Alerting is nothing new, so why consider a dedicated product on this now?  This is a fair question, but IT has changed a lot as well.  No longer are the days of looking into the phone book for a service or company, having to mail in or go to the drive thru at your bank to deposit checks, go to a store to buy something etc.  Heck, I still get phone books at my house and every time I wonder why.  I don’t even have a land line any more at my house; I just use my cell phone always.  Also users are not just located in an office anymore.   There are remote workers from home and smart phones and tablets have continued to push this to make the past walls of work disappear.  No matter where I am, I always have email; can VPN and remote control systems etc.


My point is that the way IT is perceived and plays a role in the success or failure of a business has drastically transformed.  As businesses have become more reliant on IT in order to function and run, the complexity of problems and the number of systems in order to monitor and manage this infrastructure has grown as well.  Downtime is no longer considered an inconvenience; it now costs the business money by the minute.


As SolarWinds has grown, both in terms of customers, as well as number of products we offer, I have had the ability to talk to lots of customers.  Some of these customers solely use our products, but as much as I would like to think we are the only software IT folks use, alas I know that this is not true.  IT teams work with products from multiple vendors to solve different needs and use cases in their environments and each system has its own alerting capability to let folks know when an issue arises.


In the past a pager would get passed around to who ever was on call that evening or weekend.  An alert would fire and they would get a page.  Get up, go VPN in, and look at what the issue is.  Heck, some folks may still do this, if you can find a pager for sale, anywhere anymore J


What I have heard over and over is, “what I need is a system that can centralize all of these alerts that I get into a common dashboard, that I can access from anywhere, apply rules to them, such as who is on call, and notify them and setup escalation policies if they don’t respond in a certain period of time.”  We performed our own survey here at SolarWinds beginning in August 2011.  We surveyed our customer and prospective base while offering them a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card[1].  We believe that the respondents to our survey were clear about their opinions on this topic.

  • 80% of folks had some sort of on-call policy in place
  • 72% said they managed this on-call schedule in a spreadsheet and 20% just admitted they did not do it very well
  • 61% had an escalation policy if the first person did not respond in a certain period of time and for 84% of those customers, the escalation process was manual

We believe these are some pretty compelling stats, which is why we intend to build and introduce a product in order to handle this.  Whether you use our products or not, this is a common IT problem and we believe this solution should be able to support any IT Management system, which supports alerting and can send an email out when an alert occurs.


Tell us what you think, would love to hear your feedback.  If you are interested in being a part of the UI wireframe reviews or try out the beta, etc. please let me know.


PLEASE NOTE:  This is NOT a commitment that this product may not evolve into something else or that we will deliver this product to market. 


[1] 110 customers or prospective customers responded to the survey. Not all respondents answered each of the questions.