Home / Blog / IT Managed Services / 6 BIG reasons why you should outsource SolarWinds management

September 20, 2019

In today’s hyper-connected, mobile-enabled ‘digital economy’, every business now expects (and demands) more (and more) from already stretched IT resources – driving forward new business initiatives and IT transformation projects, while ensuring IT systems remain available and secure – 24/7.

Users and businesses have come to expect IT to just ‘work’, so if you’re constantly reacting to IT problems instead of proactive management, you must feel like you’re swimming against the tide.

Outsourcing and ‘Insourcing’ IT skills

With IT resources being constantly stretched, there is a drive to outsource specialist IT skills and routine tasks – while ‘insourcing’ the desired IT skillsets to drive forward internal IT programmes.

SolarWinds’ formidable IT monitoring tools are hugely powerful, yet many organisations find it difficult to dedicate the resource and time to correctly set-up, tune and optimise the platform to provide the desired IT monitoring and management visibility of critical IT systems.

Why outsource SolarWinds management?

If you spend too much time responding to user-reported issues, tracing the root cause of IT issues – or if you don’t have visibility of your critical business availability – then outsourcing some (or all) of your SolarWinds monitoring will give you the breathing space to get on the front foot and demonstrate the full value you bring to your IT team.

Take care of the ‘little’ things and ‘big’ things will seem a whole lot easier.

Why should you outsource SolarWinds management?

As the UK’s leading SolarWinds authority, Comtact Ltd. manages and supports complex IT estates of some of the leading UK businesses. We’ve seen the great work – as well as the common challenges organisations face when managing SolarWinds.

Here are 6 BIG reasons why you should outsource SolarWinds management

1. Get (and stay) on top of notifications & alerts

2. Get help mapping dependencies

3. Correctly configure critical IT and executive dashboards

4. Set-up automated actions

5. Review (regularly) changes to your IT systems and infrastructure

6. Build your internal NOC team monitoring capabilities

7. Develop and protect your NOC team’s monitoring capabilities

1. Get (and stay) on top of notifications & alerts

By a country mile, the most common complaint we hear and see is that SolarWinds generates too many alerts – way too many. If you’re getting tens, even hundreds of alerts a day, it is impossible to see and quickly investigate where the real problem lies – so you end up wasting time chasing the root cause of the problem (if any).

Unless you have time to correctly set-up, configure and tune SolarWinds, ‘out of the box’ you are likely to be overwhelmed with alerts.

Even if you’re getting more than 20 alerts from the platform – depending on the size of the organisation – that’s still too many! A well-configured SolarWinds deployment should see no more than 10 important alerts a day.

In day-to-day operations, the dashboard should be green with minimal alerts. Don’t use the default alerts!

2. Get help mapping dependencies

If you have not yet mapped dependencies, you’ll receive an alert for every event – rather that when something is REALLY down.

For example, you’ll get an alert that an interface has gone down when a user unplugs their laptop from the network at the end of the day! Or if the link to your Data Centre goes down, you’ll get an alert from every system affected – which doesn’t help tracing the problem to fix. It just produces unnecessary noise.

When correctly configured, dependencies allow SolarWinds to be used for what it is meant to be – a proactive monitoring tool, to tell you where there is a problem, so you can deal with it immediately – rather than a reactive tool you refer to when someone calls you.

If there was a problem, why was it not dealt with? 9 times out of 10, it is because they are bombarded with noise, with too many alerts and too many notifications to review.

Help in setting up and configuring dependencies will give you visibility of critical IT issues. Stop monitoring ‘alerts’ and start monitoring availability of critical IT systems.

3. Correctly configure critical IT / executive dashboards

Rather than just a default dashboard set-up, wouldn’t it be great if you could – at a glance – see that your critical business services were on, available and transacting? Validating how your infrastructure investments were benefiting your business…

An executive dashboard highlighting the availability of your most important business services.

