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Solarwinds adds APM, Buys Hyper9 – Brief Notes

SolarWinds had two announcements today, growing them further out of their traditional network management area into more general IT Management. Here, they added in Application Performance Management (APM) with a new product along with virtualization and server management with the acquisition of fellow Austin-based Hyper9.

The area of APM can be a shifty one – monitoring end-to-end transactions and application workflows can be technically difficult as you move across tiers, collect together un-integrated data sources, and otherwise try to track what went wrong between the user’s mouse click and the web of infrastructure the application is spread over. Solarwind’s MO, thus far, has been to provide easy to access tools (downloadable and self-installable) at affordable rates. The tools aren’t free, but they’re low enough barrier to entry that many admins who, for example, use the free Spiceworks suite also use Solarwinds. You find Solarwinds tools paired up a lot like that. See this 2009 RedMonkTV video with Solarwinds Josh Stephens for a quick, if older, overview.

While discussing the APM release with them, Solarwinds noted that APM tools are typically expensive, and perhaps exotic to their customer base. Their hope, then, is to do what Solarwinds does best: commoditize tools just enough to get wider access, but not too much that there’s not enough good business in them for the company itself. In the IT Management space, that’s a welcome trend for most (compared to the development middleware space where barbs of not open sourcing and, thus, totally making free the application would be thrown about…in past years at least).

Speaking more broadly, adding in APM and buying Hyper9 gives Solarwinds the portfolio needed to start making the claim that it’s a general IT Management shop. While Hyper9 hasn’t been a break-away success (compared to, say, Splunk), their technology has always been interesting: their depth in understanding virtualized data centers, searching, and then reporting over that lump of IT has always seemed good when I’ve been walked through demos in the past. If Solarwinds can (even lightly) integrate together their strong base in network management, storage, APM, and now servers/virtualization, they’ll be a compelling portfolio at, no doubt, competitive price points. That portfolio gardening and integration is key: Solarwinds has always been a good bucket of tools and as the company ages, they have to keep their portfolio from becoming a big katamari ball of fun that you’re destined to roll around for eternity.

Disclousre: Splunk is a client, as is Spiceworks. Solarwinds has been a client in the past.

Categories: Brief Notes, Systems Management.

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