SolarWinds© NPM© & NCM© & Indeni: Gain Network Visibility

SolarWinds Network Performance Manager (NPM) and Network Configuration Manager (NCM) are two powerful tools for network monitoring and visibility.

Many Indeni customers are current SolarWinds customers or previously used SolarWinds. As a result we get asked a lot “How do you compare to SolarWinds?”. The short answer is: SolarWinds provides great network visibility across devices using SNMP and Syslog (now with their Loggly acquisition) data sets. Indeni supplements SolarWinds network visibility by collecting data via SSH or the devices native protocol (SOAP, REST or proprietary API). If your primary focus is Network Visibility, with Indeni and Solarwinds you proactively identify issues through automated and manual processes.

Let’s look at the user interfaces for both of these products. Before we jump in, it’s important you know that in the process of preparing this document, we’ve used SolarWinds’ demo environment (http://oriondemo.solarwinds.com/) and indeni’s demo environment (https://demo.indeni.com). To make life easier, screenshots are included, too.

Let’s start with SolarWinds. It’s attractive and highly customizable, using SNMP GET+traps. You can view your devices by vendor, across a map, by groups of devices and any other way you could imagine. Issues are made visible and evident mostly by using the red and orange colors, as well as sending emails to NOC mailboxes.

In the screenshot to the right note that we’ve highlighted the F5© devices. In this document we wanted to use specific examples for certain devices.

If we zoom into the F5 devices, we get a nice view that lists everything that can possibly be pulled out of an F5© BIG-IP© device via SNMP. Connection and traffic stats, device model, uptime, etc. etc. Very informative.

The amount of data SolarWinds NPM provides you with is pretty significant. In addition, it lays it out in a way that makes it accessible when needed, and that’s a very strong element of SolarWinds NPM. Now let’s shift gears and look at Indeni.

Indeni supplements SolarWinds network visibility by automating repetitive validation tasks. With Indeni IT can automate repetitive high availability visibility tasks in addition to validating maintenance, best practices, high availability validation steps.

Here are a few examples that Indeni continuously evaluates to avoid outages:

  • System – CPU, Memory, Disk, critical processes, kernel tables, hardware components
  • Network interfaces – packet drops, errors, link utilization
  • Protocols – routing tables, Layer 2 & layer 3 protocols (BGP)
  • Connections – VPN, connection to SDN controllers and management applications
  • Management resources – identity servers, syslog servers Certificate Authority, DNS servers

Below are a few examples of tasks that are automated for F5 Networks: