should be dynamic widgets, so the customization can be even more customizable."

What is our primary use case?

I am working at a company which is an Internet service provider (ISP). So, I'm monitoring the traffic on some nodes, like switches, routers, firewall, the traffic, and the CPU.

I am using the latest version, which I just downloaded from their site.

What needs improvement?

There is a customization feature, but it is not a good feature. While it's somewhat good, it is too complicated.

The aesthetic widgets should be dynamic widgets, so the customization can be even more customizable.

For how long have I used the solution?

Trial/evaluations only.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

It does not take much staff to maintain.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable, but my network is not that big. We have just a few nodes.

How are customer service and technical support?

For technical support, we are dealing with someone in Ireland. I have not always received responses to my inquiries.

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

I previously used PRTG, but PRTG is now forbidden in Libya. So, we switched to using SolarWinds and ManageEngine OpManager.

How was the initial setup?

The set up was very easy. We didn't have any problems with the setup. The deployment took less than an hour.

What about the implementation team?

We used a SolarWinds reseller for the deployment in Libya. We found them on the SolarWinds website.

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

The pricing is very expensive for SolarWinds. That's a huge disadvantage for it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

PRTG is easier to use, but SolarWinds is more customizable. SolarWinds also has more features, but they are complicated to use.

We are just trying the demo. I am not going to recommend this to my company because PRTG is much easier. We're looking for something that is very easy to export the reports from the dashboard. SolarWinds is sort of complicated.

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for something which is very customizable for the customization of your network, then you should go with SolarWinds. However, overall, the customization feature is also a disadvantage because it can be very complicated.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Rajesh Bage
Server and Network Monitoring Engineer at ZS Associates
Real User
We can proactively fix historical issues, so we won't face those problems in future

Pros and Cons

  • "We can proactively fix historical issues, so we won't face those problems in future."
  • "It is not that stable. As a Windows software, I have seen issues with SolarWinds. The performance is slow."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to to know what nodes or devices are up or down in our environment. I can also provide a performance report, if needed to anyone who asks, by pulling it out from SolarWinds NPM. We have it integrated with other SolarWinds products, like NDM.

I have been using the solution for the last seven years. The company has been using the solution for over nine years now.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution provides us with proactive reports.

What is most valuable?

We use it to understand our historical reports, since we keep these reports for 365 days per our compliance requirements. We can proactively fix historical issues, so we won't face those problems in future.

What needs improvement?

At this moment, we are facing some problem with Zoom and our web content sync. We are having trouble with the quality of our user experience. A lot of users are reporting that their calls and screen shares are getting disconnected, and it is happening very frequently. Therefore, I would like to monitor the Zoom application from SolarWinds NPM. Unfortunately, it doesn't have this capability right now, and I had to find another application for this.

We would like a single application from SolarWinds that incorporates all their products.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is not that stable. As a Windows software, I have seen issues with SolarWinds. While it is very flexible, and you can do lots of things with the SolarWinds, the down side is that the product can be unusable. Also, sometimes, the performance is slow. In comparison, I have tested some Unix-based applications, which are very quick. However, SolarWinds is Windows-based, so we are seeing a lot of performance issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good.

How are customer service and technical support?

A number of times, I have contacted SolarWinds technical support. Depending the issue, sometimes they will just ask me for the diagnostic. However, if we call support for critical issues, we expect immediate solutions. However, sometimes in these cases, they still just ask us for the diagnostic report and tell us that they'll get back to us within 12 to 24 hours. But, if we are in the critical state, we need to answer to our management about what is happening. We cannot wait 24 hours. That is too much time for us. There are times that they do resolve issues quickly. Therefore, sometimes they are good, and sometimes they are bad.

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

We used to be on NetIQ, but were scaling very fast. This product was very scalable and flexible, which is why we went for it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, not complex.

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

The pricing needs to be improved. It is too high. One full engine costs around $10 000, which is why we don't have high availability right now.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are currently exploring New Relic as an alternative product. The Zoom monitoring issue is one of the reasons that we are looking at New Relic and willing to pay their higher price.

What other advice do I have?

The most important criteria when selecting a vendor are support and flexibility.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SM
Solutions Engineer at Mesiniaga
Real User
Single pane for monitoring is a valuable feature that has improved our organization

What is our primary use case?

Server and network monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

Single pane for monitoring Scalable Creates new business opportunities.

What is most valuable?

Monitoring.

What needs improvement?

More MIBs.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

Server and network monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Single pane for monitoring
  • Scalable
  • Creates new business opportunities.

What is most valuable?

Monitoring.

What needs improvement?

More MIBs.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JF
Manager of Network Services with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Dashboards are very useful but it should have better integration with other solutions

What is our primary use case?

We use NPM to monitor our enterprise for up/down status on network devices.

How has it helped my organization?

We consolidated five different products into a series of applications which helps us monitor our production network.

What is most valuable?

Dashboards are very useful.

What needs improvement?

SolarWinds should have integrations back into products like ExtraHop, VIAVI, Riverbed, and NETSCOUT.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What is our primary use case?

We use NPM to monitor our enterprise for up/down status on network devices.

How has it helped my organization?

We consolidated five different products into a series of applications which helps us monitor our production network.

What is most valuable?

Dashboards are very useful.

What needs improvement?

SolarWinds should have integrations back into products like ExtraHop, VIAVI, Riverbed, and NETSCOUT.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Don Abel, CISSP, CISA, CRISC
IT Director at Pattillo, Brown & Hill
Real User
Performance history is a valuable feature but it randomly reports falsely that devices are down

What is our primary use case?

We monitor five firewalls and five switch stacks in five offices. We also monitor around 30 servers that are both physical and virtual. Most of them run Windows Server 2016.

How has it helped my organization?

The data available per device is particularly valuable when trying to determine what caused a problem.

What is most valuable?

  • Performance history is the most valuable feature, especially when tracking down a problem. 
  • Root cause analysis is very valuable to us.

What needs improvement?

Stability is an issue. We have installed SolarWinds (Server 2016) on a dedicated physical server and as a virtual machine in a brand new Hyper-V environment with brand new servers. We only monitor five firewalls and 30 servers. In both installation scenarios, SolarWinds randomly starts reporting falsely that devices are down. We have to bounce the server, and then it behaves for a while. SolarWinds support was no help. So, we are looking for a replacement.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Demetrio Chuasieng
Sr Network Administrator at a recruiting/HR firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
It is very flexible, and the reporting is quite nice.

Pros and Cons

  • "You can monitor performance counters effortlessly."
  • "It would be nice if SolarWinds could have a polling engine on the site that would collect the reporting and then manage everything itself."

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.
Ali Alkhamis
CISO with 201-500 employees
Real User
One of the best features is the reports feature. Consolidation of platforms would provide a smoother experience.

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the best features is the reports feature."
  • "Consolidation of platforms would provide a smoother experience."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is for default of the stability of the network track.

How has it helped my organization?

If we need to plan the network, or measure our network utilization, SolarWinds enables us to do so. 

What is most valuable?

One of the best features is the reports feature. We can get an editor's report for the last five minutes, fifteen minutes, hour, month, or more. And, the correlation data that we can get from the different resources of data from routing, routers, swtitches and samples is really a benefit.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to manage all network devces from just one single platform, instead of going to different platforms.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. For years we have not had a problem with scalability.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am looking at other solutions, to compare. For example, I am currently looking at ManageEngine OpManager. We also looked at Zabbix

What other advice do I have?

I would like to see this product becoming more flexible in the future. In addition, integration with other solutions would be helpful.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Technical Head at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Gives us a single console where we can see the entire network

Pros and Cons

  • "It gives us a map of the network setup and one console to see the entire network."
  • "A feature I would ask for is for them to have this solution available for Linux systems instead of Windows."

What is our primary use case?

We're using it for monitoring network uptime. We were testing it out for applications and for servers, but that didn't work for us. We wanted a different solution, an end-to-end type of monitoring. We wanted to see the end-user experience.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us a map of the network setup and one console to see the entire network.

What is most valuable?

The ability to be able to control the network equipment.

What needs improvement?

It would be helpful if they were tied up with one of the hardware vendors so we wouldn't have so much to set up. Another feature I would ask for is for them to have this solution available for Linux systems instead of Windows.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm part of the THWAK, a community that uses SolarWinds. They're okay. There are so many configurations there, although they didn't really apply to us.

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

We didn't have any network monitoring when I started with the company, and SolarWinds was already there.

My most important criteria when selecting a vendor is support, onsite.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward. You just install the application.

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

You have to license it per year, for the support. You don't really need to have support once you've already set it up. Once you install SolarWinds, you can skip on the licensing. It will still work.

What other advice do I have?

SolarWinds is pretty straightforward. If you're a startup, you want to stand up a solution quickly, then SolarWinds would be good for you because it doesn't have a big learning curve to implement it.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. They're pretty good but we really have pretty predominantly Cisco equipment, so Cisco would offer a better free view of the equipment right now.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PankajSoni
Sr. Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Top 20Leaderboard
No special training is required to use this product. Very simple to use and has rich GUI performance reports.​

What is most valuable?

Its GUI is very user-friendly. No special training is required to use this product. It is very simple to use and has rich GUI performance reports.

What needs improvement?

They should increase its accuracy rate as SolarWinds's monitoring accuracy is not good if you compare it with other tools, like NNM/ScienceLogic/Zenoss.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the following versions of SolarWinds: NPM, SAM, NTA, and IPAM for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SolarWinds tools are very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues in the tools. 

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

It is fully depends on the costing, customer, and architect.

How was the initial setup?

It is straightforward.

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

It fully depends on what the customer wants.

What other advice do I have?

Before choosing a product, I would want to evaluate it and check all requirements. Then before implementation, clear all the customer requirements accordingly. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
A.J. DiLorenzo
Senior Systems Administrator at Privia Health
Real User
It's nice that out of the box it includes customizable dashboards, alerting, reporting, and Active Directory integration. ​

Pros and Cons

  • "I believe the ease of setup and use, including everything, from the initial installation to the discovery of devices is the most valuable."
  • "The SolarWinds notification and alerting configuration could be simplified as it would be easier to find if it was within the NPM web application instead of in a separate client application."

What is most valuable?

I believe the ease of setup and use, including everything, from the initial installation to the discovery of devices is the most valuable. The advanced alerting and notifications capabilities are helpful as well. Devices can be discovered automatically on a schedule, and grouped by vendor automatically, which makes it very easy to track down devices. The customizable dashboards and reporting are flexible and tend to come in handy as well.

How has it helped my organization?

SolarWinds NPM allowed the IT department to take a more proactive approach to troubleshooting, and gaining insights on device availability. We were able to use the integration with Storage Manager and Virtualization Manager to gain valuable insight into our storage and virtualization environments. We were able to readily pull reports on device availability, and other metrics, to provide to our senior management staff and external security auditors.

What needs improvement?

The SolarWinds notification and alerting configuration could be simplified as it would be easier to find if it was within the NPM web application instead of in a separate client application. The SolarWinds Orion/NPM installation comes with a few Windows client application “add-ons” that would be better served if they were built into the SolarWinds NPM web application. Another area for improvement would be better integration between Solarwinds NPM and Solarwinds NCM as it seems that Solarwinds NCM installs a separate version of NPM/Orion console.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used this product for a little over two years in two different companies. I implemented the product for the first organization I was with to gain visibility and performance monitoring for the network and servers within our data center.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes, there can be issues with deployment if you try to install/uninstall or re-install under different account types (i.e. Local Administrator vs. Domain Administrator). I would recommend sticking to one or the other and you won’t run into any problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never had an issue with stability or performance. I recommend following the SolarWinds documentation (which is very detailed) and you can be assured not to encounter a single issue in regards to stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We setup a standalone instance of SolarWinds NPM. However, SolarWinds NPM offers a couple of different HA architectures that will allow you to scale locally (within the same data center) or globally (across multiple data centers in different geographic locations).

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

The customer service experience was always top notch and I don’t recall ever having a bad experience. The customer support staff were friendly, courteous and always there to help you out. It was also very easy to get in touch with a technical support engineer, all who seemed very knowledgeable, within just a couple of minutes or less.

Technical Support:

SolarWinds technical support was one of the best support departments I’ve ever dealt with. All of the technicians were very knowledgeable and technically capable. Also, when you call into their technical support number, you don’t have to jump through multiple departments to get to a technician, which is very nice and not the same with other vendors.

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

No, SolarWinds NPM was the first network/server monitoring product that was brought into the organization. Other network monitoring products were researched, but didn't have the feature set, didn't seem as easy to use or as robust as Solarwinds NPM.

How was the initial setup?

It was very straightforward, as you basically just have to start up a Windows Server, and click through the SolarWinds NPM installation wizard before you are ready to configure. You can configure most of the basic settings using the installation wizard (i.e. the database storage location).

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it using an in-house team. It should not be necessary to use a third-party team unless you are performing a massive roll (5000+ endpoints) out across multiple sites.

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

I believe the original setup cost was around $3500 with an annual cost of around $1200-$1500 to renew the support license. This would bring the average day-to-day cost of around $5-$6 over three years.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated ManageEngine OpManager and AdRem NetCrunch before deciding to purchase SolarWinds NPM in conjunction with the SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) module.

What other advice do I have?

If you’re looking to get a lot more insight and visibility into your network devices, servers, applications, and other devices, along with real-time alert notifications, SolarWinds NPM should be towards the top of your list. You will be able to view devices by type or by location and poll all sorts of different data using SNMP or WMI or other methods. Out of the box, you will also receive customizable dashboards, alerting, reporting, and Active Directory integration.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
ENTERPRISE NETWORK : Team Leader: ICT Events Monitoring at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Helps Administrators To Identify And Fix Bandwidth Issues Faster

What is most valuable?

  • It is centralized with a dashboard.
  • Global network device availability
  • Availability alerts via emails and dashboard
  • Alerts you when an IP conflict occurs
  • Identifies the culprit by MAC address, device type, switch port, and Wi-Fi SSID
  • Isolates the offender using a remote port shutdown
  • Provides a centralized view on alerts, state, health and performance of the network devices.
  • Real time network updates and easy to use
  • Monitors packet loss, response time, and performance of devices
  • In-depth traffic reports to pinpoint bandwidth issues before it affects end-users.
  • Helps administrators to identify and fix bandwidth issues faster.
  • Aids in capacity planning
  • Auto discovery of devices

How has it helped my organization?

The old version was a proprietary system, had limited device visibility, no centralized SysLog, SNMP v2, had per campus monitoring system, no Wi-Fi visibility, and had limited licenses compared to the new version, which is multi-vendor, has a customized dashboard, centralized SysLog, SNMP v3, Centralized Monitoring System, Wi-Fi visibility, and Enterprise Licensing.

What needs improvement?

We need to investigate technology changes everyday.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since 2014.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Always stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

100%. It shows all incidents.

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

Yes. We still use those as backup: SCOM and Omnivista.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward, no training needed.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we did: PRTG and Observer.

What other advice do I have?

The free trial is there to test the product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
CEO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Provides instant visibility to our support team across all the networks we monitor.

What is most valuable?

Interactive network map dashboard. 

How has it helped my organization?

Provides instant visibility to our support team across all the networks we monitor, allowing us to zero in on the most urgent issues and easily identify root causes of problems. 

For how long have I used the solution?

7 years. 

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some issues when trying to monitor multiple networks with the same IP ranges. The solution for this is to purchase additional modules.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward, but this is s big system, ans we've spent years customising and tailoring…

What is most valuable?

Interactive network map dashboard. 

How has it helped my organization?

Provides instant visibility to our support team across all the networks we monitor, allowing us to zero in on the most urgent issues and easily identify root causes of problems. 

For how long have I used the solution?

7 years. 

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some issues when trying to monitor multiple networks with the same IP ranges. The solution for this is to purchase additional modules.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward, but this is s big system, ans we've spent years customising and tailoring the software to work the way we like it. 

What was our ROI?

Significantly reduced support costs, and faster response times when there is an issue. 

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

Its not the cheapest on the market, but its certainly among the best. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user616932
Network Engineer at a educational organization
Vendor
With this solution technicians are aware of issues and almost always exactly what caused the issue.

What is most valuable?

The ability to monitor multiple devices using SNMP v3 and HP Procurve SFlow as well as multiple setups for different technicians.

We only use SNMP v3 and all of our devices are HP. Not every technician needs to see everything or have control of everything.

How has it helped my organization?

Technicians are aware of issues and 90% of the time exactly what caused the issue. Repairs can be scheduled ahead of time and RMA’s can be filed without the technician having to drive to the site only to find out it is a bad power supply or fan in a switch or server.

What needs improvement?

The speed needs improving. If you have a very large network and are monitoring a lot of devices the dashboard responds slower.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for almost four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had some stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had some scalability issues. The cost for monitoring interfaces is ridiculous.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is not exactly the fastest. You create a ticket in the morning and probably get a response by e-mail from the actual technician the following day.

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

We were using Intermapper previously.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward.

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

The pricing for monitoring large amounts of equipment is not bad but when you want to monitor the actual interfaces of those devices the cost goes up.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not look at any alternatives. This was a government project and only one company responded to their request.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have several servers. You must have the actual platform on a separate server from the database. You will need a separate database server for each module you activate such as flows. There is a very big footprint.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Lead Network Engineer/Business Developer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
SolarWinds NPM is a Top Notch IT tool

Pros and Cons

  • "I love the GUI. Almost everything is accessible through the web interface. It is very user-friendly. It is easy to drag and drop resources wherever you want them."
  • "The reporting is good, but I want it to be a little easier when creating custom reports. The reports are all on the website now, but it takes some know how to get some to display the way you would like."

What is most valuable?

I love the GUI. Almost everything is accessible through the web interface. It is very user-friendly. It is easy to drag and drop resources wherever you want them.

