Roundup of Latest Reviews: Solarwinds NPM (Network Monitoring Tools)

IT Central Station covers a gamut of technology products and services that are used every day to power the business of Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 enterprises. In today’s post, we’ll give you a taste of one of the latest reviews that have come in for Solarwinds Orion, one of the many network monitoring tools listed on IT Central Station. Here are a few highlights:

  • User anon375, who is on the network team at a retailer says NPM is “the most efficient Network Performance Monitor with its sniffing, alerting system, and fault discovery.”
  • User mgrntwrk381 who is a network manager at a healthcare company says Orion’s “resource utilization is heavy so you need to analyze the server before using it for multiple roles. We are unable to use web console to configure new alerts.”
  • User teenajain who is IT Director at a company with 1-500 employees gives it 4 stars but says one of its limitations is “building out a dependency structure.”
  • User network185 who is a networking expert at a company with 1-500 employees  says it is “quick to get up and running, but not as granular out-of-the-box as you would expect.”

On IT Central Station, you can read the full reviews of NPM by Solarwinds, and other network monitoring tools including Wireshark, OPNET, CA NetQoS Performance Center, Cisco Data Center Network Manager, Entuity, HP Network Management Center, InfoVista VistaInsight, ManageEngine OpManager, Microsoft Network Monitor and others.

These are the opinions of real users – not vendors, analysts, consultants or bloggers. IT Central Station protects the privacy of its user community–we validate that the reviewers are real users of the products, but the reviews are posted without personally identifiable information so that users can say what they really think and be heard.

These are just a sample of the many fine reviews you’ll find on IT Central Station. If you haven’t already sign up and browse reviews and write your own review.

Microsoft BI vs Microstrategy

Microsoft BI Review vs Microstrategy Review

Check out the new Face Off on IT Central Station for Business Intelligence Tools. Each solution has more than 20 comments by real users!

Microsoft BI Review vs Microstrategy

Microsoft BI Review vs Microstrategy

Take a look at these quick summaries from expert reviewers for each product:

CEO at tech services company with 500-5000 employees:

Microsoft BI Review

“I’m a big fan of the Report Server Project Wizard which comes with the development studio – very helpful as I become more advanced in BI!.”

CEO at analyst firm with 1-500 employees:

Microstrategy Review 

“MicroStrategy is one step ahead of much of the competition, and delivers a highly configurable and quite uniquely functional BI environment.”

Here’s more of the Face Off—click each one to see all the reviews for each product:

Microsoft BI vs Microstrategy

Now take a look at this line up of the industry’s top Business Intelligence Tools on IT Central Station and add your perspective. You can comment on these reviews, check out what others are saying, or add a review of your own. Also make sure you check out  Microsoft BI alternatives and Microstrategy alternatives.


Cognos Enterprise        Tableau       Spotfire                   OBIEE

Join the “face off” by getting involved in the Yelp for the tech-buying community.

Every review on IT Central Station has been verified to be an authentic review by a real user. You can count on the Station Master, Russell Rothstein and his team to continue to provide you with the kind of tech-buying community source that will shape the future. Take a look at how it all started here.


Top BI Tools – 2015 Edition

Business Intelligence (BI) is a way for companies to analyze their raw data into meaningful information. Any effective BI solution should allow for easy interpretation of large amounts of data to help identify, develop, and create new business strategies.

Here at IT Central Station, we offer a crowdsourced platform that allows real users to share their opinions about tech products with the rest of the enterprise tech community. We have compiled over 155,000 views of the top BI tools by real users in 2014 and analyzed their trends in the infographic below. All of our data is based on actual behavior of real users researching and comparing BI vendors on IT Central Station.

To see our full infographic and data, go to IT Central Station.

bi-ver4_150The most compared BI solutions of all of 2014 were OBIEE v. Tableau, with over 2,302 comparisons on IT Central Station. The top BI solutions viewed by users from small and medium enterprises was QlikView, but by users from large enterprises was Microstrategy.

If you have any questions regarding our research or would like to read our reviews, please visit our BI section on IT Central Station at

Download our infographic in PDF format.

Cognos vs QlikView – Dancing with the Stars

This week at IT Central Station we present a comparison between two very popular BI Solutions. Check out these real user, crowdsourced reviews so you can find out what’s really happening with the tools you’re considering, such as Cognos vs QlikView.

Qlikview vs CognosCognos – “Valuable features include Dashboarding presentations of key metrics. Room for Improvement: Ability to easily manage source code and environment deployment, Pricing model is frequently changing and hard to manage and Maintenance fees were based on a percentage of the base cost, not the discounted price we paid which was a surprise the first year.” Read the full review here.

Another user writes: “IBM Cognos is a sprawling set of products aimed at providing a complete BI solution for organizations of all sizes, but specifically large organizations. Unlike some other offerings that incorporate data mining and predictive analytics capability, Cognos is targeted specifically at the traditional reporting and analysis tasks using a variety of presentation techniques. These include dashboards, graphs, charts, reports, tables and so on. For organizations that have not yet implemented an organization wide solution to this need Cognos is a prime candidate.” Read the full review here.

