18 Replies Latest reply on Feb 17, 2011 2:32 PM by netlogix

    Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed

    chinson

      My  concern is that SW is moving away from all-in-one tools and becoming a  bloated org with poorly integrated IP from many acquisitions and  different PMs.  Growing pains.

      For example: why are NCM and SwitchPort mapper separate products?  Obviously the both have the same access to devices and the right information in their database.  Why are we paying twice for that functionality?  For another  example, IP Address Tracker provides no info that isn't already in  Orion NPM (and SwitchPort mapper for that matter).  Why would I pay for a separate product for that, and run  another server for it, when it should just be another NPM dashboard?

      I could see this direction really cutting out SMB from SolarWinds and leaving them only with multinational giants who don't mind  spending 100Ks per year licensing fifteen different products with overlapping feature sets.   Also, there are so very many products now I find it difficult to keep track of them all, what they do, and which ones I need to accomplish anything.  Can't we do some consolidation and simplification here?  Or does SolarWinds want to become AT&T of the NPM space?

          • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
            chinson

            Thank you.  There is certainly some shared concern there.  Personally, I hope SolarWinds will stop acquiring other companies for a while and focus on integrating IP and feature sets.  I'd rather pay a little more for NPM than pay for the same feature 5 different times and have to run a bunch of extra services or VMs.  It's really out of control in my opinion.

              • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                byrona

                Well, the upside of SolarWinds acquiring companies is that the features in those products often get migrated into Orion.  I like to them of it as SolarWinds purchasing new technology for the Orion product line.

                The downside to the acquisitions is that the functionality overlap between products can cause some confusion.

                The Orion product line and it's modules all seem to have clearly defined purposes with little to no overlap, it's the Profiler and Hyper9 stuff that can be confusing to me.

                  • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed

                    Hi Curtis--

                    Thanks for your feedback. The PM is aware of it and will be addressing your concerns.

                    Thanks also Byron.

                    M

                    • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                      chinson

                      I agree, more features in Orion are great.  But more products for Solarwinds, not so great.  It seems to be the Ryanair approach to NPM: if you want a pillow, that's $5.  It may give more pick-and-choose to lower budget users, but it also seems to make it less attractive because of the increasing complexity of understanding all the products and which ones are needed.  Some of the products integrate poorly or not at all, such as IP Address Tracker.

                      I love that Solarwinds listens and often implements user feature requests and concerns, but it seems like that needs to be done with the big picture in mind rather than just product-by-product.

                • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                  pyro13g

                  Also concerned but I also see how they get pulled into other product lines simply by adding customer feature requests.  For the features it's still many many times cheaper up front and with maintenance.

                  Sometimes I think they should stop the feature sprawl and clean up long nagging issues.  Customers using SW because of budget constraints really don't have to many other choices at the same pricing without the same issue.  Have you seen the ManageEngine Sprawl lately?

                  The nickel and diming is still a huge savings over the alternatives.  More bang is eventually gonna cost more buck.

                    • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                      byrona


                      Also concerned but I also see how they get pulled into other product lines simply by adding customer feature requests.  For the features it's still many many times cheaper up front and with maintenance.

                      Sometimes I think they should stop the feature sprawl and clean up long nagging issues.  Customers using SW because of budget constraints really don't have to many other choices at the same pricing without the same issue.  Have you seen the ManageEngine Sprawl lately?

                      The nickel and diming is still a huge savings over the alternatives.  More bang is eventually gonna cost more buck.

                       



                      Yeah, thinking about it, it's a bit of a catch-22.  If you continue to add more features to a product you eventually need to start charging more to cover your development and support costs (more bang costs more buck).  The only way to overcome this is by breaking the features up into less expensive pieces or "modules" as SolarWinds has done with Orion; however, then you get people upset because they feel they are being "nickle and dimed to death" when they have to pay more for modules for more functionality.  Ultimately this is a very thin and difficult line to walk.

                      I think SolarWinds has done a good job walking this fine line with the Orion product line.  In comparison with the ManageEngine product line (which we compared against SolarWinds when we were evaluating products) the SolarWinds line is much more focused, better product for your money, and a million times better support.

                        • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                          chinson

                          I can't argue with that.  I confess to only having significant experience with What'sUp Gold prior to Orion so I can't speak to other competitive models, only what I see from my desk.  WUG could do most of what NPM+APM would do since it spoke WMI without having to pay extra, but it basically has no built-in alerts or reports, so it requires a large investment of admin time and skill to mold it to your org needs.  And their support was not in the same class as SW, at least a couple of years back.

