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SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is #1 ranked solution in top Active Directory Management tools, #8 ranked solution in top Server Monitoring tools, and #12 ranked solution in APM tools. PeerSpot users give SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor an average rating of 7.4 out of 10. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is most commonly compared to Azure Monitor: SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor vs Azure Monitor. SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 68% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 26% of all views.
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Buyer's Guide

Download the SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor?

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) delivers powerful application and server monitoring capabilities for IT pros, enabling them to diagnose and troubleshoot performance issues faster. Do not let slow applications and downtime impact your end-users and business services. Pinpoint the root cause of application issues across various layers of the IT stack. SolarWinds SAM is affordable and easy to deploy, use, and customize. You can automatically discover your system's environment and start monitoring in about an hour. No professional services or consultation needed.

SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor was previously known as SolarWinds SAM.

SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Customers

Andr. L. Riis AS, NetSuite

SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Video

Archived SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Reviews (more than two years old)

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Ravi Khanchandani - PeerSpot reviewer
Founder Director at Techsa Services Pvt Ltd
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
More application insight-based widgets
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is application monitoring."
  • "I would like to see support for non-Windows or non-Microsoft domains, especially Apache and other non-Windows servers."

What is our primary use case?

We are solution providers and this is one of the monitoring solutions that we implement for our customers.

How has it helped my organization?

SAM has altered the way monitoring is being looked at - from just being able to monitor CPU, Mem, Disk and network utilization levels we have moved to the next levels of finding out process related issues, service related issues and specific application related issues to identify root cause of performance issues.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is application monitoring. Already 1200 application monitoring templates exist with the Solarwinds SAM monitoring and the AppInsights for IIS, SQL, Exchange & AD. 

What needs improvement?

I am looking for more application insight-based widgets with the service. They currently have them for IIS, SQL, Exchange, and Active Directory.

I would like to see additional application support for non-Windows servers. This would give us more flexibility in terms of monitoring customer applications.


Buyer's Guide
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor
July 2022
Learn what your peers think about SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
620,987 professionals have used our research since 2012.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with the SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor for about five years.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a Partner & Reseller for Solarwinds
PeerSpot user
Business Consultant. at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Top 10Leaderboard
Powerful tool for DBAs with support for Active Directory
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the Access Rights Manager."
  • "Support for the IBM Mainframe is needed."

What is our primary use case?

We are a distributor and solution provider, and this is one of the products that we implement for our clients. It is used for monitoring the performance of applications and infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the Access Rights Manager.

It is a very powerful tool for database administration and management.

The support for Active Directory is good.

What needs improvement?

Support for the IBM Mainframe is needed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is absolutely scalable. We have worked on projects of different sizes for companies operating on local, national, and international levels. The smaller deployments include perhaps 10 network devices, 20 servers, and two network storage devices. We have done several medium-sized deployments with between 100 and 500 servers, including two data centers. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is nothing special. The service is available on a 24/7 basis, which is good enough for my market.

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

I have worked with similar solutions including Zabbix, HPE Performance Manager, and Microsoft System Center Manager. I have good opinions of HPE and SolarWinds.

How was the initial setup?

This solution is simple to deploy. I do not need more than two or three hours to complete it.

I spend perhaps 30 minutes customizing it, making technical changes for the customer's environment and infrastructure. This can be done once we have all of the information that we need concerning the IT processes.

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

I like the pricing for this SolarWinds product.

What other advice do I have?

There are several tools included in this solution including AppStack (Application Stack Management), PerfStack (Performance Analysis), and NetPath (Network Path Analysis).

This is an open platform so if there is something that it does not support then you can write your own scripts. You have the ability to include metrics from different systems, which is very good.

In summary, I like this product and I recommend it. SolarWinds is one of the best products on the market and if they eventually support the IBM Mainframe then it will be perfect.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor
July 2022
Learn what your peers think about SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
620,987 professionals have used our research since 2012.
IT Consultant at a tech services company
Consultant
Has good configuration capabilities and very good monitoring
Pros and Cons
  • "The solution is great for monitoring. If something is going wrong, we can immediately find the root cause."
  • "The templates could use improvement. Currently, they are quite complex. They should have drag-and-drop functionality instead. It would make it easier to use."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for Microsoft Exchange. We use it as a monitoring tool to query and monitor databases. Using the solution we are able to see what service is running or what services are not. It allows us to get a complete picture of the SIEM.

What is most valuable?

We find that the most valuable aspect of the solution is its configuration capabilities. It's quite simple. Users can configure Linux or Windows very easily.

The solution is great for monitoring. If something is going wrong, we can immediately find the root cause.

What needs improvement?

The templates could use improvement. Currently, they are quite complex. They should have drag-and-drop functionality instead. It would make it easier to use.

The technical support is slow to respond. They need to act on tickets faster.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for approximately three or four months. It hasn't been that long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've found the solution to be very stable. We haven't had issues with bugs, glitches or crashes. It's been very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've found the solution to be scalable.

We don't have users per se on the solution, as it's only meant to monitor. We have seven people on our team, and any one of us can use the solution to check and monitor everything as needed.

We use it on a daily basis.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've been in touch with technical support in the past to help us deal with the customization of reports, which is quite difficult on the platform.

Their support is, at times, difficult because of the time zone. For example, if we raise a ticket now, we won't get a response for seven hours. The delay isn't great for us.

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

We previously used ManageEngine. It was not giving us what we needed, which is why we switched. With SolarWinds, we can even get great performance and good monitoring from MongoDB through SQL. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We found it rather easy.

In terms of setup, traditionally, to configure any single node, it takes about five to ten minutes.

In order to maintain the solution, a company would need at least two people: one to monitor performance and another to monitor the application itself.

What about the implementation team?

I was able to handle the entire implementation myself after going through and reading the documentation. I didn't need the outside assistance of an integrator or consultant.

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

I don't have any information on pricing, as that is handled by our procurement team.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the latest version of the solution. I believe it is version 12.5.

If a company would really like insight into its database utilization or performance and why their servers are slow or why the database is not giving a proper response, this solution will help. It's perfect for revealing bottlenecks. You will have more visibility once you will install it in your environment. The solution will no doubt help other companies resolve issues very quickly.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Donald Bakels - PeerSpot reviewer
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Adfontessoftware
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Flexible infrastructure monitoring for gaining deep insight
Pros and Cons
  • "This product can monitor application environments no matter where they reside and provides capabilities for deep insight into infrastructure."
  • "This product has no real downside unless they fail to continue development of its capabilities."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use this solution with customers who would like to have insight into their application environments. These environments could be on-premise, hybrid, in clouds, it does not matter where it resides. They want to have deep insight into the performance and availability of applications, databases, networks, VMware, Hyper-V, etcetera. It doesn't matter what they want to look at because all infrastructure components can be monitored using SAM. This product can monitor about 150 infrastructure components by default.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of the product is the monitoring capability. Basic infrastructure monitoring is a good start for using the product. For example, I like Microsoft monitoring and various components like SharePoint and Active Directory, which can be very important. But also it is very useful for monitoring Microsoft SQL Server environments. That only covers the surface approach to monitoring applications and servers. You can also monitor the underlying infrastructure. For example, you can monitor hardware components such as the health of your servers so that you know if they are functioning optimally or if they have some type of performance issue or failure. You can go a step further to get deeper insight into specific components. But it is a very good thing to start with APM (Application Performance Management) and to get into monitoring the underlying infrastructure of your system so you are aware of its condition.  

