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bleearg13
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph



Chris,

Overall, in my short time as a SolarWinds customer, I've seen a lot of good things.  You guys seem genuinely interested in your customers.

As for the what's on tap posting, there are a few things on that list we wanted, which is really great news.  But I do agree with the majority here who think a tool like NCM that is version 10 and does not have what we see as basic capabilities is slightly insane.  And I'm going to try to keep this focused on the forum topic, although there are other areas we'd like to see addressed as well.

Putting multiple pollers on a graph or "easily" putting multiple graphs on one page to create dashboards or having graphs in reports (trending,etc) is what we would consider network monitoring 101.



This is very well put and I agree with it 100%.  There are certain things which should just work out of the box and this is one of them.  So is a simple page with multiple interface graphs on it.  These are things that make us continue to use Cacti and MRTG, which I've been wishing to get rid of for years.  I am very excited about many of the new features you guys are working on, but Meru Wireless integration?  Really?  How many customers could possibly be using Meru Wireless devices that it's considered a "top priority" when a couple of relatively "simple" enhancements like this get overlooked. 

I know I started this thread two years ago and multiple people have tagged that they want this functionality.  It really is "network monitoring 101", considering that it's something that MRTG has done since I started working with it in 1998.  It's now 2010 and the leader of network monitoring applications doesn't have this very basic functionality?  As much as I hate to say it, I'd strongly suggest downloading a copy of Cacti and seeing why I both need to keep it around and why I need to get rid of it.  I mean, I am running a separate server *just* for multiple pollers in a single graph capability.  How insane is that?

jbaulsir
Level 13

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Eric:

  Thanks for staying on this, we too would like/need to have this functionality, so add my voice to th chorus.

Orion has moved from a simple monitoring tool to a powerful diagonistics tool, we have the need to present diverse information  in consolidated ways. I have spend a large amount of time creating custom pages to do this (see Attached)

If we could have an easier way of presenting this, it would add a huge value to the Orion product but I would like to see a common graphing engine for all modules with common controls and look and feel. 

It's true Orion is superior to cacti/nagios in so many ways, I am frustrated that those zelots harp on relitivly minor issues to knock Orion down. 

Jim

pserwe
Level 12

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

A response like that would be valid if basic core functionality wasn't ignored release after release.  What I'm asking for shouldn't be viewed as feature requests, so much as making basic core functionality inline with standard offerings.  You Product folks need to spend more time looking at the product objectively, and less time giving lip service.

I fully understand the needs of the many philosophy.  I'll go out on a limb and say that probably more than half of us have seen "Star Trek:  The Search for Spock".

The problem I have is that people have been bitching about a serious, obvious, and often seemingly insane set of issues, that keep getting ignored, release after release.

The only conclusion I can safely draw is that Solarwinds as a company, and individually through it's employees, doesn't take the needs of larger scale customers seriously.

People ask for critical features over and over, and SW's Product team responds like Catherine Tate's Lauren character: "Does my face look bovered?"

It's a sick game where we, as customers, thinking that we have spent enough on a broken product suite and it's annual 20% to warrant being heard and responded to, and while SW pretends that's what's going on, empirical evidence would suggest otherwise.  Remember the conference call of over a year ago where you, and the other Product managers sat there and told my boss and I to our faces that while you couldn't be sure, and couldn't make any commitment on exactly when, that it was reasonable to expect by the end of the year we'd have something functional to make the administration overhead less of a burden.  Guess what, nothing but lip service.  It's 6 months past that deadline.

SW as a company simply doesn't have any credibility at all, when it comes to the needs of larger business.  Replacing it is painful and expensive, but potentially worth it to be in business with a company that is actually responsive.  Every other vendor we have doesn't do business like SW.  Cisco, Juniper, Adtran, and others work with us in a genuine fashion to address our business needs.

I too, dislike using a public forum to voice such things, but whether voiced privately or publicly, the truth remains the same.

Peter

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bleearg13
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph



Every other vendor we have doesn't do business like SW.  Cisco, Juniper, Adtran, and others work with us in a genuine fashion to address our business needs.

Peter



I'd love to have your sway with the above-listed companies.  There are some basic features we've been begging for in all those vendors' various equipment and we've been ignored for years.  I've found the complete opposite - unless you are an AT&T or Verizon who needs a very specific feature that no one else on the face of the planet needs, then you are going to get the cold shoulder.

