SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "SolarWinds is an interesting system for keeping the place from burning down."
- In depth monitoring. You can monitor practically any portion of a virtual or physical server.
- Easy to read front page. Once the front page is configured, broad issues can be found early for further investigation.
- Constant updates. New updates are always available for whatever you are monitoring.
- Price. It's a good product, but they know it.
- Complications. It can be intense to learn every nook and cranny of the product to get the most out of it.
- Speed. While we do not have it running on the fastest hardware, it can be laggy.
- Netflow information and configuration management of network devices works really well for us. As these two comprise two of the core products of SolarWinds Orion suite it's good that it does this
- SAM (Application manager) Provides excellent insight into services and service states and is very customizable.
- Support community is excellent (THWACK) as is the available free training from the SolarWinds Customer Portal. Which is good, you're going to need it due to the depth and complexity of the software suites.
- SolarWinds Orion is not just one product. It's a bunch of cobbled together products gained from acquisitions. Because of that finding a standard way to manage devices is difficult, and understanding one product is no guarantee of understanding another.
- The pane of glass that is Orion is very customizable. It is based on widgets but none of the widgets operate in a predictable way. There may be one that does what you want but you are going to have to find it and you will probably have to try 4 before you find one you like for what you are looking to do. A huge time-sync
- The network-atlas software that lets you put your Orion objects in a visual layout is terrible. Right down to what you can set as defaults for fonts or labels and all the way to stability it is terrible.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "All the eyes in your environment with SolarWinds SAM"
SAM allows us to have a centralized control of our IT assets. SAM lets us know when an application is using many resources at best, and in the worst case it lets us know when a container like Amazon EC2 or Tomcat is down.
Regarding our customers, in addition to the above, SAM allows us (and them) to determine reasonability for the performance of our applications compared to others of the client property (our outsourcing partners).
- SAM really has the exact customization detail needed to monitor your most important assets on a single screen in real time.
- Works very well with Azure apps and Amazon AWS. You can integrate them in less than an hour.
- Easy and comfortable UI for less technical roles.
- Clearly one of the best in the monitoring systems field given the experience from SolarWinds
- Reports and dashboards can be quite simple without customization. Customizations in general can have a little slower learning curve.
- Some clients depend on batch and shell scripts. The tool provides monitoring though the logs, but that is it. We would like to see more detail regarding the consumption of resources in these types of programs.
- For Azure apps monitoring, other Microsoft tools like SCOM have a better performance overall.
If you rely on Microsoft applications and consider to monitor only these systems, maybe you would prefer Log Analytics or the robust SCOM.
On the other hand, if your ecosystem is small (1 or 2 application for a startup), I would recommend ad hoc tools specialized in these particular scenarios.
- Powershell. We use this as a key tool to make sure software (both custom and delivered) is up and working correctly. Microsoft has standardized on this for the foreseeable future and Solarwinds does a great job using this tool set.
- Stack monitoring. It has always been extremely difficult to find the source of a problem. Combining SAM with their other products really provides an amazing insight in correlating a perceived issue with its ultimate cause.
- Community/Support. While SAM is a great tool, it is the people that really drive this product. Both support and customers are very responsive and excited to help out.
- Learning Curve. SAM (and other solarwinds products) take a lot of time to learn how to make everything work well. Management can become frustrated with the perceived lack of progress. Solarwinds has recently made efforts to improve this with their Customer Success Center.
- Reporting. The reporting tool is ok for some basic table reports but lacks a lot in comparison with reporting services.
- Default dashboards. While custom dashboards can be awesome tools, the default ones are overwhelming in detail and underwhelming in looks. There is are also difficulties in creating great looking dashboards.
- Solarwinds monitors physical and virtual equipment
- The setup is quick and its easy to get going for small to mid-size organizations
- Monitoring of virtual infrastructure equipment. More options than the following.
