18 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2014 4:03 AM by daniel.sykora

    Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?

    byrona

      More and more I am beginning to view the Engineers Toolset as just a sampler pack or collection of the free tools (or only slightly better versions of them).  Many of the tools don't seem to have any real value at all or have freely available versions of the same things available on he internet and the tools that do provide some value are overshadowed by the fact SolarWinds has more expensive and better versions of them available.  On top of that the overall feel of the toolset is very outdated.  There have been a few releases that have attempted to give them a face lift (the new launch center and the workspace studio come to mind) but you can only slap so much lipstick on a pig.  The SNMP tools are the only tools I use and the rest of the IT folks I work with don't find any use for any of them; unfortunately I am not sure the price tag justifies the small amount of value in the few useful tools.

       

      Please don't get me wrong, if you ask anybody they will tell you that I am a huge advocate for SolarWinds and their products.  This is just one place or one product that I feel has depreciated over the years and has not received any new tools to justify the cost.

       

      I am curious how others feel about this?

        • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Toolset.  As a UX Designer with SolarWinds, we find this kind of honest feedback invaluable.  Please keep it coming. 

           

          I'm interested, too, in hearing how others feel about Toolset.

          • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
            bshopp

            Terrific feedback, as always please keep it coming.  We have asked this question before in surveys, but not gotten a ton of feedback on.  What other tools would you like to see in Toolset?

              • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                byrona

                bshopp wrote:

                 

                We have asked this question before in surveys, but not gotten a ton of feedback on.

                 

                I guess in this case I would be curious about who the Toolset are?  Are they folks where Toolset is their only SW product or are they people using it in support of their Orion environments like me?  I am guessing that the folks that have it as their only SW product are much less likely to be heavily engaged in Thwack thus not responding to the surveys.  If they are the using it to support their Orion environment they likely have larger budgets where the annual maintenance on ET is somewhat trivial and thus they just don't think much about it.  These are of course complete guesses on my part.

                 

                What made me start to think about it had nothing to do with the budget piece as it truly is rather trivial as far as maintenance is concerned in the grand scheme of our SW products.  I was looking through the tools to see if there was anything there to help one of my network engineers out with a project he was working on and realize that just about all of the tools in there are mostly useless or have freely available alternatives available on the internet.  I also realize that despite many past attempts at finding usefulness in the tools for my other engineers I was the only person that ever used them and I only really ever use the MIB Walker and the MIB Browser.  While I was looking for my engineer I ran across the Network Sonar and launched it to see what it did and felt like I had stepped back to Windows 3.1.

              • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                mdriskell

                There have been many times over the years where byrona and I have had the same perspective on a SolarWinds product and this is another.  The only thing my team uses this tool for anymore is the SNMP Trap Editor.

                 

                7 years ago this was a fantastic product but it has fallen off the radar over the years.

                • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                  planglois

                  IMO, this tool should be either provided NC to NPM Users, as a tool to support their evergrowing environment, or be bundled with other tools like Dameware, NTM or DNS Stuff (ie: DNS request & checks straight from that interface.) It should become a one stop shop for any engineer, not just another tool we have to beg our manager for.

                   

                  As of today, I would be interested (and some of my clients are ) to buy it, but usually for one or 2 features... not for the whole package. The main feature I miss not having the ET is the SNMP template editor.

                   

                  In few words, I feel this product is to big to be small and to small to be big.

                   

                  Technically, it's almost easier to get a Fluke tablet that has this installed than buying this. Any thoughts of branding a tablet (other than an iPad) that has Engineering tool set, mobile admin and web availability to access our NPM, VNQM and other dashboards? That would be rock solid for a rock n roll job

                    • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                      byrona

                      planglois wrote:

                       

                      IMO, this tool should be either provided NC to NPM Users, as a tool to support their evergrowing environment

                      I want to agree with this, that it should either be included with any of the Orion products and/or become a free tool such as Alert Central.  I would (as it sounds like others do) even like the ability to download and just install one or two of the tools that I actually use; in my case these would be the SNMP tools.

                      • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                        matt.matheus

                        planglois wrote:

                         

                        IMO, this tool should be either provided NC to NPM Users

                         

                         

                        I'm going to second this.  The product is a bit too expensive and doesn't have nearly enough unique features (features that you can't obtain from other free sources) to justify the cost per license.  It seems like solarwinds as a company should include this with the purchase of NPM.  I really love the vast majority of SW products, and I can definitely justify spending thousands of dollars per year on them, but engineer's toolkit doesn't fit into that particular majority. 

                          • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                            mavturner

                            Thanks for the great and constructive comments everyone. This is exactly the type of feedback that helps us make better products.

