As many of you who’ve met me can attest- at tradeshows, user groups, or on SolarWinds Lab- I talk a lot.  I talk about technology, flying, astronomy and anything else geeky, but I don’t talk about myself much. Ok, I do annoy millennials with stories about my kids, but that’s parental prerogative.  And maybe that’s why I don’t talk much about SolarWinds.  Of course I talk about our products, advanced SolarWinds techniques and how our customers succeed, but not about SolarWinds, the business.  With the release of the recent 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD) however, I’m a bit excited and want to humble brag just a little.


Not My First Rodeo


Once upon a time I was the product manager for Sun Java System Identity Manager, formerly Waveset Lighthouse.  (Say that five times fast).  One of my jobs was engaging analysts with the cool geekiness of automated identity management and secure systems provisioning.  It was hardcore integration and code, with plenty of jargon and lots to talk about.  And a highlight in my career remains the month we hit the top corner of the “Leaders” quadrant on the Garner Magic Quadrant for Identity Management.  The whole company was understandably proud and ordered a 10 foot Fathead to stick on the office entryway wall.  And it’s from that perspective that I’m really pleased with Gartner’s analysis and where SolarWinds is positioned at the top of the “Challengers” NPMD quadrant.  Perhaps you’re even surprised to see us included.


Very large corporations rely on analyst evaluations for technology because CIOs and other senior IT executives may have budgets that run into the billions, with complexity unimaginable to most of us.  They simply don’t have time to dive in and learn the details of thousands of potential vendor solutions in hundreds of technology categories.  For them analyst research is extremely helpful, in many ways a trusted advisor.  And what many are looking for is something that can transform their IT operations, even if it’s expensive or requires rip-and-replace, because the benefits at that scale can outweigh the concerns of budget, company politics or risk.


And just like an iPhone, shiny and new is just sexy.  How many vendors do you know that start a conversation with long lists of features, or talk about the ZOMG most amazing release that’s just around the corner? But SolarWinds isn’t that kind of a company.  In fact it’s intentionally not like any other company.


We don't create new widgets in a lab and then try to figure out how to sell them.  For fifteen years you, our customers, have been telling us what your problems are, what a product should do, how it should work and how much it should cost.  Only then do we create technology you can use every day.  We also proudly don’t offer professional services. If we say a product is easy to use but have to install it for you, it’s not.  We also don’t offer hardware and admittedly miss out on what would be a really cool, dark-gray bezel with the orange SolarWinds particles logo in the center.  (Did you know our mark is particles not a flame? Solar wind = charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere.  Geeks.)


Highest in Ability to Execute


So when I look at where SolarWinds appears in the Magic Quadrant, I see exactly what I would expect, SolarWinds’ positioned highest along the “Ability to Execute” axis among all vendors in the quadrant. Would we lean a bit more toward the Leaders quadrant if we teased a few more features and products in the “What Are We Working on” section of thwack?  Perhaps, but that’s not our way. I’m in my 10th year at SolarWinds for one simple reason.  During my time this company has grown 25x because it stays true to an IT Pro philosophy to be helpful.  We don’t do everything, but we do just about everything you ask for, always striving to do it well.  SolarWinds isn’t about transforming IT. SolarWinds is about transforming the lives of IT professionals.


But enough about that, I‘m late for a meeting.


Feedback: Are you surprised to see SolarWinds on a Gartner Magic Quadrant? Does this report matter to you and your company?  Let us know in the comments below!


Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.