SolarWinds Logo
SolarWinds
4.6
  • Robust network management features
  • 30-day free trial
  • Streamline your help desk
Best Overall
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While we can't tell you exactly how SolarWinds fits into your network workflow, we feel confident in the platform as our #1 recommendation in 2022 for network automation. Along with extremely strong user reviews, SolarWinds also stood out to us due to its comprehensive set of features for different aspects of information technology (IT) and network security. Even though it isn't quite as approachable as user-friendly tools like Ansible, we found that it offers incredible flexibility once you get the hang of its systems.

We found that SolarWinds is a particularly good option for users that want to spend less time managing IT service desk requests. Incidents are stored automatically in a centralized interface, making it easy to monitor each issue, track its progress, and keep an eye on any complications that pop up. This service also integrates directly with IT asset management, helping users allocate resources as efficiently as possible.

SolarWinds doesn't offer any preset pricing tiers for network automation, but you can get an idea of how much you might pay for the service by getting a quote on its website. Visitors can either fill out a form and request a quote from a sales representative or build a quote for themselves by estimating their own needs. Each SolarWinds application also comes with a generous 30-day free trial.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Robust network management features
  • 30-day free trial
  • Streamline your help desk

Cons

  • Some users report issues with the SolarWinds support team

What Customers Are Saying

While we chose APPVIEW-X as the provider with the best user reviews due to its average score of 4.7, SolarWinds is just 0.1 behind at a strong 4.6. Customers are especially satisfied with the SolarWinds Service Desk, which is designed to streamline employee support services.

Summary

SolarWinds Logo
SolarWinds
  • Starting Price
    • Starts at
    • $1,687
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial, Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.6
APPVIEW-X Logo
APPVIEW-X
4.7
  • Unmatched customer feedback
  • Supports multicloud configurations
  • Integrates with many other applications
Best User Review Score
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User reviews play a vital role in our software evaluations, and APPVIEW-X immediately stood out to us as a platform with high levels of customer satisfaction. While Entuity has a slightly higher raw average score at 4.8 out of 5, APPVIEW-X is just slightly behind at 4.7. Furthermore, it has received three times as many reviews as Entuity, making the feedback more reliable with a larger sample size. APPVIEW-X is our choice as the provider with the best user reviews in 2022.

The APPVIEW-X team has offices in Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom as well as New York, Seattle, and Raleigh. While we weren't able to find any support hours or information about their availability, most users seemed to have positive experiences with the customer service team. Support is available through phone and email, but it doesn't appear to offer any live chat service.

APPVIEW-X comes with a custom subscription that's tailored to each user, so we can't predict how much you'll end up paying for the service. However, its strong user reviews indicate that users are mostly satisfied with the value they receive. You'll have the chance to work with a free demo before committing, so we would recommend contacting its team directly if you're interested in learning more about the service.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unmatched customer feedback
  • Supports multicloud configurations
  • Integrates with many other applications

Cons

  • Limited information about support

What Customers Are Saying

With an average review score of 4.7 out of 5, APPVIEW-X appears to be extremely popular among real users. We found consistent praise for its ease of use and thorough reporting features.

Summary

APPVIEW-X Logo
APPVIEW-X
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, Phone Support, Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.7
Entuity Logo
Entuity
4.8
  • Discovers new devices automatically
  • Responsive customer service
  • Comprehensive device management
Best Customer Service
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Customer service is always important, but it becomes even more relevant when you're managing network performance. Entuity gives users access to 24/7 support with a live agent on the other end, ensuring that you'll always be able to get help when you need it. Additionally, we found that its support is backed up by incredibly high marks in user reviews, with a 4.8 average and consistent praise from customers. It was easy for us to select Entuity as the network automation software in 2022 with the best customer service.

The Entuity Network Discovery tool enables users to discover new devices automatically. You can also set up manual or recurring snapshots to keep a record of how the devices on your network change over time. The application logs important data points automatically for each device including names, locations, internet protocol (IP) addresses, and device type. Even devices that aren't being managed by Entuity can be added as a custom device type so that you can adapt the interface to your real setup.

