SAM licensing model

Two types of licenses are available for SolarWinds SAM:

If you're not sure what type of license you have, see Determine your license type. This section also describes how to manage your license and provides SAM Licensing FAQs.

Node-based licensing

SolarWinds offers node-based licensing for SAM that governs the number of managed nodes in your environment.

A "managed node" is any entity from which data is extracted directly via an Orion polling method such as SNMP, ICMP, WMI, agents, or API. Data pulled through these polling methods populate advanced SAM features such as AppInsight, templates, component monitors, Asset Inventory, Hardware Health, and more. The licensing structure is the same, regardless of the polling method.

Typically, a node is a server, but it can also be a VM, hypervisor, external node, or external service. For example, if you monitor a VM directly, it counts as a managed node; if you get performance data via the parent hypervisor, individual VMs on the hypervisor do not count as managed nodes.

Count the number of managed nodes in your environment to determine the most suitable license tier.

SAM License Tiers
(node-based licensing)
Number of Managed Nodes
SAM10 10
SAM25 25
SAM50 50
SAM75 75
SAM100 100
SAM200 200
SAM300 300
SAM400 400
SAM500 500
SAM600 600
SAM700 700
SAM800 800
SAM900 900
SAM1000 1000
SAM1250 1250
SAM1500 1500
SAM2000 2000
SAM2500 2500
SAM3000 3000
SAM4000 4000
SAM5000 5000

Click here for a short video (2:05) about node-based licensing.

If you're currently using component-based licensing, contact SolarWinds Sales to convert license types.

Additional Polling Engines and node-based licenses

With a node-based SAM license, extra licenses are not required for Additional Polling Engines (APEs) that you can use to scale out larger SAM environments by distributing polling away from the main polling engine to one or more APEs. This can improve your monitoring capacity, increase the performance of the Orion Web Console, and help ensure high availability.

The SAM APE benefits from the latest Orion Installer which allows for easier upgrades and less management of the APE.

After applying the main SAM license, run the SolarWinds Orion Installer to set up an Additional Polling Engine. When prompted to select a Server Role, select the "Additional Polling Engine for Server & Application Monitor" option.

If you use other Orion Platform products that do not require extra licenses for Additional Polling Engines, option text in the Orion Installer varies. For example, if SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor is also installed, the option appears as "Additional Polling engine for Server & Application Monitor, Storage Resource Monitor."

See Scalability Engine Guidelines for SolarWinds products for tips about growing your SAM environment. You can also watch a short video (:58) about the Enterprise-class scalability of Orion products.

Component-based licensing

A component-based SAM license determines how many assigned component monitors you are allowed. A component monitor provides a statistic that you want to monitor in SAM. You can use as many application monitor templates and component monitors as needed, as long as the number of assigned component monitors doesn't exceed the license count.

The value returned by a component monitor is a measurement of application health and availability that needs to be monitored. It can be a process, service, performance counter, port, URL, User Experience Monitor, Nagios script, or something similar.

  • An application typically consumes 15 — 25 component monitors.
  • AppInsight for Active Directory consumes 50 component monitors per monitored domain controller.
  • AppInsight for Exchange consumes 50 component monitors per monitored mailbox role server.
  • AppInsight for IIS consumes 30 component monitors per monitored IIS server.
  • AppInsight for SQL consumes 50 component monitors per database instance.
  • The Windows Scheduled Task Monitor consumes 5 component monitors per Windows server.

For component-based licensing, Asset Inventory data collection does not count against your SAM license.

Click here for a short video (3:16) about component-based licensing.

If you exceed the license limit, component monitors beyond the limit are not activated and statuses change to Not Licensed. Either disable assigned component monitors to reduce your total assigned monitor count, or contact SolarWinds Sales to upgrade your license.

The following table lists component-based licenses, or you can convert to a node-based license.

SAM License Tiers
(component-based licensing)
Number of Monitored Components
AL150 150
AL300 300
AL700 700
AL1100 1100
AL1500 1500
AL2500 2500
ALX Unlimited number of items to monitor standard polling throughput.

To verify the number of consumed and available component monitors in your license, access the SAM License Summary in the Orion Web Console.

  1. Click Settings > All Settings.
  2. Under Product Specific Settings, click SAM Settings.
  3. Click SAM License Summary.

Verify the component monitors consumed per template

SAM licenses do not have to mirror the license count of other installed SolarWinds products. For example, you can install SAM with a 150-component license on an NPM server with an unlimited node license.

​Example: The Apache template has 8 available licensed component monitors. If you have an AL150 license and assign all 8 component monitors in this template to a node, the balance of remaining licenses is 142 (150-8 = 142). If you assign only 5 of the 8 component monitors to a node, the balance of remaining licenses is 145 (150-5=145).

To view the number of licensed component monitors per template in SAM:

  1. Click Settings > All Settings > SAM Settings.
  2. Under Product Specific Settings, click SAM Settings
  3. Under Application Monitor Templates, click Manage Templates.
  4. Review the Licensed Components column amount per template.

Determine your license type

To check the type of SAM license you have in the Orion Web Console:

  1. Click Settings > All Settings > License Details.
  2. Examine the SAM section of the License Details page:

You can also determine your license type in the SolarWinds Customer Portal.