What needs improvement?

These tools are made for evaluation and monitoring. They were developed some years ago and they are still evolving, and what I would like to see is that they are made cloud-ready as soon as possible. It would be good at this point to have it so you can run them and use them in the cloud. That is actually already possible, but I want to make sure that they continue to mature that type of development and enhance the product's capabilities.  

What can and will be added in upcoming releases is that the product will support a few more well-known database flavors like Oracle SQL server. I would like to see an extension of that capability to other database flavors including freeware environments like MySQL, Progress, and MariaDB. I know for a fact that they will be adding these capabilities in the future for sure, and that is a great step forward.  

For how long have I used the solution?

 We have been using SolarWinds SAM (Server & Application Monitor) for six years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SolarWinds SAM is very stable. We are using it with hundreds or thousands of customers and there are no stability issues.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is very scalable. No problem with that at all.  

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good. We can access it 24/7 when we need to.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward.  

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

Pricing is quite cheap. It starts at 2,440 euros. For that, you have the ability to monitor a couple of nodes. You also get one year of maintenance and support included in the price.  

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate SolarWinds SAM as a ten in regards to the total cost of ownership and quality. But being more modest because there is room for improvement I will rate it a nine.  

I would highly recommend this solution to users.  

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PeerSpot user
Umair-Akhlaque - PeerSpot reviewer
Enterprise Solutions & Services Head at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
A Performance Monitor, Control Virtual Environments, and helps you build your CMDB
Pros and Cons
  • "Solarwinds has an open database that allows you to do serious integrations. It doesn't matter which service desk you have, you can implement and integrate it with SolarWinds."
  • "When you implement SolarWinds on a larger scale my customers complain about the speed."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for centralized monitoring of the server performance to ensure that the servers have proactive monitoring, CPU utilization, memory, and performance across the monitoring. 

SolarWinds was suggested to our clients running a mid-size infrastructure, with budget constraints and can't afford IBM, Broadcom, or Microsoft.

How has it helped my organization?

The customer's requirements are met with SolarWinds.

It helps with server monitoring and not only to monitor the physical servers, but it can also control the virtual environment. It has good monitoring in VM integration by VMware or Citrix.

SolarWinds is not just a monitoring tool, it can provide you with a capacity planning giving you complete a server inventory and helps you fulfill your commitment to the business. 

You will know your plan and what you will need in the next two years to achieve your capacity planning.

You are aware of what is happening in your servers, what their performance is, how the applications are behaving, and it helps you build your CMDB as well.

What is most valuable?

Our clients like the nice dashboard where they can see the active monitoring and includes performance, CPU usage, memory usage, and files. 

Solarwinds has an open database that allows you to do serious integrations. It doesn't matter which service desk you have, you can implement and integrate it with SolarWinds.

What needs improvement?

When you implement SolarWinds on a larger scale my customers complain about the speed. It's slow. This is an issue that has been going on for a long time that hasn't been properly addressed by SolarWinds. In a bigger architecture, the portal is still slow. They will have to look into it and see how they can improve it because this is the biggest complaint the customers have.

In the next release, I would like to see improvements made to the reliability and the issue with the speed, especially the slowness with their browser-based solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable but when the product has a lot of data in the databases, the speed is an issue.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable, but not for large infrastructures. I can recommend SolarWinds for a mid to large scale organization. I am not convinced that customers who have two to four thousand devices and two thousand servers can implement SolarWinds on such a large scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good, it's above average.

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

Previously we implemented the CA UIM solution, CA Spectrum, and Microsoft Monitoring.

SolarWinds is much easier than any of them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's easy to implement, but when you implement it in a huge environment you will have some complexity. Also if you implement it in a single box, it can be complex.

If it is a mid-scale customer they can implement this solution on their own. They will need only two or three bars and a maximum of two servers are more than enough to implement.

If it's a small solution, you can implement it. It keeps the database separate. It's straightforward, it is not difficult.

Overall it is a very simple implementation.

The length of deployment depends on the infrastructure, the customer that I am referring to took a month and a half to implement most of the requirements. 

What was our ROI?

From a vendor's point of view when implementing this solution, SolarWinds will gives me paid access. 

From a customers point of view, they get a good return on investment because they are not paying a lot of money when you compare to what they used to pay for IBM and other large vendors.

It is clearly a good return on investment for any customer when they implement SolarWinds.

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

The licenses start from USD 3000.00 and go up to USD 20,000.00 for the year. It's a perpetual license.

Nothing is free in SolarWinds, anything that you need is an additional cost.

When you compare SolarWinds to Broadcom, Broadcom has a simpler policy, you can install it and you don't have the complex licensing where you need a separate license for every little thing. 

Customers don't understand the complexity of the licensing when you need a separate license for the application and storage as an example. With SolarWinds, you have to pay for every feature.

What other advice do I have?

Improvements come as we are moving forward. Requirements also change with time.

There were times when we used to be a complete physical infrastructure. Most of the customers have now moved to a virtual infrastructure.

The requirements are also changing. In the last ten years, what I have seen is that SolarWinds is improving its product as per the demand of the customer.

SolarWinds is easy to implement and it has most of the information the customer is looking for, and the dashboard has the wow factor.

I think that every IT team should have to courage to try to implement it by themselves because it is not difficult.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Senior Information Security Officer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Offers real-time node monitoring and is stable and powerful
Pros and Cons
  • "I'd rate technical support at eight out of ten. They are helpful and fast."
  • "It would be helpful if the solution could integrate more with the security compliances, like this IDSS, etc."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for network monitoring.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of the solution are its real-time node monitoring and Help Desk's feedback.

It's a very powerful application that covers all areas.

What needs improvement?

It would be helpful if the solution could integrate more with the security compliances, like this IDSS, etc.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for two 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?

The solution is scalable. It's a license based scalability, but it is scalable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I'd rate technical support at eight out of ten. They are helpful and fast.

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

I didn't previously use another solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. We have five to six administrators.

What about the implementation team?

We had a consultant assist us with the implementation.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model.

I would recommend the solution. It needs the proper sizing before implementation, and if you have done the proper sizing then you're all good.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Group Chief Technology Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Exchange monitoring is helpful, but it needs to support a lot more applications and on more platforms
Pros and Cons
  • "The more valuable feature of this solution is the Exchange feature."
  • "Some custom applications cannot be monitored, and a lot more applications need to be included."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution integrator, and this is one of the products that we implement for our clients. We also supply this as a service.

The primary use case for this solution is application monitoring, in an on-premises deployment model.

