I'm happy to announce that NPM 10.4 release is officially here. This version is literally packed with new features! All current NPM customers under active maintenance can download the upgrade from their customer portal.

In the past few months you could vote what features you would like to see in your favorite network monitoring software, NPM, vNext and we were listening. 10.4 comes with the most wanted ones:

 

Custom Property Enhancements

We migrated the custom property editor on web. Now it's part of the main Orion webconsole and accessible from NPM and other SolarWinds Orion family products. New intuitive wizard will take you through the process of creating new custom properties.You can also specify a list of pre-defined values to minimize entry errors.

 

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Audit Tracking

Version 10.4 comes with user auditing feature. You can now monitor who made what action/change in NPM. New auditing functionality is fully automated, you don't need to set up rules or policies it works immediately after installing 10.4. All information is available through Message Center where you can filter, sort and see all the details. You can also see a new Top 10 resource on summary page:auditing1.png

 

Hardware Health Monitoring for your network devices

SAM users know how useful is the hardware health of their servers. NPM users didn't have out of the box support for that (they had to use custom pollers) to monitor critical hardware parts of routers or switches like Fan speeds, temperature sensors or health of power supplies.

                                                                                                                      

NPM 10.4 now allows you to prevent hardware malfunctions by monitoring your hardware with more details. We added support for Cisco, Juniper, HP, BigIP F5 and Dell networking devices. You can also set an alert to be notified if some sensor exceeds a threshold and you can track historical data

 

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Looking at the hardware health historical chart reminds me that NPM network monitor has been completely migrated to the new "drag & drop" chart engine so you may use interactive features like zoom-in or switching on/off chart data on every single chart now.

 

Out of the box support for BigIP F5 devices

 

BigIP devices are widely used and they are bit special compared to other networking hardware. CPU and memory polling is not enough for F5 effective troubleshooting. The important highlevel metrics are Throughput  Connections (SSL, opened) and Failover status. If you are interested to see more details NPM can provide you with the list of Virtual Servers, Pools and Nodes. All these lists carry information about IP address and element status.

 

 

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A lot of cool network management stuff don't you think? But that's not all there is decent set of another features waiting for you.

 

UI improvements - Subviews

 

We know that it's hard to make everyone happy with how we categorize and group items in our NPM webconsole menus. Sometimes you need better granularity and possibility to group particular data into some kind of tab or bookmark. NPM 10.4 now supports concept of "Subviews". This UI enhancement is there mainly for better organization of your views and gives you freedom for creating your own categories on website. It also speeds up the web by allowing you to focus on the resources you really need to load instead of loading every resource every time. Subviews are displayed as a left navigation menu that allows you to quickly go to different views for a node. You can enable Subviews by clicking Customize Page then the "Enable left navigation" button.

 

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As you can see you may create your own tabs anywhere, NPM 10.4 also comes with pre-defined subvies in order to help you with intuitive navigation.

Let's continue with another important enhancement.

 

Universal Device Poller (UnDP) improvements

 

UnDP - something that NPM users know very well. NPM didn't support multiple device pollers in a single chart. This is useful when you need to correlate trends between various metric from your device (temperature vs. CPU frequency vs. fan speed). 10.4 gives you the possibility to define new type of chart where you can put various UnDP pollers on your "Y" axis like this:

 

You can simply click "Add More" and select your existing custom poller. Then you need to define units for your data. NPM can automatically convert some kind of units into higher or lower metric (for example bytes to Kb) so you can read it on your chart without counting zeros. This chart also runs on the new engine so you can use zooming and other features.

 

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Another useful improvement for UnDPs is UnDP Parse Transform function. This is little bit advanced feature to use. It is especially useful when you have custom pollers that return a text string and you have to parse the text string to remove the number and use it in a transform function. If you want to use it, go to the UnDP application (Windows start menu -> SolarWinds Orion -> Network Performance Monitor -> Universal Device Poller) on the NPM server. For the formula use the following syntax: parse((REGEX,{POLLER}) as you can see on the picture bellow.

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The regular expression you need will depend on the string you are trying to parse.

We also tweaked UnDP polling retention settings capabilities. If you go to the UnDP settings you may now change the polling interval for each pollers type and also define retention period for the UnDP statistic data and summaries.

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Those are just most visible new features in the new Network Performance Monitor. I would like to briefly mention other important and useful features:

  • Support for Microsoft Windows 8 (for evaluation purposes) and Windows Server 2012
  • Native support for HP MSM 760/765 wireless controllers.
  • De-duplication of nodes with the same IP address

 

You may also see release notes for the list of bugs we fixed.

 

As you can see, this release is really big one and I would like to thank you - our great Thwack community for your contribution and willingness to help us understand what problem do you need to solve. Thanks!