5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2009 8:48 AM by ekonowal

    Is Solarwinds giving up on writing applications?

    ekonowal

      I'm getting concerned that too many companies seem to think web applications are better than stand-alone applications.

      Recently Solarwinds sent me an email stating that rather than fix a recognized bug in Network Performance Monitor, their development team is considering removing that capability from NPN.  Not because they don't think it's a good feature.  No, their reason is, 1) because they don't know what the problem is, and 2) because the same feature is available in their web console.

      I responded telling them they are crazy!  Well written stand-alone apps are more reliable, faster, and usually better laid out.  They should not be forcing users to the web console for ANY features.  Web is a convenience.  It should never be treated as the only way to access a feature or tool.

      Today I found that a stand-alone app in Engineer's Toolset, Switch Port Mapper, has less features then the same tool that's now under their "everything app" - SolarWinds Workspace Studio. 

      Ok, sometimes it's nice to have an all in one application, but usually I pick and choose the things I run based on what I need at the time.  Personally I don't like "everything apps".  And web tools ARE helpful, but they should NOT be the standard.  IMO they are a distant second to a good stand-alone application.

      I really don't like this trend towards all-in-one, and web driven tools as the standard.  The core tools should be stand-alone applications.  Am I wrong?

        • Re: Is Solarwinds giving up on writing applications?
          denny.lecompte

          Recently Solarwinds sent me an email stating that rather than fix a recognized bug in Network Performance Monitor, their development team is considering removing that capability from NPN.  Not because they don't think it's a good feature.  No, their reason is, 1) because they don't know what the problem is, and 2) because the same feature is available in their web console.

          I'm not sure exactly what your email said, but that's not how I would describe our position.  We have a long-term strategy of focusing on advancing the web console instead of the old System Manager.  System Manager is a very old app written in an old language, and in order to move the entire product forward, we are forced to discontinue system manager over the next couple of releases.  The overwhelming demand of the customer base is to provide all admin functionality in the web console, so our decision is whether to also provide the same functionality in a replacement for System Manager.  Just maintaining the old code is not a choice if we want to provide other new highly-demanded features.

          We began removing functionality from System Manager in 9.5 because some of the changes we were making with the product were unstable with System Manager.  So it's not that we don't know the issue, it's that we know that we're intentionally moving away from compatibility (in the service of other goals).

          Now I appreciate your stance that Win32 apps are better than web apps.  They tend to feel more responsive, and it's hard to make a web app that is comparable.  We're committed to making the web console as close as we can get. 

          Why not build both?  We could, but then every UI feature has to be build twice, so users will get fewer features overall, and we've done a lot of surveys of the user community, and when faced with that choice, they consistently favor new features over a new system manager.  Not everyone agrees, of course, and so you're left without your preferred method of interaction. 

          We will continue to try to maximize the value we deliver across the entire customer community, even though we aren't going to be able to get everyone everything they want or that we want to provide.

          • Re: Is Solarwinds giving up on writing applications?
            macnugetz

            ekonowal,

            Many of your points have merit, and we definitely realize the value that many of our customers find in standalone desktop applications.  That said, I'd like to clarify a few points.  Although standalone applications provide clear benefits to the individual user, they don't always scale in larger environments.  Web applications provide the ability for many users to use the application simultaneously without having it installed on their individual workstations; all they need is a browser.

            SolarWinds is unequivocally committed to building tools that are standalone desktop applications, evidenced by our Toolset product, of which Workspace Studio is a component.  To be clear, Workspace Studio is not an 'everything app' as you described.  Workspace studio provides a clever interface for using and managing many of the tools and gadgets in Toolset, which includes the Switch Port Mapper.  Toolset and the Workspace studio are perfect for your particular requirements of picking and choosing what you need at the time.  In addition, Toolset integrates with the web console in Orion.  When installed together, Orion provides right click functionality that gives you the option of kicking off tools in Toolset.  With the most recent release of Toolset (10.4) we added the ability to kick off Workspace Studio gadgets from Orion as well.

            To summarize, SolarWinds has many products that I'm sure can fit your particular needs, whether they are standalone or web.  Even better, you can download and try all of them for free.

            -Craig