SolarWinds’ Observability offers visibility into hybrid-cloud infrastructure

SolarWinds Observability, the company's new SaaS offering, provides management insight into distributed, hybrid, and multi-cloud IT environments.

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SolarWinds, is has launched a cloud-native, SaaS-based, IT-management service that is also available for hybrid-cloud environments.

Called Observability, the service provides a holistic, integrated overview of enterprise IT systems, using a single interface to track data from network, infrastructure, application, and database sources, says the company, which is noted for its suite of IT management software. The new service’s machine-learning techniques are designed to bolster security via anomaly detection.

Solar winds said the service is available as a cloud-native offering on Azure and AWS clouds, with a Google Cloud version in the works for next year. A hybrid-cloud version is also available for deployment in users’ data centers.

As deployment of cloud and hybrid-cloud applications gained momentum over the past few years, leading to increasing infrastructure complexity, the term "observability" gained currency, denoting the ability of a system to provide a high-level overview of IT infrastructure as well as granular metrics, to allow for efficient network and security management.

“[W]e’re laying the foundation for autonomous operations through both monitoring and observability solutions,” said SolarWinds chief product officer Rohini Kasturi in a statement. “With our Hybrid Cloud Observability and SolarWinds Observability offerings, customers have ultimate flexibility to deploy on a private cloud, public cloud, or as a service.”

It’s an important step forward for SolarWinds, according to Gartner VP analyst Gregg Siegfried, for multiple reasons. For one thing, he said, the company’s traditional products are packaged in a somewhat siloed way—so server monitoring and network monitoring are completely different products, though they all use similar management consoles and integrate with Solar Winds' Orion platform. Integrating the way products are sold then, is crucial.

“When you think about the visibility platforms of today, the idea is that you’re able to look at these things more holistically, so the most important thing is being able to do that,” he said.

Another reason that Observability is likely to prove critically important to SolarWinds’ position in the market is that it marks a shift away from the company’s traditional focus on on-premises solutions. Siegfried said that SolarWinds has been losing market share to several companies as businesses increasingly move core IT operations out of the data center and into cloud environments.

“Bottom line is that they’ve been bleeding share as people move into the cloud because the Orion [IT monitoring] product doesn’t support cloud-native workloads,” he said, noting that while Orion can be used to monitor cloud IaaS or be used like any other virtual machine, it does not support applications like database-as-a-service or function-as-a-service. “[Observability], in theory, provides a migration path to those who are still on Orion as they migrate to the cloud.”

SolarWinds’ reputation in the marketplace is still recovering from the highly publicized cyberattack in 2020, in which hackers backed by the Russian government compromised US government systems at least partially via security flaws in SolarWinds’ products.

“They still have a sizeable customer base, and certainly the damage to their reputation continues,” noted Siegfried. “But they’ve taken the right communications steps and made tangible changes to the way they do things, they’re certainly trying to right the ship, and these types of solutions are all important ways to broaden their appeal.”

Observability has elastic pricing, based on the type of service purchased and the size of the environment to be managed—application observability is priced per app instance, log observability is priced per GB per month, and so on. The product is available now.

(This story has been updated to clarify comments about SolarWinds products in the sixth and ninth paragraphs.)

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