Migrating off SolarWinds: a Customer Success Story

March 12, 2020

Introduction

One of Hosted Graphite’s customers is a proprietary trading firm that deals with global trading and exchanges. They monitor the TCP bandwidths on their global trading network, as well as their IT resources and systems. After more than a decade of using SolarWinds, they migrated to Hosted Graphite to get more monitoring functionality. Today they rely on Hosted Graphite as a trusted service to monitor, display and alert on all system metrics. 


The Problem

Before moving to Hosted Graphite they had been monitoring with SolarWinds for ten years. This was primarily because SolarWinds was offered by the company that built their network. They found SolarWinds to be a good solution, but the lack of control over their metrics was a noticeable pain-point.
After migrating to a new network engineering provider that did not offer a monitoring tool with the required functionalities, their network monitoring system went dark and the in-house team started to look for new solutions.


They needed a solution that was: 

  • Immediate - doesn’t require any new hardware
  • Secure - sending metrics over the cloud needs to be secure
  • Cost-effective - less resource consuming than other options
  • Capable of notifications - able to alert and notify on key metrics
  • System compatible - This particular customer’s system is completely isolated from the Internet as a result of security protocol, making setting up a monitoring system challenging. Traditional monitoring agents are not able to satisfy these conditions.


At first, they considered running their network monitoring in-house. Using the powerful functionality available on Linux, they already had access to a lot of network traffic information from their OS directly. However, the problem with using only Linux metrics was the lack of filtering, alerting, and notifications, in addition to Linux lacking sufficient visualizations. Ultimately this setup resulted in enormous quantities of data that were difficult to do anything with. 

Their second option was to set up their own internal Graphite implementation. Setting up a basic working system was pretty easy, but unfeasible as a long-term solution due to how resource-intensive and time consuming it was.
To really run a production level Graphite monitoring system they would need a cluster-native solution - and that’s when they found Hosted Graphite. Immediately, they were able to see that the HG front-end was better than running either open-source Graphite or SolarWinds.


The Solution 

Hosted Graphite’s value proposition was right to the point - “yes, this is OSS and you can do it yourself, but aren’t you busy?”

Although Graphite is open source software, installing and maintaining it takes a ton of time and energy. The proprietary trading firm in question ultimately concluded that entrusting their monitoring to Hosted Graphite would be cheaper in the long run than attempting to do it on their own. 


Now the company uses Hosted Graphite to monitor a variety of information guaranteeing all their systems are running smoothly: 

  • Maintaining infrastructure: Hosted Graphite allows the company to ensure that they have all the IT resources it needs and that their infrastructure is correctly sized.
  • Monitoring host interfaces: Hosted Graphite can monitor every host interface directly, rather than using the SolarWinds method of harvesting SNMP information from their network.
  • Network utilization information: The firm’s developers need network utilization information on both the WAN and LAN level, and they rely on Hosted Graphite to provide this information. Hosted Graphite gives them high-granularity of visibility into network utilization at all levels. 
  • Bandwidth caps: The TCP bandwidth metric lets them know if they are reaching their bandwidth caps with the TelCo provider. This allows them to arrange more bandwidth if needed. 
  • Traffic volume by exchange: With Hosted Graphite, it is easy for the company to see if there has been a growth in traffic for each exchange. This allows them to identify successful exchanges and plan accordingly. 
  • Physical maintenance of network hardware: If a piece of networking equipment is down, their current team would not be equipped to deal with it. As a result, they would have to hire a vendor to handle any maintenance of network equipment. With Hosted Graphite, they don’t have to worry about any network hardware maintenance or data centers. 
  • Communicating information clearly: Hosted Graphite enables the team to gain meaningful insight into how they’re using their infrastructure, and to facilitate decisions and investigations. 

MetricFire's Hosted Graphite is secure

The proprietary trading firm’s high degree of security on all of their systems means they have to be extremely careful with introducing any new software. Their security requirements dictate that all systems must be completely isolated from the Internet. Hosted Graphite is flexible enough to work through these challenges, while maintaining a secure transfer of metrics


Dashboard flexibility

This customer needed to display dashboards in many locations so teammates can constantly access their data. They achieved this by setting up kiosks with Chromebooks to facilitate easy access. The team was pleased with how easy it is to get Hosted Graphite dashboards to display on just a chromebook and they love Hosted Graphite’s awesome front end design.


The Result

With Hosted Graphite, this proprietary trading firm found a clustered monitoring solution that is easy to use, enables them to monitor all of their servers, and accurately keeps track of how their network is being used. Ultimately they concluded that the well-designed dashboards and user-friendly front end make an already worthwhile investment even more valuable. 


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