As with the other platforms we've evaluated on this list, we can't tell you what Entuity charges you for a monthly or annual subscription. While one reviewer felt that they were paying too much for the application, it's hard to say whether that represents the typical user's experience. We recommend talking to the Entuity sales team to learn more about its pricing system.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Discovers new devices automatically
  • Responsive customer service
  • Comprehensive device management

Cons

  • Limited user reviews

What Customers Are Saying

Entuity's sample of 24 reviewers was too small for us to award it "best user review score," but its raw average is actually higher than APPVIEW-X at 4.8 out of 5. While virtually every provider claims to offer responsive customer service, Entuity's support is backed up by universal praise from real users who have interacted with its team.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, Knowledge Base, Phone Support, 24/7 (Live Rep)
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.8
Ansible Logo
Ansible
4.5
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Positive reviews
  • Comprehensive automation tools
Easiest to Use
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Staying on top of your network performance can be incredibly complicated, and you don't want to deal with any additional challenges from your network automation software. It's impossible to predict how you'll feel about a particular application, but we found Ansible to be a strong recommendation for clients that are especially concerned with ease of use. With a clear interface, flexible functionality for a variety of situations, and an excellent reputation from customer reviews, it's our pick as the easiest network automation software to use in 2022.

While Ansible stood out to us due to its interface and design, that doesn't mean it falls short in terms of features or capabilities. The Red Hat Automation Platform comes with a thorough set of network automation tools including automation execution environments, a clear automation controller, comprehensive performance reports, and content collections that make it easier to set up the latest certified modules. However, we found more mixed information when it came to customer support.

Ansible offers custom quotes for two different network automation solutions. The Standard plan is designed for Enterprise IT and comes with eight hours of customer support, five days per week. However, Premium users gain access to full 24/7 service to help them resolve any unexpected issues around the clock. While there's no free trial currently available, you can start with a demo before paying for the Standard or Premium plan.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Positive reviews
  • Comprehensive automation tools

Cons

  • Unimpressive customer service

What Customers Are Saying

Ansible has a solid average review score of 4.5 out of 5, but we noticed that consumers had more complaints about customer service than any other aspect of the platform. While every user's experience is different, that's something to keep in mind if you go forward with an Ansible subscription.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    24/7 (Live Rep), Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.5
ManageEngine Logo
ManageEngine
4.5
  • 30-day free trial
  • Compatible with the latest versions of Windows
  • Average review score of 4.5 out of 5
Best Free Trial
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While we weren't able to find any network automation providers that offer a totally free plan, several different applications come with a free trial to give new users a taste of its services. ManageEngine's 30-day free trial differentiates it from most other services, and it's available for a long list of its platforms including access management, IT alert management, and cloud security as well as network automation. It's the best option in 2022 for clients that want the chance to work with an application before paying for a subscription.

ManageEngine publishes update details on its release notes page. While most updates don't seem to contain any major new features, it generally fixes many different issues and makes small enhancements and compatibility changes to keep the application current. For example, release 15.4 introduced support for Windows 11 as well as Windows Server 2022.

Like most of the other providers we've looked at, ManageEngine gives users access through a custom subscription that's built for their use case. Fortunately, the generous 30-day trial gives you plenty of time to see how valuable the platform is to your organization. ManageEngine also provides a variety of other services, so you may be able to leverage its tools for multiple areas of your business.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30-day free trial
  • Compatible with the latest versions of Windows
  • Average review score of 4.5 out of 5

Cons

  • Mediocre customer support

What Customers Are Saying

Like Ansible, ManageEngine had a strong average score, with particularly high marks on ease of use and overall functionality. Meanwhile, reviewers had similar concerns with respect to the responsiveness of the customer service team.

Summary

ManageEngine Logo
ManageEngine
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial, Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum, Knowledge Base, Phone Support, Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.5
SaltStack Logo
SaltStack
4.4
  • Free and open-source
  • Supports Linux
  • Receives consistent updates
Best for Linux
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While there's still an active community of Linux users that stick with the operating system for one reason or another, it can be difficult to find reliable software for certain tasks. We found that to be particularly true in the case of network automation, with Linux being a relative afterthought compared to other deployments. SaltStack made our list due to its continued support for Linux environments, with reviewers agreeing that it's a great tool for that specific use case. It's our choice as the best network automation software for Linux in 2022.

The SaltStack release notes page includes details about recent updates, and it seems to have received at least a decent level of support from the developers throughout 2021. Version 3003, for example, fixed a long list of lingering bugs and introduced many small features and functionalities to make the application even more robust. We expect the team to continue keeping SaltStack current well into the future.

While SaltStack was recently acquired by VMware, you can still download recent releases of the SaltStack platform on a separate site. Of course, functionality from SaltStack has also been integrated into the larger VMware service, which comes with custom pricing for each unique subscription. SaltStack itself is a free and open-source application, but it's also much less approachable than managed services that are built to streamline the setup process and offer out-of-the-box functionality for businesses and other organizations.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free and open-source
  • Supports Linux
  • Receives consistent updates

Cons

  • Less approachable than some alternatives

What Customers Are Saying

SaltStack's average review score of 4.4 puts it near the middle of network automation providers. The main complaint we saw in user reviews was that the platform is too complex to set up. While free access is obviously appealing, it's important to understand what you'll be getting into with open-source software that isn't managed by a service provider.

