It’s no secret that SolarWinds does a lot of web marketing. With that, we do a lot of web development. Our ability to generate revenue is dependent on the health of our website and our web applications. Over the years we have grown internationally and also needed to test the health of our website from many locations around the world – places where we do not have a physical presence. In order to ensure global high availability of our websites, we turned to a SaaS provider to test our website and registration form availability and performance from 10 locations around the world. This year, however, we were able to manage our websites and web applications – at a much lower cost.
In addition to growing internationally, SolarWinds has been expanding its product footprint, especially focused on the sysadmin market. Earlier last year we brought to market our Server & Application Monitor product, which monitors server and application resources, like web servers. What we heard from these customers is that they also wanted to monitor the transaction response times of their web applications. So, in August 2011 we launched Web Performance Monitor (formerly named SeUM) 1.0. Like the SaaS provider we were using, Web Performance Monitor monitors individual steps of the web transaction to proactively identify and isolate performance problems for web applications but our first release did not have the ability to monitor remote locations, unless you had a physical presence at that location. On Valentine’s Day, SolarWinds release version 1.5 – which includes the ability to deploy players to the Amazon ® EC2 portal without leaving the product UI – which then allowed us to finally deploy players to all those locations we needed to monitor around the world – the reason why we went with a SaaS vendor to begin with.
Now you are thinking, “of course this is lower cost, you are eating your own dog food.” Well, yes, it is more economical for us, but it is also more economical for everyone. With SaaS, we were monitoring 6 transactions from 10 locations around the world for a total of 60 transactions, and we were paying subscription fees of $20k per year, which translates to $60k over 3 year period. The cost to manage the same number of transactions with SolarWinds Web Perfomance Monitor over a 3 year period is around $18k-list price. What’s more, we can now manage our external facing web apps with the same tool to manage our internal web apps, a feature not available with SaaS options on the market today.