- What was life like before using SolarWinds? (Include what you were using and why you decided it was time for a change
Remembering life before Solarwinds is like remembering life before you could see or remembering life before you tasted sushi for the first time. It's painful and hard to remember, but important to remember why we came down this road. Like most people, I used HP Openview, WhatsUp Gold and, in some test environments, Nagios. It wasn't that these products didn't have their virtues, well, except for Openview, but none of the products seemed to give me enough data or enough control over the view of the data I was collecting. Openview hid my data behind an archaic UI, Nagios, ever extensible, made my upfront investment too high to gather simple data, and WhatsUp Gold started off well enough, but didn't have the stamina to finish.
- Which SolarWinds product(s) saved your bacon?
We've used NPM, NCM and Netflow, plus a whole host of the free utilities, but one of my best saves has been with Netflow. We used it to help a small business client troubleshoot performance issues on their WAN circuits and determine that their performance issues were related to specific job function in their office (publishing media to YouTube) and not related to a hardware or shared-services problem. This allowed them to avoid expenditures for more bandwidth, hardware, etc. and just change the timing of the publishing to avoid business hours. NPM and NCM save my sanity on a daily basis while troubleshooting hardware and bandwidth issue. NPM 10.4's integrated hardware monitoring caught a failing power supply in a firewall, preventing the failure from dropping an entire site, had it gone unnoticed. That was a killer bacon-saver!
- Did you consider other options, and why did you choose SolarWinds?
Ever project manager and financial review team wants you to review 3 or more options. Whether it is Openview, Whatsup Gold, Nagios, or NimSoft, none of them can hold a light to the cost:benefit ratio of Solarwinds. Sure, a large deployment takes from engineering time up front, even in Solarwinds, but scaling and meeting immediate and future needs wins them over every time. In my mind, Solarwinds is the clear winner. My favourite quote when selling the Solarwinds product suite is "It provides 80% of the functionality for 20% of the cost!" OK -- so the costs might not always work out that way, but nobody is ever completely honest about the functionality they need. In my experience, put together your wishlist and then do some judicious pruning. Solarwinds covers them all -- without nuking your project budget.
- How has life been since you've rolled out SolarWinds in your environment?
Solarwinds has changed the way we do business -- even changing our lines of business. We now have a confident, specific software partner for network monitoring and management that we can lead with on every network project. We have specific services tied to Solarwinds and the functionality that it provides -- and will provide! It is easy enough for any of our customers to get started with while being complex enough to meet to advanced monitoring and reporting requirements. You could say that Solarwinds products have helped us bring home the bacon!