SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, it's like a baby monitor for Servers and Applications.
March 25, 2019

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, it's like a baby monitor for Servers and Applications.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor

SolarWinds Server & Application Manager (SAM) is used to monitor and manage our servers worldwide. It provides comprehensive monitoring of not only the core server systems but can also be configured to monitor custom services. It can through resource monitoring, proactively alert to a potential problem before it becomes a major issue. It can also be configured to launch a script or perform an action to attempt to solve the issue without human intervention. For instance purging the log files if a disk becomes full or restarting a service in the event of a failure.
  • SAM provides quite a few application templates and the THWACK (SolarWinds Users Group) user community has hundreds more. There is a huge amount of support for the SolarWinds platform making it easy to get help.
  • Lots of customization can be done to tailor the monitoring to a particular application. Templates can be tweaked to add, delete or change the way the application is being monitored. For clustered applications, you can set the level of urgency. By that, if you have multiple clustered application servers and one goes down, it is usually not as critical as an application residing on a single server. The application is still up but degraded whereas the single server application is down. This helps prioritize what needs to be looked a t first.
  • With SAM you can set up one pane of glass to see what your application servers are doing. It's usually one of my first stops when I'm looking at what's happening during an outage. A lot of time s you can see what is happening on the server/s and know where to begin troubleshooting.
  • When used in conjunction with other SolarWinds products it can give you insight into whats going on in the environment. You can see if the issue is with the server or in some other area such as storage or virtualization. It can really speed up your ability to find the issue and correct the problem.
  • Setting up alerts is a bit clunky. It's quite powerful but not that intuitive. There is a bit of a learning curve there.
  • The same could be said for setting up and testing application groups from a template. The interface is a real pain to use and the method for looking up applicable servers is, in our case, very slow and inefficient. I must note that we have a huge network over 130,000 network elements so this may not be an issue for smaller installations.
  • While SAM supports PowerShell an Python scripting, the documentation for this is sparse. You have to do a lot of playing around to figure out how it all works.
  • As stated previously, it allows us to do more with less people. On the other hand, SolarWinds and SAM do require a dedicated staff to run properly. For large organizations it's not something that should be done in addition to other duties.
  • ROI really depends on what it costs if critical sytems go down and how long they are down. From my experience, it can definitely help prevent some outages but not all. It's not a silver bullet. During an outage it will help pinpoint an issue and can greatly decrease the time of the outage especially in a complex environment.
  • Having the ability to look at the performance of a system over time allows us to tweak the systems for peak demand and when upgrading systems we have data to determine if we are sizing our new environments to meet the demand.
SAM is really the leader out in the market place. There are other offerings but they don't have the scope of the SolarWinds Suite. SW also has a very loyal user base. Between SW support and the user base you have a lot of options to solve your issues. I've looked at some of the competitors to SW, they just didn't impress me.
For medium to large applications it or one of its competitors are a necessity. The size and complexity of these require some sort of tool to be able to quickly make sense out of what is happening. Smaller organizations can get by without it. SAM als has the ability to work with cloud environments. Being able to see what those resources are doing in the cloud is huge.

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor Feature Ratings

Application monitoring
Database monitoring
Threshold alerts
Predictive capabilities
Application performance management console
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