31 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2016 9:18 AM by arivas

    Alert Central Replacement

    kjette

      So I think its pretty obvious that AC is dead.  I'm only using it in my full production environment a little which is motivating me to find something new since no new updates are forthcoming.  My question is if anyone is going to switch and if so what the new product will be?  I've been looking around and so far PagerDuty looks promising however instead of switching I would much rather have SW continue with AC.

        • Re: Alert Central Replacement
          nicole pauls

          Wanted to chime in - you're all right that we've pretty obviously put Alert Central on the back burner and haven't released updates in quite a while, but we do recognize that there are a LOT of people out there using it and we don't want to abandon you. We're working with the pingdom team right now to see if Beep Manager (a part of their offering) can help, and working with the Orion team to see what rolling some/all of the Alert Central features into the platform might look like, and still looking into what releasing some updates to Alert Central would involve.

           

          I'm going to put up a survey to ask you guys what you think about the most important features of alerting/Alert Central to see how our options stack up now that we're getting further down the line. Since you're looking at PagerDuty, is a hosted offering something you'd consider (or even prefer to an on-premises virtual appliance like today)? What's the biggest gap for you in Alert Central for you today (other than lack of development)?

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            • Re: Alert Central Replacement
              kjette

              Nicole - Thanks for the reply but it seemed to me you were on the right track and the product was evolving nicely.  SW spent a lot of time with us getting our opinion through group chats and 1 on 1 sessions to the point that I was impressed with the attention on a free product.  However in the end the way this was done was contrary to my experiences with SW (we have Orion and WHD) so I guess we would probably all be interested in why it just died in the first place.  I know I (and my team) expended a lot of resources bringing this into our environment where all that time could have gone elsewhere.  Right now the business is nervous I have all of our after hours paging in the AC basket so I just want something that works.  The possibilities you mentioned seem very interesting so maybe you could share some detail and possibly a timeline because I have to make a decision soon.

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                • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                  Tony Smith

                  I have only briefly looked at WHD and would like your opinion on whether you think it could be an alternative to AC as an alert collector/aggregator and notification system.  It seems like it would be able to receive an alert, turn it into a ticket, and then notify people based on rules and schedules.  I like the idea that alerts could be turned into more easily trackable tickets with the ability to add notes, change statuses, etc.  Do you think this is a feasible or decent enough possibility to look into?  Did/does Alert Central provide features you require that are not available in WHD?  I was thinking I might try the free one-user edition of WHD to see how it would work in this capacity.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks.

                   

                  Note: We already have a ticketing system so this will be evaluated as an alert management system only, with little value given to its helpdesk features.  That is to say, the value of deploying it should take into account the limited need to use it for any of its other potential uses.

                   

                  Thanks again.


                   


                    • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                      silverbacksays

                      For me, it's the visibility of alerts, who is dealing with them, and what's the most recent 'bullet point' (users I train it it's use are asked to put key updates from trouble ticket systems into the alert notes on AC), as well as the ability to see, at a glance, who is on call. It streamlines the interplay between Orion and the rest of a business Operations processes.

                       

                      Whilst WHD can have tickets raised automatically from alerts, it misses the other bits that AC has. That said, now that alerts have been integrated into the console with NPM 11.5, for new alerts (not those imported, if you've upgraded from earlier versions) allow you to add notes, too, so really it's the on call aspect that is missing.

                       

                      All this will come in time. I expect Alert Central's core functionality, including the on-call rota, will be rolled in to NPM and other stand alone products which use the Orion core  in due course, and it's only a matter of time before AC as a product is shelved.

                       

                      As it's a free tool, a lot of people use even though they do not have any other SolarWinds products, so by merging it into the Orion core, they're making poeople buy it, effectively, as you need a license for at least one Orion product to use it. Cunning, really

                      • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                        kjette

                        For my purposes WHD is not a replacement for AC.  I needed a ticket to be turned into an after hours alert and WHD just doesn't have that ability.  AC was working well but then SW stopped supporting\updating it and since after hours alerting is critical for us I couldn't use an unsupported solution in production so I moved on to another product.  WHD has the ability to notify based on rules but theres no escalation mechanism which is important for any after hours notification platform.  WHD is fully entrenched in our infrastructure and I love it but not for after hours alerting.

                          • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                            silverbacksays

                            I wouldn't let the lack of support stop you using AC, kjette. AC was always supplied as-is, and SolarWinds offered no wrap around support for it. My main issue is with the lack of updates since it was initially released. It doesn't work well with never versions of Exchange (even SP3 for Exchange 2010 causes issues), and that there is a killer blow for many of my clients who would otherwise be using it today.

