SolarWinds Orion NPM Review

SolarWinds Orion NPM Review

SolarWinds Orion

If you’re a network administrator or simply want to keep an eye on what’s going on with your network, you will need to track performance and traffic usage and respond quickly to any issues. This is why you need network monitoring software like SolarWinds Orion – a tool that collects data on bandwidth, performance metrics, latency, and what not.

Core capabilities

Solarwinds Orion NPM summary

SolarWinds Orion NPM has the traditional architecture mechanisms that one would expect: alerting engine, polling engine, reporting Engine, a web server, and a database. It requires IIS and installs on a Windows server.

Orion is based on the central polling of SNMP devices. Windows servers that are SNMP-enabled can be monitored based on the MIB RFC 1213. If the MIB is not included, you can request a MIB update, or you can opt to use custom OID polling to retrieve specific values from a device.


Solarwinds Orion NPM screenshot

The software comes with the following options: SL100, SL250, SL500, SL2000, and SLX, which indicate the number of elements you can monitor (SLX offers unlimited elements). If you require more, you can buy additional polling engines.

If you wish to include NetFlow, you will have to have the NetFlow module from SolarWinds. This directly links to the licensing of Orion NPM. If you have the Orion SLX, and you only want to monitor 50 interfaces with NetFlow, you need to purchase the NLX NetFlow module.

The price per element begins around $3 USD and can go as high as $27 USD for small installations.

Solarwinds Orion NPM traffic manager


  • Quick install
  • Excellent user interface
  • Results/reports within a couple of hours
  • Almost fully web-based
  • Alerts for suppression and escalation


  • Limited grouping
  • Does not use all the resources of a modern server
  • You need an MS SQL server license if you are hitting the 2.000 element limit
  • High price tag
  • Focus on networks like SNMP or ICMP requires extra modules
  • No real distributed architecture


Solarwinds Orion NPM capacity dashboard

SolarWinds Orion provides quick results if you want SNMP-based monitoring to pull out the standard networking statistics. If you need specific OID’s from a device (like SNMP-enabled temperature probe), the custom OID poller can be used. If you have numerous custom OIDs to monitor, it gets trickier.

While missing a policy-driven monitoring and alerting structure, SolarWinds Orion NPM is a good place to start monitoring networks for most organizations.

How would you rate Orion? Tell us in the comments below and check out more tools’ reviews like Pingdom or Turing.