Summary

SaltStack Logo
SaltStack
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum, Knowledge Base, Phone Support
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.4
WhatsUp Gold Logo
WhatsUp Gold
4.4
  • Migrate quickly to standby system in the event of downtime
  • Receives new features regularly
  • Store and manage device logs
Best Failover Manager
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IT teams are always looking for ways to minimize downtime, but the reality is that there's no way to avoid the risk of an outage completely. When something goes wrong, you need to get your system back up and running as quickly as possible. The WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager ensures that your account migrates to a backup if your primary system goes down for any reason. Furthermore, you can customize the definition of a failure — for example, to only trigger the migration if a specific service goes down. WhatsUp Gold was an easy choice as the provider with the best failover manager in 2022.

In September 2021, WhatsUp Gold released software version 2021.1, giving users access to a new Log Management Archiving tool that enables managers to store custom device logs either on-premises or in the cloud. Subscribers can view and search stored logs within the WhatsUp Gold interface without having to work with each individual device.

After a free demo or trial, WhatsUp Gold gives you a quote in case you want to stick with its services. As with other providers, we weren't able to find any detailed information about its pricing system, so we can't predict how much it'll charge for your specific use case. Most customers seem to agree that the price is reasonable for the overall value, but that ultimately comes down to your unique experience with WhatsUp Gold.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Migrate quickly to standby system in the event of downtime
  • Receives new features regularly
  • Store and manage device logs

Cons

  • Mediocre customer reviews

What Customers Are Saying

At a 4.4 average score, WhatsUp Gold is slightly behind top alternatives like Entuity and SolarWinds. Users seem to appreciate its functionality, support, and pricing, but we found more mixed feedback for the application's ease of use.

Summary

WhatsUp Gold Logo
WhatsUp Gold
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial, Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum, Knowledge Base, Phone Support, 24/7 (Live Rep), Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.4
Syxsense Logo
Syxsense
4.6
  • Strong user reviews
  • Starts at $600 per year
  • Receives monthly updates
Clearest Pricing
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Every network is different, so it's no surprise that network automation providers typically offer bespoke solutions for each individual client. Meanwhile, waiting for a quote from every provider you're considering can lead to delays and inefficiencies in your network setup. Syxsense offers two clear subscription tiers: Manage, which starts at $600 per year for up to 10 devices; and Secure, which starts at $960 per year for up to 10 devices. While it doesn't provide exact rates for higher volumes, that should give you a ballpark of what you'll pay for its services. In a field with very limited information about costs, Syxsense is the provider with the clearest pricing system in 2022.

The Syxsense news page provides details about updates to the platform as well as other stories relevant to the network automation space. We noticed that it typically puts out a single monthly update with bug fixes based on recently identified vulnerabilities. The December 2021 patch, for example, fixed a total of 67 vulnerabilities including seven different critical threats.

Syxsense starts at $600 per year for up to 10 devices. The Manage plan comes with most key network automation features, but you'll need a Secure subscription, starting at $960 per year for up to 10 devices, to access the platform's full range of features. For example, Secure users gain access to device locations and timelines, threat alerts, live onboarding, and priority phone support.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Strong user reviews
  • Starts at $600 per year
  • Receives monthly updates

Cons

  • May be somewhat complex to set up

What Customers Are Saying

Syxsense has a solid average user review score of 4.6 out of 5. If there was any recurring criticism, it was that users had to spend some time getting used to the application before they felt totally comfortable with its design and functionality.

Summary

Syxsense Logo
Syxsense
  • Starting Price
    • Starting at $600 per Year for 10 Devices
  • Free Trial/Demo
    14-Day Free Trial
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum, Knowledge Base, Phone Support, 24/7 (Live Rep), Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.6
NetBrain Logo
NetBrain
4.5
  • Thorough informational resources
  • Solid customer reviews
  • Schedule a demo or try out NetBrain in a test environment
Best Training Documentation
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Implementing a new network automation service can be a daunting process, especially for teams with complex network setups. While NetBrain didn't earn high marks on ease of use in our research, we found that it compensates for that learning curve with a uniquely helpful set of educational resources. With on-demand videos, instructor-led training, certification courses, and a relatively active support forum, NetBrain offers the most robust training documentation of any application we've seen in 2022.

Unfortunately, the NetBrain website didn't give us much encouragement with respect to its support for the platform. With just two posts about updates in 2021 and not even one in 2020, it doesn't appear to receive the same attention from the developers that we've seen from some of the other applications on this list. This was especially surprising to us given that the blog continues to get roughly one post per month, even in the absence of any changes to the product.

