NPM - not just another tool.
March 29, 2019

NPM - not just another tool.

Mariano Alfonso | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

NPM is currently being used by the IT deparment only, I'd say the Helpdesk and Network teams are the heavy users. It's mainly used on all of our Cisco devices in our Data Center as well as our Branch offices across the globe. We leverage the NCM and NTA as well. The main objective today is to monitor uptime and bandwidth utilization at our branch offices by sending NTA data back to our DC so we can review top talkers at each location when bandwidth usage is at its peak. It's also a great place to backup and store all of our Network devices configurations, we take daily and monthly backups of all devices globally. We actually have the Worldwide map displayed at a giant display in our IT office so Helpdesk team can quickly identify when an office went down and act on it.
  • Monitoring uptime of devices, being that you can tailor how often you want to poll the device or by simply doing ICMP you know in seconds when a device went down.
  • Configuration compares features for network devices easily and allows us to spot any config difference that might have occurred after a device went down unexpectedly after a power outage.
  • Inventory collection, you can quickly create a report to poll for inventory within your organization but you can edit it in ways that you can get exactly what you are looking for, its very flexible when it comes down to playing with the MIBs on Cisco devices.
  • Node management is very easy as well, you can filter by a number of different parameters, some of them are out of the box and you can even create your own. In our organization we created a custom property called "Region" so that way we can see devices based on the region they are located at (Americas, EMEA, APAC)
  • Wireless heat maps are pretty hard to deploy, we managed to make one of them work but it's not an easy task.
  • Filtering on syslog server could be improved, maybe adding command line capability to it.
  • It would be nice to make it easier to execute custom scripts from Alerts action pane.
  • Unfortunately I was not here when the product was actually purchased so can't really comment on hard numbers.
  • But If I had to guess it was definitely positive since I know that deploying it was fairly easy and quick. I myself have done a lot around NTA, like deploying it globally so we would have visibility across all our office worldwide and have tailored alerts that have reduced greatly the amount of troubleshooting time.
  • The NCM templates have also greatly helped in user onboarding process to get them up to speed with Cisco CLI and being able to push config to devices. Scheduled jobs have helped tremendously when having to apply a global policy.
Not sure if it's a fare comparison since NPM has way more features and reach than DCNM and it's Cisco only but by far as far a functionality, flexibility, adaptability and overall management NPM is one of the best products I've ever worked with and it just seems every module is better than the other. Also having the possibility to access online classes is key, I personally learned a lot from those and they got me very interested in the product as well. When I first started at my company there was no real App owner for SolarWinds and I just went full on with it and loved the possibilities of customization you have, just being able to create exactly what you want the solution do you for you is hard to beat.
For us it's been well suited in both the network side and the server side of the house, though the latter we haven't leveraged as much as the first one. We have been able to create very specific alerts where if something happens we can go ahead and issue commands on the device and by the time you receive the email more than half of the initial troubleshooting is there for you just to analyze so even before you jump on the device you have a very good idea of whats going on. Another awesome scenario is where you create templates for Jr Engineers to be able to upload scripts to devices safely because not only you create the template and can add descriptions to it but it also goes through an approval system that until it's not reviewed and approved by a Sr engineer the script will not be executed on the device.

SolarWinds NPM Feature Ratings

Automated network device discovery
Network monitoring
Baseline threshold calculation
Network capacity planning
Network mapping
Customizable reports
Wireless infrastructure monitoring
Hardware health monitoring