What is most valuable?

The more valuable feature of this solution is the Exchange feature.

What needs improvement?

The custom reporting needs to be improved.

Some custom applications cannot be monitored, and a lot more applications need to be included. The supported list of applications is very limited. For example, it supports the Windows version of JD Edwards, but not the Linux version of the same solution. Since it is the same application running on a different platform, it should work.

The price of scaling this solution needs to be improved.

I would like to have better support for Linux, and not be as dependent on Windows Servers. Even for non-Windows applications, it uses a Windows Server.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about four and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is expensive to scale this solution, simply because of the cost of the polling engine. You can purchase unlimited IPs, but the price of an additional polling engine is $20,000 USD. That is quite a lot. We are looking into other solutions because it is just too expensive to keep scaling.

We have approximately eighty users and four hundred servers.

How are customer service and technical support?

There is no in-country support for this solution. There are local numbers available but the call quality isn't great. I would rate technical support a five out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is complex.

The deployment took four weeks.

What about the implementation team?

We provide the consultants for integrating this solution.

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

The product might cost you $30,000 USD to buy, but scaling this solution requires the purchase of additional polling engines at $20,000 USD each.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The high price of this solution has us looking into other solutions, rather than scale.

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for a single pane of glass to monitor Windows products then SolarWinds is your product. However, it is not best of breed. 

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Mihai Cristea - PeerSpot reviewer
CTO at Smart Factor
Real User
Easy to install and customize and has good reporting features
Pros and Cons
  • "One of the most valuable features are the reports. They're pretty good. Also, the ease of installation and customization for the client is another feature that we value. SolarWinds has a lot of features but these are the ones I like the most. We also like that the KPIs have the ability to be preset."
  • "They should incorporate more artificial intelligence. There should also be more predictive features."

What is our primary use case?

We implement solutions and make comparative analysis for customers. I'm a consultant and we help clients choose ITSM solutions. 

We use a hybrid version of this solution. 

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features are the reports. They're pretty good. Also, the ease of installation and customization for the client is another feature that we value. SolarWinds has a lot of features but these are the ones I like the most. We also like that the KPIs have the ability to be preset. 

What needs improvement?

I had a problem with the price for a client. It was hard to understand the infrastructure and how many devices and how much storage they could get. In the end, we found a different license model for them. 

They should incorporate more artificial intelligence. There should also be more predictive features. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for around ten years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. I installed it in a lot of companies. One had more than 1,000 users. There were no problems with it. We showed an internal team how to configure it for 100 devices and then they configured the rest of the 900.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support was okay. We only needed to contact them once. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup took four hours. Including configuring a network for 300 Cisco switches and 32 cloud servers including database servers.  

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

The price is reasonable. The price of the package we bought was a differentiating factor in choosing this solution. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a 9.5 out of ten. My clients are satisfied. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
IT Leadership, System Management at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A good solution for network configuration, but the initial setup is complex
Pros and Cons
  • "There are many valuable features, including the network configuration manager, and the network performance manager."
  • "The setup was complex. We had local support to assist us."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for network configuration and managing network performance.

What is most valuable?

There are many valuable features, including the network configuration manager, and the network performance manager.

What needs improvement?

We don't need additional features. The network performance monitors and configuration monitors work well for our company. We also use different software for server monitoring. So far, the solution works well for us as-is.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for two years.

How are customer service and technical support?

Local technical support is okay. I would rate them seven out of ten. They're not bad, but they're not good either.

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

We didn't previously have another solution before implementing SolarWinds.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was complex. We had local support to assist us.

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

I can't say what the exact pricing is, but I know it's not too expensive. 

What other advice do I have?

We have about 1,000 users on the solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
System Administrator/ Information Management Specialist / System Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
A modular end-to-end solution that is easy to use and easy to navigate
Pros and Cons
  • "The solution is end-to-end from the network and the application to the processes. Everything about the enterprise infrastructure is being covered by the solution. It's easy to use and easy to navigate and one of the leaders among monitoring solutions."
  • "There is one feature that is a report writer. And they are currently trying to take it out from being a stand-alone application and integrating to the web. This doesn't give us the flexibility and it doesn't expand what we can get when it comes to reporting. So, putting it on the web is going to make it difficult to get some information. Leaving it where it is now will help us a lot."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case varies since we deploy for clients. The use case will depend on their use case, each case is different depending on the customer's need. We look for solutions to suit their needs.

What is most valuable?

The solution is end-to-end from the network and the application to the processes. Everything about the enterprise infrastructure is being covered by the solution. It's easy to use and easy to navigate and one of the leaders among monitoring solutions.

What needs improvement?

We cater to all organizations in Nigeria. Most of the financial institutions in Nigeria are currently using this solution. Cellphone companies and telecommunication are also using it.

The beautiful thing about the solution is, the OEM listens to customer reviews. The updates come very frequently, and most of the feedback that customers give is integrated within the upgrade or the update. I think that whatever concerns were have already been treated by the OEM.

There is one feature that is a report writer. And they are currently trying to take it out from being a stand-alone application and integrating to the web. This doesn't give us the flexibility and it doesn't expand what we can get when it comes to reporting. So, putting it on the web is going to make it difficult to get some information. Leaving it where it is now will help us a lot.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The environment of the solution is always stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. It's modular, so you can just keep adding as you need it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is awesome. An email is responded to within five minutes and we will get feedback. Their staff is always on standby to work with you to provide guidance on how to fix the problem.

You also have tutorials online and other articles that have been published that are related to issues you may be currently facing. The knowledge base of the solution is wonderful.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. Deployment depends on the customer's infrastructure, on what they have and what they would like to add to the solution.

What about the implementation team?

The solution is structured to be modular. You simply look for the module that looks good for your organization, you can just buy and integrate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This solution caught my attention and I didn't bother looking at others.

What other advice do I have?

SolarWinds has a network for applications, for virtual infrastructure and every other thing we can think of. Users can look for a module that would suit their company they can buy it and integrate.

If you are looking for end-to-end visibility in your infrastructure I think SolarWinds should be the place you to go. They've got you covered.

I would rate this solution at 9.5 out of 10.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
PeerSpot user
it_user660063 - PeerSpot reviewer
Infrastructure Monitoring Engineer at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Some of the valuable features are being able to see your devices and monitoring their components.
Pros and Cons
  • "Monitoring the components on your devices with out of the box monitors or the ability to create new ones (SAM)"

    What is our primary use case?

    Any customizable monitoring needed from process/service monitoring to performance counters, PowerShell and Per Scripts for reportable status or values, SQL based queries for status or values

    How has it helped my organization?

    The best example would be that we can provide transparency to the infrastructure which is meaningful to developers, but even to business users. Our IT teams can work with developers using a common reference when reviewing issues or planning improvements.

    What is most valuable?

    The overall valuable feature is the integration that exists. It really ties everything together to see the entire stack. Individually, the main focus of each component is the value.

