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SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is #5 ranked solution in top Network Automation tools and #10 ranked solution in top Configuration Management tools. IT Central Station users give SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager an average rating of 8 out of 10. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is most commonly compared to Cisco DNA Center:SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager vs Cisco DNA Center. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager?
Before you monitor your network, configure it! A reliable and secure network starts with carefully planned, executed, and monitored network configuration and change management. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) saves time and improves network reliability and security by managing configurations, changes, and compliance for routers, switches, and other network devices from Cisco, Juniper, HP, Dell, Brocade, Aruba, Rukus, and more.

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager was previously known as SolarWinds NCM.

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Buyer's Guide

Download the SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Customers
United Lincolnshire Hospitals, Air Rarotonga, NetSuite, Thai AirAsia, REA Group, 335th Signal Command, Agilisys, Marine Expeditionary Force
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager pricing:
  • "You have a base license for 50 devices, and then you can add more licenses as you go."
  • "With a minimal bundle, we pay about $3000 a year in licensing costs. If you have multiple devices in your network, you must buy the bundle, which is 100% identical for your infrastructure. If you have 15 devices, you need 15 licenses, for example. That's one bundle. You don't pay for anything over and above that."
  • "There is a license for the use of this solution and it is priced well, there is a lot of value for the money."

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Reviews

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Olufemi Adalemo
Chief Technology Officer at Leystel Nigeria Limited
Reseller
Top 5
Reliable, scalable, easy to use, good support, and offers the ability to script changes

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature that I really enjoy is the ability to script changes across all of your devices."
  • "For each device, when you open the network performance monitor, it will give you all of the information about the device, but many of the natural configuration management features are not on that page."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to store and manage the configuration of Cisco switches and routers.

How has it helped my organization?

It significantly reduces the time required to make changes to routers and switches. A single script can be run on all the devices on the network at the push of a button. It also helps to enforce change management as change is implemented via the NCM interface and managers do not have the exec password but rather request for change via NCM which can be approved by those designated to.

What is most valuable?

The feature that I really enjoy is the ability to script changes across all of your devices.

For example, if you wanted to change the administrator password for all of your Cisco devices, you would simply put that config change in one window on the NCM, and with a push of a button, it sends it across to all the devices on your network.

What needs improvement?

The integration with the network performance monitor wasn't complete as at the last time I used it. 

It has a separate interface page within the web interface. I would prefer to have the NCM features on the same interface as the natural performance monitor device page.

For each device, when you open the network performance monitor, it will give you all of the information about the device, but many of the natural configuration management features are not on that page. You have to go to a separate page. It would be nice to have tighter integration with the NPM (Network Performance Monitor).

I would like to see NCM be more aggressive in adding new device support to the product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is very stable. I have never had any real issues with stability.

When you deploy it with an external SQL server database that is properly managed and properly tuned, you won't experience any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We know that the SQL Server is scalable, and you can take it to large sizes.

NPM allows you to add pollers to scale it, but I am not sure that NCM has the ability to utilize the additional pollers in a NPM. I have never tried to scale it to thousands of devices. I have only scaled to a few hundred, and I know that it handles a few hundred devices with no issues in one box.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. I have no complaints.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used other products and switched to SolarWinds NCM because of the ease of use. The design system is better with fewer bugs.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy. There were no issues at all.

I was an integrator and would help to deploy the solution for some of the companies.

We have a team of three to manage and maintain the solution.

What about the implementation team?

Most of the companies would require an integrator to help them deploy the solution.

What was our ROI?

NCM pays for itself within the first 3 years of use as you do need less dedicated Cisco certified engineers fully on site once it is implemented

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The NCM is licensed per device. 

You have a base license for 50 devices, and then you can add more licenses as you go. 

It scales from 50 to a hundred and so on.

Also, they have an annual fee that covers upgrades. You have a 12-month license to download new updates.

What other advice do I have?

Larger organizations would be able to have people invest the time to learn how to use the system and deploy on their own. 

Smaller organizations would need an integrator to help them through the deployment process.

We definitely plan to continue working with this solution. 

There are less popular devices that are not directly supported by NCM. You have open-source Linux devices that you really can't support with NCM. They have their own tool that you have to use. We have a couple of those, but generally, NCM is a tool we use for the majority of the well-known brand network purposes.

My advice to others who want to use this solution would be to get it if you have a network with several departmental devices to take care of. 

Do an early set up of your approval process to make sure that change management is built-in. If you have several people with the admin password who are able to go in and make changes to all your devices at one time, it makes the entire system much less stable. You need to ensure that you put in all of the controls very early on, and have levels of authorization for change.

This should be done very early when you deploy the system.

I recommend using SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
RP
Senior Engineer/Network Operations at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Enables us to oversee everything on our network efficiently but network logs should be improved

Pros and Cons

  • "I use it for monitoring the entire network for the company. We oversee nodes down, we oversee devices heading up to crossing the threshold for CPU usage. We oversee power so power backups on the switches, we oversee if they're down or if they're failing. We oversee any node down or any router from any vendor."
  • "The network logs could be improved. When the error logs come across with those false positive alarms in the error logs."