                          I think though part of the problem is they already have a huge amount of bang at SW, and they've got different teams maintaining similar feature sets in different products, so it can result in less bang for the buck.  The trick, I suppose, is to maintain a great product efficiently.  I'd love to see some product consolidation.  If they have four or five product categories now, why not have one product per category?

                            • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                              netlogix

                              The part I am not liking is the integration.

                              NPM+APM = great integration.

                              Now add NCM... yuck!  Separate users.  Separate web consoles, but you can install the integration piece, although to get it to work, you need to store your password and if you change your password... if you refresh a web page the domain might lock your account out (if you use domain auth for NCM).  When you add Nodes to NPM, there is no check box to add to NCM, or policy you can set that is "if vendor = cisco, add to NCM", that would be awesome!

                              IP SLA looks like a good integration.  NTA looks like a really good integration.  The IPAM looks ok, but I still don't understand the use case for it.

                              demo website: http://oriondemo.solarwinds.com/Orion/

                              I think Profiler it is a completely stand alone thing (I don't like that).  It was when I demo'd it right when Solarwinds acquired it.  I fear Hyper9 will be too, hopefully only in the beginning.  I don't understand Kiwi, I didn't see anything change in syslog.

                              Also, port mapper!!!! I understand the stand alone tool and Admin tool kit, but NPM has some of the information from discovery, and so does NCM from inventory, why don't you just give us a page that has the SQL query and logic to display it.  And if it is missing a couple of things, add some discovery or inventory table.

                              But let me say - I would die if I didn't have NPM, APM, or NCM!  They are such life savers!  Support is awesome!  The PMs too, and they listen!  We are getting so many new features!  Things are looking great!  Working great!  I would tell anyone that they are getting a good product with Orion.

                              Keep up the great work!

                                • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                                  JasonKV

                                  Now add NCM... yuck!  Separate users.  Separate web consoles, but you can install the integration piece, although to get it to work, you need to store your password and if you change your password... if you refresh a web page the domain might lock your account out (if you use domain auth for NCM).  When you add Nodes to NPM, there is no check box to add to NCM, or policy you can set that is "if vendor = cisco, add to NCM", that would be awesome!

                                  NCM integration is almost pointless if you have domain Auth and a password policy where you have to change your password every 45 days.  I changed my password early this week and today was locked out 5 times trying to ge everything set back to how it should be. VERY IRRITATING.

                                • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                                  chinson

                                  Another competitive point I should add: WhatsUp Gold does NOT do any database maintenance for you, you're expected to be your own DBA, leading to all sorts of problems.  I love that Orion automatically shrinks it's database and removes expired items.  I doubt that feature gets much attention normally, but kudos are in order.

                            • Re: Hellish Application Sprawl and being Nickel and Dimed
                              bshopp

                              There has been some terrific discussion on this thread already, sorry I am jumping in it a little late.

                              The way I look at it, what SolarWinds provides is:

                              1. A great set of products that are easy to use
                              2. Structured in a manner where you can purchase the size that fits your needs at a good price (e.g. license tiers)
                              3. That you can choose which features and use cases you are most concerned about (e.g. products/modules)
                              When I talk to friends and family who don't know what I do, I typically explain it to them this way.  You go to buy a car and you have picked the brand and model you have in mind.  When you get there, depending on your budget and needs you can get a bare bones basic car or start adding options on top of it.  You want a sun roof, leather heated seats, premium sound system etc. you have to pay more for those items.  Also when looking at cars there are various editions of the same car available as well.
                              Similar approach here.  If we were to include everything into a single package, the ultimate cost would have to go up as well.  Contrary to your comment that this direction is cutting out SMB folks, I think it is exactly the opposite. Providing choice and flexibility gives customers, whether a small company or a large enterprise the flexibility and choice to purchase exactly what their organization needs with the ability to expand on it as the size and needs of their business grows as well.
                              Why acquire companies?  You are telling us that you have a specific, significant pain point that you would like to see us address.  Storage Management, Virtualization etc.  We could build it from scratch on our existing platform, but you have this pain now and need to solve it now.  You cannot wait the time it would take us to build it in house.  So we go out and look at the market and pick what we feel is the best product.
                              Also, per some of the other comments on this post, we are expanding features, use cases that we never did before, but we are also paying a lot of attention to the core gripes, pains, issues.  I think NPM 10.1 is a testament to this with AD, Dependencies, Stack Charts etc. and as you can see Orion NPM – So what’s up next?we are continuing this in vNext of NPM.
                              Please disagree, poke holes, etc. in my response.  Also feel free to direct message me via thwack at any time and I would be happy to discuss further with you.  As many of you know, my virtual door is always open and I have spoken with many of your directly via email or on the phone.