    • Being able to see your devices (NPM)
    • Monitoring the components on your devices with out of the box monitors or the ability to create new ones (SAM)
    • Seeing the components of virtual infrastructure (VMAN)
    • Reviewing the storage behind it (SRM)
    • Performance of web applications using synthetic playback (WPM)
    • Being able to deep dive into DB activities to see blocks, deadlocks, and improve performance by tuning queries (DPA)

    What needs improvement?

    The nice thing about SolarWinds is that the company always looks to improve their products. Since they regularly update the software for stability and new features, it’s not easy to pinpoint items to improve unless they directly impact usability.

    It’s difficult to find a feature or capability of SolarWinds that needs improvement as they are consistently looking to make the product better. Through the Thwack community, they get great feedback from customers for feature improvements as well as ideas to use the product better in ways beyond original intentions. The community is pretty innovative regards to using SolarWinds. My experience is that if a feature directly impacts my daily routine, then the product needs improvement. So far, any issues I’ve had in the past have been rectified by Support, added as feature to correct, or new enhancements that never allow me to face problems reports by others.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Three to five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability was hardly an issue as long as we balanced what we were monitoring.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability was an issue in the past. It wasn’t growing the environment, but rather it was maintaining it on upgrades. It used to take a long time since we have a large deployment.

    Now that the lightweight scalability features exists, maintenance is not time consuming. Another issue was firewalls which is on our part due to “allow nothing, request everything” policy. No product out there will ever connect agnostically when it comes to firewalls.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Support knows what they are doing. Very rarely do I find the standard approach to issues to be “reboot and call back” type of action.

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

    We had another solution for many years and it was functional but not insightful. We needed software that could level the playing field or better; to bring all the fields under one roof without having to build everything from scratch.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward, but it’s very important to understand the amount of objects (CPU, memory, network interfaces, any monitored component) to monitor. You could easily overload the environment if you pull everything.

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

    As mentioned about scaling, understanding the counts of objects to monitor will determine the licensing need. In terms of pricing, it’s not cheap but it’s not expensive as larger vendors whose products don’t have all the features or integrations.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated Nagios and Nimsoft at the time.

    Nimsoft seemed similar to what we were previously using and didn’t want to repeat history.

    With Nagios, we found it to be highly customizable, but requiring us to build out everything. We were at a stage where we didn’t know the possible heights of monitoring we could reach, but knew there was more than what we had.

    SolarWinds fit the bill because it gave many possibilities in monitoring with a good amount of out of the box capabilities.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you need a starting point, SolarWinds is a good start.

    Be sure to know how many objects or element you plan to monitor to determine the licensing and the topology of your environment to help scale out your deployment. If you have those down, you’ll be able to up in running in no time

    Additionally, a nice thing about SolarWinds is that the company always looks to improve their products. Since they regularly update the software for stability and new features, it’s not easy to pinpoint items for improvement. Through the Thwack community, they get great feedback from customers for feature improvements as well as ideas to use the product better in ways beyond original intentions. My experience is that if a feature directly impacts my daily routine, then the product needs improvement. So far, any issues I’ve had in the past have been rectified by Support, added as feature to correct, or new enhancements that never allow me to face problems reports by others.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user685350 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Availability & Production Mgr, IT at a retailer with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Vendor
    It allows for proactive monitoring of the hardware health.
    Pros and Cons
    • "Hardware health: It allows for proactive monitoring of the hardware health and is a game changer."
    • "Currently SolarWinds SAM offers AppInsight for modern versions of: IIS, Exchange, SQL Server. They have shown to be powerful and insightful tools. However, AppInsight needs to be offered for more applications: Citrix, SharePoint, AX, etc."

    How has it helped my organization?

    Once we got our IT inventory organized and aligned with the business, we were able to leverage our Orion Platform to provide more than just a reactive-based monitoring service to the business. It is used for EA, capacity management, configuration management, asset management, and others.

    What is most valuable?

    • Hardware health: It allows for proactive monitoring of the hardware health and is a game changer.
    • Windows service and event monitoring: It provides an in-depth server OS and application of health monitoring. It allows for automated workflow for the conditioned response to an alert.
    • AppInsight for SQL: It provides centralized management and performance monitoring of 100+ SQL installations.

    What needs improvement?

    AppInsight needs to include more applications, the current list is very limited.

    Currently SolarWinds SAM offers AppInsight for modern versions of: IIS, Exchange, SQL Server. They have shown to be powerful and insightful tools. However, AppInsight needs to be offered for more applications: Citrix, SharePoint, AX, etc.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    There were no stability issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There were no scalability issues, scalability has been easy.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I would give the technical support team a 7/10 rating, i.e., slightly better than average.

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

    Previously, we were using Big Brother. It is not as intuitive and support was lacking. Eventually, it reached EOL.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was straightforward, customization requires time and resource investment.

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

    SAM is not per server so the pricing model can be deceiving. If you have an enterprise environment, you will quickly exceed your licensing quickly. You should know this before going in.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We didn't really evaluate other options. By this point, we were committed to the “one monitoring tool” policy. Our goal was to reduce the number of dashboards to as few as possible.

    What other advice do I have?

    Don’t go with the “dive in and figure it out” approach. You’ll spend months, if not years, straightening SAM out. Take the planned approach; organize your servers and your IT services, identify what you want to monitor such as the Windows services, events, ports, SNMP traps, Syslog messages, etc and create your alerting rules. Understand your dependencies so that you can create your enterprise views and maps. Align the Orion Platform to be more than a monitoring tool. Use it for EA, capacity management, configuration management, asset management, and others.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user664653 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Enterprise Monitoring Technologies Engineer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Vendor
    Can provide Windows-based monitoring beyond simple SNMP.
    Pros and Cons
    • "It is simple to implement and can provide fairly decent Windows-based monitoring, beyond simple SNMP. It is great for monitoring newbies and smaller shops."
    • "It needs time-based functions for monitoring. Some things need to be polled on a specific schedule or only during a specific window."

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has allowed us to present various customer-specific views to many of the IT support teams.

    What is most valuable?

    It is simple to implement and can provide fairly decent Windows-based monitoring, beyond simple SNMP. It is great for monitoring newbies and smaller shops.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs time-based functions for monitoring. Some things need to be polled on a specific schedule or only during a specific window. Much of this has to be rebuilt for every individual monitor outside of the product, since you can’t build a schedule and assign monitors or notification periods to that schedule.

    SMNP trap receiver/alerting needs to be built into the alerting engine. Having two places to build and manage alerts is not efficient and not all alerting tools are available in the trap manager. It also needs a data warehouse capability for long-term reporting and looking back in time, especially with some of the new functionality in the latest release.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We did have problems with large numbers of PowerShell and WMI monitors.

    There has been at least one unstable upgrade in the past, but then, that happens to pretty much any product out there.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We had scalability problems with the large number of PowerShell and WMI monitors.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Level 1 is level 1. For many, that is sufficient. Having a number of experienced engineers on my team, when we need support we need level 2 or above and sometimes, it takes a bit to get things bumped up. Many of the level 1 guys don’t read all the info you provide and you end up wasting time pointing out that you already provided this information.