Like most of the other listed providers, NetBrain offers custom quotes rather than predetermined subscriptions. Due to a relatively small sample of user reviews, we weren't able to get a clear idea of how it's priced compared to other leading network automation services. New users have the option to either schedule a demo with the sales team or work with NetBrain on their own in a test-drive environment.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Thorough informational resources
  • Solid customer reviews
  • Schedule a demo or try out NetBrain in a test environment

Cons

  • More complex than some other platforms

What Customers Are Saying

NetBrain doesn't have as many reviews as leading competitors like Ansible and SolarWinds, but most of the feedback we found seemed to be positive. Some users appear to have trouble getting started, but that shouldn't be as much of an issue if you take some time to go through its training resources.

Summary

NetBrain Logo
NetBrain
  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.5
Puppet Logo
Puppet
4.3
  • Comprehensive integrations and how-to guides
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Offers many different automation and infrastructure services
Best Integrations
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The easier it is to connect your network automation software to the other applications you use, the less of a hassle it is to get your network running smoothly. While all major network automation providers offer integrations with third-party software, Puppet seemed to offer the smoothest connections. It connects with leading applications like Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware, Cisco, and Red Hat, but it also offers detailed guides to many popular integrations through the Puppet Forge. For example, we found a thorough article explaining how to export data from Puppet to Splunk for a more detailed analysis. Puppet is our pick in 2022 for users who want to integrate Puppet seamlessly into their current workflow.

Like NetBrain, Puppet catalogs updates on its website. Also like NetBrain, Puppet had a relatively discouraging update history with only a few releases in all of 2021. Additionally, those updates seemed to make minor changes, which means that Puppet has been in mostly the same form for a year or longer.

Puppet providesmany different services including Bolt (task orchestrator), Relay (event-driven automation), and Remediate (vulnerability remediation). Naturally, pricing depends on the services you need and the specifics of your particular use case. Similar to NetBrain, many Puppet users noted that the learning curve was relatively steep, so you should expect to work through an onboarding process before getting up to speed.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Comprehensive integrations and how-to guides
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Offers many different automation and infrastructure services

Cons

  • Mixed user reviews

What Customers Are Saying

Puppet's average score of 4.3 out of 5 isn't bad, but it's still the lowest of any provider we covered. In particular, the score was pulled down by reviewers who felt that the application was too cumbersome and inaccessible for an automation program.

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Custom Quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Customer Support
    Email/Help Desk, FAQs/Forum, Knowledge Base, Phone Support, 24/7 (Live Rep), Chat
  • Customizable Configuration
    Yes
Ratings
  • User Review Score 4.3

How We Chose the Best Network Automation Software

Staying on top of your network needs isn't a big deal when you're just starting out, but it can quickly get complicated as your organization begins to grow. Even relatively small teams can have complex network needs, particularly in an environment with so many remote and hybrid employees.

Network automation and monitoring software is a virtual necessity for any organization that's having trouble managing its network. While each team has different needs (and a different budget), we looked at these four factors to identify the 10 best overall providers available in 2022.

Network Tools

First, you'll need to identify what you want out of network automation software. From there, you can search for applications that align with those pain points and goals.

While each application has unique strengths and weaknesses, we found that SolarWinds is the best overall option for several reasons including its comprehensive functionality, 30-day free trial, and strong performance in user reviews.

Ease of Use

If you're looking for network automation software, you're probably having trouble keeping your network workflow manageable. Naturally, you don't want to spend money on an application that doesn't make your life easier.

Ease of use starts with the platform's visual interface, but it also includes several other factors. For example, an application that integrates with other software you use is easier to implement without disturbing your existing practices. While ease of use is somewhat subjective, we named Entuity the easiest service to use in 2022.

Customer Service

In the modern market, companies can't afford any downtime or other delays in their network or application delivery. Every second you spend waiting for a response from the customer service team is time taken away from the rest of your business.

To evaluate each provider's customer service, we started by looking at the different types of support they offer, such as phone, email, and live chat. Naturally, we also considered their hours and regional availability as well as user reviews. We selected Entuity as the provider with the best overall customer service offerings in 2022.

Pricing

Finally, you can't complete your evaluation of a particular network automation provider without taking its pricing into account. The more you spend on your network software, the more effective it has to be to be worth the investment.

Of course, organizations of different sizes have very different budgets when it comes to network automation. With that in mind, we looked for applications at all possible price points. We also considered demos and trials, which give users a chance to test out software before spending any money. ManageEngine was our selection as the provider with the best free trial due to its generous 30-day introductory period.

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