Deciding on a network monitoring solution to suit your needs should be fairly simple. Network size, span, and operational demands should be enough to scope a range of solutions, but we’ve been told by many clients that it wasn’t that easy, especially when comparing Statseeker with SolarWinds’ Network Performance Monitor (NPM).
We’re typical network geeks here in the Statseeker team at Techniche, so instead of being satisfied with secondhand intel, we decided to dig a little deeper and get the lowdown ourselves.
Now we know what they were talking about. Complicated is an understatement.
Before we reveal the results of our formidable crusade to uncover the true cost of high-performance network monitoring using SolarWinds, here is an overview of our research.
Objective: To compare the total cost of Statseeker NPM to SolarWinds NPM specific to server infrastructure
Base Data: Four Statseeker customers with vastly different networks and operational requirements. The numbers relate to the elements required for SolarWinds pricing.
Client 1: Govt Department
Devices: 170 | Interfaces: 25,000 | Volumes: 100
Client 2: Commercial
Devices: 1,700 | Interfaces: 84,000 | Volumes: 6,600
Client 3: University
Devices: 11,700 | Interfaces: 167,000 | Volumes: 2,400
Client 4: Retail
Devices: 3600 | Interfaces: 447,200 | Volumes: 7
Inclusions: Annual NPM Subscription Licensing and mandatory additional add-ons
Exclusions: Physical or Virtual Server hardware, data storage, costs in human hours to configure servers, costs to operate solutions
Pricing List (type NPM and NTA in the Product search field)
Internal Price Calculator (available to customers on a free 45-day trial)
There are two key differentials with Statseeker and SolarWinds – licensing model and server polling capacity. While a single Statseeker server can scale up to poll 1 million interfaces every 60 seconds, SolarWinds requires different server licenses and additional polling engines depending on the size of your network. Let’s jump into the details.
SolarWinds Licensing Model: Elements and Polling Add-ons
A SolarWinds NPM license is based on the total number of elements being monitored – nodes, interfaces, and volumes – with a maximum number of elements per license tier.
A node is any device being monitored (such as routers, switches, virtual and physical servers, access points, and modems), an interface is any single point of network traffic (such as switch ports, physical interfaces, virtual interfaces, sub-interfaces, and VLANs), and a volume is any logical disk being monitored.
While device and volume quantity are easy to estimate across any sized network, the time is in determining the number of interfaces per device or volume. With operational demands accelerating the use of data-hungry devices, 48-port switches are being replaced with multiple physical stacks, blades, or virtual switches. The Cisco Nexus 9516 Switch alone equates to 2,304 G10 interfaces.
SolarWinds Server Requirements
We had a far easier time calculating the costs for each of our scenarios since we knew how many interfaces were already being polled. Each of the four client scenarios required a virtual SolarWinds SLX license as they had more than 6,000 total elements.
They also surpassed the maximum number of elements one SolarWinds single NPM server could poll which is only 12,000 elements. That’s right, only 12,000 elements. We then needed to add Additional Polling Engines (APEs) which also required additional licenses.
This is where the confusion started to mount.
SolarWinds Additional Polling Engines (APE)
An APE is sold with an ‘unlimited’ license, but unlimited to SolarWinds in terms of their APEs means up to 12,000 elements. And then there’s another caveat. The maximum number one NPM SLX server can poll is 400,000 elements, i.e. 1 NPM server + 33 APEs.
For Scenario 4, the client not only required 33 APEs, but an additional SLX server was needed. Then we had to throw in an Enterprise Operations Console to manage everything. Note, we didn’t include the price of the console in the comparison below.
Before we reveal the price comparison, let’s share Statseeker’s Licensing Model.
Statseeker’s Licensing Model: Interfaces
Let’s wind back 20 years to the early 2000s. Network engineers were relieved their companies’ computers didn’t get wiped clean from clocks setting back to 00, and also under intense pressure to keep up with their company’s desire not to miss out on the tech boom (that burst wide open in 2001). Apple, Microsoft, and Google were building a future where they envisaged every person would use a computer at work, in the home, and on the move, within 10 years, and Apple just released their first Wi-Fi base station.
This was when Statseeker launched into the market. The team had one clear vision – make it easy for companies to monitor every part of their expanding networks now and into the future. They took the bold leap back then to develop a high-performance monitoring tool that could poll up to 1 million interfaces every 60 seconds from a single instance. And they had the foresight to only charge on the interfaces you need, not the number of devices, nodes, volumes, memory storage, or sensors. Today’s team, along with our customers, are sure glad they did.
Statseeker Server Requirements
With Statseeker licensing, you only pay a subscription based on the number of interfaces. Better yet, one single server manages up to 1,000,000,000 interfaces. No extra machines needed for polling, storage, or management, just one server.
We couldn’t resist visualizing the SolarWinds infrastructure requirements compared to Statseeker’s to show the enormity of the difference.
SolarWinds Pricing Versus Statseeker
Here is a breakdown of the Published costs for SolarWinds compared to Statseeker.
|Client 1: Gov’t||170||25000||100||$57,600||$12,000|
|Client 2: Comm.||1700||84000||6600||$157,400||$28,400|
|Client 3: University||11700||167,000||2400||$317,000||$41,900|
|Client 4: Retail||3600||447,200||1200||$767,100||$59,700|
* Pricing in US Dollars and round down to the hundreds
The numbers are mind-boggling, and our team didn’t believe us … so we had three different people check the numbers. They were correct. Even if SolarWinds dropped their pants and gave it to you for half the price, the numbers still don’t equate.
With SolarWinds, you would have to start compromising on what was being polled. What’s important and what’s not? Who decides (glad it’s not me) and then who has to manually turn on and off what gets polled? Who has the luxury of time or big budgets in today’s economic climate?
I’d rather have extra people on the team to monitor and manage critical issues, infrastructure utilization, SLA oversight, and root cause analysis than spend it on unnecessary tools, but that’s just me.
We’ve heard many times by prospective customers that Statseeker can’t be that good because it’s so cheap compared to SolarWinds NPM. All we say is, ‘try us for free for 45 days, monitor your entire network from core to the edge to the cloud, and find out for yourself’. It’s that easy.
Usually, by the 24th day, we have a new customer.