We have recently officially reached the Release Candidate (RC) phase for our next release, Web Help Desk 12.0. RC is the last step before general availability and is a chance for existing customers on active maintenance to get the newest functionality before it is available to everyone else. You can find the RC binaries for download in the SolarWinds customer portal.

 

If you have any questions I encourage you to leverage the WHD RC group on thwack: http://thwack.solarwinds.com/groups/solarwinds-web-help-desk.

 

This release contains the following product improvements and new features:

 

  • Improved LDAP Directory and Active Directory auto-discovery
  • Native Asset Discovery (using WMI)
  • Native integration of Asset Database with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Network Configuration Manager (NCM) and Server and Application Monitor asset databases (SAM)
  • Native integration with Alerts from SolarWinds NPM, NCM and SAM
  • New Getting Started wizard
  • Automatic setup of WHD database in the wizard
  • Support for Windows 2012, Windows 8 (only for evaluation version of WHD)
  • Support for MS SQL 2012, support for embedded PostgreSQL database
  • Migration utility from Frontbase to PostgreSQL

 

Let's look at some of these features in more detail.

 

Native WMI Asset Discovery

WHD is now capable of discovering assets in your network using WMI so that it doesn't have to rely on external asset databases. We gather information like hostname, IP, Domain, MAC address, OS, SP level, User profiles, CPU and memory information, installed printers, HD size and model or installed software and patches. By simply defining an IP range, credentials for WMI and schedule for discovery and synchronization, WHD will keep your asset database synced with what's actually on your network. You can find configuration details on the following screenshot.

 

discovery_conf.png

Once you schedule discovery and it has successfully completed you can find discovered assets in the database. Please note the Discovery Connection column, which shows where this asset is coming from.

discovered_asset.png

 

SolarWinds Asset Database Integration

To make it easier to integrate WHD with other SolarWinds products we introduced native integration for NPM, NCM and SAM. WHD now natively provides mapping from each product database to the WHD asset database, so you only need to provide connection details and credentials. On the screenshot below you can see configuration options for integration with NPM.

 

npm_asset_import_conf.png

Once the discovery is finished, you can see the import data in WHD. Please note the column Discovery Connection, which indicates where the nodes are coming from.


discovered_assets.png

 

SolarWinds Alerts Integration

Another great feature we introduced is native support for SolarWinds Alerts for NPM, NCM and SAM. Create a connection and define a few simple rules. Each rule will tell when to accept an alert and create a ticket. When an alert is triggered and it matches the filters, a ticket will be created or updated (if it already exists). On the following screenshot you can see a configuration for an NPM connection.

alerts_conf.png

We will define a filter to accept all alerts which have severity other than "Low". This is what it looks like in WHD:

filter_definition.png

If you are familiar with Alert Central, you should be very comfortable here, but filter definitions are intuitive even if you have not tried Alert Central yet. Now lets say you have an alert defined in NPM which is triggered when the node is unmanaged. If we unmanage node NPM_SG9323P038 we will see the following alert:

alert_triggered.png

Immediately we will notice there is a new ticket in WHD.

ticket_created.png

The connection between WHD and NPM is bi-directional. As soon as you add the first note to a ticket, WHD will notify NPM and acknowledge your original alert. Any text you put into the notes in WHD is also added to the alert notes in NPM. On the next two screenshots you can see the same note added in WHD and how it is displayed in NPM.

note_in_WHD.png

The same note is also visible from the NPM web console.

note_in_NPM.png

 

Active Directory and LDAP Directory Auto-Discovery

Active Directory is one of most common user databases and we wanted to make it as easy as possible to configure. With the new auto-discovery feature, you now only need to define connection details like hostname, click Detect Settings button and WHD will not only find out if there is an Active Directory or generic LDAP directory server, but also pre-configure basic settings like user DN or search filter. Now you only need to define connection account details and you can start to use your directory server. On the following screenshot you can see a much simplified configuration form and please also note the new Test Settings button, which will help you to make sure the settings are set up correctly.

conf.png

Once you successfully configured the connection, you can search for users (just don't forget to tick the Search LDAP checkbox):

users_from_ldap_in_search.png