I personally think that SW is much more responsive to their customers than any of those companies, at least in my experience.  It is just frustrating when there are seemingly "simple" features being requested that Orion or NCM doesn't have that free software has and has been doing for years.  I have THREE network monitoring applications running on my network, all of which perform similar functions.  I've been running NPM since version 5, I believe, so that shows you how long I've been waiting to get rid of these other applications.

I count no less than 17 customers asking for this feature to be included in the next version.  One of those is a reseller claiming his customers are asking for it to be included.  I'm not sure how large each of these SW customers' installations are, but I'm sure if you add them all up, it equals a pretty penny in yearly maintenance costs.  As much as you don't want to hear it, I'm sure some of these customers are going to vote with their wallets when it's time to renew maintenance and ask themselves, "What is it that I'm really getting with this 5-figure number for yearly maintenance?"

And, I hate to latch onto this, but a search for 'Meru' on the forums elicits only postings in the Content Exchange from some guy who seemingly works at Meru.  WTF?  I know in the grand scheme of things, this feature is probably a very small part of the resources devoted to the next version, but c'mon.

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pserwe
Level 12

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Orion XXX is not superior to Cacti in Cacti's areas of core competency.  If it was, nobody'd be bitching.  Try out Cacti's graphing sometime.

And which Orion are you talking about?  NPM?  APM?  NCM?  All 3 products have some excellent functionality and some glaring holes in functionality that have been known for years and ignored.  SW needs to be a little bit less reactive and a little bit more proactive about dealing with these ancient, well documented issues.

Zealotry is apparently not confined to us open source enthusiasts either.

Nagios would essentially correlate to APM.  It's a far more developed tool for monitoring applications, although Nagios administration and config file structure is completely focacta.

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MarieB
Level 13

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

bleearg and Peter--

Thank you both for your feedback. I'll make sure the PMs see it.

If I could remind both of you that we have a policy against profanity and  both of you have words-of-interest that qualify (yes, even in acronym form). If they had been much stronger, I would have been forced to delete your posts b/c we do not edit posts. 

We welcome the passion of your critiques, but please, let's keep them as clean as possible.

Thanks for your attention to this.

M

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jbaulsir
Level 13

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Peter:

  I agree with you, SW should be addressing these issues if it is going to effectively compete.  Also the zealotry comment wasn't aimed externally or personally at you,  I have internal factions who completely refuse to acknowledge any value in commercially developed software at all  and will implement open source to the detrement of the business systems with the justification that it's "free".

As for superiority, we have a dynamic infrastructure, if a system is technically superior but is more difficult to implement, maintain, manage, and scale, to the point that it is not kept current,  then its value is diminished.

So if I'm a Certified MVP, then I'm a zealot; but our Solarwind system is monitoring ten times the systems with ten times the data and requires ten times less resource to do it.

Jim

 

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bleearg13
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph



If I could remind both of you that we have a policy against profanity and  both of you have words-of-interest that qualify (yes, even in acronym form). If they had been much stronger, I would have been forced to delete your posts b/c we do not edit posts. 

We welcome the passion of your critiques, but please, let's keep them as clean as possible.



I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement, but okay.  I've seen worse on the forums and never seen a public dressing down of a user.  The things either of us said were nothing you wouldn't hear on daytime or primetime TV.  We are all adults here and it's not like either of these posts were laced with the type of profanity you'd find at an Andrew Dice Clay performance.  Nobody is ready to go all postal on Solarwinds here.  In fact, both of us are touting the great features and functionality of SW products, but merely pointing out some flaws.  I find this to be pointless nitpicking.  No one is getting angry here and we don't need riot control.

In any case, this is de-railing the thread.

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pserwe
Level 12

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

And while I have a definite love of open source, I don't think it's the only valid tool in the toolbox, nor do I believe the world would be better if commercial software companies didn't exist.

Really, going commercial vs open source is about expectation.

There is a reasonable expectation that if you run open source software, that your support resources are best effort, that people who develop the product may or may not care about your specific needs, and access to them, if available at all, is usually on some sort of a pay as you go model.

There is also a reasonable expectation that if you pay a hefty amount of money for a commercial product, that the company you're paying the money to, is responsible for a number of things to varying degrees of accountability:

1.  Continue to enhance and develop the product - this is the #1 justification for software "maintenance" costs, to keep development afloat.  I would rate SW at about 3 out of 10 on this point.  Yes, there's a lot of activity, but it seems that most of it isn't aimed at fixing any critical core functionality issues, as far as I can tell, if there's a pile of trash taking up the slot in the feature chart that works for 1/10th of the more advanced use cases, then SW considers the issue closed.  Scheduling PDF reports makes it in, but scheduling CSV reports doesn't.  That blows me away, when the process should be, there's a scheduler, and SW ties in the same export formats available in the application.  

