IT Monitoring Comparison:  Solarwinds, PRTG, and Longitude

October 16, 2018 | Heroix Staff

Monitoring Comparison: Longitude, Solarwinds, and PRTGIT professionals are constantly on the hunt for technologies that help them automate problem detection, enabling them to be proactive rather than reactive.

Automated IT monitoring – the monitoring of the IT infrastructure and accompanying applications for performance, availability, and capacity problems is a must have in IT's arsenal.

Here we take a brief look at 3 well known technologies: Solarwinds, PRTG, and Longitude and see how they compare to each other.


Solarwinds Orion

Prerequisites: .NET, IIS, and SQL Server

The recommend configuration is to place the Orion installation and the required SQL database on separate servers. A fully dedicated SQL server is preferred, for smaller installations SQL Express can be used (10GB database size limit).

High Availability is integrated into Orion and is licensed per pool. When a primary server is "pooled" with a secondary server, the secondary server will take over when the primary goes down. 


Prerequisites: .NET

Other than .NET everything else comes with the PRTG installation including a built-in web server and database.

High Availability is integrated into PRTG. A single fail-over cluster is included. For more than one fail-over node additional licenses are required. Keep in mind clustering can affect performance.


Prerequisites: None

Longitude's Windows based installation is self-contained and comes with everything needed to function including a built-in web server and database.

Longitude leverages existing constructs wherever possible to meet the vendor's design goals of simplicity and light footprint.

For example, a Longitude Console that is installed on a VM can readily take advantage of the High Availability features inherent in virtualized infrastructures - often with little or no additional configuration.


Solarwinds Orion

The Orion Web Console operates from within a browser and provides role-based access to all of Orion’s capabilities.  In addition, multiple Orion servers can roll up to an Enterprise Operations Console for viewing.

Management from a mobile device is licensed separately and is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry. 


The PRTG Web Interface operates from within a browser and provides role-based access to PRTG capabilities. In addition, a windows application – the Enterprise Console -- can connect to multiple PRTG servers to manage settings and view alarms.

Management from a mobile device is available for both iOS and Android.


The Longitude Web UI operates from within a browser and provides role-based access to Longitude’s capabilities. The main interface itself is uncluttered and quite simple to navigate and understand.

The Longitude Web UI provides access to the most common monitoring, reporting, and dash-boarding capabilities. Those looking to take advantage of even more elaborate capabilities can access an “Advanced” menu.

Management from a tablet or phone is available via a web interface optimized for mobile devices.

Scaling and Discovery

Solarwinds Orion

Orion isn’t a single application rather it consists of a number of products. The technology scales with both centralized and distributed monitoring models. 

Orion comes with multiple discovery methods. For example devices can be scanned for applications, users can also indicate what specific applications to scan for. Keep in mind there are often prerequisites on the target devices that must be met before discovery is successful and not all applications are going to be automatically discovered.

Polling Engines provide for distributed collection and roll-up of metrics from branch locations to a central console.


PRTG is a single application. Remote Probes can be distributed throughout the environment to collect and roll up key performance indicators (KPIs) to a PRTG core server. In addition, multiple PRTG core servers can be deployed (although less than ideal as the Enterprise Console is then needed to see all alarms). 

PRTG provides its users with quite a bit of flexibility in terms of what to discover, where, and how often. PRTG can recommend what to monitor on a device, also users can build templates of the specific metrics (sensors in PRTG nomenclature) that they’d like to discover and monitor. Discovery can also occur on a scheduled basis.


LongitudeLongitude is a single application. Longitude Statistics Servers can be distributed throughout the environment to collect and roll up KPIs to the Longitude console.

Longitude is optimized to collect and send KPIs to the Longitude Console at different time intervals based on the criticality and volatility of the KPIs, this enables the Longitude Console to process massive environments.

Longitude’s Discovery mechanism is multifaceted:

  • Longitude's discovery is application based. For example, when Longitude is configured to monitor SQL Server, it automatically knows the performance and availability metrics to collect, how often to collect them, and more importantly what to evaluate for problem determination.

  • Longitude also regularly discovers changes within a monitored application or server. For example, when monitoring a SQL Server if additional databases, disks, or services are added Longitude will automatically detect and start monitoring.

  • A command line interface allows users to script the discovery of devices and applications based on their environment’s unique requirements.


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Solarwinds Orion 

The Dashboards “Views” in Solarwinds’ nomenclature, are highly configurable and allow users to display resources (each resource is a pane within a View).

Resources can be performance based as well as event based. Resources can also be displayed in top “x” format, in maps, as well as a wide range of charts and graphs. Configuration is quite easy using the web interface.  


PRTG is device-centric and organizes the devices being monitored into a "Tree" of hierarchical groups.

The display will then identify what sensor (i.e. CPU usage) is problematic with a color change, in addition more detail can be displayed via a graph. A device can reside on one branch of the Tree only.

