Orion NPM is what most people think of when someone says they use Solarwinds. It is their flagship product and the most mature offering they have. It is a network monitoring tool that keeps historical usage of all devices configured and will alert on status changes on those devices. It has evolved into a fully functional network management system with multiple modules to fit individual customers needs. I personally have used this product for the last 3 years and looked it a few times in the years prior to that. I have really enjoyed the way the product has evolved. The NetFlow and IP SLA modules have been great additions and will help just about anyone get a better understanding of their network.
The Solarwinds crew that spoke to use was Josh Stephens, Brandon Shopp and Joel Dolisy. What I really liked about them is they really seemed to get what the people who use their tools want and need. They also where did not hide short comings in the product and what was being done about that. Joel specifically spoke about database scaling issues. This went very technical and did get over my head as I am not a DBA. However it gave me confidence about where the product is going.
Thwack is Solarwinds community site and it is very active. This is another feature of Solarwinds I have benefited form. It is community driven and if you have a question most likely it has already been answered there. They also offer a number of templates for custom reports and pollers. It is worth your time to visit if you need anything for your Orion install.
Solarwinds also provides a number of free tools that are actually very useful. They will help you get a good idea of what the full suite of tools offers.
In summary I really like the Solarwinds products I have used. It has had it’s issues in the past but for me each release is improving. I think Orion has moved from a NMS that smaller companies would choose to one that will fit any enterprise. If you are looking for a NMS I high recommend you look at what they have. They offer evaluations across the product like and very good online demo’s at solariwnds.com. I hope to have a follow up blog post giving some more details on how I use these products ensure my networks are up and running optimally.