In Scenarios where attempting monitoring from Cloud/on-premise or on-premise/cloud deployments. This application needs further work.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "SolarWinds SAM is a great addition to the Windows monitoring platform"
- Monitor services
- Monitor Active Directory health
- Some of the pre-built templates could be improved upon, perhaps with a wizard-style approach for which metrics would like to be monitored within a template
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "Great module and addition to your SW suite of tools"
- Tight integration with their network performance monitor
- customizability of alerts
- customizable dashboard so I can see only what matters to me and hide all the other "stuff"
- Fantastic user resources aka Thwak
- A tighter tie-in with O365
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "Great Product and easily one our best decision to Purchase SolarWinds"
- It has pretty descriptive errors that it can capture. This greatly helps and improves troubleshooting.
- It is easy to see when something is not running and the added alerts help with our support promptness.
- Once we enabled the alerts, we were actually able to find issues that we didn't even know we had
- Sometimes it takes some time to make sure alerting is setup right.
- Some of the setup is not straight forward and needs a little research.
- Super-simple to configure everything from standard HTTP checks all the way to custom Powershell scripts that return tables of values
- Upgrading is simple- the unified installer detects and upgrades all Orion products (NPM, SAM, DPA) and upgrades them at the same time, to maintain version compatibility
- Documentation and forums are straightforward and helpful
- The web UI is often slow, even on beefy hardware with a beefy database server.
- The alerts are very rigid- e.g. you can't define a group of email addresses and then include the group in alerts, you have to list every email address in every individual alert.
- The F5 BIG-IP support is terrible- you cannot exclude specific components from the view the way you can with other parts of the software, so our balancer view shows a bunch of test/dev nodes that shouldn't even be there
- AppInsights is poorly designed and poorly executed
- Most permissions/settings for users are not defineable by group or policy, you have to edit individual users and edit a big sheet of permissions dropdowns on a per-user basis
1. If you have a high change rate (adding or removing nodes/applications, etc), SAM might not be for you- there is an API, but it is not very good, so you will probably be doing most of your configuration using the web interface
2. If you have a large enough environment that it makes sense to have several staff [members] to manage the care and feeding of infrastructure monitoring, you might be better off using an open-source solution and rolling your own
3. If cost is a major factor, SolarWinds products might not be for you- everything SolarWinds sells is incredibly expensive.
- Alerts software failures
- Integrated with NPM
- Integration also allows event history
- SAM is customizable, almost too much
- SW relies on it's customer base for direction (too heavily)
- SAM needs a little too much customization at times
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "Good for front end monitoring tool - but still need improvement for back end root monitoring"
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor does well by monitoring the key resources and applications.
- However, I would suggest that SolarWinds to add a feature that allows you to enable/disable particular resources and not currently as a whole package.
It also monitors our Active Directory services and counters, as well as AD security auditing. It will notify my team if there are any changes to any user account in AD. We also use it to alert when specific services go down, or if SQL Server falls outside of certain thresholds...such as TEMPDB growing to rapidly, or if indexes become too fragmented.
- I really like the way it auto-scans a server whenever you add it to Orion, and will setup the initial monitor for you. So, if it detects IIS, it will auto-add the basic IIS monitors already. You don't have to go through all servers and manually add these app monitors.
- It's also very each to create custom monitors, and add them to any server already being managed. We have special retail software that requires special PORT monitoring - and the SAM tools allowed us to easily setup the monitor and alerting.
- There are very many templates right out of the box for almost anything you can imagine. For those templates that I can't find, if always been able to find something via the user community site: Thwack.
- It's a little overwhelming right out of the box. It can take months to get it fine tuned to your particular environment so you don't get 10,000 email alerts each day. This is specifically true with SQL Server monitoring. We have about 50 SQL Servers using SAM, and almost everyone of them are reporting CRITICAL right out of the box, even though the servers are running fine.
- Right out of the box, the alerts do not give you any useful information. They only have hyperlinks to the dashboard. I wish that right out of the box, the email alerts would have all details.
- I don't like the way they implement "light" versions of certain tools within SAM, and then make you pay for the Advanced tools. For example, SAM can monitor SQL Server, but it's consider a light version -- it doesn't go extremely deep. If you want deep monitoring of SQL you have to buy the extra SQL Server Monitor. It should all be bundled into the tool that we already purchased.