NPM also includes additional features that come in handy, such as a web SSH console, SYSLOG and trap collectors, and Wireless Heat Maps.

A new feature has now been included called NetPath. This allows you to see the status of a path all the way to an endpoint, even through the internet. This is awesome!

I like having the ability to add custom pollers for anything.

I also like how SolarWinds is integrating all of their products together so you don't have to go different places to get to each monitoring solution.

HA was also added, but there is still a little way to go with that.

How has it helped my organization?

I have been able to customize so many things using SolarWinds. I have set up baseline configurations and quickly remediated devices against them. I am using the SYSLOG and trap functions for my non-priority devices. I have NetPath set up to cloud services, so that I know who is at fault when something is down, such as a website, email services, and SaaS.

SolarWinds has also allowed us to be proactive, because now we can spot issues before the user tells us.

What needs improvement?

I think there needs to be more granularity in the permission sets in almost all of the SolarWinds products. I want to be able to specify almost everything that a specific user group can do. I am being a little picky with this, as there are some permissions that can be set. I just want more.

The reporting is good, but I want it to be a little easier when creating custom reports. The reports are all on the website now, but it takes some know how to get some to display the way you would like.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SolarWinds products since the implementation of the Engineer's Toolset in one of my environments in 2004.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The latest release was the smoothest deployment I have ever done. I have now installed NPM 12.0.1 in 6 different environments and all went very well.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The only times I have had issues with stability have been when I did not apply adequate resources. There is no real all-inclusive recommendation to go by. You really need an experienced consultant to look at your specific environment to spec out what would work best for you. If you don't, you will probably have issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have NOT encountered any scalability issues. I have always speced out at least double of what was required at that time. This has allowed me to add more and more to the SolarWinds architecture. SolarWinds does scale very easily with additional pollers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service has gotten a lot better. They recently revamped that area.

Technical Support:

Some tickets take longer than I would like to get resolved, but compared to other vendors, it is very good. I usually have a major fix done in a few days. Minor things are fixed the same day. Then there is always the Thwack community that can be used to find answers to almost anything. I use that way more than tech support.

The techs in tech support are very knowledgeable. I have almost always had good experiences with them.

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

I have used numerous other products to do some of the same functions. I have used WhatsUp Gold, LogicMonitor, HPE OpenView, CiscoWorks, LMS, Spiceworks, PRTG, ManageEngine OpManager, Splunk, CA Spectrum, Zenoss Service Dynamics, etc. Nothing really compares to the cost-effectiveness that SolarWinds gives you. Their cost structure and customization ability is what sways me to SolarWinds. There are some areas that are done better in other products but overall, SolarWinds is better.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward, as long as all of your devices are set up properly to talk to SolarWinds. However, it does get complex when you start configuring customizations for your environment. You have that with any product. The great thing is that SolarWinds ALLOWS you to customize.

What about the implementation team?

I did implementation in-house, but I am not an average user. I have been using this product in various places for years. I would recommend a SolarWinds consultant to get the most out of the product.

What was our ROI?

I feel that you see your ROI in the first month. SolarWinds gives you a place to look to find your problems. It eliminates a lot of the guessing when troubleshooting. It gives you historic and real-time data. Alerts are your friend and you get alerted BEFORE the user calls to complain.

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

The price points are more than competitive when compared to other vendors. You get so much more for, in most cases, so much less. You can buy the level of license that you need and upgrade very easily when you need to. The support is also included for 1 year after you purchase the license, even when upgrading. Maintenance costs after that are pretty normal, at around 20% of the cost of the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing, I did an extensive evaluation against 9 other products. Most are listed elsewhere in this review. This was by far the most cost-effective solution that met all of our monitoring needs.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have a very good machine for your database server. It will most likely use the most resources. As you add more modules, the database will grow and there will be more transactions being written with each module. You want to use RAID 10.

Ensure you have the correct resources allocated to the SolarWinds server, as well. When you spec out your machines, double that for growth. Once you start using SolarWinds, you will want to invest in other modules.

Also, you should really get a SolarWinds consultant a least for your initial install. SolarWinds is great out-of-the-box, but you really need some expertise to get the most out of it for your environment. SolarWinds is a great product that can do a lot. Customization is almost limitless.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Engineer, Infrastructure Applications at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
With an easy-to-use interface for both admins and users, we use it to provide infrastructure monitoring services.

Pros and Cons

  • "The SolarWinds NPM framework, upon which most of their flagship products are built, empowers a wide variety of admins and users to quickly find value in their installed products."
  • "Real-time analytics is the major weakness of the SolarWinds NPM platform today. They've done a fantastic job enabling the collection of data. Users are now demanding the ability to generate their own graphs, views, and so on; all of this must be done by an admin today."

What is most valuable?

An easy-to-use interface for both admins and users is key. Adoption of any product can be constrained by a UI that is neither intuitive nor visually engaging. The SolarWinds NPM framework, upon which most of their flagship products are built, empowers a wide variety of admins and users to quickly find value in their installed products.

How has it helped my organization?

We used a monitoring platform from an enterprise vendor that was so complex to manage that we struggled even to deliver the base infrastructure monitoring services. This is not a unique position as many IT departments manage by the mantra of "Nobody was ever fired for recommending [insert enterprise vendor here]".

In a few short years, SolarWinds has empowered us to provide robust infrastructure monitoring, including a converged view of our servers, both the physical and virtual servers, and the storage and application environments.

What needs improvement?

  • Real-time analytics is the major weakness of the SolarWinds NPM platform today. They've done a fantastic job enabling the collection of data. Users are now demanding the ability to generate their own graphs, views, and so on; all of this must be done by an admin today.
  • Scaling to the enterprise level is also an issue. SolarWinds NPM officially supports up to 100K elements (the number is unofficially about 50% higher), but enterprise customers could scale beyond that limit. However, this would only be applicable to environments with extensive interface monitoring requirements (where every interface is an element) or there is a node count > 10,000. SolarWinds is committed to growing that threshold in the near future, but no official announcements have been made.
  • Enterprise customers would also like to see high-availability and fault-tolerance. HA v1 was implemented in the latest release at an additional cost. FT has yet to hit the current release but is something we regularly discuss on the Thwack forums.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using various versions for the past 10 years.

We are currently using:

  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor 12.0.1
  • SolarWinds Server & Application Manager 6.3.0
  • Storage Resource Manager 6.3.0
  • Network Traffic Analyzer 4.2.1
  • Virtualization Manager 6.3.1.575

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Scalability and HA will impact larger customers. The current HA release requires the redundant nodes to be on the same VLAN. This limitation is being actively addressed in version 12.2 which is in beta testing as of the writing of this review.

Scalability is fit for most customers with capacity for over 10K devices (~100,000 elements). As with all applications running at scale designing your infrastructure is key. The published specs will need to be tuned for your environment at both the polling and database layer to push your implementation beyond 10K devices. (See notes below on scalability)

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Again, enterprise-scaled customers are probably the only ones to notice issues here and it usually happens post-upgrade. We process 4,000 transactions per second in our monitoring environment and that scale exacerbates any code inefficiencies or bugs. However, the platform is generally very stable and any issues are dealt with rapidly via tier 3 support and the development team.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SolarWinds NPM officially supports up to 100K elements (the number is unofficially about 50% higher), but enterprise customers could scale beyond that limit. However, this would only be applicable to environments with extensive interface monitoring requirements (every interface is an element) or a node count >10,000. SolarWinds is committed to growing that threshold in the near future, but no official announcements have been made.

Virtualization Manager can scale almost infinitely, but we found that it performed best, especially when integrated with the SolarWinds NPM framework, with more moderately sized vCenters rather than a fewer large vCenters.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is exceptional if not a little too communicative at times. SolarWinds does an exceptional job of engaging their customers.

Technical Support:

Technical support is currently the achilles heel of SolarWinds.

  • Non-critical issues can be handled through an extremely active and passionate user forum (at thwack.solarwinds.com), but actual technical support requires engaging their team via a case that can be opened from the support portal or by phone.
  • Every customer receives the same level of support regardless of their size, and there is no option to purchase 'advanced' support at this time. Enterprise customers will find this model challenging. This is mitigated by hiring experienced SolarWinds engineers, especially SolarWinds MVPs.

Developing an enterprise support model with measured and reported SLA and OLA targets should be at the top of the SolarWinds support model to do list.

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

In every case where I have used SolarWinds, I have displaced an enterprise platform from a larger software company including, but not limited to, IBM, HPE, NimSoft, and so on. I've also displaced segment competitors because of the aggressive pricing model from SolarWinds and their favorable cost-to-value ratio.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is as about as easy as they come. SolarWinds products are renown for being easy to install and configure, and for rapid time-to-value; but the devil is in the details.

As an experienced enterprise engineer, I often see inexperienced engineers jump into the product and start producing metrics that add value under the assumption that everything out-of-the-box adds value. This is not the case; and it is a weakness of the installation model. Customers can be lulled into a false sense of success by their rapid deployment and TTPP (time-to-pretty-pictures). Understanding the data is just as important, perhaps more important, than getting the data.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented through an in-house team but that team consisted of a lead engineer who is now a SolarWinds Head Geek. You can absolutely deploy this without professional services but depending on your timeline, objectives, and workload within your organization you may need to engage the services of a consultant. There are many freelance and corporate freelance options out there but be sure to ask around about their experience.

What was our ROI?

Reduced annual support costs by 75% year-over-year based on our prior solution.

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

The licensing model is such that you can purchase only what you need; and then grow into the next level by paying only the difference in price and the associated maintenance costs. The first year of maintenance is included in the initial purchase. This helps drive down the ROI in the first year. Subsequent years are a percentage of the retail cost. They are on par with similar service offerings from other companies.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered options from most major vendors. SolarWinds won out because of the low price-to-value ratio; and the immediate and long-term cost savings made by displacing other products.

What other advice do I have?

Avoid the urge to go quickly. Take the time to forecast your growth in the next 12-24 months and plan the infrastructure for that target. Always follow the size and scaling recommendations, especially for your database environment. Do not use RAID5 for your database as the transactional environment or SolarWinds Orion will overwhelm your storage environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user577329
Systems Management at a media company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The user interface is logical and standardised. Everything is customizable.

Pros and Cons

  • "It combines and presents information from many different sources, giving a corporate-wide vision on a single pane of glass."
  • "Time: A worldwide deployment can be confusing for dispersed users with non-local times. Each node should have a local time (with summer offset if appropriate) & each user should view & report in their local time."

What is most valuable?

It combines and presents information from many different sources, giving a corporate-wide vision on a single pane of glass. The user interface is logical and standardised; if you know one module, you know the others. Everything is customisable. Support techs are great.

How has it helped my organization?

It can be selectively focused. At one stage, it simply highlighted full boot volumes, and steadily increased to now analysing poorly performing web pages & SQL queries. It’s what you need it to be & when you need it to be that.

Server stability dramatically improved, additional bandwidth was purchased where needed, and ESX resource was clawed back to be re-assigned, so system performance was improved and new hardware purchases were postponed.

What needs improvement?

Time: A worldwide deployment can be confusing for dispersed users with non-local times. Each node should have a local time (with summer offset if appropriate) & each user should view & report in their local time. This means that the database must record metrics in Universal Time and that each node must be assigned an offset with user viewing based on their local time. It’s a significant re-write, but is essential to attract global customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using various modules since 2003. Right now, most modules are at the latest version including IP Address Manager 4.3, Network Traffic Analyser 4.1.1, Network Performance Monitor 11.5.2, Server and Application Manager 6.2.2, Network Configuration Manager 7.4, Web Performance Monitor 2.2.0, Voice and Network Quality Manager 4.2.2, User and Device Tracker 3.2.3 plus Virtualisation Manager v7, Additional Polling Engines, Additional Web Servers and the Engineers Toolset.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have only rarely encountered stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have only rarely encountered scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The quality of the support staff is exceptional and their dedication to improve the client’s installation is outstanding. The community site must be unique in the way that customers, SolarWinds engineers and SolarWinds managers interact.

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

I have been forced to use a variety of other products with other clients, but most have migrated to NPM after an evaluation. Simplicity in use, in administration & the ability to present anything that management or the business wants is a killer to other products.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was simple. Run an evaluation & win the team over, then procure the hardware/VMs/licences & follow the books.

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

SolarWinds used to make a big thing about “20% of the cost for 80% of the functionality”. I think that the cost has risen, but the functionality and versatility is way above other products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I regularly have to run gap analysis on other products, such as CA Spectrum, Nagios, Check_MK, OneSight, PRTG, and Munin, but NPM always wins. J

What other advice do I have?

Download and run the evaluation bundles on a spare server; it‘ll offer SQL Express.

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.
it_user669324
Enterprise Monitoring Consultant at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
The ability to pick and chose modules per need with integration once deployed is valuable.

What is most valuable?

The ability to pick and chose modules per need, but at the same time close and seamless integration once deployed: While everything is pretty complicated and fast moving, we do not want the monitoring and management software to be complicated. That is the reason the ease-of-deployment and ease-of-use is extremely valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

Proactive alerting helps prevent outages to meet our SLA, as well as in forecasting.

What needs improvement?

Some features are missing (which will be in any product out there) but there is a community that either provides workarounds or the ability to request the improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SolarWinds for nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For the most part, it is just like any product and is as stable as it could be. At the same time, it is just as vulnerable as the infrastructure it uses (server/VM, storage, network and database).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SolarWinds has come a long way to provide scalability. What initially used to be for small enterprises is now much more expandable and can accommodate larger enterprises. The implementation is easier by deploying additional polling engines (of course, with limits like in any other product).

How are customer service and technical support?

Other than some occasional delays getting hold of someone in the telephone queue, technical support is good for the most part.

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

We were using Big Brother, HostMonitor, OpManager and HPE OpenView. We migrated as a part of the initiative to consolidate the monitoring system into one platform.

How was the initial setup?

Installation is very straightforward; however, upgrades are a bit tedious (though not complex). It is complex only when you have a large platform of monitoring systems. For a small implementation, it is extremely simple.

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

The key is not to look at the current situation but consider future needs. It should be aligned with the infrastructure growth. Unless it is a really small environment, I always recommend to go with the unlimited license because the elements get used up quickly.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was using other products so I did not evaluate, per se. But I knew the difference between other products and SolarWinds.

What other advice do I have?

It requires absolute thorough and all-round details on the infrastructure and its future needs. Once the scale is identified, get the right licenses and underlying platform (physical vs virtual and quick storage).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user167895
Project Manager and consultant enterprise IT tooling at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Consultant
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.
it_user660639
Sr. IT Infrastructure Specialist at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Helps provide a central repository for network mapping.

What is most valuable?

At the time, we did not have a central repository for network mapping. This product help us with this and allowed us to drill down on the elements in the maps to get more detailed information.

How has it helped my organization?

It provided visibility into network performance, which at the time we really did not have.

What needs improvement?

Reporting: Generating reports could be improved.

NOTE: This is related to the version 9.5. I believe they are on version 12.1 and this may have been addressed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SolarWinds for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did have some issues with the stability of the database, but that was due to issues whereby nightly maintenance of the database was not running.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I had some performance issues but they were due to the need for addtional pollers.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is average. Sometimes it took days to get responses and the responses were via email.

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

I was using an open-source solution that was not scalable.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is very straightforward and easy to install.

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

For the price, I would purchase the unlimited version especially for medium-size companies.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at eHealth, CiscoWorks, and HPE OpenView.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you plan the implementation of the product; i.e., resources such as the number of pollers, add-on modules/product, etc.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network/NOC Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Offers the ability to use a few custom properties to manage multiple nodes and alerts.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to use a few custom properties to manage multiple nodes and alerts; thus, saving hardware resource usage.

How has it helped my organization?

Improved, more detailed service monitoring and reporting.

What needs improvement?

Dependencies: Created dependencies are not visible for management/editing by default until some tweaking is done. It would be better if this is enabled by default.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have not encountered any deployment issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to use a few custom properties to manage multiple nodes and alerts; thus, saving hardware resource usage.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Improved, more detailed service monitoring and reporting.

What needs improvement?

Dependencies: Created dependencies are not visible for management/editing by default until some tweaking is done. It would be better if this is enabled by default.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have not encountered any deployment issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is good.

Technical Support:

Technical support is very good.

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

We previously used a different solution. We switched for better, more detailed service reporting.

What about the implementation team?

A vendor team implemented it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user216372
Systems Engineer at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
High level of flexibility. Most valuable feature is the level of customization it provides.

Pros and Cons

  • "From web interfaces to custom monitors and alarms, this product has a high level of flexibility that can be molded to suit your business needs, regardless of the size of your organization."
  • "Better offline license management. I’ve had to get in touch with customer support several times simply to remove an expired license from our NPM servers."

What is most valuable?

In my opinion, one of the most valuable features of this product is the level of customization. From web interfaces to custom monitors and alarms, this product has a high level of flexibility that can be molded to suit your business needs, regardless of the size of your organization.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped to provide a user friendly interface for support to drill down and see where the issue lies and remediate issues quickly. We have other solutions that might have features NPM does not but the front end could look confusing to an inexperienced user. With NPM, we are able to fine-tune what the support accounts look like so users only see the things they need to do their jobs effectively.

What needs improvement?

Better offline license management. I’ve had to get in touch with customer support several times simply to remove an expired license from our NPM servers (which have no connection to the public internet). Also, if you add a new license and don’t remove the old one first, NPM will recognize only the expired one and ignore the new one, which prompts an additional call to support.

For how long have I used the solution?

