Review: SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor

If you run an enterprise-environment server system that powers a number of applications such as databases and mail servers, SolarWinds' Server & Application Monitor is a handy program that you should consider for monitoring the uptime, issue and performance of each application. Today we're going hands-on with the program to see how good it is as a piece of monitoring software.

Learn more about SolarWinds' Server & Application Monitor

As with the past SolarWinds products that we've had a chance to look at, the home screen summary page provides a great visual representation of all the critical information. In this case, you can see all the applications that are running on your server and determine which ones are down unprecedentedly with handy visual cues. Scrolling down and you'll find a handful of easy-to-interpret charts that tell you visually which applications are in strife, and what systems they are a part of.

If you find a reported issue with one of the applications running on your server, say with the SQL Server, you can drill down to find more in-depth information. The detailed view gives you a huge amount of information on the application, including the issues with individual components, component and application performance statistics, server hardware usage and performance and historical data such as uptime.

Again it's impressive to see the amount of information that the Server & Application Monitor can uncover, all without the use of agents. The reported information also varies for different types of applications, so what you see above for the SQL Server info is only relevant to that application, and going into view Exchange info shows a different set of relevant information. It's obvious here that the SolarWinds team has gone into a huge amount of effort to ensure that each detailed view is tailor-made to the application, and the results are great.

Another handy feature is the Real-Time Process Explorer that works (essentially) as a task manager and information reporting module over a web interface. For different servers you can easily view what processes are using the most resources and see if they are linked to monitored applications, allowing you to take appropriate action to free these resources for more important uses if the usage is not to your liking. It should also help you find the root cause of application performance issues and allow you to address them swiftly.

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor also ties in with your virtualized systems, allowing you to see which VMware hosts have the highest CPU, network and RAM loads. Again, drilling down to see more information is a feature of SolarWinds products and this is another area where you can pull up an enormous amount of information on your VMs, enabling you to find performance issues and keep your hardware healthy and running as smooth as possible.

The monitoring software also has a number of built-in reporting capabilities, as always, that can provide a huge number of reports to help you find exactly what you need. This is on top of the already very solid visual reports that are present around the dashboard. Then there are the grouping options that allow you to create groups of servers and applications based on a number of parameters including location; another handy feature that enhances the reporting capabilities.

It's hard to fully articulate just how many features the SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor has, so it's best to try it out for yourself through downloading a free 30-day trial. Alternatively if you want more information, simply check here.

This article has been sponsored by SolarWinds

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