November 3, 2021

SolarWinds Alternatives & Competitors

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SolarWinds’ reputation was damaged severely in 2020, specifically with the Solorigate hacks. As a consequence, many organizations are seeking SolarWinds alternatives and investigating the company’s competitors. 

Why do I need an alternative to SolarWinds?

In December of 2020, a SolarWinds product, called Orion, allowed as many as 18,000 SolarWinds customers to be hacked. The attack continued undetected for several months and penetrated several parts of the United States federal government. The attack is strongly suspected to have been perpetrated by a group of Russian-supported hackers. The 8 to 9 month cyberattack and data breaches were described as one of the worst digital assaults ever experienced by the United States.

In February of 2021, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith was interviewed on the television show 60 Minutes and stated, “I think, from a software engineering perspective, it’s probably fair to say that this is the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.”

FireEye was the first Solarwinds client to discover the SolarWinds hack. They notified organizations they did business with, including Microsoft. Microsoft notified the US government that federal networks had been compromised on December 11, 2020, after watching the hackers access the Microsoft 365 cloud (which was used by several government agencies). The following day, FireEye updated CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency) of the back door they had discovered in SolarWinds’ Orion software.

Needless to say, a number of businesses are hesitant to become involved with SolarWinds. The mistake of making a backdoor available to hackers is seen as unforgivable in the eyes of some business people.

SolarWinds alternatives (SolarWinds competitors)

Network management software like SolarWinds sets up, administers, and troubleshoots a network. It is designed to assure a business’s information technology is set up in a sensible, resilient way, while minimizing disruptions and ensuring high performance. Network management software is used by network administrators to help perform a variety of management functions. The tools used in network management help users discover who is using their system and how it’s performing. 

Datadog Network Monitoring

Datadog supports Windows, Mac, Linux, SaaS, iPhone, and Android, while SolarWinds Orion only supports Windows and SaaS. Datadog monitors each component of the network as well as the connections between them. 

Auvik

A cloud-based system that can monitor several networks and includes many automated services. Auvik is excellent for real-time mapping of networks and provides an overall view of networked devices and their interconnections. 

Zabbix

A free, open-source monitoring system which covers applications, servers, and networks. It supports MacOS, Linux, and Unix.

Progress WhatsUp Gold

Emphasizes finding and repairing network problems quickly. Often before the end users even notice. Progress WhatsUp Gold offers customization with drag & drop dashboards, making it easy to see the status and performance of each device (both in the cloud and on-premise).​ It installs on Windows Server. 

Entuity

An all-in-one network management and analytics solution. Its unified architecture delivers unlimited scalability and quick and easy customization. It is extremely automated and emphasizes business results. Entuity comes as software as a service and is described as supporting thousands of devices across hundreds of vendors.

Five important features in SolarWinds alternatives

Scaling with the business

The network management software ought to allow a business to change and evolve its WLAN (wireless local area network) or Wi-Fi design. This typically means adding new access points for an expanding business or increasing the number of mobile devices. Altering access point configurations should be easy because the system as a whole can be altered rather than altering each individual access point (AP).

Compliance reporting

Many organizations use compliance reporting as a tool for feedback and improvements. Compliance reports will identify areas within an organization where compliance goals are being met and those areas where they are not being met. Network management systems can help tremendously in accomplishing this. The right system will generate reports on:

  • Proactive alerts
  • Usage and performance data for different devices
  • Process logs
  • Radio frequency health
  • Historical reporting

Real-time visibility and analytics

Collecting and producing insights using real-time visibility with usage analytics is a very useful and important feature. Real-time monitoring also supports quick and efficient troubleshooting and repairs. Visibility is based on three components:

  • Device Connections—This feature provides data to end-users and their devices. It presents IP addresses, their current signal level, what APs the client is connected with, and the channel used to access it in real-time. 
  • Device Locations—The location of end-user devices can be pinpointed using APs that have been accessed.  
  • Signal Coverage—Shows where the APs are “covered” in a facility (or campus) by overlaying radio frequency (RF) signals over a map or blueprint of the building(s). This feature allows for understanding, in real-time, how signal coverage fluctuates throughout the day.

Universal Compatibility

Although networks are becoming more complex, network management systems should not make life more complex for its users. It should, instead, improve the ability of management to control that complexity. It is important that management systems work with a wide variety of network systems and devices. This helps to eliminate unnecessary complications and frustration.

Bandwidth performance management

Intelligently managing bandwidth performance can save money and boost Wi-Fi performance. A network management system should be able to support bandwidth, shaping policies based on the user, the device’s location, and the time and applications used.

Choosing the best network management software

When selecting a SolarWinds alternative, it is important to choose one with a broad selection of features. By picking the most appropriate software, it can support achieving higher-level goals while investing minimal resources. When researching network management software, the following should be considered:

Size

One of the first issues to consider is the size of the network of the solution. This choice will have an effect on other aspects of the project. It is best to take the time needed for thorough research and ensure the best solution is found. There are some questions management should ask to help make a good decision:

  • Are multiple locations being covered, or a single site?
  • Will virtual environments (storage, customized programs) need to be monitored?
  • Should systems that are normally down (standby servers, cellular WAN links) be covered?
  • Are servers and/or network devices being monitored? 

Connectivity

The system’s connectivity should be considered to assure the infrastructure can meet the program’s requirement. When thinking about connectivity, management should consider the limits of the monitoring system to determine the number of devices that can be supported and the amount of data traveling across the network.

Automatic discovery

Some network management solutions include built-in automatic discovery, while others do not. Automatic discovery scans the network to determine the status of the various network components.If a new device is added to the network, an automatic discovery scan feature will automatically discover and include the new device, assuring maps are always up to date.

Notifications and alerts

Intelligent alerting guarentees certain key employees, such as management and IT staff, are notified when something suspicious or extraordinary happens on the network. Surprise activities can warn of a breach, with intelligent alerting giving the IT team a heads up and time to respond.

Topology Mapping

Topology mapping gives network administrators a visual representation of their infrastructure and its components.The mapping feature will both identify devices and provide a location. The topology mapping provides a visual outlay of the network and how it’s being used.

If you’re ready to get the right Solarwinds alternative implemented at your business, enter your requirements into the Product Selection Tool on the network monitoring software page. One of our unbiased Technology Advisors will contact you with up to five options that meet your needs. It’s fast and free.