NPM -- Making your days (and nights) more about what YOU want to do rather your networks whims.
January 19, 2019

NPM -- Making your days (and nights) more about what YOU want to do rather your networks whims.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

NPM is used to monitor infrastructure devices at all levels. We monitor servers, network equipment, phone equipment, printers, and small SNMP devices. Our IT department is able to monitor the statistics and services we need to maintain SLAs and provide baselines both for troubleshooting and growth predictions. NPM allows us to keep an eye on the network as a whole and provide alerting in case of problems. Our support teams are able to see at a glance current status and get a view of normal operations.

Pros

  • The Orion and NPM alerting engine allows us to create simple and complex trigger conditions. It also allows us to nest equipment behind scopes. Getting one alert that a buildings router went down is a great alternative to the hundreds of alerts that could be generated by equipment that isn't actually down just hiding behind that router.
  • Initial setup and adding a node is a breeze. You can create a simple view of a device in a matter of seconds or spend hours fine-tuning exactly what you want to monitor on. Discovery helps find the devices that may be lurking deep in closets or above the ceiling grid.
  • Orion helps NPM display the aspects of your devices you want to see. Don't care about CPU? Remove that widget. Decide that was a mistake just add the widget back on. Have 100 nearly identical VMs you want to see grouped together? Create a page for the type of device. This aspect does take some serious setup though. While its powerful enough to create templates and scope information to users... it takes time and understanding to make it look just right.
  • The broad range of device monitoring endpoints that come boxed with NPM is mind-boggling. Add in universal device pollers and create your own for the devices that aren't included. You can even share these with the community and help the guys using the same equipment.
  • Support is great. They are usually quite friendly and knowledgeable. They frequently have issues solved in a single call.

Cons

  • Orion can be a pain to configure. There are a ton of widgets and they aren't always clear as to what is displayed. There can be dozens of metrics using very similar names
  • Cost of SolarWinds products is always eye-popping. Their sales managers can also be incredibly pushy. While the cost-benefit usually comes out positive be aware that it isn't going to be the easiest part to justify.
  • The included custom map creation software can be a pain point. It frequently requires a support call to get working. There is a lot of care and headache to get things looking just right -- once a map is created it can be painful to maintain.
  • The ease of setup has removed the need for a dedicated staff member to script or program your monitoring system. You can quickly get information flowing instead of designing your own software to look at the things you need to see.
  • Letting us know issues are happening as soon as they occur helps us get solutions in place before business continuity is impacted. Being able to see baselines and growth problems before they become a problem keeps downtime to a minimum.
  • NPM lets us see the actual usage of systems and plan for our future equipment with hard numbers instead of vague admin feelings. It helps build a pretty picture of the WHY we are asking for that much money and prove after its spent that it was a good idea.
The ease of setup and learning, when compared to these systems, is just hard to overstate. While other products allow you to create similar looks and capabilities it will take years of tweaking and tuning. NPM can build that monitoring infrastructure out in minutes. Teaching a new staff member how to get the data they need takes a few hours instead of the months that it can take to build the monitors just right.
Any time you have more than 50 devices in a network, SolarWinds is going to be helpful. When it starts to take a noticeable time to check on your infrastructure, it's time for an NMS. The cost will likely be prohibitive until the 250 or 500 mark though. At those numbers, it's not hard to write off NPM as cheaper than a dedicated infrastructure staff member.

SolarWinds NPM Feature Ratings

Automated network device discovery
9
Network monitoring
10
Baseline threshold calculation
10
Alerts
10
Network capacity planning
8
Network mapping
5
Customizable reports
10
Wireless infrastructure monitoring
6
Hardware health monitoring
9

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