Qlikview – “For the user QlikView is a wonderful tool of data discovery, providing powerful tools to navigate easily between a sea of data in an intuitive, easy, and clear way, allowing them to go from facts to KPI and vice versa. Improvements to My Organization: Qlikview can be used both as an advanced reporting tool as well as an BI KPI tool, becoming the base for continuous process improvements. It is well know that the ETL is quite far away from leading products like Data Stagem Informatica and others. Currently Qliktech is working on this problem with Expressor, a powerful graphic dataflow tool. ” Read the full review here.

Interestingly, another user writes about Qlikview that “Qlikview is to reduce uncertainty, make the participants question, discover, interact with each other, and eventually improve the process. Properly used should function as an improvement catalyst for the processes involved. Room for Improvement: It is well know that the ETL is quite far away from leading products like Data Stagem Informatica and others.” Read the full review here.

Visit the Cognos vs QlikView  comparison to see these reviews—side-by-side dancing with each other!

Ok, let’s be realistic, it doesn’t have to be like dancing. Visit the site and hear what a real user who contributed a review on the “Yelp for Enterprise Tech,” as referred to by the Wall Street Journal on IT Central Station, is saying about the solution you are researching. You can also check out these other BI comparisons:

Confluence vs. Yammer vs. Jive vs. Chatter: Review Round-up for Enterprise Social Software

This week we present a review roundup of the latest reviews of enterprise social software from the IT Central Station community. Read what our real users have to say about the solutions they are using: Yammer vs. Jive vs. Chatter vs. Confluence. To see full product comparisons check out IT Central Station:

Confluence vs. Yammer

Jive vs. Chatter

Reviews of Enterprise Social Software From Real Users 

Yammer vs Jive vs Chatter vs Confluence

Yammer vs Jive vs Chatter vs Confluence

Confluence – “Before using Confluence we had the documentation spread across multiple shared drives and emails. Confluence gave us a chance to re-arrange the documents into a single repository and group the information logically in home page(s). I have called our home page a one-stop-shop for all team related links. Furthermore, other teams have created their own home pages and we are able to access each other spaces, sharing knowledge and know-how. When we do project work we can share the progress and develop documentation on the go while everyone has access to the latest version in real time. Talking about this, the thing I love about Confluence is that every document becomes a living document and we don’t need to wait until it is 100% ready, but start with a draft and develop in progress.” Read the full review here. 

Jive “Colleagues are more informed, easier to find content, silo breaking…In the beginning the big bang approach brought some problems for the NON-“Facebook” users, finding it very difficult to understand the concept of linking, sharing, following. I would not go for a big bang and rather guide users via a slow pilot approach. ” Read the full Jive review.

Yammer vs. Sharepoint “The huge difference between Facebook and Yammer is, Yammer is privateI like the idea of Yammer, but until Yammer is fluently integrated into SharePoint / SharePoint Online, it’s a hard way for us – SharePoint enthusiasts – to move customers, friends, co-workers on the Yammer train.” Read the comparison.

Chatter “I wish an organization could create a company-wide Chatter that automatically follows everyone else in the company so that widespread access was guaranteed. My own experience and that of our clients is that internal email significantly reduces when organisations start to use Chatter. Communication that would have taken place by email now takes place by Chatter. However because Chatter is a much more collaborative mechanism than email there’s an improvement in the quality of communication.” Read the review.

Read more Enterprise Social Software reviews of SharePoint, as well as Drupal, Confluence, Chatter, and many more. If you haven’t already, also check out one of our helpful comparison pages to see side-by-side reviews!

Harvard Business Review—Big Data Driving Evidence-Based Narratives

MoBig Datast of us would agree that the hype around this term has subsided but it’s still cool to say, “Big Data!”

Having the right Business Intelligence Tools to harvest the velocity, volume, and variety of data makes a huge impact on how you make evidence-based decisions. In a post in the Harvard Business Review, The Value of Big Data Isn’t the Data, Kristian J. Hammond describes coupling the power of data with a contextual narrative to provide more concrete actionable results.

Here’s an example from the post from:

“For the most part, we know what we want out of the data.  We know what analysis needs to be run, what correlations need to be found and what comparisons need to be made.  By taking what we know and putting it into the hands of an automated system that can do all of this and then explain it to us in human terms, or natural language, we can achieve the effectiveness and scale of insight from our data that was always its promise but, until now, has not been delivered.  By embracing the power of the machine, we can automatically generate stories from the data that bridge the gap between numbers and knowing.”

Let’s be fair though, not everyone needs the same “narrative” from their big data harvest. Actionable results can come from all kinds of triggers such as underutilized resources that need to be consolidated. Right-sizing the provisioning of network bandwidth at the enterprise level has a huge impact on customers and end-user experience. Business processes that support internal productivity can be adequately tweaked with or without a narrative.

Find out what others are doing—your peers using the solutions offered now—check out IT Central Station’s lineup of the most reviewed business intelligence solutions here.