Personally I have been actively using this product for a little over a year but our organization has been using NPM for many years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had some issues with getting failover polling engines working properly and were forced to abandon the effort. So we’re currently backing up data to a warehouse database but we currently don’t have any redundancy with our polling engines.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

On the whole, NPM is a very stable product. Occasionally, we might have a poller that stops communicating with the mother ship but usually a little bit of basic troubleshooting is able to resolve the issue with minimal downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is one of the strengths of NPM. As our infrastructure grows, NPM is able to grow organically to accommodate it. Scalability is as simple as spinning up another VM, installing the product, and ensuring connectivity to the primary instance of NPM.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service at SolarWinds is great. I have had several issues in the past and they were prompt, helpful, and were able to resolve these issues quickly. SolarWinds also cares about what their customers want from a network monitoring standpoint. Rather than release a new version and hope that this is what customers want, they hold regular sessions to show customers what they’re currently working on and can fine tune future releases of NPM based on the feedback.

Technical Support:

As a company, SolarWinds goes out of its way to put a human face to their technical support staff. The main way they’ve accomplished this is by creating a community out of their customer base. Using their forum, Thwack, customers are able to interact with SolarWinds staff from numerous departments, including from support, development and marketing. I’ve been a member a short while and I’ve already been blown away with how tight knit this forum can be.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. It’s installed via a wizard and walks you through the steps, installing the extras it needs to function along the way. Then, it’s just a matter of activating your license and configuring the front end web page to look the way you want it. Most of the complexity of the initial setup and configuration is from custom modifications done by us on the back end. We had to modify the database to get NPM to hook into our in-house alert management system. But, for other companies' environments where this level of customization is not needed, NPM has an excellent amount of alerting methods that work right out of the box.

What about the implementation team?

We do all of our NPM implementations using an in-house team. I am one of the engineers responsible for setting up new environments when new data centers come online. I’m not sure if SolarWinds has vendor teams available that can do this function but as I’ve stated, NPM is designed to be unboxed and up and running in an hour or less depending on how much customization is needed.

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

Due to the large size and scope of our organization, our cost of using this product is comparatively high. Excluding the costs of running VMs and physical blade servers, our licensing costs run around US$200,000/year for over 60 polling engines. Pricing differs if the NPM server is a primary or secondary polling engine and how many elements (nodes and interfaces) will need to be monitored by it (e.g. 250, 2000, or unlimited).

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others before implementing this, is to attend one of their webcasts to get a feel for what NPM can do for you. The presenters are technical people who understand the product well and can answer a wide range of questions. Secondly, I’d make an account on their forum, Thwack, so if you’re ever stumped on an issue, you can pose a question to the community and glean information from other NPM users or from one of SolarWinds’ resident “Head Geeks.” Lastly, from personal experience, I would make sure you’re on good working terms with your network engineers before considering implementation. Like any other network management tool, you will likely run into firewall or connectivity related issues when adding nodes and having a good network engineer on your side can really make a big difference .

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Abiodun Adebajo
Head, ATM Management at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Some of the valuable features are reporting and interface monitoring.

What is most valuable?

  • Reporting
  • Alerts
  • Network map view
  • Netpath
  • Interface monitoring

How has it helped my organization?

With reporting, we are able to spool ISP WAN links availability for the month and make necessary deductions based on the service level agreement we signed with the service providers.

Alerts have also helped us to improve network performance, keeping everyone on their toes in resolving downtime before it is escalated.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see continuous improvement on the reporting and graphical views of customized portals.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We encountered an inability to display graphical views of some customized reports.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 8/10.

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

We previously used WhatsUp Gold.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward if you follow the OEM administrative guides and the server specifications and deployment.

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

Pricing is quite competitive. Licensing should be based on projected organizational growth.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated WhatsUp Gold and Entuity Network Management solutions.

What other advice do I have?

Anyone planning to implement NPM or other SolarWinds products should download the evaluation versions which give you a 30-day, free trial. This will help you make an informed decision. This should also be evaluated with other network monitoring solutions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user651858
Network Systems Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
I can monitor server performance. This tool lets us know when a site is about to go down, before it does so.

Pros and Cons

  • "With just three modules, I can monitor server performance (whether it’s a VM, in the cloud, or an on-premises server."
  • "If they’re going for a “cover everything” approach, then they need to do so and enable a bit more of the "cover everything approach" within every one of the tools."

What is most valuable?

I find there to be three areas in which this suite provides significant value.

It integrates well as an ‘everything’ tool. We all understand the concept of “jack of all trades, master of none”, but SolarWinds tends to cover 80-95% of everything across every module they have. This means that if I have vendor A for product A and vendor B for product B, there’s a pretty good chance they can integrate it with the rest of their suite.

For example, they have a network monitoring (NPM) core module that integrates with SAM (Server and Application Monitor) and NTA (Netflow Traffic Analyzer). This gives you a very good first view of an environment. It’s very analogous to SCOM in how complete it is with Microsoft products, but with none of the limitations. For example, SCOM doesn’t handle network equipment very well.

With just three modules, I can monitor server performance (whether it’s a VM, in the cloud, or an on-premises server. They can all:

  • Be monitored as if they are on-premise
  • Handle syslogs/traps/logs
  • Monitor most applications out-of-the-box with a lot of flexibility
  • See who sends traffic to whom via NTA.

All of this tends to display on a single page for each node that I choose to monitor. Every tool tends to build on one another and SolarWinds does tend to highlight where the tools integrate and how.

With staff that has some technical knowledge, this tool is pretty intuitive out-of-the-box. Getting people to look at it may be one thing, but getting those that are at least at a helpdesk level of knowledge serves to take them very little time to orient, if the tool is set up properly.

They have a THWACK support forum that is incredibly useful. I remember the days of trying to search for Microsoft problems and running into support forum posts that range from "useless" to “actually something that would harm your environment” with an extremely high noise ratio.

With THWACK, the developers will often reply directly in the forums with helpful replies. The community is also extremely helpful and fairly loyal. I’d consider it to be more like how I imagine that the Splunk community functions.

How has it helped my organization?

In a more recent example, we rely on this tool to let us know when a site is about to go down, before it does so.

We do this by monitoring when interfaces drop (multiple connections to a site) or when interfaces have received errors. Both typically occur before a site goes down entirely. It has helped us a ton to actually be proactive and not simply wait for customers to call.

What needs improvement?

I feel there are two areas of improvement. One of which SolarWinds employees will probably roll their eyes about and the other one that maybe they didn’t realize:

  • If they’re going for a “cover everything” approach, then they need to do so and enable a bit more of the "cover everything approach" within every one of the tools.
  • For example, if you don’t have the storage module, you won’t be able to even do the basic monitoring (interface, memory, CPU, etc.) for a NetApp device that you can do for other device types that are covered in other modules. Install SRM and suddenly it works, like magic!
  • I’m OK with the concept of “you have to pay for the storage monitoring if you want to do storage monitoring”, but this becomes an issue in certain areas depending on what modules you license. This is also something that people may run into the hard way if they didn’t realize that this was the case.
  • Some of the older components are in need of updating, which is something they’re focusing on more and more. But there are some areas where new tools work this way and old tools work that way. Some of these have gone away little by little, like classic report writer (which was on the server itself requiring RDP) and the old “advanced alert manager” which required the same. In today’s environment, having to RDP to the server just to do things that you’d do on the front end doesn’t quite make sense. There are some that still exist, though they are lacking some modern features.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SolarWinds for almost five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are a few things to watch out for regarding stability. All of them are basic administration issues. For example:

  • Do run configuration wizard after EVERY single module update
  • Do not give every user of the tool view rights and report rights, etc., where people are going to be messing with everyone else’s views and reports (or creating reports that kill the DB).
  • Do create custom views so that people aren’t seeing everything and stressing the web client, etc.

In older module versions, there were issues where upgrading from module version A to module version B could sometimes carry over old things that had a performance impact on the app servers themselves. But these days, you can blow away the install and do a clean one to fix that.

On new installs, as of the latest few releases, they upgrade everything for you and/or have smart installers to make this significantly easier.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is something that isn’t quite straightforward for new admins. But, you can either:

  • Install an additional poling engine on a second server for more scalability
  • Install an additional polling engine on the PRIMARY app server for more scalability (stacking)

How are customer service and technical support?

I rate technical support everywhere from poor to great. Lately, it’s been getting better and better. But in the past, it was very hit or miss.

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

I’ve used SCOM and CA before. We switched off of both because they were awful. CA cost a boatload and had a very limited feature set.

SCOM requires too many people to be dedicated to SCOM to be of actual use.

Plus, the aforementioned scope limitations and the requirement of having to go through *every* monitoring pack with every affected group in detail, takes up way too much time.

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation is super simple. Pretty much you install SQL on one server, the app on another, and then you’re done.

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

I’d suggest that people be aware that licensing has tiers. Sales will negotiate on new product purchases as well as upgrades. Also, remember you can always run a 30 day trial of any tool you want to consider without committing any money.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We’ve evaluated PRTG, CA, SCOM, and Splunk.

What other advice do I have?

It’s a super easy tool to use, but you need to make sure you have a plan for what you want to do with it.

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.
ITCS user
Senior Network Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We can see what is consuming bandwidth and relate it back to a specific user or device.

What is most valuable?

  • How easy it is to get good metrics out of it.
  • How extensible it is.
  • There are many different ways to customize it to fit your environment.

Compared to many products, SolarWinds is very simple to use. When you add a node in NPM, it is easy to get it to start monitoring everything it supports and you very quickly see the results of this in the graphs and such. When you want to get some special things out of a box, let's say the number of connections on a ASA firewall, you can very easily add a UnDP, add it as a graph to your screen, and see the results right away. This is a real-world example, because the company I worked with was having Internet problems with our main firewalls due to maxing out the number of connections going through the box. Having it graphically presented makes it easy, though.

That was one way of customizing it, via UnDPs. Another, that I did a bunch of at my previous job, and ended up making generic versions of and posting on THWACK, is the ability to add new resources. Any given page within NPM can be customized by clicking "Customize" and you can add quite a few prepackaged resources to a page or change their order around to better fit you. You might even want to delete some. But, if you get to be a SW geek like myself, you start realizing that SW doesn't always display every bit of info that it has by browsing through the SQL tables and seeing what’s there. Nowadays, you can do this either directly with SQL, or via SWQL, which is a bastardized SQL that has pre-built relationships between the tables set up in a way that is very easy to leverage without complex joins and such in SQL. From that, you can do some very simple to very complex things.

An example of a simple thing I did, was I built a "CDP Neighbor" resource, which, if you click on the Node Details page, it tells you what devices are directly connected to it via the CDP protocol. Plus, SolarWinds made it simple for me to link to those nodes and you can basically traverse from node to node within SolarWinds looking at stuff.

How has it helped my organization?

Before NPM, we had to spend quite a bit of time using freeware tools, because there wasn't anything that offered the features we needed at a price point we were willing to pay. Most were far too expensive. Because of this, we only monitored some key devices and links. With SolarWinds, it’s easy to monitor everything and, with a little setup, everyone can help out. NTA brought things up a notch. Rather than seeing there was too much bandwidth being used and trying to guess what it was through diagnostics on the device and guesswork, we can see what is consuming all the bandwidth and easily relate it back to a specific user or device.

What needs improvement?

The module UIs can have different features based on what module you're in. I'd love to see feature parity between them. Selecting nodes, for instance. In NPM, you can use one criteria for grouping, while in NCM, you can group in multiple levels.

More granular permissions! I'd like to see a role-based system where you can granularly apply permissions for administrative tasks and be able to assign these roles to people. Just because you need to edit a node doesn't mean you should have full admin permissions!

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability depends on the module/version. In general, it is very stable if you wait a bit before upgrading to the latest version and let some patches come out. There has been a problem in NCM when you deploy compliance remediation jobs to a large number of nodes that use config blocks that has persisted through a couple updates. But this is a pretty advanced feature.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven’t had scalability problems so far. The different jobs I've been in have had very different environments in terms of scale and this solution works at any level.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. It might take a bit of time for initial contact, if you don't classify the severity high enough and don't call them. But a phone call will always rectify that.

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

At the different jobs I’ve had, it was a mishmash of different freeware tools and things like CiscoWorks/Prime or WhatsUp Gold.

How was the initial setup?

Basic setup is a breeze for most folks!

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

In general, pricing is pretty good. Although, the jobs I've been at have usually had unlimited licenses. I have heard some people have issues with the pricing and licensing of another module (SAM).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated WhatsUp Gold and Cisco brand tools.

What other advice do I have?

Download a demo and have fun! It’s easy to use and gives great outcomes.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user579462
Networks Manager at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The product's simplicity is valuable, maintenance is low, and it is customizable.

What is most valuable?

The simplicity of this product is a valuable feature; everything you need is easily accessible and the maintenance is low. In addition, it is customizable which makes it possible to do anything you want with little work.

How has it helped my organization?

NPM gets information out fast, so troubleshooting time is reduced.

What needs improvement?

I enjoy their latest revamp of the alerting feature. However, I still think there is a little more that can be done there.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product for around 12 years.

We are currently using:

  • Orion Platform 2016.2.100
  • WPM 2.2.1
  • NCM 7.5.1
  • NPM 12.0.1
  • DPA 10.2.0
  • QoE 2.2.0
  • IVIM 2.1.2
  • SAM 6.3.0
  • NetPath 1.0.1

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have encountered issues only with the Microsoft OS that it lays on.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

NPM has scaled in pace with my business.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give their technical support a 7/10 rating.

As their customer base has increased, they have been walking through more basic troubleshooting. Thus, it takes longer to get through the basic checklists of questions that I have no doubt solve many of the other issues experienced by their customers and may not even be related to their product.

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

Initially, we used a home-grown solution. Since it was not scaling/developing with the rate of technology, we moved onto this product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was simple. I have also used Whatsup Gold and open-source Nagios; they were either too simplistic or too difficult to get actionable data.

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

The only thing I don’t like is that NTA license size is tied to NPM’s license size, since my organization's need for NTA is lower than our need for NPM.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at other solutions, namely WhatsUp Gold, TNT software and Nagios.

What other advice do I have?

Keep your imagination open and keep looking around Thwack; there are lots of great ideas in there.

It is an awesome production, I just haven’t found a way to do all my work yet.

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.
RH
Sr. Systems Administrator at a engineering company
Real User
Delivers valuable out-of-the-box reporting, GUI customization, and integration with other SolarWinds modules.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are ease of implementation, strong out-of-the-box reporting, and the ability to customize the GUI.

From a platform standpoint, the integration of NPM with the other SolarWinds modules is very strong, seamless, and valuable in presenting a single pane of glass for network, application, and database performance and availability.

We're a small enough company that it would be difficult for a single person, or even a small team, to attempt to tie data together from different software products in the way that SolarWinds does.

How has it helped my organization?

We no longer have to ask questions about who is using bandwidth/CPU, what application is driving that usage, and how our databases perform as a result of that usage. We have completely eliminated any blind spots in the operation of our core networks, applications, and platforms.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see stronger integration with SolarWinds LEM. This would be a nice-to-have integration at this point. This is really the only product with which it is not integrated.

When one looks at the entire suite of SolarWinds products, what we've seen
over the past several years is an ongoing theme of integration - as
modules like SAM, NCM, IPAM, VMAN, DPA, and others benefit full integration
into the base NPM product - allowing a user to leverage
application/database-specific performance metrics into views, reports, and
alerts.

When I say that LEM would be a nice addition, that's precisely what I mean is
- right now, there is no method for view integration, correlation, or cross-platform data sharing between the LEM appliance and our NPM
installation.

In other words, say I'm looking at the Node Details view on one of my domain controllers. It would be excellent to have one of the
widgets in that node details page pull in the last XX events LEM has on
the node in question.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used NPM since 2004 and have leveraged it at multiple workplaces since.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any stability issues. It's been a predictably solid platform across software revisions, even with the jump from 11.x to 12.x. That upgrade also included a complete graphical update for the console.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any scalability issues. We're monitoring thousands of elements across three continents with one poller and we have had no scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 7 out of 10. When I get on the phone with a support engineer, I'm usually impressed with their level of knowledge in providing a timely resolution to customer issues. The secret is to get on the phone first if you need something solved the same day.

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

I've used HPE OpenView and PRTG in the past. My reason for switching was a combination of ease of use, customizability, and integration between network/application/DB monitoring and measurement.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward almost to a fault. If you can follow directions, you can set this platform up in a day and start getting usable information.

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

It's not as cheap as some solutions, but the value you get is excellent. Licensing increases are largely painless and are easy to accomplish.

What other advice do I have?

Identify the business/organizational problems you're looking to solve. Build your graphs and reports with an eye toward those problems. This creates business value almost immediately.

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.
ITCS user
Sr. Network Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Provides SNMP monitoring of servers, CPU utilization, as well as memory and disk-space utilization.

What is most valuable?

The valuable features are SNMP monitoring of servers, CPU utilization, as well as memory and disk-space utilization.

Without NPM monitoring, we would be in a world of hurt and constantly responding to outages and unexpected downtime. NPM allows us to be proactive and fix things before they cause downtime.

How has it helped my organization?

On a fairly regular basis, we have servers whose disk drives begin to run low on available space. NPM alerts us when disk space is getting low. We are then able to free up space or add additional storage to avoid a problem that would be caused by running out of available space on the disk.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see NPM become better able to create dependencies automatically so that we won’t receive alerts for all devices.

For instance, if the power goes out at one of our locations, it would be nice if we could receive a summary alert. The alert could describe the possible causes of a power outage because NPM ‘saw’ our UPS at the site go into battery mode and then eventually it ran out of power. Intelligence like this would be a HUGE addition to an already great product.

I can’t really think of any else. SolarWinds is constantly improving and updating the product and we LOVE every aspect of it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have never experienced any stability issues with NPM.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did hit the maximum number of resources for a single poller. However, all we had to do was purchase an additional poller to scale out NPM to support our growing environment.

How is customer service and technical support?

I would rate technical support as top notch.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is simple and straightforward. It walks you through everything that needs to happen and is very clear and easy.

