Documentation forServer & Application Monitor

SAM licensing model

This section describes the two types of licensing available for SAM:

Additional topics include:

The Orion Platform now supports both perpetual licenses and subscription licenses. Click here for details.

Node-based licensing

Introduced in SAM 6.9.1, node-based licensing governs the number of managed nodes in your SAM environment, allowing you to monitor an unlimited number of component monitors on each node.

In this context, "managed node" refers to any entity from which SAM extracts data directly via a supported polling method (such as SNMP or WMI), Orion agents, or API requests. Typically, a managed node is a server, but can also be a VM, hypervisor, or Nutanix cluster, as well as an external node, remote API, or service.

A VM being monitored directly counts as a managed node. However, individual VMs on a hypervisor do not count as managed nodes when performance metrics are gathered from the parent hypervisor. In that case, the parent hypervisor is the managed node.

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

*Additional tiers are available. Contact SolarWinds Sales for details.

Add polling engines to scale your environment

In the Orion Platform, an Additional Polling Engine (APE) is a type of scalability engine that you can add to any SAM environment, regardless of license type, to:

  • Distribute polling away from the Main Polling Engine,
  • Boost Orion Web Console performance, and
  • Help ensure high availability.

If using node-based licensing in SAM 6.9.1 or later, you can add APEs at no extra licensing cost. Note the following details about "included" APEs:

  • They collect SAM and basic Orion Platform data only. For example, APEs can return application metrics, plus basic node status and volume metrics, but not NPM interface data.
  • If using the unified SAM license key (SAM 2020.2 and later), polling engine licenses are stacked automatically. You can monitor up to 40,000 component monitors per server at standard polling frequencies. If you exceed that limit, polling intervals are automatically extended. Scalability is built-in.
  • APE port requirements match Main Polling Engine port requirements.

To learn more about APEs, see:

To maximize polling capacity, see Best practices for application monitor polling.

Component-based licensing

A component-based SAM license determines how many assigned component monitors you are allowed. As described here, SAM application monitor templates contain multiple component monitors that each track a different statistic and consume one license.

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. The Windows Scheduled Task Monitor consumes 5 component monitors per Windows server.

You can use as many component monitors as needed, as long as the number of assigned component monitors doesn't exceed the license count. If you exceed a license limit, component monitors beyond the limit are not activated and their statuses change to Not Licensed. Either disable assigned component monitors to reduce your total assigned monitor count, or upgrade your license. This also applies to API Poller metrics.

Asset Inventory data collection does not count against a component-based SAM license.

The following table lists component-based license levels.

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, navigate to the SAM License Summary:

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

Note the following details about component-based licensing:

  • 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.
  • 2 Additional Polling Engines can be installed on a single server. License stacking is supported.
  • To maximize polling capacity, see Best practices for application monitor polling.

Verify the component monitors consumed per template

As described in detail here, each predefined SAM template includes one or more component monitors designed to monitor a server, application, or process. You can assign templates to nodes to create application monitors (sometimes called "applications) that are specific to that node. For most SAM application monitors, you can add or remove component monitors, or disable component monitors, as necessary. Each active component monitor in an application monitor counts against your license.

​Example: The Apache template includes 9 component monitors that retrieve server statistics from the built-in Apache server-status web page on Linux systems. 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 consumed 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.

AppInsight applications consume licenses at flat rates

Note that AppInsight applications consume a fixed number of component monitor licenses; you cannot add component monitors and many component monitors cannot be disabled. Due to the complex AppInsight templates that these application monitors are based on, they cannot be partially unlicensed because the way they collect data differs significantly from traditional SAM templates.

Although you can disable some components within AppInsight applications, that won't reclaim component monitor licenses because AppInsight applications typically monitor far more components than cited in their flat rates, as listed here:

  • AppInsight for Active Directory: 50 component monitors per monitored domain controller
  • AppInsight for Exchange: 50 component monitors per monitored mailbox role server
  • AppInsight for IIS: 30 component monitors per monitored IIS server
  • AppInsight for SQL: 50 component monitors per database instance

If you choose not to use AppInsight applications, you are not penalized any number of component monitors.

Determine your SAM license type

To check which type of license you have:

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

You can also check 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.


If a license starts with SAM (for example, SAM200), SAM uses a node-based license.

If a license starts with AL (AL2500), SAM uses a component-based license.

To switch to node-based licensing, contact SolarWinds Sales. Note that, after updating licensing, it may take one or two polling cycles for polling rate details to refresh in the Orion Web Console.

Manage your SAM license

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

To manage SAM and other licenses after you install SAM:

  1. Click Settings > All Settings.
  2. Click License Details in the Details section.

  3. 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 licensing for scalability engines.

If prompted 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.

Still have questions? Visit the SolarWinds Success Center and review SAM Licensing FAQs.