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

    The previous solution was too expensive and limited; they dropped support.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was fairly straightforward, although there are a few gotchas that are not well documented.

    Ror small shops and for those new to monitoring it is simple to set up and implement. The OOTB (Out of the Box) implementation does have very good node specific pages and can provide a wealth of information.This is the key.The OOTB it provides is more than other tools in a usable format.

    But simple WMI monitors using both canned and user built provide more comprehensive monitoring and alerting capabilities…This is based on experiences implementing other solutions in very dynamic large environments. It has had improvements in the unix/linux world but still remains primarily windows centric.


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

    Pricing and licensing is fair for what you get. It does have a great bang-for-the-buck appeal.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    It had been decided upon before I was employed here; I just got to implement it.

    What other advice do I have?

    Go onto THWACK (the SolarWinds user community). You will find training, help, and advice from many who have been there before. It is one of the premier user communities that many out there need to emulate!

    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user653568 - PeerSpot reviewer
    it_user653568Information Services Department Manager at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor

    The other benfit of the agent is the use of plug-ins to get additional features like Deep Packet Inspection and NetPath to name a few.

    See all 3 comments
    Network Operation Center Team Leader at a recruiting/HR firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Some of the most valuable features are data collection and reporting options.
    Pros and Cons
    • "Extremely user friendly: Any IT professional can learn how to admin NPM in a short time."
    • "Nodes in Azure are able to be monitored with the use of agents, but this does not apply to cloud service offerings that are not node based."

    How has it helped my organization?

    • Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I was awarded Q3 employee of the quarter. I am the first NOC member to receive this award at Kforc).
    • By replacing SCOM and several other monitoring tools and merging them into the Orion Suite, I reduced outages by 66% YOY.
    • The NOC saw a dramatic reduction in our MTR (Mean Time to Resolution) thanks to the powerful dashboard and alerting options offered in the various SolarWinds tools.

    What is most valuable?

    • Ease of installation and administration
    • Extremely user friendly: Any IT professional can learn how to admin NPM in a short time.
    • Powerful data collection from a wide range of different network devices.
    • Devices not supported can be added each month via the MIB library update request.
    • Robust reporting options and easy to use alerting features. NPM still has very complete alert logic available if one chooses. It takes fifteen minutes to build complex alerts that would take hours in other tools.
    • Very active user community (THWACK) and outstanding peer information sharing.
    • NetPath is spot on for what many NOC are lacking. CDR search is used daily. There is a huge value add for maintaining a healthy phone system for a company that is very much phone dependent.

    What needs improvement?

    • MS Azure Service and user experience monitoring. This is an area in which the SolarWinds tools are lacking.
    • Most focus seems to be on AWS cloud services. But some press has been released stating more Azure Cloud Service monitoring options in the near future.
    • Without a doubt, this is the Achilles heel of the Orion monitoring tools, as well as many others available today.
    • I am currently reviewing other vendors for Azure service monitoring tools.
    • Our current need is focused on Office365, Exchange Web Services, MS Dynamics 365, and other Azure services.
    • Nodes in Azure are able to be monitored with the use of agents, but this does not apply to cloud service offerings that are not node based.
    • More granular control of what components are enabled for the various AppInsight monitoring options (IIS, SQL, and Exchange currently).
    • AppInsight is all or nothing with SolarWinds, and this isn’t the best option.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We encountered issues with stability in a few rare cases, due to being on older versions of the software. But this was self-inflicted in all cases.

    For the most part, the Orion suite is very stable, dependable, and easy to manage.

    Installs and upgrades are a bit time consuming, but this is expected with such a large platform.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Yes, there were issues with scalability. The polling engine can be a bit confusing as there are several conflicting statements regarding number of components, flows per second, Nodes, Volumes, and other variables that impact the polling engine performance.

    In our case, the software stated we were at 65% of the available polling engine that was available. But we experienced monitors going into a hung state at random times.

    This was finally determined by SolarWinds support to be due to the number of components we had active in SAM, even though SAM stated we were well below the acceptable number of components for our poller.

    We added a second polling engine. (It is a super easy process to add additional polling engines.) SolarWinds has invested a great amount of time in the scalability expansion process, but the tool should reflect accurate info regarding the impact to the polling engine regardless of the source.

    I ended up writing a custom SQL query to pull data points which gave us better polling data.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I would give technical support a rating of 5/10 on a good day. Since going to a Philippine support group, there has been a significant decrease in the skill set of the customer support.

    Support used to be very results driven and it was not uncommon to have a person help you with whatever issue you had. That has changed in the past two years and support tends to be very quick to state “sorry that’s an unsupported feature and in several cases respond with “we can’t find the issue”.

    Regardless of the issue being reported, you will be asked to run diagnostics and upload to their site. This is a time buying move as on several cases, as the logs were uploaded but not used in any way. (I asked where they found the info in the logs and was told it was an internal document that gave them the solution).

    I avoid calling support for most issues unless I am at a total loss.

    It’s important to note that this was not always the case. The real change seems to have occurred when SolarWinds went private again.

    In years past, support used to be one of the HUGE factors that made SolarWinds such a great investment.

    Support isn’t what it used to be and this is very disappointing. THWACK is a great resource and most answers can be found there with some searching and posting if needed.

    But I should be able to get support from the help desk when I need it, not by manually searching and finding fixes myself.

    My entire team avoids calling support at all costs. Sorry, but this is our experience. If I could still get version updates, but give up support, I would drop our annual maintenance in a second, without any hesitation.

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

    We used the following solutions previously:

    SCOM, BMC Patrol, HP CIM, What’s up Gold, NetScout, HP Openview, and several other home brewed monitoring tools.

    SCOM is very powerful and an amazing tool. The issue is with administration and lack of real network monitoring. It is a monster and requires a very wide skill set to effectively administer.

    Even with the skill set, it requires many staff hours for care and feeding. SCOM is cumbersome and very difficult to use.

    SCOM is also strictly agent based, while SolarWinds gives you agent or agent-less options.

    SCOM network monitoring is hot garbage on a summer day (IMHO).

    MS included SNMP monitoring options, but SCOM can’t be used as a true network monitoring solution.

    You must have a different tool for Network if using SCOM.

    Orion, on the other hand, has it all if you invest in the modules.

    SCOM will go much deeper into MS products, but it is not worth it for the amount of staff resources needed.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was very easy. SolarWinds has invested a significant amount of effort into streamlining and improving the install process. It is one of the easiest tools out there to set up. SolarWinds nailed on this one.

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

    Block the sales numbers and email address for all SolarWinds sales people at the engineer level J.

    Every quarter close, year-end, or other significant time, there are emails sent to every person on our team who has access to our SolarWinds Support portal.

    This is inappropriate and our leadership has asked SolarWinds to stop reaching out to engineers regarding “special pricing” or “super duper deal because it is end of the year”.

    I get it, sales are sales, but this issue has been discussed several times on the THWACK forums and has become a running joke on the boards. It is harmless, but annoying.

