SolarWinds for Cisco Environments

In general, our products are vendor-agnostic, and this is important to us.
Using Network Performance Monitor (NPM) as an example: If a vendor is following the SNMP RFC, we can retrieve data, correlate KPIs, and forecast situations.
However, sometimes, this is not enough, just like eating half a portion of pasta carbonara.

As CiscoRegistered is the most popular network vendor in our customer base, we focus on providing a little more information out-of-the-box and make (work) life more comfortable, such as via support for non-RFC OIDs. 
Also, we added support for CLI/API access to collect statistics that are not available at all via SNMP.

Let’s jump into our DeLorean and travel back in NPM’s history to…five years or so!

10.4        Hardware Health

10.7        Support for EIGRP and VRF

11.5        Wireless Heatmaps
12.0        Cisco SwitchStackRegistered

12.1        Meraki
12.2        Network InsightTm for Cisco ASA

12.3        Network Insight for Cisco NexusRegistered

12.4        Support for ACI

Some of these features have been around for ages. I arrived just before the NPM 11.0 release, so for me, things like hardware health have been there “forever.”
The SwitchStack support was the first highlight for me, followed by the ASA integration in both NPM and Network Configuration Manager (NCM).

By the way, do you know that most of the features in the list are based on community requests?

On top of that, other OrionRegistered Platform modules support VOIP, DNS, and DHCP solutions from Cisco, and you can attach those with a few clicks.
Finally, there is NetFlow. Over the years we have added support for NBAR2 and WLC flows into our NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA).

There are various statistics out there discussing Cisco’s market share and how it changed over time, and I don’t want to get in an “I don’t like them at all” discussion. Trust me, I’ve had enough of those already. I prefer JunOS when it comes down to the CLI.
But also, I love both pasta carbonara and all`Amatriciana, and there is nothing wrong with it.

Still, Cisco is basically everywhere. You guys keep on using it, so we keep on adding new features into our network products to help you support your infrastructure.

So, the good news is that we’re attending Cisco Live! EMEA in Barcelona. You will find us in booth S20A starting on Monday, January 28, and the code word to remember is “T-shirt.”


  • I liked Nortel's BCN router and all of the BayStack stuff back in the day. I put one of the first switched ethernet backbones in with their Baystack's 5000 chassis. Their tool Optivity worked well also.

    Used that for our network core for years then switched over to Cisco.  

  • Having gone down the Nortel path 100% twenty years ago, only to have it closed through illegal actions by administrators and the resulting law suits and bankruptcy, I moved my networks to Cisco despite knowing it was the more expensive option.  It was the one network company I could bet on being present for the long run.

    Nortel had a superior and very-fast GUI for its switches and routers that I loved.  It was easy to learn, fully functional, easy to use.  And it had two flavors of CLI (Nortel-styled and Cisco IOS-styled) that gave it all the power for the CLI folks.  I REALLY hoped Cisco would buy that GUI technology and use it to replace their slow, clunky, limited-function JAVA GUI, but that didn't happen.

    Nortel's assets were purchased by Avaya as part of the bankruptcy fire sale.  I was hopeful Avaya would be a good future player in the game. 

    When Avaya declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in August of 2017 and their stock value dropped down the drain I gave up hope on them.  My organization has a lot of Avaya Voice hardware in play; swapping tens of thousands of their VoIP handsets for Cisco phones isn't an affordable solution.  But where we've tried ShoreTel and Mitel phones we experienced ridiculous problems and very poor vendor technical support.

    Avaya claims it can dig its way out of the pension problems and bankruptcy, and I hope those claims prove true.

    I'm not buying any of their network equipment, nor am I recommending them as a voice solution for the future.  Not until they have solid footing, are in the black again, and have established they remain a going concern with good prospects, products as good as Cisco's, and buyers who are investing heavily in Avaya.

  • Imagine Cisco's domination if it was cheaper emoticons_grin.png

  • I have a wide range of clients using SolarWinds and they're finding out that moving to other vendors means they lose some of their visibility in the products.

    • While the Meraki feature provides some basic information about the APs, there is a lot more information available in the Meraki API that SolarWinds doesn't show. For switches/security appliances, you get up/down and interface statistics. Granted this is a mix of Cisco potentially not having the information available and SolarWinds not collecting the information. There are no details on WAN status, firmware information, CPU/memory, routing tables, etc. NetFlow is a complete mess from the MX devices. And Meraki monitoring was broken for months because of TLS requirements changing and the products weren't updated.
    • Customers moving away from Cisco switches to HP/Avaya switches (Edit: Aruba, not Avaya). No switch stack information provided by NPM but the information is there in the MIB. Considering NPM 12.0 came out over 2 years ago, this is disappointing to not see other vendor support being added.
    • Looking forward to what NetworkInsight for Palo Alto can provide - we don't come across many Cisco ASA's anymore.
    • We're seeing a lot more Viptela but monitoring is minimal. Similar with other products that don't use SNMP (or minimal) and are moving to API.

    Still, Cisco is a pretty safe bet for your large enterprise customers.

  • I do see this as well. with software defined networks and more and more complex infrastructures the CLIs will become the "last ressort acces" but not the main config access. vendors will move towards where everything can be pushed and pulled by API-calls

Thwack - Symbolize TM, R, and C