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Virtualisation Field Day 4 Preview: SolarWinds

January 8th, 2015

Virtualisation Field Day 4 is happening in Austin, Texas from 14th-16th January and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post: Virtualisation Field Day 4 Preview.


logo for SolarWinds IT management software including server monitoring and network performance monitoringlogo for SolarWinds IT management software including server monitoring and network performance monitoring

Everyone has heard of SolarWinds and either used your seen their ubiquitous network monitoring product Orion but you may or may not be surprised to know that they do a lot more. They have a bunch more networking products apart from their monitoring product, know of Kiwi Syslog Server, that’s SolarWinds. They do server and application monitoring for over 150 apps as well as VMware, Hyper-V, Windows, AIX, UNIX, Solaris and Linux so fairly broad then.

They do security software with SIEM log and event management, Secure FTP, 3rd party patch deployment (Adobe, Java, Oracle etc.), firewall config management, database performance analysis (SQL, Oracle, DB2, Sybase)

So basically, SolarWinds provides products for monitoring every aspect of your infrastructure, I’m sure Docker is either done or on the roadmap!

This being Virtualisation Field Day, I would think SolarWinds will be talking about its Virtualization Manager to manage VMware and Hyper-V. You can monitor performance and capacity to your hearts content, manage VM Sprawl, track configuration changes, look at dashboards galore, map dependencies and use a module for VDI performance monitoring.

So, what makes SolarWinds different from the million other VM management products? Well first of all they say they are very cost competitive and can manage your environment for a fraction of the cost of other management solutions. Most importantly is they are able to tie their other products together and that is where the power comes in.

You can integrate with their Server and Application Monitor as well as Storage Manager for far more visibility into your environment that the stats you can grab from vCenter or SCVMM. VM performance problems are never isolated and although for example vRealize Operations Manager (old vCOPS) can measure a huge amount it doesn’t have the reach into your network that SolarWinds does (you can use the enterprise for more reach but its very costly). This end-to-end integration that isn’t limited to VMware or Microsoft is very powerful, being able to monitor and correlate changes to your network+database+VM+storage+app from one tool is a great sell. Due to its ubiquity in many existing environments, Virtualization Manager could be a good add-on at a lower additional cost for an existing SolarWinds shop or for a company wanting to know more end-to-end.

What SolarWinds needs to do at Virtualization Field Day 4 is go way past the “what we can monitor and what it looks like” and really show the benefit of their solution. Everyone does monitoring and can hunt down VM sprawl. It has to differentiate itself from a me too but a little bit more product.

We really need to see why SolarWinds should replace our existing monitoring products. I’m not sure whether the Server and Application as well as Storage Manager integration is deep enough, I don’t want one tool that has to grab from other tools and is sort of bolted together. I want to see deep and broad integration that can highlight any VM performance issue and correlate that to dropped packets on a WAN router or a wow factor would be showing connectivity issues due to missing firewall rules, that would be great, let’s see what SolarWinds has to show us.

Gestalt IT is paying for travel, accommodation and things to eat to attend Virtualisation Field Day but aren’t paying a penny for me to write anything good or bad about anyone.

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