In addition, PRTG’s Sunburst view does a good job of providing a consolidated view of problem areas. Dashboards can be created and modified via a drag and drop and include displaying maps

Alerts can be displayed separately and can be shown as text or as gauges.


Longitude’s default dashboards are be both device-centric and application-centric. Devices can be categorized using multiple user defined criteria.

Longitude’s tree structure allows for devices to reside on multiple branches (i.e. a tree could have branches based on business service, geography, on-premises vs cloud, and any other user defined criteria). The dashboards allow users to quickly identify how problems are affecting their environment without having to drill for detail.

Users looking to expand beyond Longitude’s tree view (i.e. incorporate their own maps, Visio diagrams, flowcharts, or for the display deeper diagnostics) can create more elaborate displays by accessing Longitude’s “Advanced” menu option.


Solarwinds Orion

Solarwinds Orion provides all kinds of flexibility for scheduling when alerts should be generated. Alerts can be generated based on an application failure, a component within an application failing, or the more complex combination of components failing.

Action that can be taken include emailing, SMS, logging, creating a ServiceNow incident, executing a script to fix the problem, and more.


PRTG offers users the ability to schedule when notification of alerts can occur. Alerts can be generated based on any number of criteria. PRTG’s Device Tree makes it easy for users to create alert settings (including dependencies) that can then be inherited anywhere throughout the Tree.

Action that can be taken include emailing, SMS, logging, assigning a ticket, executing a script to fix the problem, and more.


Longitude alertingLongitude can trigger alert actions such as email, Text to pager, SMS text to phone, SNMP trap, executing a script, and more.

Alert action scheduling is easy to implement and very flexible.

Users can also leverage Longitude’s event correlation engine to easily build alerting dependencies and automated problem escalation. Properly implemented event correlation can dramatically reduce the number of alerts, allowing IT to focus on the most critical problems.



Comes with a large number of built-in reports and also allows for the creation of custom reports. Both tabular and chart-based reports are supported. Users can leverage a report writer to either change the built-in reports or create new reports. As Solarwinds relies on a SQL back-end, users can also use SQL queries to alter the report criteria.


PRTG’s is delivered with several pre-configured reports. However, the reporting engine allows users to create reports based on any of the data that PRTG collects. Both tabular and chart-based reports are supported. Users can also generate reports of their dashboard displays.



A wide variety of pre-configured reports are shipped for all the device types and applications Longitude monitors, giving users instant reporting. Both tabular and chart-based reports are supported. Users can also opt for the “Advanced” report writer for access to even more sophisticated reporting capabilities.

In addition to reporting on performance and availability, Longitude provides reports for problem/alert history as well as Service Level Agreement compliance.

Longitude’s Capacity Planner allows users to use collected virtualization data to perform “what if” analysis and determine how changes to the virtual infrastructure will affect performance.



Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and Network Performance Monitor (NPM) are licensed by the number of components being monitored – a performance counter, a service, a URL, a script, and so on. Solarwinds estimates an application typically consumes about 15-20 components. Objects that are enumerated (i.e.  switch ports in NPM) each contribute to the count.


PRTG is licensed by the number of sensors such as the CPU load on a machine, a port of a switch, a specific URL or the traffic of a network connection. PRTG estimated that a device typically consumes about 10 sensors. Objects that are enumerated (i.e. services, disks, NICs) each contribute individually to the sensor count.


Longitude PricingLongitude Enterprise Edition is priced based per managed device.

A managed device is a Windows Server, Unix/Linux Server, or SNMP based device.

Users can monitor an unlimited number of metrics and applications on a manage device.

In addition, Longitude Enterprise Edition licenses come with a pool of “Transactions” which allow users to test for the availability of specified protocols (i.e. DNS, FTP, PING, HTTP, and more). Transactions can be leveraged anywhere in the environment and don't count against manage devices.


When assessing which technology is right for you:

  • Consider the amount of time and resources that you will have at your disposal in order to realize the product’s full potential.

    A product can have all the capabilities in the world, but if you can't adequately leverage it (or leverage cost effectively), the value is greatly diminished.

  • Can you live with any limitations as to the number or type key performance indicators that can be monitored in your IT environment?

    As IT monitoring’s value is truly realized, consider how your IT monitoring requirements will broaden? What will the true cost of covering your environment be?


The Longitude approach to IT Monitoring

Longitude endeavors to deliver comprehensive monitoring, reporting, and data visualization for your IT environment.

Ultimately, the technology’s mission is to reduce downtime, preempt problems, and make the most efficient use of IT's personnel and financial resources by:
  • Monitoring the most critical technologies

  • Implementing with no fuss

  • Requiring minimal ongoing IT administration

  • Pricing that is fair and all inclusive. All inclusive pricing allows IT to unleash the full potential of the monitoring technology.  



Comprehensive IT Monitoring

Easy & Affordable: Try Longitude Today

Try our Live Longitude Demonstration.  Access our online demo environment, see how to set up IT monitoring, view dashboards, problem events, reports and alerts.

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