One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. I love to cook! I try to make all sorts of different dishes for my wife. I am a big fan of those copycat recipe websites. Maybe you’ve seen them … they’ll take dishes from popular chain restaurants and then reverse engineer them. Often times, they’ll result in something that approximates a dish but rarely captures the dish completely. The other day while making a parmesan crusted chicken taste-alike recipe it occurred to me that you don’t only see this with food.

When you work for a software company who makes a commercially supported, award winning product, it’s not unusual to have free alternatives that compete with your offering. I talk to many customers and potential customers all the time and invariably I get asked “What about <product X>?” where Product X is a freely available package that has some of the functionality of some of the many modules we offer.

For the moment, let’s say you have SolarWinds for your IPAM / DNS solution and you’re looking for an easy, supported way to integrate that into vRealize Automation, there’s two ways you can do this. First, there’s the SovLabs SolarWinds DNS and IPAM Module for vRealize Automation. There’s also a free SolarWinds vRealize Orchestrator package provided by SolarWinds.

Which should you pick?

If you work in an enterprise-level environment, a commercially supported solution is usually the way to go. If you are running vRealize Automation by VMware then chances are you or your management should inherently understand this already. Your customers are counting on you to provide a level of performance, reliability, and accountability with your cloud infrastructure.

Often times when a vendor releases a “free” solution, what they’re really offering is a bare-bones, rudimentary framework that could be used to provide some functionality with a lot of elbow grease. It’s usually not supported.

What happens when you upgrade your SolarWinds device? What happens when you upgrade vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestrator? Will it continue to function without modification? These are important considerations to keep in mind.

If you cobble together a solution, don’t be surprised if you own it for the rest of your career. As someone who worked at a company where some of my solutions lived for years after I left a position, it was a terrible feeling to get called on to support something that had been hastily written to solve an immediate problem only to find it had taken on a life of its own after I’d left that position. My advice is don’t let that happen to you. If there’s a superior off-the-shelf solution, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Try it out! SovLabs offers free trials and will even help you implement it in your test environment. Put our solution up against freeware and see if you can ever go back to traveling by bus once you’ve flown first class!

The SovLabs offering is a complete end-to-end, commercially supported solution where the SolarWinds vRealize Orchestrator package is a DIY solution. You have to be comfortable writing and maintaining custom workflows and developing your own integration logic. None of the advanced features that exist in the SovLabs offering are there right out of the box. We give you a consistent, seamless experience that supports a slew of IPAM / DNS providers all in a single interface.

Here is a chart that breaks down the technical differences between the SolarWinds vRealize Orchestrator package provided by SolarWinds and SovLabs SolarWinds DNS and IPAM Module for vRealize Automation.

Solarwinds and SovLabs Feature Comparison


As always, you have to make the choice that’s right for your business. In our experience, most vRealize Automation users want to spend their time designing blueprints and not reinventing the wheel. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to figuring out how to spruce up my DIY Bloomin’ Onion-inspired recipe at home!

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