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

SolarWinds is a bargain for the price. You can spend a LOT more on “more sophisticated” monitoring systems, but all you really get is added complexity and an inferior product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before this solution, we evaluated IBM Tivoli and WhatsUp Gold.

What other advice do I have?

Go online, download a free trial, and give it a spin for yourself before buying.

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.
it_user579453
Systems Administrator at a tech services company
Consultant
Easy to deploy, and we are able to respond to problems before the customer is aware of them.

What is most valuable?

One of the main features is ease of deployment. Adding new devices only takes a few minutes. This allows me to do my other duties.

How has it helped my organization?

We are now able to respond to problems before the customer is even aware of them. As an example, our VPN router had a memory leak which was going to start causing performance problems. We were able to get ahead of the complaints by restarting the device. We didn’t need to wait for a complaint from a remote worker.

What needs improvement?

NPM comes with a tool called Network Atlas. Currently, it can only link switches to switches and only if all the corresponding ports are monitored. I would like it to figure out next-hop devices, which other tools like NetBrain can do.

I would also like to see better mapping of devices and how they connect to one another.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven’t had any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven’t had any issues with scalability. There is plenty of documentation available to help with it.

How are customer service and technical support?

SolarWinds has a community called Thwack. That is where I get most of my help. I would give it the highest rating.

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

Before this solution, we used Spiceworks. SolarWinds had the nicest single-pane-of-glass monitoring solution, so we decided to go that route.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the installation. After discovery, you select what you want to monitor.

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

Licenses go quickly. Each interface is a license.

What other advice do I have?

Have a goal in mind. Prioritize your monitoring goals in terms of alerting, reporting, and dashboards. Then you can focus on completing those areas in order of importance.

The product is always being expanded and additional features are constantly being added.

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.
it_user578784
SolarWinds SME at a tech services company
Consultant
NetPath Services show the end-to-end view of the path for accuracy and availability. That provides me with the data to visualize an issue in the network.

What is most valuable?

It is hard to identify a single feature for each product as the three products function as a chorus to help me manage our IT throughout the enterprise. Nonetheless, here are the valuable features of each product.

NPM 12.0

The most helpful feature with in NPM is the NetPath Services. Having the ability to view the end-to-end view of the path for accuracy and availability provides me with the data to visualize an issue in the network.

NCM 7.5

With NCM, I am able to track the accuracy and changes to my networking devices to make sure configuration integrity is adhered to.

SAM 6.3

With the SAM application, the Application Health Overview feature lets me know that my production traffic is running as expected.

Having all 3 products tied together gives me the data I need to accurately pinpoint a problem within moments, instead of collating data from various applications and servers. The difference is five minutes with SolarWinds, compared to two hours without SolarWinds.

How has it helped my organization?

These three products have provided us with the information we need through a single interface to identify issues from server to network to remote site. They provide us with the intel we need to make better decisions on improving our network while reducing costs through under-utilized paths.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more information on design, customization from the community, and a better certification department.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SolarWinds products since 2000.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Once I installed it as a high performance server, there were no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Once I got my pollers deployed to different areas of the globe, the system functioned better.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good, but I got faster answers from the community pages.

How was the initial setup?

The SolarWinds setup is wizard based and walks you through each step. It will identify shortcomings with your system resources, but it could use a little more work. It would be helpful if the system would identify and configure based on a solution type, such as large (with pollers), medium (different buildings), or small campus.

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

Start with the three products and your licensing needs, and then increase capacity as you grow.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest the following:

  1. Install the product with default settings
  2. Build the database
  3. Reinstall based on the needs and requirements of your deployment
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.
it_user577878
SolarWinds Expert (Consultant) at a tech services company
Real User
It provides SNMP monitoring and I like the web interface.

What is most valuable?

The two most important features are SNMP monitoring capabilities and the beautiful web interface. SNMP is all about being able to access devices, it's a must have, and every monitoring tool will have these features. Not all monitoring tools will have a beautiful graphical user interface that includes charts and graphs and reports. It's very, very easy to read and work with. This is important because we are all humans, and we want nice things. We want nice gadgets and the people who are actually using SolarWinds are engineers. They are all humans, as well, so they want nice things.

It may sound trivial and pathetic, but it's really important. One tool can do a hundred times better than the other, but if the presentation layer lacks this beauty, then people just won't use it. They will be lost and they won't use it and they won't appreciate the complete power of the tool. The elegance and the way it's implemented is very important. It's very, very important from the elegance perspective alone, not just from a usability perspective.

How has it helped my organization?

There are multiple examples of how SolarWinds improves how the company functions. The most obvious is that the engineers are much more willing to keep an eye on network health and to work with the dashboards. That leads to faster resolution of problems and better communication between the teams. Instead of explaining and spending a lot of time, they can simply send the link to SolarWinds and directly access what they need.

Additionally, there is the flexibility to automate or semi-automate functions completely. As a result, we don't need as many people as before when we were working on the reactive side of things. If our service desk had five people before, now we have none. Infrastructure engineers handle most service desk functions, such as ad-hoc or BAU tasks. But we don't need dedicated service desk people anymore.

I work for multiple clients, so I'm just giving examples from them. Some clients do need to maintain service desk functionality as a business function. SolarWinds certainly helps to reduce the workload on the front end at level one and level two escalation. Clients have much more free time to focus on the things they like doing and leaving all the mundane tasks to SolarWinds to sort out. It's a definitely time saver. I love everything about SolarWinds.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using SolarWinds NPM for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any problems with stability. I think the way it's implemented it's pretty robust. I started to use SolarWinds three years ago; not from the beginning 15 years ago. So, I don't know what it was like then. From my experience over the past three years, it has been a fairly stable system. Often, clients underspec the platform and SolarWinds requires quite a lot of resources, especially on the database and on the disk-use side, and it needs to be planned. Some customers simply get a box, install all the modules in one box and then complain that SolarWinds is slow. It's not SolarWinds. It's an underspec'd platform.

Some clients think, "Oh, it's all SolarWinds' problem. SolarWinds doesn't perform well." When I come to consult them, we quite easily find that it's the server struggling and not SolarWinds.

The bottom line is this: I am a SolarWinds expert. I know what I'm doing. They are not experts in SolarWinds. From their perspective, what they see straightaway is SolarWinds is not performing well and it can mislead them to think that it is SolarWinds when it's not.

Again, to summarize, I don't think SolarWinds has any performance issues or problems if correctly planned. Go through the documentation and make sure your environment meets the recommended minimums.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The most important point I'll make is that SolarWinds markets its product as an out-of-the-box, click-click-click, do-it-yourself solution. It may work like that for very small organizations, although very small organizations will probably go for Nagios or other free tools. For larger enterprises, this is not the case. Just clicking next, next, next to discover nodes, and everything just works, is not the case. It appears to be working, but when you go beyond that and start to understand how the workflow operates, how people respond to alerts, who receives them, who is not receiving them, how to manage thresholds and many other issues, they all add to a much larger picture. That then becomes a not-out-of-the-box solution.

To work with it properly, you need to have extensive skills and knowledge around the SolarWinds product. I'm not saying that you need to be a geek who knows coding and APIs. But you do need to be well aware of what's possible. That helps you set up SolarWinds the way the client wants. Once it's set up, running and maintaining it takes pretty much no time. It functions almost on automation. This is why I think there's still a huge need for consultancy work. Organizations need experts to deploy SolarWinds and to help them to define exactly what they need. Then the organization can manage themselves. They just need to be properly trained.

Many times I have seen SolarWinds installed and then it would sit for years doing nothing simply because the people there don't know what to do and there's no time for anyone to actually to dig in and make a masterpiece out of it. It probably shouldn't be advertised as an out-of-the-box solution.

SolarWinds has scalability solutions and it's completely extendable and expandable and the licensing model is just beautiful. I love it. It can be as cheap as a few thousand pounds, which is very affordable to smaller organizations. It can also be as expensive as tens of thousands of pounds, which is still very, very cheap even for enterprises and bigger organizations. If you compare it to other solutions, it's at least 10 times cheaper. The scalability models are beautiful and there are no problems whatsoever handling a large amount of work. If you need more nodes, you can always add more servers and expand your platform with an additional poller. There's always a way to manage it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is probably 8/10. Sometimes they tend to respond a little bit slower than I would want, but it's not unusual. If you want something, you want it now and that doesn't always happen. Sometimes I need to wait a few hours or even a few days. Sometimes I need to chase them a couple times. Other than that, the level of skills and the support I receive to actually solve the problem is next-to-none. It's probably a 10. I'm giving it an eight just because of the response time, but other than that it's really good.

However, the sales team at SolarWinds is extremely aggressive and I would give it probably a 1/10. It's very interesting that these different teams are working in the same company. The support is so wonderful, and I know a lot of product managers there. I know them personally and they've been in London and we've talked. They're all techie so they're all great guys. When it comes to sales, they are very, very aggressive. I keep receiving calls and they keep pushing and they keep offering discounts. I don't need those discounts. Just give me my time, you know? When I'm ready with a decision, I'm ready. The way I see it, I'm an engineer and I'm doing the solutions. Aggressive sales is not good. It can be frustrating.

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

I tried different alternatives, but I was never really able to set up other tools the way I wanted. I consider myself a very creative person; an artist so to speak. I come up with something in my brain, I like it, I make a note and then I try to implement it. Very often, with other tools, I was just stuck. I wouldn't be able to do this and that and then I would be coming up with my own bespoke solutions, using my own bespoke scripts. I'm doing them manually and sending manually.

With SolarWinds, everything just works. It's not that SolarWinds has everything I need. It's that SolarWinds gives me enough power to implement everything I need. It's a proper platform. I don't think about it as a tool. When I have an idea and SolarWinds doesn't provide it, I implement it. I write a script or a SQL script or VB, or PowerShell, or whatever. Then I simply attach it to SolarWinds and voila, suddenly SolarWinds is actually is giving me the output that I need; drawing charts and graphs and generating reports and it all works. Then, in a click, I can apply the same monitoring to hundreds and hundreds of nodes, which is awesome.

When working with clients, I tend to compare my experience working with different monitoring platforms to SolarWinds. Without really going too deep in understanding how things are done there and here, they just say, "Oh, you know what? We want SolarWinds." I'd say, "That's fine, so let's do SolarWinds."

How was the initial setup?

I’m doing initial setups all the time. As a consultant, I go from client to client on a regular basis. The setup is by far the easiest setup of any software that I know. Not only monitoring software, but any software. Even installing Microsoft Office is more complex than SolarWinds. It is really, really easy and straightforward. The wizard provides many guides and notes. The deployment is so well tested and structured that I literally click through the wizard.

Out-of-the-box, it works beautifully. But when it comes to the logic and company workflow, that's when I need to add a bit of a creativity.

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

I'm not doing sales and marketing, so I'm not really trying to sell the product. Usually, they have already done their thinking and decided to purchase SolarWinds. Then they call me to implement it. I evaluate what they currently have in the infrastructure in terms of devices and interfaces and the whole network structure. I make sure that whatever they have matches what they need. If it's too much, most of the time they say, "Okay, so we overestimated." I'm like, "That's fine. Let's just be more rather than less." Sometimes they purchase unlimited licenses when they don't really need them. Often they purchase too little and we simply go and purchase a license, which is a fairly easy process. The customer portals are all managed very well.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

New clients will sometimes ask, "Okay, so let's run through today's simulation, let's see how it works and then we will make a decision." They know I'm going to install it and then they'll evaluate it and find that they're happy. For me personally, I know SolarWinds is releasing new, major releases at least once, maybe twice, a year. I'm on the forum watching all the new features and releases, and adding my own input. I'm pretty much in the know about what's going to happen next, and I'm always anticipating starting working with new features. I don't go and explore anymore; I already know what's in there.

Obviously, the actual process of testing is very fulfilling, as well, especially after we've been communicating on the forum and suddenly it's all live and working. The forum is the number one place I go for my information.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise to get a consultant, at least short-term. I have found that companies, especially big ones, and even some small ones, don't need a SolarWinds expert on site all the time. It's too expensive and unnecessary. At some point, the expert will just sit and do nothing. I think it's absolutely proper to get someone at least for a month, maybe two or three. They can then advise you to pick the right product, choose the right tools, implement it in the right way, and to set up the workflow alerts to make sure it's working.

It seems like the sales team has a slight disconnect from the presales guys. It all works well, but as I said, the sales team sells a product. They do not actually help deploy and implement workflows. They expect the company themselves to deploy and set up their own workflows and then to rely on the documentation and the forum. In reality, they just don't have time. They have their own functions and responsibilities and SolarWinds is a new project for them. It's a huge stretch to learn something new. You know that. It's human nature. That's why my advice is to get a consultant.

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.
it_user577893
Quick Launch Team Lead at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The flexibility of the product meets any organization’s need to finds issues and bottlenecks in the enterprise that engineers were unaware existed.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are:

  • The new F5 Load Balancer dashboard and NetPath.
  • The flexibility of the product to meet any organization’s needs, instead of forcing the organization to bend to the limitations of the product.

How has it helped my organization?

The most common feedback I receive as a consultant is how the product ultimately finds issues and bottlenecks in the enterprise that the engineers were previously unaware existed. Also, issue resolution speed is always improving!

What needs improvement?

Two or three of the core functions are still nested in Win32 apps on the server; but it seems that the foundation was laid in the current website for porting those functions over in the near future.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for about eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have only very rarely experienced any stability issues; and hotfixes are generally made available in a timely fashion.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have worked with some of the largest SolarWinds deployments in the world. It seems that we are always able to push the product far enough to cover the needs of any organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is superb. Not only is the actual technical support very knowledgeable, but the user community at www.Thwack.com is the best online community that I have ever been a part of.

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

I have used several competing solutions over the years and always come back to SolarWinds’ superiority in function, flexibility, support, and price.

How was the initial setup?

You can quite literally download the installer, run through it, discover your network to add devices, and be “live monitoring” within one hour. Obviously, there are other factors in a complex environment to consider, such as scalability; but the installation of all SolarWinds core modules is extremely straightforward.

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

I always advise anyone who is new to the suite to run a free 30-day demo in their environment; and set it up as they would for production. At that point, you will have a solid idea about your license size requirements. When you make the purchase, you can apply the license to your demo with no downtime or loss in man-hours from the initial setup.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated SolarWinds Network Performance Manager and compared it to WhatsUp Gold, PRTG, OpenNMS, InterMapper, ManageEngine, LanSweeper, Cacti, and FogLight.

What other advice do I have?

  • Download a demo.
  • Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and customize the product according to your needs.
  • Use the Thwack community!
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.
it_user577527
Manager, Enterprise Monitoring at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It provides out-of-the-box monitoring. With custom properties and some ingenuity, you can get it to do pretty much anything else

What is most valuable?

We have a lot of “home-grown” apps to handle the interesting and challenging monitoring requests and alerting needs.

This product is extremely flexible and customizable. It will do just about anything you need it to do. Out of the box, there is a significant amount of monitoring you can do with very little setup. Then, with custom properties and some ingenuity, you can get it to do pretty much anything else. Additionally, there are a lot of ideas and support in their forum, Thwack.

How has it helped my organization?

With custom properties and the alerting flexibility, we’ve been able to customize the alert trigger and reset logic to meet the needs of our users, as well as eliminate the likelihood of making mistakes in the operations center.

We used to be fraught with scenarios, such as:

  • Only call if the alert doesn’t clear after 45 minutes.
  • Ignore that alarm.
  • Don’t call on that night.

What needs improvement?

The SAM custom script for running component checks only supports 10 pairs of results. I am not sure whether this is a scalability issue. It would be nice to have the option to do more. We worked around it by doing a component check per pair as much as we needed.

The product is excellent at taking feedback, especially from the Thwack form, and implementing popular feature requests.

For how long have I used the solution?

We’ve been using it for almost 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Back in the early days and new major releases, of course, there were some hiccups and gotchas. Bleeding edge, baby! It’s all a matter of risk assessment with new feature needs, etc.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not run into scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

In general, the technical support is great. Around new major releases, you do experience longer waits; and every so often, you get a support technician who is newer. Still, if you call in and it’s critical, they fix your issues in a timely manner. This is to be expected; and you need to take this into account in your risk calculation when you schedule upgrades.

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

We were previously using HPE OpenView. The biggest reason was its lack of mapping flexibility at the time. The ops part is still very visual with the green/yellow/red color-coding of icons. Our systems side is based on alerts and emails.

How was the initial setup?

I don’t recall any troubles during the initial setup. It was a long time ago. I was enamored by its mapping capabilities.

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

  • The software is structured and priced well. It’s not cheap; but it’s not overly expensive either. You get what you pay for, and they are well positioned.
  • You are able to spread the costs out by implementing it in steps. Your team is probably not huge. You don’t need to sit around waiting to install and configure the entire monitoring solution. Start with NPM, and start adding modules and capabilities as your existing implementation matures.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We were required to assess alternatives, but I don’t recall the specifics. When implementing SAM in the last 2 years, we moved from Big Brother and evaluated Nagios.

What other advice do I have?

  • Gather the official requirements for a monitoring solution, and alert all the consumers. The consumers here are the owners of the monitored gear and apps, and the engineers in the support and ops teams.
  • Set a good chunk of time aside to test drive the solution, and get creative with the custom properties.
  • Learn SQL or SWQL, a SolarWinds query language that is easier than SQL. This will expand your potential capabilities for customization significantly.
  • I am very active on the forum. I get a bunch of ideas and help; so I like to give back.
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.
it_user577521
Founder at a tech services company
Consultant
It's mainly geared towards network devices, providing the ability of seeing uptime for the device and the interfaces.

What is most valuable?

Pretty much all of it is valuable, really. You buy NPM if you want to monitor devices and interfaces on those devices. It's mainly geared towards network devices, primarily; the ability of seeing uptime for the device and the interfaces; and also the new features that they've just added. NetPath and the high availability; those are pretty key in a lot of environments. That NetPath is amazing.

