Need some tips and guidance while choosing SW modules

Hi Team,


I hope you all are doing well. Thank you for your support and guidance, which I greatly appreciate.

I have some questions regarding our SW license and modules in our environment. We currently have NTA, NPM, MPE & APE, and our company is planning to purchase a HA. I have a few doubts as mentioned below:

1. Is it a good idea to buy HA instead of HCO since we just renewed our APE?

2. How can I create a plan for purchasing SolarWinds modules?

3. On what basis should I consider SW modules?

4. What are the benefits and differences between choosing HCO and HA?

5. Is there anything else I need to consider that I haven't mentioned here?

We have various devices as mentioned below and applications in our environment, including custom applications.

  • This is quite a large topic, lets break it down a bit:

    1. Firstly, standalone modules - choose on your own based on your companies' requirements and cost factor - which is where you currently are - you own only 2 modules which is NPM and NTA and probably you only do Network Infrastructure Monitoring mostly with some servers as well and network traffic analysis which is why you have opted for those SolarWinds modules which is hosted on your end.

    2. SolarWinds HCO is a suite of modules, rather than you selecting it if you opt for HCO (again you have essentials and advanced in HCO) you get a set of modules packaged together. With SolarWinds HCO Essentials you get NPM, LA, SAM, DPA, SRM, WPM, VNQM, IPAM, UDT & Patch Manager. With SolarWinds HCO Advanced you get more everything that is there in Essentials (NPM, LA, SAM, DPA, SRM, WPM, VNQM, IPAM, UDT & Patch Manager) + NTA, NCM, SCM, VMAN, SEM ... + You can also integrate HCO Advanced into SolarWinds Observability platform. Each module has its own significance. 

    3. SolarWinds Observability platform is altogether for another reason (this is SaaS based, add's in a lot of other aspects into the futuristic world), they call this a full stack hybrid approach which brings in everything under one umbrella be it DevOps, IT Ops, Cloud Ops plus your traditional on-prem monitoring which you do with standalone modules or HCO like your infrastructure, application, storage, database, virtualization etc...

    4. You will get there one day for sure, but what is it that your company wants or client wants is the place to start. What is it that you want to monitor and how do you achieve it through SolarWinds stack of modules -----

    5. Now let's talk about your use case HA - High Availability, what is it that you need it for? To make sure that your SolarWinds is up and running and you have some degree of Failover/High Availability mechanism for your application. How will HA help you? You can create a HA for MPE - what does this do ? If your MPE has an issue HA will failover your MPE onto Standby Poller - in simple terms MPE is the heart which is used to open your SolarWinds console, create alerts, reports, dashboards etc + obviously polling - so this wouldn't get affected. Now how is HA helpful for an APE ? What is the primary functionality of an APE ? Polling device and getting the data stats from it. Say suppose you have 100 devices on APE, if you create an HA for APE when your APE has a problem then it will failover onto your Standby APE and Standby APE will start polling those 100 devices and you will not have any data discrepancies. Please note: HA doesn't cover your SolarWinds database though :), you will need to come up with your own plan for database failover if its On-Prem, if its on cloud you have several other ways to do it.

    I am just sharing a few things, I am sure you will see many more replies on this topic :) Hope this helps.

  • Vinay has given a solid answer. I would take his thoughts and add a couple more. HCO is different not because it is a license change to a subscription, but it does, as was pointed out, bring a suite of modules/features along with HA licensing. If you are not ready/planning to utilize all the new features, then HCO becomes a very large project that you were perhaps not ready to implement or even need beyond the HA licensing. 

    The other aspect of HA is how you want to implement it. The application is only as HA as the database is. In other words, all the HA on the main poller and additional pollers will not do anything if the SQL database is not available. It sounds self evident but HA will not work during a software upgrade. Getting back to SQL - look at how you plan to make it HA also. That should be part of your plans already. SQL HA is not required for SolarWinds HA, but it often goes hand in hand when implementing it. 

    So is HCO worth the cost of just HA? Probably not in many cases. If you are using or plan to use the rest of the modules then HCO is worth investigating. If you are looking at the other modules, then HCO becomes more attractive over purchasing the modules and HA in the older licensing model.

  • Look at the fun you all have while I'm sleeping! LOL. Vinay and Marc gave great answers. 

    I will just add one thing (and  I KNOW you're going to laugh and probably roll your eyes at me, LOL): HCO is not a "suite of modules" like NAM or NOM was. HCO is its own product, originally built on the feature set of 10 of the 12 legacy modules. 

    This is an important distinction to make, as we release features for HCO only that are not supported in module-based installs and will continue. So, it's important to have the right mindset about what a deployment with HCO is and what one is with legacy modules. Slight smile

    Also, (okay, so 2 things) if you are in an environment where you anticipate having many polling engines, HCO with the Enterprise tier licensing sometimes makes sense. I've talked with several enterprise customers who converted to HCO simply because it represented cost savings for numerous APEs, the HA for those APEs plus yearly maintenance to have the "unlimited" APE and HA in the enterprise tier, rather than ala carte with legacy licensing where everything is licensed and paid for individually. 

    Whether that makes cost sense for your particular environment is a larger discussion, and I'd recommend having it with Sales, specifically a Sales Engineer. 

  • HCO is its own product :) , I am getting old lol - Thank you   that's a great explanation of what it is in reality. 

  • It's become my polite soapbox LOL. We all are getting old! I've been with SolarWinds since 2011. Yikes! 

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