It was a dark time for monitoring where managing over 10000 elements in at least one data center was overwhelming with the products we were using. Being a data analytics provider for insurance, natural resources, financial services, government, and risk management; required more oversight for monitoring as well as performance and capacity planning. More insight into the virtual, storage, and application stack was needed to better understand how everything worked together. We needed to switch from the previous product we used for web transactions as it was heavy on the machines we used for playbacks and required work when transactions changed. The previous tools covered minimum aspects of monitoring and did not provided visibility or reliability in the infrastructure.
We had the opportunity to invest into new tool sets that would take us beyond monitoring we knew at that time. We had a few candidates to consider as we reached out to a number of system engineer areas among various divisions. We had CA NimSoft, Nagios, and SolarWinds. The debate seemed to always be between Nagios and SolarWinds. The flexibility and power to build with Nagios compared to the out of the box and off and running approach from SolarWinds. At the end, we needed to be off and running and showing value in what we are monitoring as well as not worrying about having to develop complex monitors from the first steps into a product. We went with NPM, SAM, NTA, WPM, and VMAN. The first benefit was being able to have everything in one pane of glass and accessing the stack that was needed. The VMAN integration was the biggest win at the time. The ability to show OS and VM related statistics was tremendous help. Linking transactions to servers also gave us a big win. Overall, we gave IT a new perspective and allowed developers and business users to see the resources we monitored.
With the old products retired and SolarWinds leading the way, we were able to integrate STM to get the most controversial and misunderstood part of the infrastructure highlighted. STM was originally purchased and managed by the Storage team but the maintaining a monitoring tool is time consuming when monitoring isn't the primary job. We were able to take the reigns and get more value into the STM integration with NPM and VMAN. When SRM came to existence, we were in a good position to get the extra stack visibility into SolarWinds. DPA followed suit as the new product gave us a new perspective for developer, being able to know where the problems are occurring in the database.
Over 2 years later, our SolarWinds deployment has gained visibility and a trust for information. We are looking forward to NPM 12 for the new UI, NetPath, and ServiceNow Integration. We have other new tools that have complemented and supplemented SolarWinds but the move to SolarWinds definitely change the game of monitoring compared to the way things use to be. A new hope has emerged and we continue to progress with aspects like the cloud and new locations.