It's not well suited for "point in time" SQL Server monitoring. If we have an issue with our SQL Server at 2am, we're unable to roll back the clock within SAM, and get detailed info regarding the state of this SQL Server. We had to go and purchase a different tool for this (SentryOne SQL Monitor).
- The product provides granular performance information on all components of a server, this helps us quickly troubleshoot any issues.
- The product has a light footprint and it provides a rich monitoring functionality without adversely impacting the utilization of the monitored asset.
- The product allows us to create application-wise dashboards and map dependencies. It also allows grouping of assets and provide role-based dashboards to various teams as required.
- Security scans keep throwing up multiple vulnerabilities on this application and the newer versions of the product do not always solve this issues. There is a definite scope for improvement here.
- The product is easy to set up, requires minimal training, and combines well with other SolarWinds products we use.
- The community support is an additional factor that helps us use the product better.
Logging in to the web console gives access to a wealth of information that is available to you on your servers and the applications that run on them. There is a whole bunch of templates and alerts already available to you for both physical and virtual servers.
A multitude of information can become available from the web app by selecting from a series of tabs and dropdown menus, ideal for troubleshooting and getting to the root cause of problems. You can drill down into servers to be presented with metrics dashboards which are all customisable. SAM is a complex tool that is usable with minimal training. But the more you use and learn, the more powerful SAM becomes.
- Customization for alerts is probably the best feature of the SAM product with virtually limitless options on what you can monitor. With customization for alerting we've even set it up to send emails to our exchange tools to automate actions we want taken when certain alerts are received.
- App Insight for SQL. Its personally one of my favourite templates that SolarWinds do out of the box. It can make you appear to know what you're talking about with your SQL environment.
- Customizations and includes support for DAG monitoring for Exchange environments. Important information and alerts are pre-configured. Synthetic monitoring gives you the chance to catch issues before they arise. Combined with the SolarWinds Orion suite, you can use this tool to monitor every performance aspect of your IT infrastructure.
- We have enjoyed the ability to manage and monitor home grown applications as well as generally available ones. Being able to watch for runaway processes and over utilization of things like SQL and AV have been a benefit.
- Sometimes it is a little harder to configure than we would like. It has been a good buy for us but it is not as 100% user-friendly as we would like.
- If you have a server that has multiple DNS names there is no way that you can have a pointer that redirects you to the proper server name. There still needs to have more work done on the SQL AppInsight. We get a lot of false positives, but its better than nothing, so you need to adjust the metrics.
- I find the licensing model to be less than ideal. I don't hate it, but I just don't love it. But, to be honest I have not got a better solution either.
- Even with all the customizations, a lot false alerts are created. We have worked with SolarWinds engineers and we have not been able to create rules to limit our false positives alerting. This in return has generated about 10,000 extra emails to our admin accounts. While the tool gives us what we need, it also produces way too much noise. This has caused our team to create a lot of email rules to filter out what is needed and auto-delete of alerts. In return, we get the alerts we need but with too many alerts. The dashboard is ok, but needs improvement.
- SolarWinds gives a user friendly interface that requires very little training.
- SolarWinds integrates extremely well with tons of different hardware and software
- Solarwinds provides a very nice monitoring dashboard
- There was a lot of prerequisites when installing
- The install process could be a little more stable
- The menu could use some fine tuning to be more intuitive
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor may not be as useful for non-domain environment however.
- SAM has very detailed monitoring tools designed to work out of the box for SQL server to quickly set up alerts for SQL servers.
- SAM has great alerts that are customizable so you can keep up to date on the information that you need.
- The reports in SAM are great way to share the status and history of your environment with stakeholders.
- Initially SAM can automatically find 'nodes' to monitor, and some of the default alerts can be overwhelming until you are able to dig through the options to fine tune the alerts to usable thresholds.
- The interface, while displaying lots of information, has a pretty steep learning curve to figuring out.
- The licencing is based off of a 'node' and it is a little confusing at what constitutes a node.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "Mission Critical, we can't live without Server and Application Manager."