                             

                            Just to set the right expectations, we have no plans to make this free or include as part of another product purchase (i.e. NPM). We are very interested in making it have as much value as possible. Bundling other products with it is interesting. What other ideas do you all  have? Byron, you mentioned you were looking for a tool to help one of your network engineers with a project he was working on. What sort of problems were you looking to solve? What other tools would you like to see? Are there other tools you use today but don't quite work for you?

                             

                            Keep the great feedback coming!

                              • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                MNPS_G

                                I'm going to be in the minority on some or all of these, but figure that they're at least worth putting out there:

                                 

                                1.  Update some of the Cisco-only tools to work with other major switching vendors (I'd specifically like HP Procurve and HP's legacy 3Com equipment).  That's been happening more and more in other products like NPM, and I think it should be happening with the toolset.

                                2.  Either add a new tool or update a tool like the switch port mapper to allow us to lookup logged on users, etc. of remote machines - similar to tools like SoftPerfect Network Scanner.  In our office, sometimes we try to locate a free machine on an IDF where we have reported issues, and that would be a nice feature.

                                3. Since some of the engineer's toolsets have been akin to smaller-scale NPM features, it would be nice if there was a small-scale network hardware monitoring tool.  That way, if I wanted to see the hardware status of switches out at a specific site (like one with site-wide electrical issues) I could do that with a local tool, instead of bringing up each switch in NPM.

                                 

                                Just a few thoughts, but if I come up with any more I'll be sure to mention them.

                                 

                                Thanks for the open request for feedback.

                                 

                                Geoffrey

                                • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                  byrona

                                  Byron, you mentioned you were looking for a tool to help one of your network engineers with a project he was working on. What sort of problems were you looking to solve? What other tools would you like to see? Are there other tools you use today but don't quite work for you?

                                  My engineer was looking for a way to determine everything connected to a set of routers, basically some small scale network connection mapping capabilities, unfortunately none of the tools in the Engineers Toolset were able to do this.

                                   

                                  It's not so much that the tools don't work for me, it's more of a case that many of the tools feel incredibly outdated and many also have free and/or open source versions available.  If I were to show the Engineers Toolset to most of the peers that I work with they would **** their pants to find out we spent over $1,000.00 for that.

                                   

                                  I would like to see SolarWinds either significantly reduce the cost, bundle it with other products, or increase the value by completely overhauling the product and making it relevant again (and this doesn't mean just giving it a facelift).  Of those three options my personal preference would be the complete overhaul.

                            • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                              mdriskell

                              Too bad this is limited to Australia & New Zealand.  Free toolset if registered by May 31st

                               

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                              • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                extrands

                                I would like to see this better integrated with Orion. I think my users would utilize it if they could access the tools via the web interface with Orion.  Now I know that can be done, provided you have the toolset installed locally on the user PC.  Problem is, we restrict SNMP access to our routers and switches to a limited set of IP addresses, and with 300+ users scattered across the globe, it's not feasible from either a security or a financial aspect to provide that access. Just providing this to our core support people would involve adding 30 additional addresses with SNMP access to our devices. I need toolset tools installed on the Orion servers, to be accessible to my users. Without that integration, toolset sits on my development server and is rarely, if ever used.  It's unlikely that I would be renewing maintenance on it again at this point.

                                • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                  RandyBrown

                                  I agree with byrona ... at a previous job we used Engineer's Toolset as our primary Network Monitoring solution.  Then Orion/NPM came along and we stopped using the Engineer's Toolset altogether.  I download the trial version of Toolset on occasion and find that I would probably use some of the tools if they were offered free, however, I can't see a value in purchasing them.

                                  • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                    mavturner

                                    Thanks again for the continued feedback everyone. We are actively working on some plans. It's a little early to go in to much detail on thwack, but we will be reaching out to most of you in the next month or so for feedback on these changes.

                                    • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                      bspencer63

                                      byrona, I could not agree with your entire evaluation more!

                                       

                                      I too agree that pricing is way too high for value!

                                       

                                      I would also like to see the tools be spread accross more vendors instead of concentration on Cisco only!  What about HP Procurve, Adtran, Juniper?  Are these vendors not important?  Or is it that SW is getting a kickback from Cisco?

                                      Hey, don't hate me for asking/stating what you were thinking?

                                       

                                      I too am an ardent fan/user of SW tools both pay per and free versions and I want the best bang for the buck that I am spending and just to set the record straight, I own a full version of Network Engineer's Toolset and also agree that when it first came out...it was the best thing since sliced bread.  A few additions/modifications hasn't kept it up with the growing Network trends and demands for instantaneoud monitoring and reporting.  The delays and crashes that I have experienced with the Toolset sometimes makes me just opt to not use it when I wish it was the first tool I went for....

                                       

                                      I hope SW develops more usable tools and makes this into the "TOOL" that I want and believe it can and should be in the future!

                                      • Re: Engineers Toolset, is the value really there?
                                        noobes

                                        How can I see what version of the tool set I am using?