2.  Develop solutions to workflow issues, fix glaring deficiencies in functionality, and listen to qualified customer feedback.  I rate SW at about 2 of 10 in this department.

3.  Provide support in the event of issues, conduct Q/A and interoperability testing, and deliver (mostly) unbroken software.  10 has gone a lot better than 9.5 did, so I'll give SW a 7 out of 10 on that one.

4.  Take one of your best dev guys, put him to work on these features, give him enough time/additional resources to attack even *one* of these issues every release. Considering the amount of money that the larger customers represent, while it may not compare to the amount of smaller customers, I'm absolutely certain that the software maintenance renewals every year would easily pay for a team of 3 developers to focus on these kinds of features.  One guy if he's really good could nail one, and sometimes two on every release, including digesting all of the comprehensive use case scenarios, figuring out how to implement them, doing the implementation, and sending it off to QA for the next release.  Sometimes, stuff won't make it in, sometimes 2-5 things will.  Get out of tunnel-vision mode and step back for the 50000' view.

5.  Take Orion suite integration more seriously.  Cirrus/NCM/whatever - where's the pass-through authentication?  Either make NCM able to look at two different databases so it can figure out auth from NCM, or build the new version of NCM as both a standalone product using it's own broken auth, with a configuration option to tell it to use NPM's, which with the AD integration, has just gotten a lot more robust.

6.  My biggest beef with SW's policy of listening only to the masses, is that the masses are relatively small companies.  Also, when it comes time to add a new feature, SW tends to be overly targeted.  Come on guys, this is your product.  When any customer starts talking about feature requests, and you start a dialog about it, take into consideration what they are looking for, and also look at how you can make it better/more robust.  Look at what exists in the open source and how you can tap that collective consciousness and maybe even innovate something better, so instead of being far worse or a loosely judged tie, the product you're selling actually exceeds what's available in open source.  A lot of the smaller shops probably haven't run into a use case that makes them interested in the more serious features, you don't know what you don't know.  This is your business, you're supposed to be able to see beyond that.

This is your company, and your product.  Less hype and more meat.  Less lip service, and more customer service.  I know how much you guys love all these fluff features, but alerting, more robust UnDP, including support for tables that doesn't involve picking a column, table joins, so I can pull labels from one table, and data I want to graph, monitor, and alert on from another table, keyed to a column in both.  Maintenance window blackouts, parent/child relationships, node import, validation bypass, and custom property population by API or provide some SQL import scripts that handle it.  I'm rolling my own to populate custom properties in the nodes and interfaces tables.  Alerts unfortunately aren't nearly as straightforward when you take into account the (at least 6, from what I've figured out so far) the tables and modifications necessary for  

You guys have great resources in-house for this, all over your backline support.  One guy I'd listen to more than anyone is Matt (I forget his last name).  The guy knows more about the product, and how to make the product handle different use cases than anyone I've ever talked to.  The fact is, the smallest customers would have varying degrees of benefit from most of the feature requests that the larger customers make.  Multiple Pollers on a graph.. I feel like it's beating a dead horse to even mention it again, but I am absolutely certain even the smallest customers would be grateful for that feature.  Table joining, correlation, and graphing of multiple columns in a table in one graph, would benefit absolutely everyone.  Enhanced authentication and more granular restrictions.  I'd like to be able to give someone the ability to see mostly all nodes, but only "manage" specific nodes within that larger chunk.  This has little to no benefit for a 40-station windows network with 3 switches and a router, but there are a lot of people for whom these larger customer feature requests fall into the "nice to have" category where they would find use for them, but aren't in the "need to have" category like the smaller customers.

Vision, transparency, accountability, and customer service.  That's what I, and other customers are looking for.  While there has been progress with how SW handles these things, more focus on this is still required.  I don't care what business you're in, every company that exists is a customer service organization.

Peter

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bleearg13
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Very well put, Peter.  I'd add to the list of core functionality fixes the mysterious copy/paste crashing issue when using RDP to connect to the NPM server.  It's been talked about many times before and quite often replicated by customers, but somehow, it's still not fixed since I first started using Orion.

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