What was life like before Solarwinds? It is hard to say since we were just starting up as a company. We were using tools to monitor our systems that were made 13 years ago or longer. I would say SolarWinds is quite an improvement with the customization and ability to monitor everything on one page.
We have recently purchased NAM to consolidate our licensing and get more pollers. We are using many of to products from SolarWinds NPM, SAM, NCM have all saved me time. SAM is able to alert me when there are issues with applications this way I get notified before my users know there is even an issue and I can resolve it with minimal down time. NPM I am able to montior usuage on servers and identify issues with network down. NCM I am able to backup configs and have used the backup configs to compare changes and restore config on replacement devices. All of which have saved my BACON.
Did you consider other options, and why did you choose SolarWinds? There were multiple different products we were testing. We chose Solarwinds because of the multiple different products that can integrate and the scalability that you can achieve with SolarWinds.
How has life been since you've rolled out SolarWinds in your environment? One could say a lot easier troubleshooting has come about with using SolarWinds. We can identify issues as they happen and resolve them quicker as we are alerted as they happen instead of waiting to get notified that there is an issue.