  1. Log into the SolarWinds Customer Portal.
  2. Click Licenses > Manage Licenses.
  3. Scroll down to the Server & Application Monitor row.


Manage your SAM license

Like other Orion Platform products, SAM uses the web-based License Manager to license the Orion server, Additional Polling Engines (APE), Additional Web Servers (AWS), and High Availability (HA) pools.

To manage SAM and other licenses after you install SAM:

  1. Log into the Orion Web Console.
  2. Click Settings > All Settings.
  3. Click License Details in the Details section.

  1. Click License Manager.

You can sort licenses by product name, version, license type, or expiration date. You can also add a license, upgrade a license to a new tier, and activate licenses on new servers. The License Manager on the Orion server controls all licenses for your SAM environment, including scalability engines.

If the License Manager prompts you to activate your SAM license, use your individual Customer ID (also called a "SWID") to log into the SolarWinds Customer Portal. If you do not know your Customer ID, enter a Support ticket.

SAM licensing FAQs

We currently have a component-based license. What are our upgrade options?

You can continue with component-based licensing and upgrade to a tier with more capacity, or you can convert to node-based licensing at a fixed conversion rate. If you opt to convert your component-based license to a node-based license, the following table outlines comparable levels of licensing.

Component-based Tier
(what you have now)
Node-based Tier
(what you can convert to)
AL150 SAM10
AL300 SAM25
AL700 SAM50
AL1100 SAM75
AL1500 SAM100
AL2500 SAM200
ALX SAM300

Contact SolarWinds Sales for details.

How does a SAM license relate to other Orion Platform product licenses?

Your SAM license interacts additively with other SolarWinds licenses. For example, if you have NPM SL500 (500 nodes and 500 volumes) installed with SAM AL150 (a component-based license), you can monitor:

  • 650 nodes (500 NPM nodes + 150 SAM nodes)

  • 650 volumes (the number of volumes matches the node count)

  • 500 interfaces monitored with SNMP

  • 150 component monitors

  • An unlimited number of interfaces polled using WMI

How do I activate licenses offline?

If you installed an Orion Platform product on a computer without Internet access, the web-based License Manager guides you through offline activation. See Activate Licenses for Orion Platform products.

In the offline activation mode, you cannot activate a license for a product that is not installed.

Node-based licensing FAQs

What is a managed node?

A node is an entity in which data is extracted directly via an Orion polling method such as SNMP, ICMP, WMI or API. Data pulled through these polling methods populate advanced SAM features such as AppInsight, templates, components, Asset Inventory, Hardware Health, and more.

Does a hypervisor count as a managed node?

If you’re monitoring the hypervisor then it counts as a managed node.

Does a VM count as a managed node?

If you’re monitoring the VM directly then it counts as a managed node, if you're getting performance data via the parent hypervisor, individual VMs on the hypervisor do not count as managed nodes.

Does an external node or service count as a managed node?

If the external node or service, such as an Azure VM or Office 365, is monitored directly via an API or SAM template then it counts as a managed node.

This includes SAM SaaS and PaaS monitoring abilities.

We switched from component-based licensing to node-based licensing for SAM. How do we install the Additional Polling Engines that do not require an extra license?

After applying the main SAM license, run the SolarWinds Orion Installer to set up an Additional Polling Engine. The Orion Installer checks all SolarWinds licenses on the main polling engine to determine which scalability engines can be installed. When prompted to select a Server Role, select the "Additional Polling Engine for Server & Application Monitor" option.

Note the following details about installing Additional Polling Engines:

  • If you use other Orion Platform products that do not require extra licenses for Additional Polling Engines, installation options vary. For example, if SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor is also installed, the option appears as "Additional Polling engine for Server & Application Monitor, Storage Resource Monitor."

  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) doesn't support Additional Polling Engines that do not require extra licenses. If you have SAM and NPM, only SAM can use those Additional Polling Engines.

What happens if SAM monitoring exceeds the current node-based license?

If polling detects an application that isn't being monitored because the node isn't licensed, a message appears in the Orion Web Console Message Center. Either stop monitoring another managed node to reduce your total managed node count, or contact SolarWinds Sales to upgrade your license.

Component-based licensing FAQs

Is component-based licensing always based on component monitors?

Technically, it is based on the highest number of nodes, volumes, and component monitors, but in most cases, the number of component monitors is the highest factor. There may be some instances where volumes or nodes would be the highest factor. For example, with an AL300 you can monitor 300 nodes, 300 volumes AND 300 Component Monitors but you cannot exceed the 300 count on any of those entities.

For reference, NPM is licensed by the largest number of the following element types:

  • Nodes: include entire devices (routers, switches, servers, APs)
  • Interfaces: include switch ports, physical/virtual interfaces, VLANs, port channel interfaces. Interface count is usually the largest. (Unmanaged interfaces also use up a license. To prevent interfaces from consuming a license, remove them.)
  • Volumes: are equal to the logical disks you monitor.

Can I disable some component monitors in an AppInsight template to reduce my overall license count?

AppInsight applications provide tremendous value within SAM while consuming a fixed number component monitor licenses. However, they cannot be partially unlicensed because the way they collect data differs significantly from traditional application monitor templates. You can disable some component monitors within AppInsight applications but they will not reclaim component monitor licenses because AppInsight applications typically monitor far greater than 50 components.