- Flexibility with specific monitoring requirements by creating our own scripts to control output messaging, and monitor for statistics that are unique to our in-house written applications.
- Out of the box support for common vendors' hardware MIBS or API to report on chassis hardware issues, etc.
- Customization of the web portal provide specialized dashboards for our various NOC teams using Orion, as well as executive dashboards, alert boards, historical reporting, etc.
- User roll granularity. While this has improved over the years, the user rights are not granular enough.
- Profile based views. End users frequently want to modify their own views, but views are generally global. Under account rights, I would like to be able to allow an account to have a profile based set of views. It's also important to easily review a users specific profile views to check for resource abuse.
- Better information on user activity, views usage, etc. Knowing what views are used the most or least would be helpful information when considering what works and what doesn't, what needs to be cleaned up, etc...
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "Great innovative company with a product that has the potential to do it all"
- It can do the basics like alert on up/down but you can go way past that and get very detailed metrics and run reports and/or trigger and from there do just about anything like reboot a server or run a PowerShell script
- The product is always getting better and they listen to their customers and make changes
- I like a single pane of glass and it's getting closer and closer to that
- The application mapping needs a lot of improvement and I can't wait to see it mature
- I really like the AppInsight tools as that really shines light on IIS
- Need way better O365 integration and visibility
- The ability to monitor multiple vendor specific services and their up-time
- Deploy templates directly related to our cloud-based VoIP system
- The ease of administration coupled with the granularity it provides for monitoring a wide variety of applications, servers, and network health
- Documentation can be a little confusing for first time users.
- Navigation of the web interface is also a little confusing until you start using the product more.
- Templates can be tricky to configure.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "Wildly functional, difficult for mere mortals to manage and config correctly"
- Notifications on Node Status
- Real time performance analysis
- Ability to view events, services, etc right from the tool
- The UI needs work. Travelling from function to function is not intuitive. Finding some features is downright difficult e.g. monitored components.
- Using the default templates for monitored components consumes an enormous amount of licenses unnecessarily. Easy access to the template to add/change/delete components would be a big help
- Unless you're a powershell developer, much of the rich functionality can't be used. I went onto Thwack to as a simple question how to monitor a service for up/down that is not in the standard template and what I got back was not useful due to the need for powershell. Probably a good answer but nothing that I could use.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review: "The only winner in real-time infrastructure monitoring for high-availability infrastructure."
- Simply easy-to-glance-at graphical monitor.
- Seamless integration with physical and virtual infrastructure.
- Overall responsive management capabilities.
- Installation had a few issues with stability. We were able to implement the build, but we weren't sure if it came from our equipment or not.
- While the main graphical monitor was easy to use, the overall menu system wasn't as intuitive.
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor provides a clear overview of system health.
- When configured correctly, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor provides up/down status at a glance.
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor integrates well into numerous devices to provide management capabilities.
- The install process could be more stable, there were many pre-req's.
- Menu could be more intuitive.
"SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review...Great Overall Monitoring For Servers, Apps, and Databases"
- Monitors system health like CPU, memory, and disk space.
- Alerts on various issues that you can configure.
- Reporting and trending of device performance.
- Coming from 10+ years using Nagios there is definitely a learning curve to getting up to speed with SolarWinds.
- It's not quick and easy to learn and takes time to fully understand how to manage the software.
- Make the UI easier to navigate to find various options and settings.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
About SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) delivers powerful application and server monitoring capabilities for IT pros enabling them to diagnose and troubleshoot issues faster. The vendor’s value proposition is that this solution prevents slow applications and downtime from impacting end-users and business services. Users can use this tool to pinpoint the root cause of application issues across various layers of the IT stack.
The vendor says SolarWinds SAM is affordable, easy to deploy, use and customize. Users can automatically discover their systems environment and start monitoring in about an hour. No professional services or consultation needed.SAM is built on SolarWinds Orion® platform enabling native integration with Network Performance Monitor and other IT management software from SolarWinds.
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SAM pricing starts at $2,995.
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