    On a more serious topic, I would advise potential buyers to wait until the end of the quarter, end of year, or other time to place orders. There are actually great deals to be had at those times if your budget cycle can match up.

    If you can make purchases with minimal turnaround time, you can do very well.

    I would say the pricing of the SolarWinds products are more than competitive, even the list prices.

    The ROI for SolarWinds products is unmatched in the industry.

    I do annual vendor reviews as part of my role. Its not uncommon to find a tool that offers more functionality in one specific area than the SolarWinds suite. But when it comes to the pricing and across the board monitoring, no one touches SolarWinds. Money spent on SolarWinds products goes much further than with other vendors. This is an area where SolarWinds has left the competition behind.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Oh my gosh, we evaluated all of them. Like I said above, I do vendor reviews every year and the result is always the same.

    No one offers the same level of functionality across so many different devices/services in a single tool at such a good price.

    We may be buying a small license for Azure service monitoring until SolarWinds has a solution for sale.

    Most recently, I reviewed Thousand Eyes, Exoprise, SCOM, Riverbed’s tools, Net Scout, and a half dozen others I don’t recall. All were interesting, but none were competitive price wise.

    What other advice do I have?

    Before you install, join THACK and start talking to other users. The tool is very powerful and offers amazing monitoring options, if you have someone who knows what good monitoring should look like.

    Take advantage of the various custom properties to refine monitors and you will have an amazing monitoring platform.

    Install it, compare against others, and you will always find SolarWinds beats them for the ROI.

    You must also factor in the savings from being able to train general IT staff how to support the tool.

    It doesn’t matter how great a tool is, if you can’t find an admin to run it. Anyone can figure out SolarWinds if they have any sort of APM background. Many other tools can’t say this.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user578925 - PeerSpot reviewer
    it_user578925Manager, Customer Success Programs at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor

    Thank you for your review of SAM. I am very sorry to learn about your experience with our support organization. I would love to research your case history so we can adequately coach the support reps your team has worked with. Please contact me at jennifer.kuvlesky@solarwinds.com.

    it_user660057 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Network Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Some of the valuable features are NPM, NCM, and the NTA module.
    Pros and Cons
    • "I adore the NTA module that provides deep details on ingress/egress traffic for any interface. With a few clicks, you can correlate who is accessing what and when, beside the bandwidth consuming applications/users."
    • "I think they need to make reporting easier and more simple & dynamic."

    How has it helped my organization?

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

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

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

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

    What is most valuable?

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

    What needs improvement?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

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

    How are customer service and technical support?

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

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

    We used WhatsUp Gold and ManageEngine OP Manager.

    How was the initial setup?

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

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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

    What other advice do I have?

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

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

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user653568 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Information Services Department Manager at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    The valuable features are AppInsight for SQL and active directory templates.
    Pros and Cons
    • "AppInsight for SQL: Enables us to see the relevant error log entries on the same page as performance parameters."
    • "SAM AppInsight for SQL: The ability to ignore fragmentation of specific indexes."

    How has it helped my organization?

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

    What is most valuable?

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

    What needs improvement?

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

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

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

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


    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have not had issues with this version.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

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

    How are customer service and technical support?

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

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

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

    We did not have a previous solution.

    How was the initial setup?

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

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

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

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

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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

    What other advice do I have?

    • Spend the time to examine the recurring issues in your infrastructure. Are there one or two things that come up repeatedly?
    • Determine what data would help avoid the problem.
    • Implement monitoring, alerting, policies, and procedures that collect and make use of that data.
    • It’s about shifting the work from responding to your customer’s problems to correcting systems and conditions before your customers even notice.
    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    PeerSpot user
    IT Director at a construction company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    The most valuable features are trends, capacity planning, recommendations, and diagnostics.
    Pros and Cons
    • "The features like trends, capacity planning, recommendations, and diagnostics are the main items I focus on for added value."
    • "I believe that some of the trends, environmental maps, and items like those found in Orion would be very beneficial."

    How has it helped my organization?

    VMAN recommendations have helped us manage the VMs to perform more efficiently. They note everything from storage to processor utilizations. This helps us, in the organization, to make informed decisions about whether or not we need to expand the infrastructure. This saves us time and money.

    What is most valuable?

    The features like trends, capacity planning, recommendations, and diagnostics are the main items I focus on for added value.

    The trends help me when I am looking at how my VMs are performing. There are times when we need more performance out of certain VMs. With trends and capacity planning, you can really focus on the items and help get a better picture of how you can move things around to streamline your infrastructure.

    For example, with the VMAN recommendations, it immediately show you a graphical view, single click drill down to the actual recommendations, which allow you to read more. Almost a single pane of glass approach to your Virtual infrastructure. From recommendations we can see things like the space utilization on a datastore has reach a critical threshold. With detailed explanation of the issue you can quickly go in and almost effortlessly make corrections you need. Some are more labor intensive however you still know what you need to do. VMAN also details the CPU utilizations on a particular VM which has been both lower, and offering to save you resources automatically or higher, offering to increase your resources automatically by simply accepting the recommendation. The VMAN tool then will apply the suggested changes to the VM for you with usually little interaction from the end user / administrator required. This allows us as a small IT department to operated more efficiently and react to situations before they become larger issues.

    The recommendations are a life saver. They have valuable, daily information regarding your VM network. I don’t always follow the recommendations, but when I do, it’s usually automated. There is no other interaction needed from me. It’s like having another employee.

    The diagnostics simply helps me make sure that I am meeting my required KPIs.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like it to be fully integrated into Orion. Although there are many pieces that are integrated and make it a very good application for managing and monitoring your VM environment, I would like to see more of it in Orion. I would like to not have to switch between sites for information.

    I believe that some of the trends, environmental maps, and items like those found in Orion would be very beneficial.

    We create NOC views in Orion. Adding many of the VMAN dashboard items to it would be great added value.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I had some stability issues. I lost my environment, but with the help of SolarWinds support, I was able to get back to a stable platform. I was able to install the upgrade to VMAN to bring me up to v7.

    The appliance for VMware would lock up and I was unable to shut it down properly. If I didn’t reboot, I could not see the VMAN admin console. I had to shut it down through VMware, thereby corrupting the appliance.

    SolarWinds was not sure why this happened, but after several days, we were better than before. There was not a hiccup since.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We didn’t encounter any scalability issues for our infrastructure. We only have a 50 VM license and we are currently using 27 of them. We are not one of the larger enterprise environments. The speed and stability has been great.

    Since 2012, we only had one major issue, and that is pretty good. If Windows were that reliable, what a world we would live in.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    At times it’s been difficult to get through to technical support. However, in the past twelve months, they have reformed their ways and it’s been fantastic.

    I have used SolarWinds with three different companies in the past seventeen years and they have never failed to help me. Sometimes it takes some time, but they always get you going.

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

    Of course we used other products, and we still do. One product cannot do everything you want it to do, at least with what you can afford.

