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Level 8

Terrible support, terrible product.

I'm sure this post will be deleted long before it influences any potential customers. Too bad. For the lucky few who read this as you consider a purchase of Solarwinds products, you are hereby warned.

Imagine a support organization that answers open tickets infrequently, and when they do, it's after hours. Imagine dealing with squirrely software that requires constant patching, and that the patches constantly induce unstable behavior in other modules. Imagine spending money on a product that requires a HUGE investment of time and energy to maintain.

We've been using Orion NPM since November. It has been unstable for months. Here's the support routine:

Open a ticket.

Wait until after 5:00 pm to get an e-mail response asking for a 200 Mb diagnostic.

Upload diagnostic the next day. Wait until after business hours for a response.

Apply suggested solution. It doesn't work. Respond.  Wait until after business hours for a response. Nothing back. Give up. reboot the server. Problem temporarily goes away.

The pinheads who run support will no doubt take issue with the specifics. An e-mail wasn't received, Leapfile somehow lost the upload, but the point is true - this is not a stable product, and support is not worth waiting for much less paying for. Run now and select something else for network monitoring.

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17 Replies
Level 7

Spudnet,

I apologize for any inconvenience we might have caused you. I lead the support organization at Solarwinds and would like to be of assistance with any issues you are experiencing. Please reach out to me directly at olu.aluko@Solarwinds.com

 

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I doubt you'll get a response, thread was necro'd, originally posted in 2011. Lets hope he got his issues fixed though!

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Level 11

Dear Spudnet,

I truly sympathize with your recent pains. I have had some negative experiences so I can relate. I can honestly  summarize our overall experience with the products and support to be more positive and successful. Hindsight is 20-20. Many of my own Orion issues/grief could have been avoided if:

1) I made sure that all servers in my orion architecture had adequate resources - I monitored/alerted on orion services on all servers so that when something goes south - you find out fast.

2) distributed across multiple servers (ie: multiple pollers, separate web consoles, honking sql) before issues arise.

3) don't have too many administrators

4) VM's can be your friend. Use "snapshot" before patching/upgrading. (don't use single cpu vm's for anything, min. dual cpu). Don't let VM admins tell you otherwise - save yourself some pain and demand it.

5) Avoid using brand new releases of ANY BROWSER - these cause GRIEF to Orion admins.

6) Ensure whoever is your Orion administrator is a cautious individual who employs self discipline, records changes and employs best practise techniques (ie: one change at a time, only touch 1 server at a time etc) when managing change. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CORP ORION IN THE HANDS OF COWBOYS/COWGIRLS - no amount of support from any vendor can prevent outages in this scenario.

Having been a previous Openview customer - I can say cost of ownership is less with solarwinds family of products. I am firm believer you get what you pay for. Solarwinds is economically a good deal. I want them to keep costs reasonable. I'm getting used to the overseas, customer support - recent experiences I've seen some great talent (not so much on the language skills), but great when they webex in and take control.

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Epenney - Those are all good suggestions, and we actually follow almost all of them almost all of the time. I think we're pretty well provisioned. Migrating to Solarwinds was a big deal and we put the resources behind it.

I agree with your "honking SQL" comment. We had a lot of trouble after we moved from the test phase and SQL Express. We had the DBAs do some tuning and things settled down. The most concerning issue is that interface stats just stop accumulating without so much as a blip. I report on various metrics and feel like an idiot explaining big holes in the charts.

We saw a lot of favorable comments on thwack prior to purchase and judged that support was available and responsive. Solarwinds' initial support in November was a LOT better than is has been over the last 30-60 days. Our experience has been that responsiveness has deteriorated at the same time that our issues have increased. Not too surprising, but unfortunate nonetheless.

We have had persistent issues beginning in February, but no tech has suggested a remote session to dig in further. I understand from other responses that they have had better experiences. I expected this same level of support but have not seen it.

I put a call in to Brandon, but haven't heard back yet. I'll update the post as we work through this.

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I recently had same "red faced" experience of having blank stats for interfaces.

2 separate "red faced" scenarios happened to me.

1st situation - numerous blank gaps on various interfaces, random devices, no particular pattern. this particular Polling Engine is a VM. Turns out the VM only had single CPU, 3gb ram. Since adding 2nd cpu & increased ram to 4gb VM - blank stats in interfaces for the most part vanished.

2nd scenario - was far worse - db sync'ing for entire poller would stop without warning us (result no data collection for interfaces, but oddly nodes still reporting up, response time/packet loss still being captured. For this I created an alert. I refer to it as "Canary Node Alert". For each polling engine, I select a major node that is being polled by that engine (one that is rarely offline/down). Alert checks LastSync value to see if its gt 5 minutes - if so it rings alarm bells. There is probably a better way to alert on polling engine db sync health - in my urgency to ensure this never repeated I created the alert described above. Attaching my "canary" alert - i cloned this alert for each polling engine we have.

 

 

I really hope my "red faced" days are behind me.

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Just to correct an incorrect/inaccurate statement on this thread.  Our support is not out sourced, it is staffed by SolarWinds employees.  To provide 24x7 coverage across the world and all our customers we have SolarWinds offices for Support here in Austin in the States, Cork, Ireland and Singapore.  These are not out sourced call centers or anything like that.  We load balance this load to try to get back to customers as quickly as possible.  Sometimes that means you may have a rep from one of our other offices assisting you.

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Level 8

Our initial reactons to NPMv10.0 were much like yours when we began using it this past November.  We found the system crashed on us a number of times for no apparent reason.  We also had concerns about the quality of SW support.

