My review of SolarWinds NCM
April 12, 2022
My review of SolarWinds NCM
senior security engineer
infobipTelecommunications, 1001-5000 employees
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Network Device Monitor
We set up NCM as a way to continuously monitor and report on network device configuration adherence to hardened baselines standards. We also set up alerts to Jira via email such that if a device became out of compliance an email would be sent that would create a ticket on the network team's service desk. The ticket had the necessary detail to define the compliance violation and even suggest the remediation, this included config-line numbers and even some contextual information about where in the config the problem existed. The scope was all our network devices and it solved the business problem of network device compliance to hardening standards which was part of our ISO security program.
- Monitor for and record network device configuration changes.
- Allow for the creation, or modification, of hardening standards for multiple vendors' network devices.
- Automate the creation of alerts that can be sent to owners for correction of compliance violations.
- Allow you to organize a visualization of your network devices.
- The GUI is a bit sluggish in my opinion.
- The GUI is not very intuitive and could use some polishing.
- The creation of compliance policies needs to be streamlined and allow for better flow.
- A better Linux version would be nice.
- Network device configuration compliance to defined baselines.
- Audit-ability of network device config changes.
- Alert generation for compliance deviation.
- Many hours saved by the security and network team during external audits.
- Many hours were saved by the network team not needing to find and correct config deviations from the standard.
- Many hours were saved by the security team not having to work through the network team to get config information.
SolarWinds was the commercial tool that our teams disliked the most even though it is windows only, other commercial tools had a Linux version but we found them to be unstable and/or poorly implemented. So we bit the windows bullet and installed a windows server in our Linux environment for Orion/NCM, advantage is that it installed easily enough and we could expand our SolarWinds tools via Orion and have them all on the same place. Disadvantage, we're a bunch of Linux admins with windows as a second language and probably caused a lot of our own storage and compute problems with our ineptitude, lesson here is to have a competent windows admin install and set up your server. Once it was up and running we found SolarWinds NCM to be more stable and functional than any of the other products we evaluated and to be the easiest to integrate other monitoring tools into.
Do you think SolarWinds Network Device Monitor delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with SolarWinds Network Device Monitor's feature set?
Did SolarWinds Network Device Monitor live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of SolarWinds Network Device Monitor go as expected?
Would you buy SolarWinds Network Device Monitor again?
For a network admin or security team, NCM can be very useful in keeping config parameters standardized, this can mean anything from ensuring the timezone setting is standard to ensuring SNMP or logging is set up as you want it. The alerting is good if you want a record of findings for audit purposes so that you can show that you are monitoring configurations, you are alerting when a config goes out of compliance, and a ticket is created to drive remediation. Alternatively one can choose to automate remediation by running a configuration change script but that scares me so we never used it, this is a me-problem and not a tool problem. Where it falls down is in the data storage architecture as we had constant problems with our server running out of disk, this seems to be because it does a lot of basic monitoring of the devices along with storing many, many copies of the configurations. This may have been a user-side issue, though NCM runs under the Orion app which is where the storage issues come from I think.