How has it helped my organization?

Since NetPath came out, I use it to basically check that my internet is working as it should be by adding in, through NetPath, paths to my cloud-based applications, to things like Amazon, and also to things that we use quite often in the office, and make sure that there's nothing wrong with our ISP. That's actually been quite useful because we have seen an issue with their networks and they have resolved. It's just having visibility of the entire networking estate for myself and for my clients; that's the main benefit of it and it's probably the best product out there.

What needs improvement?

It’s tough to find areas with room for improvement, because they are always improving on it. I guess making the universal device pollers and the custom pollers a little bit more user friendly to the complete beginner would be useful. An awful lot of my clients don't have an awful lot of experience with SNMP. Going through the wizard to create these new pollers is quite cumbersome if you don't understand what you're doing. A lot of people just give up and not use it. Making them a little bit easier to understand for those who don't understand SNMP would be ideal. It would be a lot of work but that would useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm a SolarWinds consultant. Not only do I use it in labs to actually get the best out of it, I obviously support a lot of customers who also use it. I've been using it for on and off for about three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues; it's solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's really useful that you can have additional pollers. I think you can have up to four, but I can't remember off the top of my head. It's great to be able to add in pollers, if you get to the point where your existing poling engine – that you have when you install the product the first time – is swamped.

They are going to be releasing in the future branch, smaller pollers, which would be really handy for people who have lots of little branches but don't want to go to the expense of paying for a complete new poling engine for each site. That's going to be cool, so I know they're building on additional bits. It's as scalable as you need it to be.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. This is a review of NPM and therefore the SolarWinds Orion support is great. If I was reviewing SolarWinds N-able, it would not be so great. I’m not, so, it has great technical support.

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

I personally did not previously use a different solution. A lot of my customers do use other stuff, such as Paessler’s PRTG and so on, but I wasn't.

How was the initial setup?

The installation of it is simple. Getting the best of the product is where my consultant-level knowledge comes in. The average Joe tends to go as far as getting it installed and working, and then says, “Get lost.” Well, “Get lost” to get the extra bits and pieces to make it a little bit more flexible.

It's easy to get it in and install.

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

The way the SolarWinds does their licensing can be quite difficult, especially if you're a managed service provider and you want to use the Orion product, because, obviously, you buy the big chunk of licenses and the unlimited licenses are quite expensive. You don't have a subscription model, where you can say, "Right, OK. Mr. customer, you've got 25 devices; we'll charge you X amount." Then, you can obviously go to SolarWinds and say, "This customer needs this many licenses. Can I buy this many please?"

It's literally tiers, which is fine for most people, who just have their own individual installs. If you have lots of little customers and you want to use a central system, it can be quite expensive for you personally to get it set up and licensed. Then, trying to monetize that to the customers can be quite hard.

What other advice do I have?

Join Thwack. The Thwack community that is free for anybody to join, whether they actually have a SolarWinds license or not, is quite possibly the unique selling point that SolarWinds has. It's without doubt the best technical community that I've ever been a member of. A number of big vendors like Cisco have tried to recreate it and failed. It is a one off and it is perfect for what it does.

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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am a SolarWinds partner.
it_user577536
Analyst Network Operations at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The forums and the customization are the best things about it.

What is most valuable?

While the forums are one of the best things about the product in general, the most valuable feature of the product itself is the customization. We can make it do whatever it is we want it to do. The basics pretty much work for us, but sometimes we have devices that are a little bit different, I guess, so we have to look at them a different way. We're not just confined to what came out of the box. We can build our own monitoring pages; our own pretty much anything.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved my organization’s efficiency, as far as our awareness. We add something new in our network, and we can start to monitor it within a few seconds. We can be alerted on it any time after that. It's pretty easy to not be caught off guard.

What needs improvement?

The price is probably an area with room for improvement. It's not the least expensive option out there, but it's a decent balance. I'm pretty certain my supervisors would say that.

As odd as it might be, I'd like it to not be as advanced. I'd like a text mode, almost.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have probably used it for a total of 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues; nothing that we could point our finger to SolarWinds about. There were server issues, so whatever was on the server was going to happen anyway.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had scalability issues. We have several additional servers, too, so upgrading is kind of a pain, but that's with all the other modules, too. NPM alone is pretty quick.

How are customer service and technical support?

Overall, since we've been using it until now, I'd say technical support is pretty good. On a scale of 1-10, I'd probably give it a seven or so. The biggest problem is probably getting a hold of someone, but once you get someone, they're pretty decent about figuring it out.

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

We were actually previously using SolarWinds. Then, we stopped and used another vendor for a similar purpose. Then, we stopped using them and went back to SolarWinds.

We switched back to SolarWinds because of ease of use. It was just so completely simple and easy to use. Everyone voted for it, and we got it.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup when we re-purchased it. It was very straightforward.

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

Pricing and licensing is good. I'd rather pay a little bit more and have it easy, efficient and effective, than pay a little bit less and miss something.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only considered the other vendor that we previously used.

What other advice do I have?

Get on their Thwack forums. That’s the best thing about the product; all the people on there, all the users. If NPM doesn’t do something, you can probably find someone to make NPM do it.

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.
Byron Anderson
Information Security Engineer at a cloud provider with 51-200 employees
Real User
It offers dashboard customization and integrates with other tools to provide a single pane of glass.

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of use
  • Ease of training for others
  • Good reporting
  • Nice dashboard customization options
  • Good map building capabilities
  • Good integration with other SolarWinds tools to provide a “single pane of glass”
  • Great support
  • Great online community, “Thwack”

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to unify our entire company under one monitoring solution that works for everybody, saving a ton of time and significantly speeding up problem-resolution time.

What needs improvement?

  • More automation around node additions and management

With regard to this I am looking for a faster way to add nodes. Currently we deploy nodes in bulk into different environments for our clients and having the ability to have monitoring deploy equally fast would be helpful versus having to spend a significant amount of time manually adding each system. I did recently open a Feature Request for this HERE

  • Adding multi-tenancy into the product

We are a hosting provider and we give our clients access to Orion to see their nodes. Orion is not a multi-tenancy platform by design so I am continually challenged to provide clients access in a way that limits them to only see their stuff. In a more true multi-tenancy platform, it would be easy to choose what a client sees and what they don’t and not have to worry if there is a way to work around or break free of the limitations.

  • Providing more monitoring capabilities for public cloud such as Azure, AWS, etc.

We are a Hybrid Cloud service provider and we work very closely with Microsoft and Azure. Currently, I am able to monitor nodes in Azure just fine, but I don’t have a good way to monitor PaaS based services.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for about 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been some versions that have had stability issues, but the current version seems pretty stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is fantastic.

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

We previously used HPE OpenView, OpenNMS and Zenoss.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward; you can have it running in about an hour.

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

Compared to other solutions on the market, the pricing is very good. The licensing is a bit confusing, though.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated:

  • OpenNMS
  • ScienceLogic EM7
  • Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold
  • A few others that either no longer exist or were consumed by other companies

What other advice do I have?

Take advantage of their free, 30-day demo.

Definitely leverage the online community, “Thwack”.

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.
ITCS user
Programmer Analyst at a leisure / travel company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Low administrative maintenance compared to alternatives.

What is most valuable?

  • Extensible REST API
  • Excellent technical support
  • Mature product, strong brand, Gartner awards
  • Custom MSSQL scripting support in both alerting and reporting.
  • Support for a wide variety of makes and models of network equipment/appliances.
  • Support for monitoring Windows, Linux, Unix, and some other server OSes.
  • Consistent and constant application improvements.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Our ability to locate the source of a network issue has dramatically reduced our mean-time-to-resolve.
  • Helped us to consolidate different network and server monitoring needs under one product.
  • Low administrative maintenance compared to alternatives. The system simply 'works' most of the time. Our previous tools required constant maintenance by admins just to keep them running.

What needs improvement?

  • Failover functionality does not exist without the purchase of the "Fail Over Engine (FoE)" license.
  • Software upgrade and installation procedures are time consuming, especially for large/multiple site installations. Consulting the support matrix for software versions and modules is critical.
  • Multiple server software upgrades still require a planned downtime outage window for the entire NPM instance regardless of the size of installation even if using the Failover Engine module.
  • Each NPM polling server require a full Windows Server with GUI operating system to install and administer.

For how long have I used the solution?

5 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes. Remember to do your homework on required ports, especially for when installing a polling engine server across the WAN in a different domain.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, multiple times. Some of the areas of stability had to do with 'monitoring capacity' per polling server several versions ago. Official documentation claimed each server can handle monitoring for up-to 10,000 elements (i.e. ports, volumes, nodes, etc.). In reality this number was more like 5,000. However, monitoring capacity improvements have been made with each software release and we are now back up to the 10,000 element.

Another area of stability issues we have experienced are with the dependency on MS SQL. There were a few times where we had stability issues with SQL server, which in turn impacted NPM performance. When there are issues with the SQL database NPM doesn't make this known and is up to the admin to figure it out.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, every once in a while. SolarWinds defines 'scalability' in the same manner as 'monitoring capacity' --- which is incorrect. This is a huge issue and is one of the hits against the rating I gave NPM.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent. Customer support is knowledgeable about the product line and will engage with technical resources if needed.

Technical Support:

Excellent. Technical support is responsive, knowledgeable, and friendly. My team and I do not hesitate to contact support if we have a question or need immediate assistance. They will also escalate to a higher support tier if the issue is not resolved in a timely manner, or if we request them to do so.

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

Yes, multiple products were used previously including Microsoft MOM 2005 (current versions are System Center Operations Manager) and What's Up Gold. Switch was made to attempt to consolidate various monitoring tools into a single space.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup of the application servers were very straightforward. It is possible to get started with one app server and the main SQL server then add more polling engine servers as your monitoring needs increase.

What about the implementation team?

In-house installation was done. The product is designed for self-installation and self-maintenance in an on-premise mode.

What was our ROI?

Unknown at this point.

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

Always contact your sales rep for best pricing. There are multiple times per year where the vendor will make special licensing offers that you can take advantage of.

The official North America pricing list is available at solarwinds.com. Use that as your pricing baseline for your monitoring project.

NPM licenses by "element" you want to monitor, not by device as a whole. Take this into account while you evaluate monitoring software vendors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes. We looked into Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2, What's Up Gold, ManageEngine, AppDynamics, NewRelic, and Nagios.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Technical Analyst at CS Softwares.
Consultant
We install it on cloned virtual machines and offer free access to partners of my company, creating guides for end-users.

What is most valuable?

The features I find most valuable are--

  • Reliability
  • Security
  • High-tech development
  • Collateral
  • Essentially they deliver what they promise for the end-user

How has it helped my organization?

We use it to create guides for end-users. We install SolarWinds on cloned virtual machines and offer free access to partners of my company.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had a customer who had a problem adding to a database for DAP-end integration with Orion. Simple details were needed to resolve with correct passwords and the release of ports on a firewall. Also, a deployment problem was failing in some versions of Windows and Meso. After all updates were performed, the Orion installation package did not work. We restarted it and worked.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have no problems with the support of SolarWinds. When my client has a problem, our support always uses the documentation immediately. As we also have a lot of training and always test a lot of tools in our environment, when the client asks for something we know exactly where to go. Our SLA is five minutes for the first call, and to solve problems one-and-a-half hours.

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

We did, and we switched because the interface is more user friendly and easier to configure.

How was the initial setup?

It's very simple. Anyone can install and configure SolarWinds with a step-by-step guide, even if that person is a layman when it comes to IT.

What about the implementation team?

We used a vendor team.

What other advice do I have?

It's the best of platform for IT management. It shows statistical data in a very detailed manner, where the user can customize the entire platform and input any information from the database through a fully-customized report.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user341982
Freelancer Information Security & SIEM Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
​I had issues with the SQL database, and I would suggest they add MySQL.

What is most valuable?

CRC monitoring for each port is a valuable feature for us.

How has it helped my organization?

Today, the webapps are getting worse for showing all items. Sometimes your browser will not respond. My recommendation is to create separate console-based applications, especially for network operation centers.

What needs improvement?

The security information and event management could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for five months, then removed it from my system.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had issues with the SQL database, and I would suggest they add MySQL.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There was slow performance after adding 100 devices with 400-500 elements with…

What is most valuable?

CRC monitoring for each port is a valuable feature for us.

How has it helped my organization?

Today, the webapps are getting worse for showing all items. Sometimes your browser will not respond.

My recommendation is to create separate console-based applications, especially for network operation centers.

What needs improvement?

The security information and event management could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for five months, then removed it from my system.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I had issues with the SQL database, and I would suggest they add MySQL.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There was slow performance after adding 100 devices with 400-500 elements with 10 second interval pooling.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were issues with scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

0/10 as there were no knowledge base articles when I used it, and every new patch required customer login to apply.

Technical Support:

The product I am still using, PRTG, was very simple, so I never had experience with technical support.

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

I am still using PRTG.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was a simple process.

What about the implementation team?

I worked with the partner, and honestly, we did not require any support after the initial installation.

What was our ROI?

For small customers, it's good.

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

  • PRTG
  • Nagios

What other advice do I have?

They should change the database and OS.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network Engineer with 51-200 employees
MSP
SolarWinds makes a great product and their support is second to none.​

What is most valuable?

Alerts, reports, overview of network, graphical picture of WAN for support team, port level visibility, and ease of use.

How has it helped my organization?

By finding out about problems or potential problems quickly and having a great view of my entire network.

What needs improvement?

The admin web site could be a lot faster.

For how long have I used the solution?

8 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, but that was due to using just a recommend server size. Moved to a better server and all was well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, the more items I added the slower it became. But this was corrected once I split the servers apart. I had NPM and NCM on the same server.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

10 out of 10

Technical Support:

Any time I contacted support they were knowledgeable and fast.

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

No other solution used before, but looked at many.

How was the initial setup?

Pretty straight forward if you know your environment.

What about the implementation team?

In-house implementation.

What was our ROI?

I never put a dollar amount on it, but it sure saved me some big heartaches!

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

Setup cost and ongoing was just my time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, HP, Nagios, Cisco, Spiceworks, GFI, and Manage Engine.

What other advice do I have?

SolarWinds makes a great product and their support is second to none! They continue to acquire/develop new software that rolls in nicely with their entire solution.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: VAR
ITCS user
User at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It enables us to monitor the health and functionality of our nodes on the MPLS.

What is most valuable?

It gives us an insight on what we need to monitor on our network. We get granulated data on where issues are occurring in regards to traffic latency and bandwidth utilization. Also we can monitor the health and functionality of our nodes on the MPLS.

Both the NPM and the NTA modules. We are able to track down information in regards what kind of traffic is being generated on our network and also help us determine what applications we can allow and what not to allow.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to determine if end users were using the network to do work related stuff or otherwise and reduce bandwidth hogging for non-business related activities on the network.

What needs improvement?

So far I am satisfied with the result but I am still learning how it works.

For how long have I used the solution?

One year

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No it was very straight forward. You have understand the concept of networking to apply the tool. If you do then implementing it is easy. There were some version releases that had stability issues but the support team was very good at letting us know what we needed to do to fix the issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were some version releases that had stability issues but the support team was very good at letting us know what we needed to do to fix the issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability was not a problem. We only monitor nodes that matter most on the environment. This makes managing the environment easier. Less is more`

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

They have always been helpful when we needed support I have no complaint at all.

Technical Support:

I would rate it at an 8 out of 10

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

We used network instruments. For what we were trying to accomplish it was not just doing it to the level we needed and it was not very straight forward to use either.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up was very straight forward. I think complication comes with differences in environment.

What about the implementation team?

It was an in house implementation and I did it myself.

What was our ROI?

ROI on this has been fantastic. It was supposed to be a very expensive investment. We got a good deal and the product did not disappoint it has definitely help us dodge several bullets on several occasions.

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

Product including support was about $6000 but I would say for what its able to help us do its more than that.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes I was able to go through a whole bunch of options such as managed engine but I was not very impressed with the licensing scheme. Also most products were SAAS and we wanted independence and ownership over the product.

What other advice do I have?

I would say understand your environment and what you want to see. Also know what you deem important to your business and policies that guide your network usage. Not everyone one would find this particular product to their liking but for those who want to get to the granular level of assessment this is definitely a product to look at.

Also they have now added a feature where the traditional style of setting up monitoring reports is no longer necessary. Initially you had to create complex alerting to know what happened at a particular time. Now you just have to filter by date and time and you can choose what network protocols to filter by to see what happened at a particular point and time in real time stats.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user221865
Platform Engineer III at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Provided us with a quicker turn around time for diagnosing and remedying a failure or issue.

What is most valuable?

  • Overall simplicity
  • Solarwinds development of the product line

How has it helped my organization?

  • It's provided us with a quicker turn around time for diagnosing and remedying a failure or issue
  • The pre-built templates for Windows are outstanding
  • If you're new, they tell you what the metrics mean and the possible solutions
  • You can also modify baselines it to your environment.

What needs improvement?

It needs group views with performance metrics. They do certain ones well, but not filters to a custom group view.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used NPM and SAM for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Data collection can be an issue so you have to maintain that accordingly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is pretty good.

Technical Support:

Tier 3 is excellent they know how to repair a problem.

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

We had Openview for the network side but the cost forced us to switch and it has actually ended up better for us in the long term.

How was the initial setup?

It's very straightforward and super easy to deploy, 15 minutes tops. It's documented well what you need, or there's an option you can do if you're on a limited budget. Also, the support engineers are always there to help with specific questions.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

What was our ROI?

It paid for itself within six months, when compared to our previous solution.

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

We did not track it but it was less than four hours worth of total effort. Day to day cost of using the product US$273 given our current licensing model.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Get the trial download to use its all the features for 30 days. Its automation/DevOps is outstanding for its software development kit.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user216402
System Administrator at a recruiting/HR firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Allows us to recognize problems based on thresholds we set up for various resources.