    Sometimes it’s better to run a tiered approach, such as with security, so all your eggs are not in one basket, so to speak.

    However, mostly everything else we use is freeware or open source. SolarWinds is the only fully paid product we currently own.

    How was the initial setup?

    I found the setup really very easy, if you are familiar with deploying '.ova' files. The setup was a snap, and the setup wizard really walks you through everything.

    Their documentation is very detailed and if you need support, you can use their technical support and THWACK, which is world class and ahead of its time.

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

    I have always said SolarWinds is very “proud” of their products, meaning they are expensive. I cannot afford to purchase all the licenses I need for all the SolarWinds products. But in the case of VMAN, I have exactly what I need and room to grow. That being said, you are not going to find a better solution on the market for the price.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We were only using tools from VMware and we didn’t look at other options. Knowing SolarWinds from using Orion and other applications they sell, I wanted to have my monitoring software to be as integrated as possible. We looked no further.

    What other advice do I have?

    DO IT!!! You will not regret it. This product is so helpful, out-of-the-box. Even for larger environments, you have a very short roll-out timeline, fantastic benefits, and results.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are only a customer and I am a Thwack MVP.
    PeerSpot user
    PeerSpot user
    Subject Matter Expert at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
    MSP
    We use this product for base and application monitoring.
    Pros and Cons
    • "Manage Groups: The capability to group appropriate devices gives better visibility of sites, categories, or critical regions. The same can be used to represent a dashboard for higher management."
    • "PerfStack can be made more effective. I am sure SolarWinds already has a plan for the same in coming versions."

    How has it helped my organization?

    I work in a space where we manage enterprise monitoring for server infrastructure. Hence, SAM is one the best modules that's capable of doing it.

    As a part of base monitoring of server infrastructure, we look at server down, CPU threshold, memory threshold, and disk threshold. In some cases, they might look for hardware health monitoring, as well.

    As part of extended monitoring, we monitor the applications and their performance that run on top of these servers. This is where SAM is effective. We create templates (applications) which would further have specific components (monitors).

    As mentioned in my previous point, SAM has about 50 component monitors, which include file monitors, URL monitors, user experience monitors, Windows monitors, service monitors, process monitors, and script monitors.

    We have the list of all business critical applications and servers in our environment and we have configured monitoring and alerting accordingly. This increases service availability, reduces downtime of devices or apps and, as a result, issues will not go unnoticed and there won't be any business impact or financial loss.

    What is most valuable?

    Most of the features are helpful. The name of the module itself says "Server and Application Monitor". We use this module extensively for base monitoring and application monitoring. This keeps our infrastructure/service availability intact.

    Here are some of the valuable features:

    • Network Sonar Discovery: Discovers the nodes on your network and gets them onto SAM monitoring within no time with simple rules. It saves us the manual effort of adding devices one by one. Discovery can be scheduled, as well, during off hours or the way that you want it to be.
    • Manage Groups: The capability to group appropriate devices gives better visibility of sites, categories, or critical regions. The same can be used to represent a dashboard for higher management.
    • Manage Dependencies: Helps in basic auto-correlation to avoid a flood of alerts from children when a parent is down.
    • Manage Views: You can use this to create custom views for customers, stakeholders, and your internal IT team based on the scope of what they need to view.
    • Customize Menu Bars: You can create your own menu bar on the tool and attach them to specific views.
    • Manage Advanced Alerts: Where you create your alerts, auto-correlation can be done at the alerting level, as well using advanced SQL alerts. SAM alerting, as well, provides advance auto-correlation conditions when you create an alert.
    • Manage Reports: Creation of all kinds of reports for data available on SAM. This can be done using Web Reports or Reporter Writer. You can also schedule the reports accordingly and you can trigger an email to recipients.
    • Component Monitor Wizard: Provides a shortcut and helps you in creating specific component monitors that are required.
    • Manage Templates: Manages all your templates, applications, and components created in your environment. You can also assign nodes to specific templates from these areas. You can create new templates from here.
    • Credentials Library: Lists all the credentials used by SAM in your environment.
    • Unmanage Schedule Utility: Un-manages the nodes or devices during maintenance periods to avoid false or unwanted alerts. This can be scheduled as well.
    • AppInsight for SQL and Exchange: This definitely is a good feature which is bundled with all component monitors to monitor SQL and Exchange space.
    • PerfStack is a great addition and added value that SolarWinds implemented in recent times.
    • Apart from the above mentioned points, we have close to 50 component monitors that SAM provides that cover most of the application monitoring space (file monitors, HTTP/S monitors, user experience monitors, Windows monitors, service monitors, process monitors, script monitors, etc.).
    • Custom Attribute Editor: Used to manage custom attributes in your environment. Custom attributes can play a major role in alerting and reporting. It can also receive SNMP traps and syslog messages from other systems and convert them into a SolarWinds alert.

    What needs improvement?

    I always thought we should be able to perform all admin activities using the web portal. Over a period of time, SolarWinds has achieved this.

    Most of the admin activities can be performed using SolarWinds web portal (such as advanced alerting, web reports, custom attribute editor, report schedulers, etc., which in the past were hosted on the SolarWinds server).

    I also thought SolarWinds doesn't provide a service navigator map that would drill down from application layer to node level, with PerfStack in place. Most of these things have been addressed.

    PerfStack can be made more effective. I am sure SolarWinds already has a plan for the same in coming versions.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have not really had stability issues, but then it doesn't mean SAM would run without any issues. With a proper health check and maintenance plan in place, stability issues would never occur.

    • We should have a regular maintenance schedule in place where SolarWinds servers are rebooted at regularly scheduled intervals. For instance, once a month.
    • A health check of the SolarWinds server should be in place.
    • Unwanted component monitors have to be removed in regular intervals from SAM.
    • Decommissioned nodes have to be deleted from SAM on a regular basis.
    • Unknown monitors/applications have to be addressed on a regular basis. Unknown applications are the ones that would eat up most of your server resources on the SolarWinds server. Such things have to be addressed on a regular basis to keep the instance healthy.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have never had scalability issues so far. Scalability can be handled by additional pollers, if and when required, to balance the load.

    If the numbers are scary, then we can have multiple SAM instances based on geography or region or connectivity and use an EOC (Enterprise Operational Console) on top of it to collate the same.

    We can also move the SolarWinds web UI/portal onto a different server when AWS (Additional Web Server) is used in conjunction with SAM.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I would give technical support a rating of 9/10. SolarWinds technical support has always been good to us. We have received a great amount of support and accurate information from them for tickets raised so far.

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

    We did have a previous solution. We switched to SolarWinds due to two major reasons. It is cost effective and easy to manage.

    Since the tool can be easily managed, we wouldn't have to spend money on training as well.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was pretty easy.

