Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM)
We use SolarWinds NPM for all server and network device monitoring. We have two instances; one for our corporate environment, and one for our "critical" network segments. NPM is managed by two members of the Enterprise Applications team, with input from a cross-functional monitoring team, which has members from all areas of IT operations (and a representative from InfoSec). NPM is used both for alerting and performance monitoring.
- Very mature product, with lots of pre-built templates and features.
- It's very flexible and easy to customize.
- Fantastic support community (Thwack)
- Licensing model is simple.
- Upgrades can be tricky and time-consuming (especially if you have other Orion products installed along with NPM). It seems like SolarWinds is really focusing on improving this.
- It's Windows-only (which may or may not be an issue for your organization).
- Some menus don't take advantage of modern screen resolutions (e.g., on a 1080p or higher screen, a particular menu section will be locked at a very small size, wasting a lot of real estate).
- We have not yet determined how to calculate ROI from NPM. It's definitely saved us lots of IT Ops time, and threshold-based warnings save us from downtime.
- It's a stress reducer for IT Operations, once they feel confident in the monitoring solution and implementation.
- Intelligent alerting helps us effectively categorize alerts as P1 or not, preventing unnecessary off-hours calls.
SolarWinds NPM is the best tool I have used. I have a little experience with ManageEngine OpManager. NPM is all around better (ManageEngine products are decent for extreme budget situations. I think of them as the 99 Cent store option). We also looked into Nagios, but the level of effort required to build it was huge. Probably multiple FTE's. Two of us are able to manage SolarWinds, which also wearing other hats.
I have run SolarWinds NPM at two organizations, and it worked very well in both cases. Both orgs were mid-sized (2,000 - 5,000 users), so I have not run it at significant scale, or at a small business. It does require some care and feeding for optimal performance, but I believe this is true of any monitoring product.