  • Need a Black Friday Dashboard?
  • A retail Point of Sale Dashboard?
  • Or a University Clearing Dashboard?
  • Or maybe a Production & Manufacturing Dashboard?

Every organisation will have different operational business needs. But in every case, there can be a large financial cost if the business is unable to correctly function.

What does an Executive Dashboard look like?

In the example of a University Clearing Dashboard, you would want to know:

  1. The website is up, available – and able to transact.
  2. All your phone lines working – so prospective students can call in.
  3. CRM is functioning – so you can process applications.
  4. Your accounts system is able to process payments.

While there are numerous levels of IT services which will ensure an organisation functions, the ability to graphically illustrate to senior management that critical services are operating is the smartest way to demonstrate the value of continued IT investment.

SolarWinds management dashboard

4. Set-up automated actions

If you haven’t yet set-up a workflow for automated actions in SolarWinds, you are missing the opportunity to easily fix common issues, for example…

To divert bandwidth if there’s something clogging up the network before it becomes an issue. Or simply resetting a print spooler – so IT resource does not need to be utilised to fix a simple problem… which may occur out of hours!

Reacting to issues not only takes valuable resource away from priority activities (a large hidden cost to productivity), but the downtime could cost your business thousands – even if just one Point of Sale (POS) terminal is not functioning in a Department Store.

5. Regularly review changes to your monitored IT systems and Infrastructure

No business stands still – so you’ll know your IT infrastructure is constantly evolving. Every quarter, a review of any changes made to your network architecture, hardware and software will highlight where your SolarWinds platform needs adjustment, ensuring that your monitoring capabilities remain effective and accurate.

6. Build your internal NOC team monitoring capabilities

In a similar vein, the SolarWinds platform itself is a constantly evolving suite of tools. Frequent software releases, coupled with creeping resource requirements, put pressure on your IT resources to keep everything healthy and fully supported.

Through regular review, you can be kept abreast of these changes and how to act upon them before they impact upon your monitoring capability. We can manage this process for you.

7. Develop and protect your NOC team’s monitoring capabilities

Outsourcing SolarWinds management does certainly not mean giving up internal skills and expertise. Collaboration is the key.

You know your infrastructure. We know SolarWinds. As an industrial user of SolarWinds ourselves, we find the best way to work is a collaboration with in-house experts, building your own team’s monitoring capabilities, to get the most from our combined expertise.

Similarly, when team members move on and leave gaps in your skills cover, we can be on hand to take up the reigns in the short term, whilst offering training and support options for your new starters as they come on board.

Comtact's UK NOC / SOC

The UK’s leading SolarWinds authority

For nearly 10 years, Comtact Ltd. has been helping the UK’s leading enterprises get the most from their SolarWinds deployments. We know the common pitfalls, as well as the time it takes to iron out, optimise and improve your IT monitoring.

And with 24x7x365 support from Comtact’s fully managed SolarWinds monitoring service, often, the first time you know there’s a problem is when we tell you it’s been fixed.

Plymouth University campus

“Comtact have afforded us quicker response times, reducing the noise of verbose alerts, cutting resolution time, saving lost revenue – and avoiding user frustration. Simply put, Comtact lets us see the wood from the trees.

They resolved an out-of-hours issue for us on a Friday night when a core switch failed. Comtact saw the switch had failed, passed that out to Cisco, who had the part on-site by 8am on Monday morning, ready to get back up to full capability.

Plymouth University’s end-users didn’t know anything had been wrong. There was no impact on service at all. If it had fallen to our own IT team, it would have been left until Monday morning – and could have been Wednesday before anyone had it resolved.”

Adrian Hollister
Plymouth University

What’s the next step?

We’d love to talk you through some of our customer success stories, or find out how we can elevate your existing SolarWinds deployment.

Why not download our SolarWinds Optimisation & Improvement Service Guide, or request a call-back from one of our SolarWinds-Certified Professionals?

Read more about SolarWinds