16 Replies Latest reply on Jul 29, 2009 4:12 PM by reazulhuq

    Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks


      Hello all,

      I am looking for a side by side comparison for Solarwinds NPM /NCM vs CiscoWorks.

      We use NCM/NPM currently and wouldn't dream of changing, though mgmt is requesting why not Ciscoworks, and since we a little people on a big pole our word is never enough. Has anyone seen or know where I can find this kind of information that I can place in front of the mgmt team? Any help would be great.  Thanks.

          • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks

            I read the post in the referenced forum and to say the least, one should take it with a grain of salt. The poster clearly knows nothing about Orion or NCM.

            Specifically, there is no way it would take 25 servers to monitor 10,000 Cisco devices with Orion or Cirrus. Depending on the number of interfaces and other resources one chose to monitor, it could be done with at most 2 to 4 servers.

            As for Orion costing 1 million dollards US, well that is just bad information, or a typo!

            Anyone at SolarWinds care to comment on the validity of the post?

              • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks


                We run both Solarwinds Orion SLX and Ciscoworks.

                We started off with CiscoWorks years ago and back then it wasnt to bad in the fault reporting in that it had a neat fault screen which you could use on the NOC , however in later updates they removed it and replaced it with a pretty useless fault display system.

                We have had issues with CiscoWorks and the reliance on Java to function correctly which made it flaky as different portions required different java versions. In the latest version they have fixed most of this and at least provided 1 DVD to install rather than about 5/6 cd's with confusing patching and roll back installs.

                What CiscoWorks LMS is not bad at is the following:

                Maintaining Device Configurations

                User Tracking (When it works)

                Being able to identify specific modules within a device and therefore good for complete asset tracking.

                Mass Configuration Rollouts , with workflows and approval steps.

                Identifying discrepencies incorrectly configured/mismatched trunks.

                Pie charts for reports (although not customisable)

                For us it is relatively inexpensive for maintenance costs as it is quite small in comparison to our overall maintenance.

                However when you need a new upgrade from 2.6 to 3.0 for instance you need to pay again.

                Solarwinds is great but as you can expect will not be able to give you visibility off the bat regarding serial numbers, modules types , power supply etc as CiscoWorks can do. SW has a far superior management interface, backup routine, upgrade costs included in maintenance, little bit light on the user roles and authorisations, able to monitor network as well as server devices and others.

                We use SW 99% of the time compared to CiscoWorks just for its usability and stability(generally) in comparison to CW.

                As we know there are a couple of features like usertracking which if available in SW would almost negate the requirement for CW. While I have not used NCM yet for compliance checking so cant compare(CW is not very good)

                While CiscoWorks acts as a CMDB(Change Management Database) for cisco devices because of its knowledge of individual modules i doubt that this will be the case of SW as it needs to support all vendors (cost effectivley)

                To Summarise.

                Both products are improving, SW faster than CW but if I was constrained by budgets and could only get one i would go for SW all the time. Obviously it depends on your environment and what your top concerns are.

                Just a couple of my thoughts:-)


                • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks

                  Oh yes – I agree. It should be taken with a grain of salt. I didn’t agree with that poster either but just passed on the info.


                  In the past ten years I’ve worked with many network management products - in this order – NetView – Ciscoworks – CA (Computer Associates) – and now Solarwinds. And in my humble opinion it is Solarwinds which offers the best product choices for our enterprise environment.


                  Before acquiring Solarwinds products I evaluated many products from Solarwinds’ top competitors and even had those other products installed in production for many months, just for evaluations. And Solarwinds won out – on pricing – scalability – ease of use.


                  We’re all Cisco switches and routers and Solarwinds supports that just great but our network is taking on a lot SAN products – Blade servers – Virtual servers. I hope Solarwinds will help support these core areas for us or else we’ll have to move on to another product that will.

                • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks

                  Thanks - That's a very interesting chart - too bad it doesn't include pricing estimates with hardware support specs and on-going yearly maintenance costs.

                    • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks



                      The table would have to be extended to include indicative pricing based on number of nodes supported.

                      However this would be easily enough to add to the existing table and break it into 100, 500, 1000 etc nodes. Concentrating on the software cost would be better as its easier to define.

                      We could do it ourselves and others would fill in the rest.



                        • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks

                          Solarwinds NPM/NCM by a mile.  We have both and I will tell you that CiscoWorks or LMS or whatever they want to call it today is a pile of ****.  When the application decides to be functional, you gain tools like chassis view and good inventory reports but not worth the hassle.  Solarwinds NCM can do as good a job of collecting configurations and NPM can gather the monitoring info you need.  NPM can be customized to poll the other info you could get from ciscoworks if you need it.  Cost usually goes in Solarwinds favor as well so we try to keep away from vendor specific management applications.  Right now we have Cisco Works, Extreme Epicenter, Juniper NSM....other than Juniper NSM for firewall administration...the rest could be flushed down the toilet and no one would know the difference.

                    • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks

                      Honestly, the best comparison I've heard on this was from the Senior VP of Worldwide sales during a presentation where he basically said the idea was that the SW products offered 80% of the functionality (including 100% of what 99.9% of engineers need or want) at, usually, 20% of the cost and a lot less headache.  That sums it up quite nicely, in my opinion.  I've run the gamut on this stuff from Cisco to MS to HP to SW and they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but it ultimately comes down to what's most important to you.  I will say this:  The SW offerings are hands down the most intuitive of the lot, and the least of the headache to configure, operate, and maintain.

                        • Re: Solarwinds vs CiscoWorks

                          We use both NPM as well as NCM, the only piece that we have found that NCM is unable to do effectively is complete compliance checking of configurations.

                          When I say that I mean SW can do some string checking using regexp, but you can't get it to to do interface level compliance checking (i.e. verify that you have "no ip redirects" configured on each interface).

                          This is a big deal for us, and is the reason we have to run multiple network mgmt platforms.

                          I am hoping to see this resolved in a future release of NCM, we will see...