How we use SolarWinds NPM, and some of the features you will find helpful Network Performance MonitorUnspecified8.7383101
Dwain Erhart profile photo
November 07, 2018

How we use SolarWinds NPM, and some of the features you will find helpful

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

We use the Orion Summary page for all senior admins - we get alerts if things are coming down, if servers are running low on disk space, if memory is over utilized. Many different uses. I like the additions of NetPath services. I have also used reports and the network Atlas to create visual representations for our active links. Diving into a node is helpful to establish response time issues, trends and even capacity forecasts. I use this on servers, SANs, switches, Wireless controllers, and alert monitoring services.
  • NetPath services are a godsend when you are trying to explain to ISPs, etc. about where traffic is congested or stopping. Sometimes seeing is believing for them.
  • The other BIG deal is anticipating disk capacity - when volumes get to full, servers crash. With NPM, we can and create set thresholds for warning us before we run into issues, and then we can add storage, memory, and CPU, (especially on our Virtual environment.)
  • Alerts are great - instead of hearing from our users that a server is offline, we are aware of it right away.
  • It would be nice to be able to set up SNMP3 for some of our systems in an easier fashion. But it is not a show stopper.
  • Sometimes the support refers us to the Knowledge base and Thwack. Not a huge deal, but I only end up putting in a ticket when I have spent a great deal of time searching for a solution.
We do use this feature. However, we do not use it as an "always on" feature - rather, when we need to know something, it is VERY helpful. We do run a consistent NetPath service when we have recurring issues - this helps us determine issues with some of our cloud services.
We monitor all of our switches with SolarWinds - we tried a more expensive and dedicated solution, but we found it cumbersome and less of a value than what we already had in SolarWinds. Looking at packet loss, bandwidth charts, response time, etc. is very helpful. We have had instances where our bandwidth was significantly reduced on T1 equipment, and we found that there were issues with ice build up and attenuation. We couldn't explain the causes of the issue, but the chart was instrumental in getting the cable replaced by the provider.
We use the alerts all the time. However, we noticed we have to customize the amount of time before an email is sent - sometimes we can have a virtual machine restart in less than 2 minutes, and at one time the alert for sending an email was set to 4 minutes. Believe me, everyone notices when someone reboots a server for patching and then no alert is generated - so you have to be cognizant of these issues and adjust for your environment. Sometimes we are unaware that a server is down and the alert goes out - when we get in the next morning, our email has been triggered, and we can attempt to rectify the issue before users suffer a loss of service.
  • Once we started using it, it is hard to envision being without it! It is nice to show uptime percentages and the like to the folks who control the purse strings.
  • SolarWinds NPM is not the only SolarWinds product we use, but it was instrumental in making the decision to purchase additional SolarWinds products.
  • We used SolarWinds to build reports, which have lead us to replacing T1 circuits with faster dedicated wireless and fiber optic connections as well. I think our IT group is respected because we tend to be aware of the issues impacting our users on a deeper level than we would have without NPM.
We tried Dell OMNM manager suite but it was difficult to clear alerts, to setup, etc. It did more -- allowed us to back up and recover switch configurations etc. -- but it didn't present a very user friendly interface and it was impossible to manage correctly. We spent a lot on the solution because we got it with our new switching equipment and were told it was the best way to manage an monitor our switches. It turned out that we continued to rely on SolarWinds NPM after repeated attempts to configure and make OMNM usable.
If you have a decent sized server farm, you will want to monitor it. If you spend time arguing with ISPs about whether they are at fault, you need NetPath to clarify. If you are a very small business, you may get by without it, but it can really save your team time and effort when you deal with multiple servers. We don't monitor EVERY node on our network - just the high level points - all servers, all network egress/ingress points, keeping ahead of storage space issues, and getting an email if something is happening you would otherwise be unable to check on a regular basis.

SolarWinds NPM Feature Ratings

Automated network device discovery
Not Rated
Network monitoring
Baseline threshold calculation
Network capacity planning
Packet capture analysis
Network mapping
Customizable reports
Wireless infrastructure monitoring
Hardware health monitoring