We were fortunate enough to be looking at the server's  performance when it started going awry.  We discovered the cause of our issue was a memory leak in the Orion Service Manager.  We connect to the server via RDP and we would leave the service manager running continually.  We have not encountered a system crash since we began closing it after use.  We couldn't find any documentation about this so we had some frustrating time before discovering it.

We have also learned how to use tech support more efficiently.  Although we still experience some difficulties getting good responses, we have learned that some of the techs are better than others.  When we have a particularly vexing issue, we ask to escalate to one of the more knowledgeable techs.

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Level 21

Spudnet

We (like many of the other folks that have responded) are also a SolarWinds customer and have just recently become an authorized partner.

When we first started working with the product about 2 years ago I also had problems with the knowledge level and responsiveness of the SolarWinds support team.  Since then I have seen significant improvements in their support in both responsiveness and knowledge level.  After working with the product for some time I have learned the quick-fix things that I can do to resolve problems and I have also learned to quickly gauge if my issue is something that first level support will be able to handle or if I will need 2nd or 3rd tier support and I always ask to have my issue escalated if I feel necessary which they will do without question even to the point of working with a Software Developer if necessary.  I have also learned (as mentioned by another poster here) to ask for a phone call and GoToMeeting which they are always willing to do and will almost always get your issue resolved more quickly.

With regard to "Squirrely Software" I have also experienced similar issues.  I have experienced problems with just about every NPM upgrade that I have done and that's even after waiting for a week or so to make sure there are not any big issues that people note after upgrading.  Fortunately, getting the fallout of these upgrades resolved has almost always been a relatively quick process with the SolarWinds support folks.

Ultimately, I find our SolarWinds solution to be a good value in contrast to other solutions we have worked with.  No product is perfect, you have to find the one that works best for you in all aspects; functionality, stability, support, etc.  Hopefully the SolarWinds people (I see Brandon is going to contact you and he is awesome) will be able to help you out and change your opinion of both the product and the people that support it.  In the unfortunate event that you choose not to continue to use SolarWinds I do hope that you are able to find a product that fits your needs.

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Level 9

I'm just an average solar winds customer and don't have any other ties into Solar Winds.  We have been using the product for serveral years starting with the toolset and have added more products over the years.  We have have been happy witht he products.  We have run into problems with components and features and a few things we wished the product could do but the support team has always been prompt, professional and done a good job resolving the issues.  We had a few that stretched out related to a bug but they maintained contact and let us know when the bug was addressed.  I have been very pleased with the support team.   The development team also seems to take these forums seriously and have added enhancements that would benefit the larger user base.   My experience with Solar Winds has been very good.  They have always been a very customer focused company and listened to what the users have to say, good or bad.   Sorry to hear you are having trouble. 

 

 This forum has also been a great resource in the past and I have gotten lots of help from it.  I don't know what kind of trouble you are having but I would be happy to help or share information about our setup.

Thanks

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Level 9

Spudnet,

   I can understand your frustration. I have had some slow responses, but I have always had our situations resolved. I find it best, if it is a serious situation needing immediate attention, to open a ticket and when you get a response from the support technician ask them to call you. We just recently moved our Orion server over to VM and everything went a haywire. After about two hours of sending e-mails back and forth I was a little frustrated, but once we were on the phone everything went a lot smoother. We initiated a gotomeeting and now things are up and running again.

   I have also found a lot of help on the forums. The entire community here is happy to help in anyway.

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Level 9

Wow,

Sorry to hear you have had such bad support. Even way up here in Canada I have received amazing remote support and usually get a tech to remote into my desktop the next day to help.

The only gripe i have is I have to put in a ticket everytime I forget to release my license for my engineering toolset if my laptop dies. Please Solarwinds, give us the ability to release these from our account page!

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It is obvious that they have out-sourced a lot of their support and getting responses at 8 - 9 CST is truly annoying. We pay plenty for these licenses and should have on hours support.



PS I did have someone respond to my tickets this morning so its not all bad.

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It is obvious that they have out-sourced a lot of their support and getting responses at 8 - 9 CST is truly annoying. We pay plenty for these licenses and should have on hours support.

 

 

PS I did have someone respond to my tickets this morning so its not all bad.

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Level 10

Spudnet,

I am not a SolarWinds employee.  I am a SolarWinds user and our company is a Partner with SolarWinds for Training, Sales, Consulting, and Services.

I would very much like to see if there is anything that our organization can do to assist you with the challenges you've faced.

My direct cell phone number is:  918-724-5622.  I carry it with me 24x7x365.  If I don't answer, it is because I'm otherwise engaged, but leave a message and I'll get back with you in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Jay R. Cummings

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I am also a SW customer and I have very few issues with my SW applications.  They can take a bit of time to get everything the way you want, but I think it is worth it to be able to keep that good of an eye on hundreds of systems (some people even have thousands).

My biggest issue was an OS problem.  When running sfc, and there were a ton of files that were off, so I built a new OS, installed the application and restored the DB and everything was working great!

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Product Manager
Product Manager

First, unless you do something like swear or make an inappropriate joke or comment, we never delete or censor posts.  It completely devalues the community.  If you look up here at older posts, there are others in which folks are venting anger or frustration.

Second, I am sorry to hear you have been having so many issues.  I will ensure this get visibility to the appropriate folks here at SolarWinds.  I did take a peek at your previous tickets, but since I was not involved in them I do not want to speculate as to the issues.  I can assure you this is not a common theme across our customers as we have many running Orion successfully.  However, the fact remains the product experience has been unacceptable to you at this point in time.

I am going to reach out to you offline via email to see if we can dig into this further and see what the heck is going on.   

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Got your e-mail, called and left you a message.

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