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SolarWinds is a network and application monitoring solution, but primarily a network monitoring solution. Founded in 1999, the company has built an online community of 150,000 registered users. However, monitoring has come a long way since the early 2000s. How does SolarWinds stack up against MetricFire in terms of features and pricing? In this article, we break down the comparison into easily digestible, unbiased information to help you make an informed decision.
Here at MetricFire, we see customers coming in from SolarWinds because they're looking for better dashboards and a more flexible monitoring tool. Take a look at the story of this customer, who migrated from SolarWinds to MetricFire last year. MetricFire is an infrastructure monitoring tool that can be used for server, network, application, and systems monitoring. You should sign up for the MetricFire free trial, and book a demo here.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, SolarWinds makes software for IT infrastructure management. In 2015, the company was bought by Thoma Bravo in a cash and stock deal for $4.5 billion.
The company has a suite of network and application monitoring products. All the products need at least a Windows 8 or higher to run. In terms of servers, compatibility is limited to Windows servers. You need at least a 2012 or 2012 R2 to run SolarWinds applications.
Founded in 2012, MetricFire is an application and infrastructure monitoring platform. The SaaS company has hosted Graphite monitoring. Both Graphite is open-source monitoring and alerting tools for IT infrastructure.
Check out more about MetricFire here.
SolarWinds vs MetricFire: Features Comparison
The two companies differ in how they approach network and application monitoring. SolarWinds has proprietary products that need a physical server to run, and they've recently started to offer cloud monitoring. MetricFire, on the other hand, offers monitoring as a service by leveraging open-source monitoring tools. The SaaS model makes MetricFire a very scalable and affordable solution compared to SolarWinds. Let's dive into the prominent features of the two and see how they compare.
Reporting is a key feature of any monitoring solution. Reports can help IT managers quickly assess performance and identify any issues. Creating custom reports with SolarWinds isn't the most straightforward task. Setting up each component for reporting can be time-intensive. Moreover, if you are using an SMTP client for customizing reports, you will need an agent that can understand your system information. According to one user review of SolarWinds, "Individual reports are very challenging to grasp as you need to link directly to the website in order to get more details or configure the report more based on the company need. It's not simple to set up each part to get better details, you may customize each item with smtp, but you will require an agent to help grasp the system information."
Custom reporting with MetricFire, on the other hand, is a breeze. Monitoring data is fed directly into Grafana, which is an open-source data visualization tool. The feature-rich tool can be used to make custom graphs and the UI is pretty straightforward, too. Grafana as a service is included with every monitoring plan offered by MetricFire. According to a MetricFire review by a user on Capterra, "You can create really useful dashboards of your most important systems, and then you can set the dashboard to auto-refresh. We keep Hosted Graphite up on displays dedicated to monitoring our systems."
Upgrading, both in terms of component updates and in terms of scalability, is a complicated procedure in SolarWinds. You need to install additional polling engines to collect and analyze more monitoring data. Updates can result in downtime. Moreover, you should test an upgrade of SolarWinds before installing it, since upgrades can't be rolled back. Given the complexity of the task, you might need additional support, for which you need to pay. According to a user review on G2, "Customer services/support makes you pay to get upgrade assistance, even then there is very little to no help with upgrading software unless something breaks."
Updates on MetricFire, on the other hand, are automatic. Since everything is on the cloud, updates to Graphite, Prometheus, and Grafana are automatically installed. The same holds true for components, too. There is no service downtime.
SolarWinds has two pricing tiers - perpetual licensing and subscription licensing. The perpetual license allows you to use the monitoring tools for life. However, you need to pay a yearly fee for support and maintenance. Subscription licensing, on the other hand, is available for a period of 1-5 years. You need to renew your subscription at the end of your chosen period.
SolarWinds does not disclose its exact pricing. However, SolarWind's pricing starts at $1,583 per year, according to the company's website. SolarWinds is an expensive monitoring solution, according to several user reviews. According to a user review on G2, "I dislike its licensing and it's a little bit costly as compared to other monitoring tools. There are still some devices that are not supported by SolarWinds and they are in use in our environment."
MetricFire, on the other hand, has scalable pricing options. You pay for what you use. The basic plan gives you two user accounts and a subscription period of 6 months. MetricFire pricing starts at $19 per month, which makes it a really affordable monitoring solution for most businesses. According to a user review on Capterra, "The great service along with a great price makes us an extremely happy user and I would highly recommend it to anyone in need of Graphite."
Both companies have 24/7 support. However, in the case of a perpetual license of SolarWinds, you need to pay an additional yearly fee. There are no additional charges for customer support with MetricFire.
It also looks like SolarWinds' customer support leaves a lot to be desired. According to a user review on TrustRadius, "Sometimes the support refers us to the Knowledge base and Thwack. Not a huge deal, but I only end up putting in a ticket when I have spent a great deal of time searching for a solution."
MetricFire's customer support, on the other hand, has mostly received positive feedback from users. According to a review on Capterra, "The world's best customer service team (Dave and Charlie are great to work with) * Rock solid reliability * Connect to them with whatever endpoint you desire -- TCP, HTTP, TLS (in beta), so it's super easy to set up. * Use your StatsD (with HG config out-of-the-box) or theirs * Zero-conf metric storage and partitioning, it just works * Automagic grafana integration."
SolarWinds vs MetricFire: Verdict
MetricFire really shines in custom reporting, compared to SolarWinds, given its direct integration with Grafana and great customer support. In addition, it is a platform-agnostic monitoring solution with automatic backups and updates.
While SolarWinds is a trusted name in the field of network and application monitoring, it can feel clunky. There is a substantial learning curve, compared to the plug-and-play nature of MetricFire. Moreover, it can be an expensive monitoring solution, especially for growing businesses.
SolarWinds might work for big businesses that can pour resources into their IT department. However, if you are looking for a more affordable, scalable solution, MetricFire is the way to go.