    1. We had to start with base monitoring of our infrastructure which includes server down, CPU threshold, memory threshold, and disk threshold issues.
    2. Once the pre-requisites were in place (SolarWinds Server and the DB server), we went ahead and installed SolarWinds SAM on our environment. This was pretty straightforward and self-explanatory.
    3. We used Network Sonar Discovery to discover the devices and on-boarded the same.
    4. We created generic alerts for the conditions mentioned (server down, CPU threshold, memory threshold and disk threshold issues).The above process hardly took a day's time and our SAM setup was up and running.
    5. We incrementally built our setup, i.e., the application monitoring part (creation of SAM templates).

    Please note: SolarWinds also provides a Product Upgrade Advisor for upgrading modules, which is a great add-on. This makes it so simple for new admins to upgrade the modules without any issues. It gives granular data for module upgrades.

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

    There are not many tools in the market that can compete with SolarWinds when it comes to pricing and licenses. SolarWinds licensing cost is the best for the features they provide.

    Nagios XI, WhatsUpGold, Uptime Software, PRTG, Manage Engine, and SpiceWorks are the other tools that have lower pricing and licensing costs. However, they can't compete with SolarWinds when it comes to the features and functionality that SolarWinds can provide.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    SolarWinds has three main competitor groups:

    • IT teams that don't have professional tools. They use free or open source tools like Nagios that require a lot of work and customization and custom scripts.
    • Low-end tools that are often somewhat less expensive, but offer significantly less functionality. These are great for smaller teams, who often upgrade to SolarWinds as their needs grow. This category includes WhatsUpGold, Uptime Software, PRTG, ManageEngine, and SpiceWorks.
    • Big, complex, monolithic monitoring systems from HPE, CA, VMware (vROps), IBM (Tivoli), Microsoft (SCOM), and BMC which are hard to use, expensive to manage and maintain, and cost millions, but have been in use for years. The effort to move to something better is too big.

    SolarWinds offers over 30 products in different categories including virtualization, storage, databases, systems management, network, and security. Each of these products has a set of competitive products.

    What other advice do I have?

    • As I mentioned in one of the other points: "Simplicity at its best".
    • SolarWinds is easy to implement and simple to use and manage.
    • As a system admin or network admin, you would just love this tool. It's not complicated and the features available can perform most of the activities that any other tool can.
    • Licensing costs are lower.
    • It provides a great global forum (THWACK), which is a single pit stop for all queries.
    • Customer portal or technical support provides a great amount of help and are they are proactive towards the issues that occur in the system.
    • Bug fixes and new versions (with great features) are released quite frequently. SolarWinds just launched themselves into the cloud as well. It isn't an on-premises tool anymore and can be hosted on the cloud.

    Note: We are not using VMware VMAM and SRM in our setup. I work for a big client who is distributed geographically and we have separate teams to handle the infrastructure. My primary role is to only take care of server infrastructure.

    We have a separate VMware team who does the job for us in the virtualization space. I have evaluated VMAN in the past and it definitely is a great tool that provides a deep dive into virtualization space. We do manage virtual machines and ESX boxes on a SAM instance, but we do not have an extended module like VMAM to support the same.

    I have used STM in the past for storage monitoring. It’s a similar case where we have a separate team for storage and they are using Netcool to manage the traps coming from storage devices. Hence, it is not managed via SolarWinds. It is out of my scope of work in the current role.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    PeerSpot user
    Systems Administrator at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    AppInsight provides a simple way to get very in-depth monitoring configured for our most popular applications.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Helps us be more proactive instead of reactive.

    What is most valuable?

    AppInsight. Provides a simple way to get very in-depth monitoring configured for our most popular applications. Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint.

    What needs improvement?

    Mapping interactions between systems.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    Excellent.

    Technical Support:

    Good.

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

    Microsoft System Center Operation Manager. Although SCOM was very powerful it was also very complex to setup.

    How was the initial setup?

    Straightforward. After creating a service account that had proper permissions on the systems that were going to be monitored. The agent-less deployment was quick and very easy.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user652953 - PeerSpot reviewer
    it_user652953IT Director at a construction company with 51-200 employees
    Vendor

    AppInsight also ties in several other areas under one view, datastores, VM information, server status, etc. AppInsight is a valuable tool and I use it every day to ensure my companies applications are working so my users can keep working.

    PeerSpot user
    Senior Network Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    It helped us to monitor and alert whenever the SSL cert is going to expire on the server to avoid any downtime of the services running on the server on ADFS platform where we have video conferencing.
    Pros and Cons
    • "SSL Certificate Monitoring and Expiry Alerting"
    • "Solarwinds should come up the same monitoring system for other certificate expiration alert apart from SSL."

    Improvements to My Organization

    Usually, the Web/SSL based certificate expires for our UCS servers and we were unable to monitor them on timely manner. This feature from Solarwinds SAM helped us to monitor and alert whenever the SSL cert is going to expire on the server to avoid any downtime of the services running on the server specially on ADFS platform where we have Video conference,Webex, Office 365 and single sign-on services.

    Valuable Features

    SSL Certificate Monitoring and Expiry Alerting

    Room for Improvement

    As per my view, Solarwinds should come up the same monitoring system for other certificate expiration alert apart from SSL. Currently, it can be achieve through script writing but that is tedious and tough task to do due to scarcity of script writer experts.

    Stability Issues

    None

    Scalability Issues

    None

    Customer Service and Technical Support

    Customer Service:

    Very good.

    Technical Support:

    Very good.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    PeerSpot user
    Senior Manager of Infrastructure at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    Out of the box it can monitor the basic "get" command of the any website.
    Pros and Cons
    • "Management Console - Managing service to each server enrolled in the Solarwinds is much easier. Using a web base console, you can control your service much convenient way. There is no need to login remotely. It save a lot of time and effort."
    • "Downside of the tools is the web console are hung or crash. It need to improve the performance."

    Improvements to My Organization

    Monitoring is one tool that everybody needs in corporate IT. There is no perfect tool at all for me. We choose the Solarwinds based on the simplication of managing the tool itself. Dashboard, management console, reports and alerts are the basic things that needed in monitoring. Solarwinds give an easy way how to use the out of the box and customized it based on our needs

    Valuable Features

    Service monitoring - SAM (Solarwinds Application Monitoring) gives a very convenient way to manage the services of the server. It can monitor the service using WMI and SNMP. Tools give a wider choices to monitoring up to executable files currently running the server process. 

    Management Console - Managing service to each server enrolled in the Solarwinds is much easier. Using a web base console, you can control your service much convenient way. There is no need to login remotely. It save a lot of time and effort. 

    HTTP Monitor - Out of the box it can monitor the basic "get" command of the any website. 

    Dashboard - It give a much detailed information of your services. Its very beneficial to easily decide for the capacity and resource management of the monitor node.

    Room for Improvement

    Any monitoring tools have downside and one I can say in Solarwinds it should improve to be fit the tool in enterprise grade level. The web console also tends to hang or crash. Also, the performance needs improvement.

    Downside of the tools is the web console are hung or crash. It need to improve the performance.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    it_user216399 - PeerSpot reviewer
    it_user216399Senior Network Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor

    Another good feature from SAM is Proactively monitor the expiration and validity of SSL certificates which works well as i implemented in production environment.

    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: July 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.