A mature, customization monitoring solution
Matthew A. Osmond | TrustRadius Reviewer
June 03, 2020

A mature, customization monitoring solution

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

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).
My organization has not yet made much use of NetPath. I would like to make more use of it going forward. I believe this will be useful as some services move to SaaS (we are primarily on-premises). I have found NetPath useful in the past; for example, it helped us find a bad route which caused severe latency downloading updates from a particular vendor.
Our network team has not chosen to make use of Network Insights.
We have spent a lot of time customizing our alerting to fit our organization. The pre-built alerts work fine, but making use of Custom Properties has helped us scale up. Basically, we set the alert thresholds, priority, schedules, and recipients be based on Custom Properties. The Cust Props are set either by automation, or in some cases manually. Then, we have a limited number of alerts, which fire based on Custom Properties.
We have also added a lot of detail to the alerts, to save the on-call the time of having to look things up. For example, does this node's downtime affect compliance? When as the last known good poll? Alerting is very flexible.
  • 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.
  • Engineer's Toolset
  • SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager
  • SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor
  • SolarWinds VoIP and Network Quality Manager
  • SolarWinds Kiwi Syslog Server
Using multiple SolarWinds products increases IT operations efficiency, as there is a lot of common knowledge between the products. Also we are already familiar with the support systems and Thwack community.
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.

SolarWinds NPM Feature Ratings

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