SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review with K-12 Enviroment
February 20, 2016

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Review with K-12 Enviroment

David Gonzalez | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is being used by our district’s network and systems engineer for real time system health and troubleshooting. In a school district our size it’s imperative to have eyes on all our systems down to the applications running within each server. SAM has given us critical information when troubleshooting system issues and alerting when an application being monitored fails or goes to a warning state. We also use SAM for building systems or arranging resources when needed. SAM shows trends that help make decisions on if we need to move or add resources to be utilized by other servers. One of the neat features we utilize with SAM is its ability to interact with all SolarWinds modules like Web Performance Monitor. SAM found an issue with our district website within a matter of minutes of being installed via AppInsight for IIS! We also use custom application monitors running on systems that have critical applications running that are not standard applications. This has helped tremendously with system up time and district situational awareness. I find out more everyday how SolarWindsServer & Application Monitor benefits my school district. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting insight to what's going on.
  • Trends! Showing how a particular application is being used gives us valuable information on what's going on. The ability to have historical data to backup reasoning for adding a server is priceless!
  • Using the built in AppInsight takes away the need to know what all makes up a service. Also the ability to create your own application monitor for non standard applications is beneficial.
  • The ability to create alerts via email or SMS on critical applications is wonderful! This puts our department "in the know" before the phones start ringing. This feature keeps our help desk knowledgeable on what's going on so they can keep the chaos to a minimum.
  • Knowing when an application is in a warning state is helpful so we know when to troubleshoot before it becomes an issue. The great thing about SAM is that it tells you where the problems are so you know where to start.
  • I know there are a few bugs still with AppInsight for IIS. When trying to unmanage a web site it does not always work correctly. You sometimes need to go back and forth a few times before it changes to unmanaged.
  • I wish that out of the box AppInsight for SQL Server didn't have such low thresholds on its templates. The override feature is useful in this case but you need at least a month of real data to set a new baseline.
  • New applications! Right now it's just the basic AD, Exchange, SQL, IIS, Windows, Linux.
  • When we talk about ROI it has already paid for itself. With the server hardware being monitored and the ability to predict usage and forecast resources system builds get pretty easy. We can pretty much mirror a physical or virtual server with the needed resources without waste.
  • Troubleshooting an application issue is stupid simple! It shows you what process or service is having the issue so you know where to start and what to look for. Sometimes it even tells you what is wrong and how to fix it!
  • With warning thresholds it's easy to predict a system having issues so as to not cause downtime. You have knowledge on what's having issues and can make the needed changes before a failure. (Given it's not a act of God) =)
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor by far has been the best choice for overall needs of our district. The vast loads of information has been critical when troubleshooting issues or creating system builds. Sometimes it seems like we have too much information with SAM but none the less it helps with something down the road! The ability to plugin SAM with all the other SolarWinds products and have a single view of what's going on with the network and systems are priceless. Also in general how well the information is presented and easy to understand either looking at one system or all the applications at once. I have used Nagios and SNMPc inline with SolarWinds and by far I always find myself with SolarWinds on my desktop 24/7. I don't care to (ping) the network... I want to know more about what is going on than if the system is up or down.
As with any product your environment is what should set the pace. In a school district we have so many different applications making up a single classroom or administration need. It was chaos trying to keep track of what is on what and where things point to. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) has given us so much information at any given moment to make district wide changes or purchases. It also gave us the needed information to backup server purchases when showing the resource needed to run things correctly. Due to SolarWinds' license with the Orion Platform I can see the price point being an issue for smaller users who may not have the budget. I would have them try out SAM first and see how it performs in your environment. If you find you don’t benefit from it as a standalone setup, understand it works wonders with some of the other SolarWinds products. Troubleshooting systems and application needs become simple. You will quickly see how one issue may affect others and give you that proactive nudge to fix it before it becomes a major failure.

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Feature Ratings

Application monitoring
Threshold alerts
Predictive capabilities
Application performance management console
Not Rated
Collaboration tools
Out-of-the box templates to monitor applications
Application dependency mapping and thresholding
Virtualization monitoring
Server availability and performance monitoring
Server usage monitoring and capacity forecasting
IT Asset Discovery