What is most valuable?

  • Polling
  • Automatic ticket creation of server resources (CPU, Memory, Reboots etc.)

How has it helped my organization?

We can sometimes fix a problem before it is even recognized by our user community based on the thresholds we set up for various resources on a production server.

What needs improvement?

They could make the process of adding various devices easier and more intuitive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for nine months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable and customizable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

They have good customer service.

Technical Support:

They have good technical support.

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

I haven't used another solution like NPM before.

What was our ROI?

It's significant in my opinion.

What other advice do I have?

You can and should put the not so obvious devices onto SolarWinds. An example would be a server's back-up power supply. Otherwise you won't realize when the back-up is not functioning until the main power supply goes down and it's too late at that point.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Network Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It helps locate in which region the network is down so that we can take immediate action to restore it.

Valuable Features

Polling engines Alerts Backup configuration

Improvements to My Organization

Basically, it helps in monitoring the device status. It helps locate in which region the network is down so that we take immediate action to restore it.

Room for Improvement

All the software has room for improvement, nothing is perfect.

Use of Solution

I've used it for about five to six years alongside NCM v7.0.2.

Stability Issues

We do see issues, but not so many major ones.

Scalability Issues

No issues encountered yet.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service: At least an 8/10. Technical Support: At least a 7/10.

Implementation Team

We implemented with a mix of an in-house team and a vendor one.

Other Advice

If your infrastructure is big, and…

Valuable Features

  • Polling engines
  • Alerts
  • Backup configuration

Improvements to My Organization

Basically, it helps in monitoring the device status. It helps locate in which region the network is down so that we take immediate action to restore it.

Room for Improvement

All the software has room for improvement, nothing is perfect.

Use of Solution

I've used it for about five to six years alongside NCM v7.0.2.

Stability Issues

We do see issues, but not so many major ones.

Scalability Issues

No issues encountered yet.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

At least an 8/10.

Technical Support:

At least a 7/10.

Implementation Team

We implemented with a mix of an in-house team and a vendor one.

Other Advice

If your infrastructure is big, and requires a good kind of reporting tool, then SolarWinds fulfills all these requirements.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user214254
Senior Network Administrator at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It has a very large base of information which results in very customizable UnDPs.

What is most valuable?

  • Real-time netflow data
  • Highly customizable alerting & reporting
  • Very large base of information, further customized by high compatibility with MIBs from many, many vendors, resulting in very customizable UnDPs

How has it helped my organization?

Being a global company with many highly-sensitive manufacturing lines and process control environments, SolarWinds consistently delivers real-time and accurate views into the deepest parts of our environment. Though my role is 100% network-side, SolarWinds has greatly benefited our team of systems-side admins as well.

What needs improvement?

Because SolarWinds is built upon a SQL database, some level of SQL query knowledge is necessary if one really wants to take customization of alerting/reporting to a deeper level. This is really difficult for someone who

  1. Doesn't have the time to devote to this
  2. Doesn't have a strong background in any sort of software development/coding

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for three and a half years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I was not around for the initial deployment, but I've been responsible for maintaining the environment over the last three and a half years, including product upgrades and migration(s) to new VMs.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

At times, we've had trouble with lost data within the database. These were largely resolved by moving to a more stable database server. I don't recall any recent issues now that we're on 11.x.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, but only due to our own willingness (or unwillingness) to deploy additional polling engines. We're actually researching this feasibility right now, so that we can support a greater number of devices globally while maintaining a centralized "pane of glass" for administration.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

This is one area where SolarWinds can do better. Customer service, in terms of account renewals, and licensing, and so on, is very quota-based. They need to make their sales/transaction quotas, and that's about all that matters. They can be very pushy when it comes to the purchasing process. I think this is probably due to SolarWinds being THE solution for network/systems monitoring, and they know they have some level of a monopoly on the industry. SolarWinds is also not a cheap product -- it's very expensive under a CapEx consideration, and annual renewals are about 10-20% of the initial CapEx. So, it's not inexpensive.

Technical Support:

This is also an area where SolarWinds could do a lot better. Every time I've opened a case, they agree to a screen-sharing session (GoToMeeting/WebEx, etc) as an absolute last-resort. Sending me KB articles and other suggestions is always the first three to four emails, until I can formally get them to agree to take a look "in-person". I greatly enjoy working with Cisco TAC mainly because of their complete willingness to dive head-first into the issue by STARTING with a screen-sharing session. It gives me, as a customer and end-user, a much greater appreciation for Cisco's interest in resolving the issues, and making sure our production-affecting problems are no longer present.

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

In-house implementation.

How was the initial setup?

As far as I know, SolarWinds was really the only option at the time.

What about the implementation team?

It was an in-house implementation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As far as I know, SolarWinds was really the only option at the time.

What other advice do I have?

Don't assume SolarWinds is the right choice. Evaluate LOTS of other alternatives. These days, SevOne is a very promising competitor. But if you choose SolarWinds, dive into it as deeply as you can. Take advantage of their free online classroom training sessions (it's thousands of dollars for you to pay for from a third-party training vendor).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
PC Support Technician at a educational organization with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We used it 24/7. It's fairly easy to use.

What is most valuable?

Network performance monitoring was invaluable.

What needs improvement?

We had issues pinpointing the exact location of a problem due to configuration of a particular bandwidth. This was due to the Cisco firewall configuration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, it's also fairly easy to administrate.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Good. Technical Support: Technical Support has plenty of room for improvement, knowledge of their product was not very strong.

Which

What is most valuable?

Network performance monitoring was invaluable.

What needs improvement?

We had issues pinpointing the exact location of a problem due to configuration of a particular bandwidth. This was due to the Cisco firewall configuration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, it's also fairly easy to administrate.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good.

Technical Support:

Technical Support has plenty of room for improvement, knowledge of their product was not very strong.

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

No previous solution was used.

How was the initial setup?

It was fairly easy, but you just need to make sure that you have a SQL server on a different box or otherwise you would run into problems later on after your database grows.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

What was our ROI?

We used it 24/7 and it had a great ROI.

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

I don't remember exactly, but it was a few thousand dollars for NPM with both NTA and SAM Administrator.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate anything else.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have a strong database server separate from the NPM server.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user212001
Network & Security Services Manager with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Allows us to provide interfaces to our service desk and other users customized for their needs.

What is most valuable?

  • Easy monitoring of applications
  • Networking
  • Power
  • Server infrastructure components

How has it helped my organization?

We are frequently able to attend to issues before our user community and customers are aware that a problem exists. We are also able to provide interfaces to our service desk and other users customized for their needs.

What needs improvement?

The stability when multiple modules are added could be addressed. We have the need to restart the monitoring solution on a weekly basis as we've combined NPM with a variety of other SolarWinds utilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for nine years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues with deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, as noted above, the solution is not always stable and generally requires a weekly reboot. We do own a wide variety of SolarWinds products that are integrated with NPM.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, additional polling engines can be purchased at any given time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

They have an excellent sales team however, they do not negotiate maintenance. So while you may get the product for 75% off list price, you'll pay 20% of list for maintenance every year. Once they have you on the product, they get their money back on the 20% maintenance on list every year.

Technical Support:

First level usually doesn't get any further than running through the installation wizard, next, next, next. I've run into some scenarios where we've been requested to "start fresh" with data which is not a good resolution. We generally push for escalation and work with second and third level support/developers.

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

We used What's Up Gold at one company, which wasn't as feature rich, and Nagios at my present company which was quite expensive in terms of custom programming to get what we want out of the solution.

How was the initial setup?

Quite easy, the "next, next, next" GUI installation with the addition of a standard SQL database usage made installation quite seamless and easy.

What about the implementation team?

All in house.

What was our ROI?

I couldn't tack a dollar figure on this without analyzing all incidents/service requests entered based upon information obtained from SolarWinds. We do have recognition that profitability is affected at a rate of approximately. $58 x 700 = $40,600 per hour for each hour that either warehousing or manufacturing systems are unavailable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did an evaluation of continued Nagios utilization costs vs. purchasing of the complete SolarWinds package.

What other advice do I have?

Examine all the products on the market and choose the solution that requires the least amount of interaction with the most amount of usable data. I haven't looked recently so I cant comment if this is that package or not.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network Engineer at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Awesome product with a lot of info available and great support team.

What is most valuable?

Multicast

How has it helped my organization?

We are a small ISP in FL. Having this tool has been helping us a lot with time responds critical outages and troubleshooting.

What needs improvement?

Map section and Bandwidth.

For how long have I used the solution?

Been using Solarwinds now for 4 years and happy with the system.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: 9 out of 10 Technical Support: 10 out of 10

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

Netcool was just an outdated system.

How was the

What is most valuable?

Multicast

How has it helped my organization?

We are a small ISP in FL. Having this tool has been helping us a lot with time responds critical outages and troubleshooting.

What needs improvement?

Map section and Bandwidth.

For how long have I used the solution?

Been using Solarwinds now for 4 years and happy with the system.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

9 out of 10

Technical Support:

10 out of 10

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

Netcool was just an outdated system.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

Vendor team - I'd rate them a 10 out of 10

What other advice do I have?

Awesome product with a lot of info available and great support team.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user174651
Senior Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
NPM is very helpful in identifying spanning tree and/or routing issues

What is most valuable?

Historical interface statistics & historical storage utilization.

How has it helped my organization?

I have been able to catch network/server issues before they became critical. It also enables me to free up disk space on a critical drive before it completely runs out of space. Tickets can be pro-actively opened with carriers when we see CRC's and errors on interfaces. Lastly, I can quickly identify spanning tree and/or routing issues by watching syslog & trap messages.

What needs improvement?

Reporting functions are limited & difficult to modify.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over 7 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not anymore. Years ago I would frequently have issues after performing software upgrades, but over the last 3 years that has improved significantly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not much, but I have had issues with our SQL database becoming fragmented over time & having to engage a SQL expert to address it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Over all customer service has always been timely, helpful & friendly.

Technical Support:

Overall tech support has been timely & helpful whenever I've needed assistance. I've opened literally dozens upon dozens of tickets over the years and most of the time I get the answers I need on the first call.

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

Previously WhatsUp Gold.

How was the initial setup?

Setup has always been very intuitive & simple.

What about the implementation team?

In-house implementation.

What was our ROI?

Not sure how to quantify that, but it has been well worth the cost in my opinion. The problem is getting my co-workers to actually use it.

What other advice do I have?

Depending on the number of nodes to be monitored, take careful steps to size the polling server & SQL server appropriately. If at all possible, use a dedicated SQL box. Also, take the time to configure all of your network devices to send syslog & traps to the NPM server.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: At my current company (1 year) we are a Partner (VAR) and do occasionally resell SolarWinds.
it_user174660
System Analyst with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
NPM is cost effective and reliable to use. Valuable features include graphical presentation of IT data.

What is most valuable?

Graphical presentation of IT data like Bandwidth Util, CPU/Mem Util. etc., Easy way to configure the monitoring etc

How has it helped my organization?

This tool can monitor all IT Infrastructure i.e. N/W, Application and basic OS monitoring, Hardware Monitoring etc. Also we can integrate all Solarwinds Solutions on same console called EOC which will helpful for Data Center Operation teams to monitoring.

Also the graphical reports and content of reports also helps the client and OS/Applications teams to measure the challenges in advance.

What needs improvement?

Solarwinds SAM needs to improve application monitoring for critical applications like MSSQL, Oracle, Exchange etc. They need to add more monitoring parameters.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since 2009

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes, have faced few issues while up-gradation of Orion products. But handled successfully with great support provided by Solarwinds.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

It’s fantastic. They will give 24/7 service.

Technical Support:

It’s fantastic again. They are very knowledgeable and have KBs available for the fix in advance.

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

No, as NPM it is cost effective and reliable to use.

What about the implementation team?

I have implemented it on multiple client locations. Also took the help from Solarwinds in installation.

What was our ROI?

ROI for Solarwinds products is excellent. It’s the cheapest tools which will fulfill all monitoring needs.

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

5000 USD per NPM Poller for unlimited license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, CA, BMC and HP monitoring suites.

What other advice do I have?

It’s cheap and will easily fulfill the needs of monitoring environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user175134
Senior Manager - Global Network Ops with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Implementing this product has given us detailed visibility and understanding of our network

What is most valuable?

NPM, NCM, NTA and VNQM.

How has it helped my organization?

Implementing this product has given us detailed visibility and understanding of our network. Small teams are able to manage large enterprise with this tool.

What needs improvement?

EOC.

For how long have I used the solution?

2 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Not much. Where we did we were able to avail support from vendor.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None except for EOC.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have deployed it in distributed model with EOC. EOC has been a pain. We are keen to move to Centralized Deployment which we are yet to test and see if it overcomes limitations of EOC.

How are customer

What is most valuable?

NPM, NCM, NTA and VNQM.

How has it helped my organization?

Implementing this product has given us detailed visibility and understanding of our network. Small teams are able to manage large enterprise with this tool.

What needs improvement?

EOC.

For how long have I used the solution?

2 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Not much. Where we did we were able to avail support from vendor.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None except for EOC.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have deployed it in distributed model with EOC. EOC has been a pain. We are keen to move to Centralized Deployment which we are yet to test and see if it overcomes limitations of EOC.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is very good.

Technical Support:

Good technical support. There is an active online community too.

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

We have used PRTG, MRTG. However Solarwinds is a more integrated suite to tools for the enterprise or provider.

How was the initial setup?

Installation needs reasonable understanding of Windows Servers, SQL Servers, Services and Group Policies (in enterprise). Customization might need good knowledge of SQL programming.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

Good.

What other advice do I have?

The product is highly recommended. I am yet to understand how it stands against the competitions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user174672
Sr Infrastructure Engineer at a wellness & fitness company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
NPM provides a history of interface behavior that helps in a multifaceted way

What is most valuable?

Interface details and the list of interface charts.

How has it helped my organization?

Being able to provide a history of interface behavior helps the organization in a multifaceted way. Current productivity and interface forecasting.

What needs improvement?

Overall speed of the software could be improved... as it is incredibly slow at times. Polling for items that are in a down state seems to take a long time. This affects up time reporting and metrics.

For how long have I used the solution?

5 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes at times there are database stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes we did.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Good. I…

What is most valuable?

Interface details and the list of interface charts.

How has it helped my organization?

Being able to provide a history of interface behavior helps the organization in a multifaceted way. Current productivity and interface forecasting.

What needs improvement?

Overall speed of the software could be improved... as it is incredibly slow at times. Polling for items that are in a down state seems to take a long time. This affects up time reporting and metrics.

For how long have I used the solution?

5 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes at times there are database stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes we did.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good. I appreciate not being offshored (at least it wasn't when I called).

Technical Support:

Good.

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

Yes. SolarWinds offers more detail.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Network at a educational organization with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
NPM is very easy to scale to your needs

What is most valuable?

As a large school district, I can tell you that NPM is very valuable to us. Being able to see the current status of all our locations and hardware at a glance is priceless.

How has it helped my organization?

We use the alert feature of NPM to send emails and text messages to our organization when various network or server equipment is not reachable or performing correctly.

What needs improvement?

I would say the NPM toolset has room for improvement. I haven't seen the benefit of integrating it into NPM.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working at my company since 2011 and it was here before I started.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I did not originally deploy this software, but I haven't had any issues with upgrading to newer versions or installing new features.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any issues with scalability. In fact, I find that NPM is very easy to scale to your needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I have had very fast response times when dealing with customer service.

Technical Support:

I have had very fast response times when dealing with technical support.

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

I do not know of any other solution my school district has used.

How was the initial setup?

I did not originally deploy this software, but I haven't had any issues with upgrading to newer versions or installing new features.

What about the implementation team?

I did not originally deploy this software, but I haven't had any issues with upgrading to newer versions or installing new features.

What was our ROI?

As we are a not for profit organization, I can not answer this question.

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

I do not have this information available.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not at my workplace when they chose this product.

What other advice do I have?

They offer trial periods. I strongly urge you to try Solarwinds NPM and other products as they are a great asset at my organization.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Consultant at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Allows us to quickly respond to network status changes and narrow down performance degradation incidents.

What is most valuable?

* Link utilization graphs

* Top-10 charts

* Node/link status monitoring and alerting

* Historical reports

How has it helped my organization?

This product was used by our 24/7 NOC engineers and helped them in quick response to network status changes, investigation and narrowing down of performance degradation incidents. It was also used to report customer bandwidth utilization and provide evidence in customer queries and claims.

What needs improvement?

Better support and integration for vendors other than Cisco.

For how long have I used the solution?

4 years experience with two different employers and both Internet hosting companies.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Excellent support

Technical Support:

Excellent support

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

Setup is straightforward and smooth, just need to follow the installation wizard. Having worked with various open source and vendor specific NMS solutions, among vendor independent solutions such as WhatsUP, OpManager and Solarwinds NPM I always preferred NPM.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is straightforward and smooth just need to follow the installation wizard.

What about the implementation team?

In-house team.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have seen various products over the years from open source (Cacti, Nagios, Zenoss) and commercial (whatsup, Manageengine, etc) but Solarwinds NPM was always the one that could check most of the monitoring requirements.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user171930
Network Engineer at a logistics company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We needed a way to have visibility into issues on our network.

What is most valuable?

Bandwidth utilization and netflow reports

How has it helped my organization?

Our bandwidth consumption continues growing. We need to be aware of overutilization of our circuits. SolarWinds helps us have visibility to the most relevant issues in our network and makes our problem solving process much faster and easier.

What needs improvement?

IPAM. We wish it would work with Cisco CNR and help us manage all of our DHCP servers from a centralized platform.

For how long have I used the solution?

