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Rollout: SolarWinds' Orion 8.1

The Upshot

SolarWinds' Orion 8.1 offers a network fault- and performance-management system that lets users monitor real-time and historical performance information. It aims to attract small and midsize enterprise customers with a low price, a solid feature set and ease of use. Orion collects and analyzes data from any SNMP-aware device and provides visibility into all aspects of the network's performance.
Orion's software-based monitor faces off against easy-to-deploy appliances from the likes of NetQoS, NetScout and ScienceLogic, and against convenient managed service offerings from Klir, Netreo and SilverBack Technologies. The open-source MRTG is also a competitor.
Orion offers a wide variety of data-collection options such as ICMP, SNMP, syslog and NetFlow with no proprietary agents or appliances. However, larger customers may find Orion limiting. SolarWinds customers will appreciate the integration with other SolarWinds products.

SolarWinds' Orion 8.1

Small and midsize enterprises looking for a feature-rich network-management product that won't break the bank need look no further than SolarWinds' Orion 8.1. With new features that include an advanced alert engine and support for SNMPv3, and a price well within the means of the tightest budget, Orion is a logical shortlist candidate.

But it's not the only candidate. Appliance vendors and those offering SaaS (software as a service) compete with SolarWinds on pricing and ease of deployment. How Orion will fare depends on how comfortable customers are in dealing with software, and whether they'll trust a service from a small provider.

Finally, companies at the larger end of the SME scale will look beyond Orion for advanced capabilities and a distributed polling architecture.

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