What is our primary use case?

I use it for monitoring the entire network for the company. We oversee nodes, we oversee devices heading up to crossing the threshold for CPU usage. We oversee power, we oversee if they're down or if they're failing. We oversee any node down or any router from any vendor. We have MPLS, so we have a lot of those MPLS routers on the node. We can see when those routers are down. 

SolarWinds can give us not only that, but we can also create running tasks. It can schedule backup for the devices. We can do active jobs, we generate reports and oversee and look for any peaks of ranges or network slowness or network interruptions. These events trigger immediate alerts and the alert brings up the attention to the NOC that brings up the troubleshooting with whoever is local, depending upon who manages the network in that place. It's a helpful tool and I really like it.

What needs improvement?

The network logs could be improved. When the error logs come across with those false positive alarms in the error logs. We see days or weeks on those error messages. I think this needs to be addressed or they need to mitigate the house cleaning or the housekeeping of those errors or those logs. I mean that's one of the things that I will say that can be a little challenging sometimes. I'd like to see when you look for the node, via IP or via the name of the product, a quicker response in the search for the node. Sometimes when I search it, I have to look three times for the node in a different way. The search for that particular device or search for that particular product, I have to sometimes dig in on my own DNS and find the IP. Then I go to SolarWinds copy and paste it the IP. It's a pain. Let's say the search or the browse for any particular note needs to be improved for the GUI.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked with SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think so far stability is going great.

How are customer service and technical support?

They need to improve their response time. Sometimes they take longer than expected. They need to respond quickly after a ticket is opened. I will email them and I won't see the response for another two or three hours. I have to give them a call and it's a pain. It's a nightmare. I keep bringing that up to them all the time. I would improve that.

What other advice do I have?

Just make sure you only put the nodes that you need to monitor and make sure whoever needs to have nodes in SolarWinds, keep the people besides your team or your group, who want their own nodes there. Make sure you set up the right rules and the standards and the thresholds where you need to get communication for error messages or CPU alerts or power heat or any type of alerts. The alerts, they need to be very clearly addressed in order for you to monitor your devices. We have faced some problems in the past that the alerts are not really set up properly. We have to randomly change the thresholds and the numbers and the ranges. I would recommend that you make sure you monitor only what you need to monitor. Make sure if you need to trigger those alerts, make sure that you have somebody or a team to respond. And, they can have a group responsible for whatever they need to troubleshoot. 

I would rate it at a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,873 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Ravi Khanchandani
Founder Director at Techsa Services Pvt Ltd
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Has good configuration backup automation, configuration compliance, security vulnerability detection, and upgrading features

Pros and Cons

  • "The features we find most valuable is the configuration backup automation, the configuration compliance, the security vulnerability detection and upgrading devices."
  • "The Network Configuration Manager needs to improve the access control list compliance."

What is our primary use case?

They are four areas that we use the Network Configuration Manager for

1. Automate configuration backup. 

2. Configuration compliance. We have created checklists for different types of devices and check for configuration compliance as per our config guidelines.

3. Security vulnerability detection for Cisco devices. Identify open CVE's with devices.

4. Firmware upgrades / IOS upgrades of Cisco devices. This feature has seen one major improvement in the ability to perform parallel upgrades.

How has it helped my organization?

NCM has provided for the following benefits - Mainly to to with audit readiness on 3 fronts - regular configuration backups, configuration hardening and Vulnerability management.

What is most valuable?

The features we find most valuable are the configuration backup automation, configuration compliance, security vulnerability detection, and upgrading devices.

What needs improvement?

The Network Configuration Manager needs to improve the access control list compliance.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager for more than six years now. We are on the near latest release 2020.2.5 HF1 as of June 2021. We have adopted an N-1 version deployment policy.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Platform stability is extremely good. A few areas of improvements required - better handling of NCM jobs failing - for example if an NCM job has multiple devices to be backed up, a detailed report/log of the success or failed status is required.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is very scalable. We have a deployment that covers over 12,000 network devices.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support many times. They're good if you escalate properly. It is an area that needs a bit of improvement in terms of helping prioritize the ticket. Whenever we open a ticket with them, I think by default it lands up in an open bucket. So I don't have the option of saying that there is an absolutely critical requirement and I need some urgent help. I can't classify that when opening up a ticket for the first time.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. The initial setup did not take very long. I think the base platform was set up in a day's time. But I think configuration compliance policies, which is actually more of writing the policies rather than anything to do with SolarWinds, are slightly more time-consuming. The creation of policy is time-consuming. That has more to do with the organization policy, i.e., do I need Telnet enabled, do I need Telnet disabled, etc.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I would highly recommend SolarWinds Network Configuration Management to other customers. I rate this product at a nine out of ten.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We really did not evaluate many other options. We were actually using the Kiwi CatTools version which is also a part of SolarWinds. But I think SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is a big brother of Kiwi CatTools and I think since we were already familiar with Kiwi CatTools the migration to NCM was pretty easy.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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AR
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
MSP
Top 20
User friendly with an easy implementation and easy management

Pros and Cons

  • "Compared to other vendors, like NetBrain, managing the solution is easy. They made it very user-friendly."
  • "On NCM, reporting could be a bit better. It's completely become just one report. When I try to create a custom report, the solution just commits old server data."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily deploy it for our customers. We don't use the solution ourselves. Customers schedule it with us and we troubleshoot for the customer as well. We have files and templates from NCM as well as confirmation templates. We sometimes schedule the backups too.