7 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We did have issues while upgrading, but gladly SolarWinds provided good service and assisted us to resolve those issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We didn't have any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No. The performance problems that we have experienced at times are due to hardware limitations.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Outstanding

Technical Support:

Outstanding

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

No other product in the market offers as much as SolarWinds does for the price. Great value.

How was the initial setup?

Initial installation is straightforward. However, upgrading can be quite complex if you have multiple polling servers, as you need to carefully follow the same steps and upgrade path on each server.

What about the implementation team?

The installation was done in-house.

What was our ROI?

I cannot put this into numbers, but from an engineering perspective I believe there is no other product that provides as much value for the buck.

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

It was set-up before I was hired and therefore I do not have cost information.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options were considered.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you have the required hardware and dedicated SQL server. Trying to save money can have a major performance problem on your SolarWinds implementation. Make sure you meet the requirements.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user171912
Senior Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
​Previously we were manually retrieving reports but with NPM it's automated.

What is most valuable?

Monitoring and reporting are valuable features.

How has it helped my organization?

Previously with RTGS software we manually retrieved monitoring reports and checked downtime but with SolarWind NPM reporting is automatic and very good with auto email and message features and because of these great features even late at night or on the weekends our network team knows which link is down.

What needs improvement?

I faced a problem with GRE over IPSec tunnel traffic, it was not showing Netflow enabled traffic and without IPSec tunnel traffic Netflow was working fine.

For how long have I used the solution?

2.5 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The latest issues I've encountered was the Netflow traffic issue I mentioned above.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability, if we follow the prerequisites properly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with stability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

7 out of 10, compared to slow response time from Cisco.

Technical Support:

7 out of 10

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

WhatsUP Gold because of the scalability.

How was the initial setup?

It's a little complex for enterprise level installation.

What about the implementation team?

With Vendor team, 8 out of 10.

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

Around $50,000 to $70,000 as a one time cost. If we add additional features then it will be an additional cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, Manage Engine and Lancope StealthWealth.

What other advice do I have?

It's the best solution on the market so far. I recommend adopting all the latest features in latest update.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My previous company was a SolarWinds Partner.
it_user164031
Network Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Vendor
I like the "Manage Node" feature which provides me with a quick visual representation based on search strings.

What is most valuable?

With admin-level permissions, the "Manage Node" feature is the most valuable to me since my preference is to search via strings. It provides a quick visual representation based on searched strings but a lot of false-positives as well with certain vendors – Cisco being one of them, e.g. reporting “critical/warning" states on things that don't really matter to us such as voltages on line cards or in the backplane of devices.

How has it helped my organization?

It improved the way our organization functions by being a consolidated product which I was able to do a lot of the initial data entry and organization with – unfortunately I have not had time to dedicate to figure out every bell-and-whistle with the NPM product. I’ve deployed rules for SNMP traps, syslog alerts, and other advanced alerts to send emails based on certain parameters – sadly these have been on an “as-needed and as-time-permitted” basis which has been lacking lately.

What needs improvement?

I honestly haven’t given thought to areas that need improvement since I spend a lot more time monitoring the network than optimizing NPM and features; nowhere enough time-wise to nit-pick and test every little thing. So far for what I have done with it, it has worked, getting there wasn’t always the easiest – usually a lot of trial and error based on research.

For how long have I used the solution?

In our network we've used Solarwinds NPM product for a little over 3 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I wasn’t part of the deployment for it; our systems team was responsible for initial deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, plenty of those that our systems team has spent hours on the phone with Solarwinds support with trying to rectify. Especially after moving to later NPM releases; this has made our systems team weary of moving to later NPM releases due to past occurrences following.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, polling more frequently yields a near exponential increase in resource utilization which becomes a problem on virtualized platforms resulting in excessive queueing on poller engine(s). While Solarwinds support virtualization they prefer dedicated hardware by some of their documentation; pretty expensive when you consider Solarwinds software, licensing, and then dedicated hardware to boot. Virtualized deployments also seems to yield a slower experience when browsing the web front-end, this could be due to the uniqueness of our corporate network though.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I haven’t worked with their customer service probably since the beginning, any problems with the platform our systems team would usually be in contact with Solarwinds customer service and technical support.

Technical Support:

I haven’t worked with their customer service probably since the beginning, any problems with the platform our systems team would usually be in contact with Solarwinds customer service and technical support.

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

Older systems that were part of a legacy network and platform that were not well kept and didn’t have many features we were looking for. During RFP’s we narrowed it down to a couple of vendors with Solarwinds at the time taking the lead.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn’t part of initial setup/deployment of product itself.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I don’t recall, was over 3 years ago and we have undergone major transformations as a company since then.

What other advice do I have?

Solarwinds is highly modular regarding products and services so it is important to keep in mind that most other modules have a separate price and licensing tag and that it can become very expensive very quickly. When looking for features try to narrow it down to only the critical ones you need, I prefer simplicity and functionality over complexity – as a company I imagine the complexities came from catering to as many customers’ needs as possible. Lastly prepare to spend a lot of time working and tending to NPM, the biggest time taker I’ve had with NPM personally was getting Overview, Node, and Interface views setup that were useful and speedy – their default views are not recommended and “noisy.”

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user153747
Systems Admin Team Lead at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The Quality of Experience dashboard enables us to analyze application response compared to network response

What is most valuable?

When it comes to the new features in NPM 11, the most valuable addition for us is the deep packet analysis Quality of Experience dashboard (QoE).

How has it helped my organization?

There's so many times where we get a question such as – “Is the network running slow?” It's really helpful being able to configure the deep packet analysis to say we want to look at these servers and just these particular applications - and get rid of the other noise. Before we started using NPM, we could get this info with Wireshark but it was incredibly painful getting it.

What needs improvement?

From a QoE point of view - I'm really grateful it was released so that we could get started taking advantage of the features. The one thing that would make it even more helpful would be to allow us to define our own applications. But having said that, I posted a feature request on the thwack community and got a response from SolarWinds within a half hour, asking for more details about my feature request.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using NPM about a year ago and we’ve been using NPM v11 for about 3 months.

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

We previously used WhatsUpGold, which has a fraction of the features for a tenth of the price. Moving to SolarWinds was a huge jump for our management since they were moving from a $3,000 - $4,000 solution to something which costs us $30,000 - 40,000 (5 SolarWinds products). I showed management the feature request page for NPM. What they noticed right away was that 50% of the feature requests had a "what we're working on" tag. With SolarWinds, management gets visibility into our infrastructure without them having to ask us questions. They can look themselves, it's all there. The fact that SolarWinds listens to customer feedback and requests makes all the difference.

What was our ROI?

For NPM 11, it enables management to see all of our infrastructure and gives them a heads up without doing a lot of work of how our systems are doing. To quantify it, I’ll explain it like this: we were looking to upgrade portions of our networks and our CIO suggested spending money to increasing bandwidth in our datacenter. We used NPM 11 and found that our network bandwidth within the datacenter was incredibly underutilized, we could use more bandwidth by our workstations. NPM helped us focus where to spend money on our infrastructure because we can tell where we need to spend, rather than just a gut feeling. We didn't have that visibility with WhatsUpGold. WhatsUpGold is good as an alerting tool but it’s useless for historical reporting. Graphs and easy correlation in SolarWinds are light-years ahead of what we were doing previously. Historical data is also more useful, we can go back 6-months and say ask ourselves what our pain points are and where we should invest more money. NPM paid for itself by allowing us to spend money where it needs to be spent.

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.
ITCS user
Field Systems Engineer Level 2 at a tech consulting company
Consultant
Review of Network Performance Monitor
Disclaimer: I work for a company that has a partnership with Solarwinds and provides services for Solarwinds products. I have had nothing but good things to say about the Solar winds products. I have the pleasure to use NPM, IPSLA, NTA, and Engineers Tool Kit. We have a large network that without NPM would be hard to monitor and find problems. NTA allows us to keep good tabs on what people and systems are doing on our networks. It is nice to know who is playing World of War craft as an example or which server is pegging an interface. IPSLA has giving us the global view of how our network can handle real-time data. We have been able to vastly improve how implement routing and QOS in order to provide better throughput that result in a higher SLA compliance. Network Performance Monitor…

Disclaimer: I work for a company that has a partnership with Solarwinds and provides services for Solarwinds products.

I have had nothing but good things to say about the Solar winds products. I have the pleasure to use NPM, IPSLA, NTA, and Engineers Tool Kit. We have a large network that without NPM would be hard to monitor and find problems. NTA allows us to keep good tabs on what people and systems are doing on our networks. It is nice to know who is playing World of War craft as an example or which server is pegging an interface. IPSLA has giving us the global view of how our network can handle real-time data. We have been able to vastly improve how implement routing and QOS in order to provide better throughput that result in a higher SLA compliance.

Network Performance Monitor
• Good for Quick Dashboard view
• Customizable for network needs if bandwidth is an issue for monitoring traffic
• Offers good Reporting and Graphics for those who want a bird’s eye view

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Strengths include steady development and strong focus on Windows but don't install it on a multi purpose server
Solar Winds Orion is a strong contender in network monitoring up to (at least) mid size enterprises. It’s particular strengths are steady development and a strong focus on Windows. This focus gives it the ability to drill deeper into application monitoring with less effort than most of it’s competitors through WMI. SNMP is also supported for non windows devices to round out the mix. The interface is primarily the web console, which is highly configurable and can display completely different options for different users/groups. However, building maps and setting most alerts require a separate installed application for the former and console access to the Orion server for the latter. Orion uses MS SQL on the back end, and with more than a small network requires a…

Solar Winds Orion is a strong contender in network monitoring up to (at least) mid size enterprises. It’s particular strengths are steady development and a strong focus on Windows. This focus gives it the ability to drill deeper into application monitoring with less effort than most of it’s competitors through WMI. SNMP is also supported for non windows devices to round out the mix. The interface is primarily the web console, which is highly configurable and can display completely different options for different users/groups. However, building maps and setting most alerts require a separate installed application for the former and console access to the Orion server for the latter. Orion uses MS SQL on the back end, and with more than a small network requires a separate DB server from the web server and agent server(s). Yes, you can use multiple monitoring servers for large networks. Pricing is tiered, both for the type of monitoring (straight network, application, and specialty items like VMWare are separate SKUs) and # of monitored objects.

Competitors - quite a few. Whatsup Gold was purchased by Solar Winds a couple years ago but is still a separate product. Others include Nagios, MRTG, Cacti, on the open source side, and a host of ‘monitoring’ systems on the paid product side. Keep in mind that some of these are less monitoring than ‘is it up’ ICMP pings, but there is a good range of monitoring. I’ll let you inspect the field - this review is pretty good: http://www. . Orion was selected as winner by the site, but keep in mind your needs and resources may vary.

Resist the urge to install monitoring on a multi purpose server, and think very hard before using a ‘spare workstation’ or old server. It benefits from lots of memory, and the DB needs adequate disk performance. Database activity is greater than you’d think from the size (especially when opening a graph or running a report). Also keep in mind the aphorism that when problems occur it’s impossible to always self-monitor; the very tool used may be the problem.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network Engineer at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Email & GUI alert system are valuable for me but response to support tickets that are not network down impacting is slow

What is most valuable?

The email and GUI alert system that it has is the most valuable for me. It also features the IP address management with manages your IP subnets internally and externally all in one place. Also the customizable alert feature is really helpful if you want a specific monitoring and alerting to configure.

How has it helped my organization?

Before we were using the Microsoft DHCP server to manage our IP addresses. However, it was not configured to replicate all throughout the domain so the IP address database and allocation is outdated and we are not sure if this is still active or not. Upon using the IPAM feature of Solarwinds we manage all IP addresses centrally in one location and it is cloud based so we can access it wherever we are in our intranet. I also liked the customizable alert feature because i was appointed to configure and monitor alerts for all the power supply on Cisco devices only. I made series of testing and research and I was successfully able to configure and implement an alert specifying the monitoring of power supplies of Cisco devices only, ie, excluding any other devices.

What needs improvement?

Perhaps they could hire more tech support for this awesome product. I had a difficult experience in their support, not technically but the availability of the engineers. Since they are so little and the bulk of demands for their support is huge, I would have to wait in line to get a response because my ticket is not network down impacting. It took me about 3 months to finish this customization.

For how long have I used the solution?

5 years now.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes. During the test, I encountered troubles because the specific MIBs could not focus on certain power supplies only. I needed to find help from their product tech support.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are minimal issues of stability for the NPM of Solarwinds. This is the reason you need to update the version as often as they release to address the minute bugs of this product

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues with scalability. It can accommodate as much nodes so long as you update your hardware all together.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: I would say 7 out of 10 stars. They really know their product technically. However, the response time for non impacting tickets is very slow.Technical Support: 4 out 5 stars. They know their product so well that you could count on a bug fix update yearly.

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

I used Concord before and it is limited to monitoring network devices. Well, I think that's the only license that my previous company had with it. I did not switch because I liked the product, I simply switched companies that already is using the product.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't the one who set this product up. it was already there when I transferred.

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

It will cost you to buy additional license for additional features. However, there is not day-to-day cost in using this.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No. Like I said, I just moved to a different companies that were already using the product.

What other advice do I have?

Utilize this product to its full potential, NOC will find it very useful and easy to manage.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
SolarWinds has a library of applications that add additional functionality for a great price
I have used Orion for quite a long time - almost 10 years, and while the work that requires remote access to the server is annoying, more is gradually moved to the web interface with almost every upgrade. Of course, SolarWinds has a library of applications that add additional functionality and, as such things go the cost is not great, and you can pick and choose what you need.

I have used Orion for quite a long time - almost 10 years, and while the work that requires remote access to the server is annoying, more is gradually moved to the web interface with almost every upgrade. Of course, SolarWinds has a library of applications that add additional functionality and, as such things go the cost is not great, and you can pick and choose what you need.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user3372
Senior Manager of IT at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Solarwinds takes traditional log-centric EM, re-conceives it & brings it forward to address the realities of today
Discovery – Event Management In the early days of networking, when computing resources were primarily used for research, “network management”, was unheard of. Today high-speed computer networks have become not only a necessity of doing business but a way of life. In the future dense servers will be expected to do more than just undertake menial data center workloads such as serving up web page front-ends. Network virtualization and tiered storage are set to be the next big consolidation in the data center. Network connections are seemingly ubiquitous whether it involves our smart phone, laptop, or opportunities offered by big data/analytics. Almost every aspect of our society relies in some way on computer data networks. When there is a breakdown in these…

Discovery – Event Management

In the early days of networking, when computing resources were primarily used for research, “network management”, was unheard of.

Today high-speed computer networks have become not only a necessity of doing business but a way of life. In the future dense servers will be expected to do more than just undertake menial data center workloads such as serving up web page front-ends. Network virtualization and tiered storage are set to be the next big consolidation in the data center.

Network connections are seemingly ubiquitous whether it involves our smart phone, laptop, or opportunities offered by big data/analytics. Almost every aspect of our society relies in some way on computer data networks. When there is a breakdown in these networks disruption is caused throughout many areas of our society, often affecting millions of people simultaneously.

Network management software is designed to enhance the operation, administration, and provisioning of networks and related assets within the network.These powerful, comprehensive applications allow businesses to better control and maintain their IT networks by centralizing and automating all activities related to tracking, monitoring, servicing, and fine-tuning its components. Its role is crucial in network and cyber defense.

Once known as a solution for smaller businesses and remote offices, Solarwinds’ has expanded its portfolio into the enterprise. Visibility drives detection - SolarWinds’ adoptions in mid-tier businesses, and large enterprises and service providers in context with overall business and operational objectives, provides one single platform for capturing and analyzing large amount network, log and other data.

In short Solarwinds takes traditional log-centric "Event Management" (EM) and re-conceives it and brings it forward to address the realities of today’s “time-to-decision” landscape.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user68013
Network Engineer at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
If you REALLY want to get the information we crave, you need to buy some of the plug-ins.
Out of the box, Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor does an adequate job of monitoring the basics of your network. Things like Bandwidth Utilization, syslog capture and reporting, circuit outages, etc. However, If you REALLY want to get the information we crave, you need to buy some of the plug-ins. You start out with NTA, Netflow Traffic Analyzer. Now you don't just know that your bandwidth is being consumed. You know WHAT is taking a big bite out of that ALWAYS important bandwidth. Is it legitimate traffic and you need to add bandwidth or is it frivolous and you need to block it? Next, if you operate call centers you might want to add on the VoiP and Network Quality Manager. I'm unfamiliar with this but it must have evolved from IP SLA Manager, a product I loved for it's ability to…

Out of the box, Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor does an adequate job of monitoring the basics of your network. Things like Bandwidth Utilization, syslog capture and reporting, circuit outages, etc. However, If you REALLY want to get the information we crave, you need to buy some of the plug-ins.

You start out with NTA, Netflow Traffic Analyzer. Now you don't just know that your bandwidth is being consumed. You know WHAT is taking a big bite out of that ALWAYS important bandwidth. Is it legitimate traffic and you need to add bandwidth or is it frivolous and you need to block it?

Next, if you operate call centers you might want to add on the VoiP and Network Quality Manager. I'm unfamiliar with this but it must have evolved from IP SLA Manager, a product I loved for it's ability to tell me how well my voice traffic was moving across the network. It looks like they've added integration with Call Manager so now you can really dig down into those voice related issues.

There's another piece you may consider indispensable if you have a lot of apps running across your network; Server and Application Monitor. Now we're cooking with gas!

Nowadays, it's just not enough to know that you still have bandwidth available. What you REALLY need to know is, do you have bandwidth available to ALL your key applications? QOS might be dropping packets while you are blithely examining your bandwidth utilization, thinking everything is running smoothly.