Forrester Insights on B2B Social Media

Forrester’s Zachary Reiss-Davis has been writing noteworthy social media insights for IT Infrastructure CIOs, CEO’s, and Decision-Making VPs to consider.

Most would agree that we all have unique, organic experiences of social media—personally and professionally.

We don’t want to over indulge though, or do we?

Social Media

Zack’s find . . . “For business purposes, the No. 1 and No. 2 communities aren’t specific public social networks but “niche” communities focused on specific objectives. For example, business technology buyers might visit IT Central Station or Spiceworks to learn more about multiple competing technologies at once; alternatively, they might visit a community managed by a single brand, such as the Cisco Communities or SAP Community Network (SCN. . .
In Business, Everybody Uses Social Media For Work; The Question Is How

For B2B Social Media, we want to know when to engage and how—we desire to tag the emerging “beat” or sustainable cusp of importancethis grabs our attention.

In Zach’s research, we’re finding more and more that peers rely on other peers for vendor solution feedback a lot more than they used to and value it more than some analyst reports.

We’re here precisely for that!  Peers communicating with other peers about enterprise vendor solutions and no sales and marketing spins.

So on the social media side, strike a balance but do indulge in becoming a peer leader in your field by following Vendors, Solutions, and Products @ IT Central Station.

Follow Products IT Central Station

You can follow products, write reviews, and analyze what others in IT Infrastructure planning have done to make great decisions—what will you do next to add value to your IT Enterprise or your organization’s Strategic Plan?

Cost savings are not always compelling (enough) . . . from Gartner’s IT Research Director

Gartner’s Rob Addy gives us a run down of why VPs of IT Operations [CIO, CTOs] and Data Center Managers hesitate to purchase IT infrastructure improvements:

Cost savings are not always compelling (enough)

Addy describes when Gartner subscription holders would get a substantial membership discount if he could convince them to save big money—adopting some of Gartner’s recommendations. Now who wouldn’t want to save big money based on Gartner’s proven track record of IT vendor analysis across a worldwide market? The end-user clients he contacted surprised him—and not what anyone would predict—until you read them.

Cost Savings

The top reasons given for non-adoption varied considerably:
“I haven’t been asked to save money there”
“I’ll keep that in my back pocket in case I need to make more cuts later”
“I’d have to get agreement from too many people within my organization”
“It will mean changing our internal processes (and that is too hard)”
“The return isn’t worth the pain”
“I have too many other things on my plate and don’t have the time to do it”
“I’m not prepared to bear the additional risk, however small”

IT Central Station offers a compelling way to dig deeper into the cost-saving strategies available. We empower IT users, cut through vendor spam, enable social networking among IT pros.  Anyone can be on the front lines of what does well in Enterprise IT infrastructure—peer to peer.

Rob Addy’s take on how to address the non-adoption from even the most vetted Gartner recommendations is summarized as,

“In reality you may need to position a minimum of two stories. The official party line for corporate wellness improvement that will be used to explain the rationale behind the decision internally and the highly personalized and personal story for your buyer (or buyers).”

Where can you find these stories? Take a look at IT Central Station’s Reviews as a start .

IT Social Media finds its best address for CTOs, CIOs, and Decision Makers from IT Enterprise and Service Provider markets @ IT Central Station.

At IT Central Station, you can follow products and solutions along with ones you’re considering for near or long-term planning—all done anonymously.

CIOs and Hybrid IT—Clouds and Services

Now more than ever, CIOs must manage Hybrid IT environments. Just when you have a smooth—what seems like a perfect IT infrastructure—now you need to cut your budget and look to cloud computing for Infrastructure, Platform, and Software as a Service. IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS options now balance both internal and external resources effectively—Dang! Sustaining this mix, shows up in your CIO office like a bunch of cats in a room full of rocking chairs!

This won’t be too bad if you know how to stay on top of it—finding the most cost-effective solutions that keep up with the competition can be worth the work. If you don’t, someone else will.

Andy Burton, announced the following results at the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF)-sponsored conCloud Service Providersference on Cloud Outlook for the Enterprise in 2013 just a few days ago:

“The mix of on-premise, hosted or co-location, IaaS/PaaS services in Cloud and full SaaS delivery will, to varying degrees, be the standard mix for the majority of users over the coming year.”

Hybrid IT Industry Forum

Russell Rothstein—our Station Master here at IT Central Station—wants to provide you with the type of “buying journey” that allows you to view what’s out there from your peers before making a purchase.

Try before you buy!

Some of the Cloud Computing services allow you to “try before you buy.” It’s not like the old days when you could just crank up the bandwidth and availability requirements on your SLAs and all your apps would hum through your environment like a locomotive on time. Everyone’s now tweaking and squeezing to find the latest cost-effective solutions for business processes on demand.

At certain times, you might find it easier to strike up a conversation with an anonymous passenger [on a train], rather than with folks who you’re close to in your own organization. You’re not quite ready to discuss with the sales force who cannot say anything wrong about their services either.

For your IT Hybrid categories, take a look at the reviews from either of the Cloud Computing IaaS or PaaS links below.

Don’t let the train leave the station without you on it!



Patrick T Campbell