What is most valuable?

Since the customer is the primary user, they'd have a better idea of the best features.

Compared to other vendors, like NetBrain, managing the solution is easy. They made it very user-friendly.

What needs improvement?

On NCM, reporting could be a bit better. It's completely become just one report. When I try to create a custom report, the solution just commits old server data.

They need to make a health checkup report in a new release.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for one year, but this year we are switching to NPM NCM. It's a request from our engineers. We are not monitoring the servers with either and we want to monitor the servers with something going forward.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We do health checkups for the network devices. However, compared to NetBrain, the NCM health checkup is getting very bad.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for the solution is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also use NPM and NetBrain as well.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation process is very user-friendly. Deployment takes about three hours with customization. You only need a few people to handle the deployment; it doesn't take too many. You might need one on the server-side and one for the application.

What other advice do I have?

We are using version 7.9 of the solution. We migrated from 7.7 to 7.9 about three years ago.

We use both the cloud and on-premises deployment models. We had production on the on-premises model in 2016.

I'm an implementation engineer for SolarWinds so I'm not using the NCM devices any longer.

I'd advise others who may be installing the solution for the first time to just use the 7.9 version of the solution. It's the latest version. If you are using FortiGate you'll be able to configure everything and have a backup and be able to use the data.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TZ
Business Consultant. at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Good scalability, stability and reliability

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features the solution offers are compliance, reliability, and information about reliability."
  • "The interface of solar winds could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution to check the configuration for Cisco, Juniper or L3 devices in our network.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features the solution offers are compliance, reliability, and information about reliability.

What needs improvement?

The solution could offer a better compliance report. GDPR has many security standards. If a company is working with an international client, it must be compliant with any standards. We work with a bank, financial companies, and an insurance company. They need to be compliant and the core customer compliance is our main challenge.

The interface of solar winds could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is good. We haven't faced any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is good. We haven't had any problems with scaling.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay. We've contacted them many times and they've been fine.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy. If it is already done with existing network infrastructure, deployment takes only two to three hours.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

With a minimal bundle, we pay about $3000 a year in licensing costs. If you have multiple devices in your network, you must buy the bundle, which is 100% identical for your infrastructure. If you have 15 devices, you need 15 licenses, for example. That's one bundle. You don't pay for anything over and above that.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model. We're a SolarWinds distributor.

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor
MV
Managing Director at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Useful for managing the configuration changes and backups, but lacks multi-tenancy support

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows us to manage backups in big companies. It is also useful in managing the configuration changes."
  • "Its whole architecture is a bit traditional. They can change the architecture to make it more modern and multi-tenant. Currently, we can do multi-tenancy, but we need to buy another product. Its look and feel can be improved. They can also put in more effort into building the THWACK community and use the information about various customer issues and requests to build the new releases."

What is most valuable?

It allows us to manage backups in big companies. It is also useful in managing the configuration changes. 

What needs improvement?

Its whole architecture is a bit traditional. They can change the architecture to make it more modern and multi-tenant. Currently, we can do multi-tenancy, but we need to buy another product. 

Its look and feel can be improved. They can also put in more effort into building the THWACK community and use the information about various customer issues and requests to build the new releases.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for about four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable.

What other advice do I have?

This solution works in conjunction with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. Usually, you first buy SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor and then SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager. You have to go with both.

I would recommend this solution. Typically, while recommending a solution, I look at what the management needs in terms of strategy, how a solution integrates, and how powerful is the IT department. Based on that, I recommend a solution that meets the needs and integrates with ITSM.

I would rate SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DB
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable, priced well, and straightforward installation

What is our primary use case?

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager can be used for backing up network device configuration. It helps you be more secure when you have a system failure, you can get the information back.

What needs improvement?

The solution could improve by being more secure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager for approximately nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. We have more than 100 customers using this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support could be faster when responding to an issue.

How was the initial setup?

What is our primary use case?

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager can be used for backing up network device configuration. It helps you be more secure when you have a system failure, you can get the information back.

What needs improvement?

The solution could improve by being more secure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager for approximately nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable.

We have more than 100 customers using this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support could be faster when responding to an issue.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We have one engineer that does the implementation and maintenance of the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is a license for the use of this solution and it is priced well, there is a lot of value for the money.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others.

I rate SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Buyer's Guide
Download our free SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.