While Voice and one or 2 other apps may be blissfully travelling down the carpool lane of your network, what about the rest of your traffic? Is it stuck in a traffic jam, staring hungrily at those empty lanes? You NEED to know these things. And that's where the plugins will make your monitoring get up and DANCE! And once you KNOW what's going on on your network, YOU'LL be dancing too!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user8427
Network Manager at a consultancy with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
The latest iteration is an extremely powerful tool
I have used Solarwinds NPM since it was Orion. I have found that with a little effort, the latest iteration is an extremely powerful tool. I leaves Openview in the dust. The reports can be customized with either a simple interface with a complex SQL query. Alerting is superb. You can even set the alerts so that you will not get flooded when key components fail (as in WAN links) The licencing is not actually per node, but three levels of maximun and an unlimited. Either way, the pricing is extremely reasonable and the anual is for supporty and upgrades. The people at Solarwinds have always been very responsive.

I have used Solarwinds NPM since it was Orion. I have found that with a little effort, the latest iteration is an extremely powerful tool. I leaves Openview in the dust. The reports can be customized with either a simple interface with a complex SQL query. Alerting is superb. You can even set the alerts so that you will not get flooded when key components fail (as in WAN links) The licencing is not actually per node, but three levels of maximun and an unlimited. Either way, the pricing is extremely reasonable and the anual is for supporty and upgrades. The people at Solarwinds have always been very responsive.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user3372
Senior Manager of IT at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Inspect what you Expect: The Importance of Monitoring
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with a few leaders from various disciplines within IT. One of the biggest concerns that were voiced was the ability to effectively monitor the performance of their enterprise, systems and other assets. Having been in their position, I completely understood their frustration…one that’s played out almost daily in IT. Yet, even in crisis situations, few IT leaders are able decipher the handwriting on the wall until it’s too late. When the famous luxury ship Titanic struck the iceberg, it took two and a half hours to sink. But although the hull was ripped and water was rushing into the compartments, when the first lifeboat was launched, there were only 28 people in it, despite its capacity to hold 65. In life – like on the Titanic – there are only a…

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with a few leaders from various disciplines within IT. One of the biggest concerns that were voiced was the ability to effectively monitor the performance of their enterprise, systems and other assets. Having been in their position, I completely understood their frustration…one that’s played out almost daily in IT.

Yet, even in crisis situations, few IT leaders are able decipher the handwriting on the wall until it’s too late.

When the famous luxury ship Titanic struck the iceberg, it took two and a half hours to sink. But although the hull was ripped and water was rushing into the compartments, when the first lifeboat was launched, there were only 28 people in it, despite its capacity to hold 65. In life – like on the Titanic – there are only a few people who have the ability to discern the meaning of small events and have the courage to make a decision. The rest go down with the ship.

Monitoring performance should be a top priority for any organization because it allows us to make a transparent and objective evaluation of whether our process and project has been a success or not. Enterprise network management and monitoring – it's not just routers, switches, and firewalls in today's data centers. More than ever before, managing a network means managing devices and applications on the network. Across the world, network administrators are consolidating physical servers to VMware, monitoring Active Directory performance, troubleshooting VoIP phone systems, and more.

The implementation of a monitoring and evaluation plan will provide us with the information required to evaluate and demonstrate to stakeholders the success of our processes and projects. Communication of a process or project outcomes and success is a fundamental requirement of all processes and projects.

To coin a phrase that’s echoed by DOD leadership, ‘Inspect what you Expect’. In other words successful business management requires the ongoing monitoring of performance in order to generate data by which to judge the success or otherwise of specific strategies. Improvement in performance can only be realistically achieved when management is properly informed about current performance. To this end it is important to identify key performance indicators that enable management to monitor progress.

In our industry, uptime and availability are critical because downed services and systems can put lives at risk, in addition to costing money. It is our job and purpose to make sure that all services are up, running and healthy.

There are many tools on the market for monitoring performance; one that I have relied on heavily for years has been “SolarWinds”.

SolarWinds is a network monitoring tool that offers advanced fault and performance management functionality across critical IT resources such as routers, WAN links, switches, firewalls, VoIP call paths, physical servers, virtual servers, domain controllers & other IT infrastructure devices.

Further the network monitoring software, combines an easy-to-use interface that lets you quickly deploy the product for production and also apply your organization's monitoring policies across multiple devices quickly.

Being able to quickly deploy a network monitoring tool is especially important to me, since I typically manage at least three networks at a minimum – often times in austere environments. SolarWinds, provide 24/7 network monitoring of devices which notifies my Help Desk when a critical event has occurred. This has allowed my teams identify, isolate and resolves issues/events more quickly.

Because data availability is critical to our decision makers and business operations, my team leverages SolarWinds as a central management platform for tracking all the connected resources on our networks and as an Asset Management capability.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the value that SolarWinds brought to our Incident Management program by giving my Help Desk the power to immediately visualize how everything is connected. Enabling, us to deliver high-value, cost-effective IT services that support our global businesses. Solar Winds solutions allow us to maximize our IT investments by protecting our critical data and systems. It empowers us to keep business activities moving forward at all times, helping the organization achieve its goals.

This was instrumental in the prevention of service outages and reduced down times significantly. Additionally our top-level decision makers were able to understand and capitalize on the strategic potential of information technology by integrating it into everything they do.

The business environment today offers few second chances for course correction.

Network uptime is a critical, and it’s the life blood of business operation. Our customers should be able to confidently rely on us to ensure that their mission-critical systems are available and running smoothly 24/7/365. Downtime means a loss of productivity, missed revenue opportunities, and potential brand damage.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
User with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Overall NPM is a great product
I've been working with this product for almost 10 years. It has improved significantly, but the out-of-the-box metrics don't cut it for me. The discovery capabilities for custom metrics are limited because many MIBs have unique ways of defining instances and much meta-data that can't be easily captured with the existing interface. Reporting has its downfalls as well. The reports have great sex-appeal, but little flexibility to combine metrics or aggregate the data in unique ways. Take a product like Netcool Proviso - you can do almost anything with discovery and data, but it's much more expensive, support stinks, and the reports are ugly as sin. Overall NPM is a great product. The TWACK community adds much that is lacking.

I've been working with this product for almost 10 years. It has improved significantly, but the out-of-the-box metrics don't cut it for me. The discovery capabilities for custom metrics are limited because many MIBs have unique ways of defining instances and much meta-data that can't be easily captured with the existing interface. Reporting has its downfalls as well. The reports have great sex-appeal, but little flexibility to combine metrics or aggregate the data in unique ways. Take a product like Netcool Proviso - you can do almost anything with discovery and data, but it's much more expensive, support stinks, and the reports are ugly as sin. Overall NPM is a great product. The TWACK community adds much that is lacking.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user5550
Network Engineer at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
SolarWinds NPM can monitor all SNMP supported devices in real time. But why can't it run in Chrome?

Valuable Features:

1.NPM can help keep a watch on the network and devices like switches, routers, access point. It can monitor any SNMP enabled devices in real time. 2.NPM can easily scale up when your network grows beyond the usual limits and it can monitor the network and connected devices with same efficiency and speed. Scale up is primarily handled by Orion Hot Standby Engine which keeps a watch on the health and functioning of the primary NPM system. 3.The Orion website has the ability to run from machines other than the Orion server and allows additional web server to be added. This allows more users to access the Orion web portal without impacting the overall performance. 4. It supports multiple vendors and thus can monitor majority of the network devices 5. Microsoft Active Directory support

Room for Improvement:

1.The user interface is not intuitive enough and needs improvements in certain parts. 2.The web interface does not have a good support for some browsers like Google Chrome. It officially supports IE and Firefox. 3. Windows Vista systems are not officially supported from SolarWinds.

Other Advice:

Solarwinds NPM has lots of features not found in some other network performance monitoring tools e.g. seamless integration with Microsoft Active Directory. It can easily scale up when there is a need to support and monitor higher number of devices without impacting the overall performance. There are certain pain points that need to be addressed like improving the overall user interface and support for more number of web browsers.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user5157
Sr System Engineer at a outsourcing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Robust and highly scalable monitoring with a comprehensive view of the network. But it lacks a good UI.

Valuable Features:

Single page view of all the servers lets me monitor them at a glance. I can expand and see all the details at as single click expand. I can capture real-time visibility into network performance issues to quickly determine who, where and what is impacting the network. Very easy to set alerts for unusual happening. Highly configurable. Graphical view lets us compare the values within a particular time frame.

Room for Improvement:

User Interface needs improvement as it is not very attractive. I was not able to properly monitor my SNMP based online UPS.

Other Advice:

Our company needed a highly reliable network and bandwidth manager/monitor as we were unable to monitor all servers /networks manually. Our search finally ended at this Orion’s NPM tool which has great scalability and reliability.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
User with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Feature rich, nice interface, and relatively inexpensive

Valuable Features:

Feature rich produce suite that addresses many aspects of BSM. Thwack community is constantly making suggestions and improvements.

Room for Improvement:

There isn't a great deal of flexibility to create custom metrics that can be discovered easily or custom aggregation schemes.

Valuable Features:

Feature rich produce suite that addresses many aspects of BSM. Thwack community is constantly making suggestions and improvements.

Room for Improvement:

There isn't a great deal of flexibility to create custom metrics that can be discovered easily or custom aggregation schemes.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user2979
Network Engineer at a tech consulting company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Solid monitoring tool with lots of extra features and highly customizable
Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is a powerful, scalable network monitoring tool. It has a vast range of features, and a large number of expansion plugins that can add functionality for almost any need. Some of the main features of the Network Performance Monitor include: Great UI – SolarWinds has consistently good UI design that makes it easy for administrators to manage the network. Customizable dashboards make it easy to view status of key services. If a problem arises simply click and drill-down to view devices and their components like network interfaces, CPU, etc. Monitoring – SNMP or WMI monitoring is SolarWinds’ big strength. But NPM also can function as a Syslog server (see also What is Syslog' - http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/what-is-syslog), and…

Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is a powerful, scalable network monitoring tool. It has a vast range of features, and a large number of expansion plugins that can add functionality for almost any need.

Some of the main features of the Network Performance Monitor include:

Great UI – SolarWinds has consistently good UI design that makes it easy for administrators to manage the network. Customizable dashboards make it easy to view status of key services. If a problem arises simply click and drill-down to view devices and their components like network interfaces, CPU, etc.

Monitoring – SNMP or WMI monitoring is SolarWinds’ big strength. But NPM also can function as a Syslog server (see also What is Syslog' - http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/what-is-syslog), and also adds native support for VMware, as well as ability to monitor VSANs. Unfortunately there’s no native support for Hyper-V yet.

Alerting – send messages to administrators when pre-specified thresholds are exceeded (e.g. low memory, high CPU) or if devices fail. Or, events could trigger a script to run.

Reporting – The NPM reporting center includes a large number of pre-canned reports that can be run ad-hoc, or scheduled to run automatically. It also has a custom report writer module that allows users to design their own reports. However I found the stock reports to be a little basic and would love to see this area of the product improved in the future.

SolarWinds has great integration across their entire product range. Nearly every plugin and additional product (think NetFlow monitoring, application monitoring, DDI management, etc) seamlessly integrates with the rest of their Orion suite, streamlining access and reporting.

Surprisingly, one of Solarwinds other strengths comes from their customers. Thwack is the name of the Solarwinds user community, a place where both users and Solarwinds staff go to exchange ideas and support – and also product extensions and customizations. Need to customize NPM for a specific need, add a custom report, or poll a custom device' Odds are good that someone else has already figured out a way to do it, and posted it on Thwack.

NPM is priced on a per-interface model, so that could add up quickly depending on your requirements. This is a little different from most of their competitors who price their software on a per-device basis. Make sure you do the math to understand the total cost of the product.

Overall, I’m consistently impressed with the power of NPM, ease of use, and quality of this product, and would have no trouble recommending it for most networks. SolarWinds offers fully-functioning, free 30-day trials of Network Performance Manager so you can test it out in your own environment.

Pros
SolarWinds Orion NPM has one of the best user interfaces in the business.
The NPM product does an all-round great job at automatically discovering network devices.
Support for other features: Syslog, virtualization, VSANs.
Thwack (SolarWinds User community) integration.

Cons
Some administration tasks can't be completed through the web UI and require the old windows application consoles.
Stock reporting feels limited - would like to see simpler ways of generating my own reports.
No native support for Hyper-V - though can poll with SNMP.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user2871
Network Engineer at a university with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Solarwinds network performance monitor adds flexibility and ease of management. It monitors network devices and their states.

Valuable Features:

Why do I recommend this product? As compared with other products we found Solarwinds to be more robust and includes more powerful functions including: -Scheduled scan of the network automatically discovers network devices and monitors the IP of the device, the name, machine type and polling method. -Support multiple vendors so it will support lots of devices to be scanned. -Mobile view for IPHONE, BLACKBERRY and ANDROID -Microsoft active directory integration For the above reasons our company has chosen it instead of Angry IP Scanner or solar winds engineering toolset.

Room for Improvement:

-New, web-based interface lacks some features of traditional GUI. -Increases the processor load if it operated for a period of time. Solarwinds is a strong company in the network monitoring, management and configuration market -- it has a lot of products and one of the most famous is solarwinds TFTP server. Solarwinds engineering toolset is a set of products that include all monitoring and management network programs combined in one software package. Solarwinds network performance monitor is a strong product that combines management (SNMP), monitoring (SYSLOG) and configuration of routers and switches. It is also very effective to analyze the link bandwidth and network device performance such as CPU utilization and memory.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user1125
Network Engineer at a retailer with 51-200 employees
Vendor
The most efficient Network Performance Monitor with its added characteristics like sniffing, alerting system, and fault discovery.

Valuable Features:

• Simplicity of Use, instinctive, lots of attributes, simple to Install and keep, economical, and makes network management easier. • Sturdy network error and accessibility management. • Well established SNMP based network performance check, which allows for adding wireless, Voice over Internet Protocols, and Net Flow checking support as required. It also offers simple and configurable custom attentive and reports. • Network Performance Monitor can also receive Syslog output and SNMP traps for fault discovery and alerting. • Alerting system of Network Performance Monitor is strong, supple, and comparatively simple. • The product has module based pricing, meaning that you only have to purchase the required features.

Room for Improvement:

• Bulk Node attach is chaos • TCP Service Monitoring • Unable to perform stop or edit for several events • Slightly costly • Latest web based interface does not have some characteristics of the traditional Graphic User Interface. • I am having a problem with putting up a reliance structure.

Other Advice:

The monitoring system of Orion is powerful and has become a positive feature in the company. Latest versions need no extra training, further software installation, added licensing, and no other exertion. Updates are flawless and consistent. The application is highly self documented and sufficiently instinctive and competent, reasonably priced, and flexible. For basic enterprise network monitoring or a complete set of network diagnostic tools and monitors, Orion is the best option for its complete attribute set and simplicity of use.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user1143
Network Manager at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Orion NPM is a great real time network activity & performance tracking utility. Web interface is great, but needs minor improvements

Valuable Features:

Orion NPM is a mature and reasonably priced product. It is easy to deploy and configure, and has an excellent user and network mapping interface.

Room for Improvement:

Resource utilization is heavy so you need to analyze the server before using it for multiple roles. We are unable to use web console to configure new alerts.

Other Advice:

SolarWinds Orion NPM tracks bottlenecks in your network infrastructure and lets you troubleshoot them before a disaster happens. It uses protocols and tools like ICMP, SNMP, Cisco NetFlow, and Syslog to provide you with the alerts and statistics you need to run your network at optimal performance and speed. The product is easy to deploy on top of an IIS and .Net framework. It also has excellent built-in thresholds and alerts available to help you get started, yet provides the option to create custom thresholds and alerts as required by your specific network and infrastructure requirements. A comprehensive web interface is available to identify inconsistencies and trouble spots in your network.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user1023
Director of IT at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is the SolarWinds Orion entry in the monitoring and alerting systems market.

Valuable Features:

- Powerful network fault & availability management. - Mature SNMP-based network performance monitor; lets you add wireless, VoIP, and NetFlow monitoring support as needed; provides easily configurable custom alerts and reports. - NPM can also receive Syslog output and SNMP traps for error detection and alerting. - NPM’s alerting system is powerful, flexible, and relatively easy to use. - The product features modular pricing, so you can buy only the features you need.

Room for Improvement:

- New, web-based interface lacks some features of traditional GUI. - One of the problems I've had in the past, is building out a dependency structure.

Other Advice:

NPM uses Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) ping requests to gather basic connectivity and response-time information. It allows network devices that support this, to gather additional information, by using SNMP queries and Cisco IOS NetFlow. NPM can also receive Syslog output and SNMP traps for error detection and alerting. Add-on modules let Orion NPM monitor NetFlow devices, wireless appliances, and VoIP networks and also let NPM monitor more devices as your network grows. Whether you want basic enterprise network monitoring or a full suite of network diagnostic tools and monitors, I recommend Orion 9 for its full feature set and ease of use.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user714
Network Engineer at a manufacturing company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
We moved from nGenius to Orion NPM about 3 years ago and are very happy with the performance, features, and pricing

Valuable Features:

We moved from nGenius to Orion NPM about 3 years ago and are very happy with the performance, features, and pricing, The company is very pro-active, as in adding additional features and being responsive to customer requests.

Room for Improvement:

1. The constant flow of new features and re-designing of the product sometimes presents bugs that were not identified. 2. Most of the primary support people in Austin do a good job, but they also have outsourced support that also responds to tickets .. and they can be very frustrating to deal with.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user555
Network Engineer at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Quick to get up and running, but not as granular out-of-the-box as you would expect.

Valuable Features:

Quick to launch. No agents required. Many configuration options.

Room for Improvement:

Network discovery missed many devices. Network mapping & topology was not accurate and does not update automatically. Alerts can not be configured differently for different device categories (e.g., alert comms guys about routers; network people about switches, etc.). While Orion offers many options, many features must be purchased as separate modules.

Other Advice:

It has now been about 3 weeks since we launched the Orion Network Performance Monitor and Netflow Traffic Analyzer. We chose this product based on colleague recommendations.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
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