                             

                            There's no point being able to receive alerts from the other SolarWInds products, if you cannot then send the alert on to get tickets raised/notifiy out of hours engineering cover etc etc. It's a real shame.

                      • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                        kawfee

                        I want to second kjette's reply in that Alert Central was impressive and definitely on the right track. We too, have invested a lot of time bringing it into our environment. It's kind of sad the way the product got abandoned and many existing customers who have invested a lot of resources were ditched in the trenches.

                        • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                          silverbacksays

                          Ah, so Alert Central, as it currently stands, is likely to be put to the virtual sword and replaced by yet another acquisition? I'm a bit disappointed, to be honest. Alert Central does the job, and was evolving into a truly reliable (and integrated) product. Although Beep Manager is arguably a better tool from what I've read, just buying competitors tools and slapping a SolarWinds badge on it isn't always good business. Also Beep Manager isn't an on-premise solution, a no-no for many security managers.

                           

                          Could we have some kind of official announcement about Alert Central's fate? We need to know an end date (or at least a definite direction), so we stop proposing this product in new customer solutions. I'm sure you can understand that I want to avoid the awkwardness of having to go back to a customer and sell them the AC replacement (and/or PS costs to replace it) after deploying and configuring AC.

                           

                          In my opinion, SolarWinds Cloud should not be a replacement for on premise capability. Make both the same, for streamlining development, but offer on premise installations if you really must do away with AC.

                        • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                          kjette

                          I am in full replacement testing mode at this point so I consider AC dead regardless.  An official announcement would be nice but there are too many better alternatives out there to wait for that.  To use (waste?) our time and resources to test and implement into our environments and then just walk away without a word is disappointing.   I spent many hours getting AC working and our Network Engineer spent the same integrating it with Orion.  Since we pay for Orion and other SW products the business is not looking favorably on how this was handled, not to mention how it looks for me since I lobbied to expend the resources in the first place.  There may be some uncomfortable questions at renewal time.

                          • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                            Tony Smith

                            We are evaluating PagerDuty and VictorOps.  VictorOps' tools, "The TransMogrifier" and "Control Call" look very interesting, especially since we are currently reviewing/revamping our Sev1 outage procedures.

                            • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                              byrona

                              Unfortunately I was coming to the same conclusion about AC which is unfortunate because I was considering making a big push to start using much more than we already are.  I guess I will be looking for a different solution.

                              • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                dvanzyl

                                Why not opensource Alertcentral on github and let the community update and mould the product.

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                                  • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                    silverbacksays

                                    It's distributed as a modified CentOS distro, so I don't think they'd be able to do so without incuring grief. Unless they released the code for the AC app only....

                                     

                                    Judging from the changes brought in with 11.5, I can only assume they're looking to integrate a lot of the AC features (notes on alerts etc) with Orion, but that wouldn't address the ability AC has to manage alerts from anywhere/anything....

                                     

                                    Wait and see, I guess.

                                  • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                    kjette

                                    I couldn't wait any longer so we have moved on.

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                                    • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                      kjette

                                      I've been using it for a few months with no complaints.  One of the best things I like is it uses an app on the phone for notifications (but you can configure them to go anywhere).  Support is very good.


                                      As far as the price I looked at, and tested, several and I think you'll find its one of the best values available.

                                      • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                        donbroxson1

                                        We to are leaving Alert Central.

                                        There was no way to easily Follow the sun.

                                        Both PagerDuty and VictorOps are very good alternatives.

                                        Support for Alert Central is non existent

                                        • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                          ikomrad

                                          It's sad to hear that Alert Central is no longer supported.I was handed Solarwinds(NPM,SAM, etc ) about 2 months ago to learn it and make it work. The person before me had already built a VM to host Alert Central. Now that am setting up alert templates and writing the SOP for creating alerts, I discover that Alert Central is not a good option.

                                           

                                          It looks like I need to pivot  quickly, with the first option being to use the built in alerts. Is there another app with a low learning curve that I should be looking at? The primary notification method is email to our 24/7 NOC, who can do a first look and then page out anything they cannot handle.

                                          • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                            MagnAxiom

                                            Anyone come up with something that isn't SaaS?? I'm needing a locally hosted way to aggregate alerts from SolarWinds as well as several other systems.

                                            • Re: Alert Central Replacement
                                              arivas

                                              We recently deployed Alert Central. However the one single missing feature that is stopping us from really benefiting from it is the ability to escalate from group to group. Without that there is no good way to escalate from a group to a manager or supervisor or executive level.

                                               

                                              What are the latest thoughts on alternatives? Anyone look into the license to see if decompiling the Java is an option?