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There are many VoIP and video providers on the market today. One of them is Microsoft Lync. We would like to understand your plans for Lync in your environment. Do you plan to use it for VoIP, video, IM? Share your thoughts in our quick survey, and we'll enter you to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Thank you in advance for you time! Take the survey now.

All,

 

Today I am very pleased to announce the General Availability of VoIP and Network Quality Manager v4.1. The most noticeable features and enhancements of v4.1 include:

 

  • Cisco MGCP Gateway PRI Trunk Utilization Monitoring
  • Detailed Voice & Data Distribution UI
  • Per Trunk Utilization Charts
  • Historical VoIP & Data utilization Statistics for Cisco Gateways
  • Completely New Gateway Detail View Page that contains:
    • Top call quality issues for each gateway
    • List of all failed calls related to a gateway
    • Current percent utilization for each interface
  • Adoption of Subviews From Core and NPM VoIP Subview Integration.
  • New Gateway Wizard That Leads Users Through The Process Of Adding a Gateway


You can see more insights in this blog post. Feel free to download the latest version from your customer portal if you are VNQM user under active maintenance or from SolarWinds.com pages if you would like to get full 30-days trial version (release notes).


We would also like to get your opinion on MS Lync in your VoIP environment in this short survey.


See which products are nominated and VOTE NOW!

 

1. Best Active Directory & Group Policy Product: SolarWinds DameWare Remote Support

15. Best Management Suite: SolarWinds

17. Best Mobile & Wireless Software: SolarWinds Mobile Admin

18. Best Network-Management Product: SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM)

19. Best Patch-Management Product: SolarWinds Patch Manager

21. Best Security Product: SolarWinds Log & Event Manager (LEM)

24. Best Systems Monitoring Product: SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM)

27. Best Virtualization Product: SolarWinds Virtualization Manager

28. Best Free or Open Source IT Tool: SolarWinds Alert Central

33. Favorite IT Website (WRITE-IN): thwack!

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Serv-U FTP Server and MFT Server v15. The contents of this release contain exciting new features and improvements, namely,

 

  • File sharing in Serv-U MFT Server
  • New Web Client user interface
  • Rebranding of the user interface
  • FTP Voyager is a FREE tool and no longer requires an activation key

 

You can view the full set of release notes here.

 

To learn more about new features in this release see this blog post.

 

Download Serv-U now and have fun!

We are looking for a customer that would be willing to speak to the media on the topic of changing IT skill sets as a result of networking complexity.  See below for details and add a comment to this post if you are interested!

 

According to a recent survey of 225 IT practitioners, managers and directors in the U.S. and Canada conducted by SolarWinds, the greatest gaps in skills needed to address increasingly complex networks are:

 

1.    Understanding of the Business

2.    Network Engineering

3.    Information Security

4.    Project Management

5.    Mobile Applications and Device Management

 

Some example questions that may be asked:  Is the customer experiencing any of these skill set gaps, and if so, how is he/she overcoming them? What advice does he/she have to any of their IT peers? Why does he/she believe these are important skill sets to have?

You can find the installation packages in your customer portal.


This service release delivers the following fixes:

  • Fixed multiple SSID issues.
  • Fixed an issue where user information was not being displayed.
  • Fixed issues with database maintenance not completing.
  • Fixed issue where "All Network Connections" resource would not load until clicking the refresh icon.
  • Fixed issue where Wireless resources popup shows invalid data.
  • Fixed issue with false MAC address alerts.
  • Fixed issue with alerts not triggering for new MAC addresses after upgrading UDT.
  • Fixed SSID association issue with Cisco wireless devices.


More details can be found here.

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Network Configuration Manager v7.2.

 

Version 7.2 includes the following enhancements:

  • Continue moving functionality from Win32 client to Web UI
    • Job management (Windows Task Scheduler not used anymore)
    • Config management (edit, delete, set baseline)
    • Possibility to test device login credentials
    • Import config from file
  • Provide End-of-Life information for managed devices.
  • Multiple global connection profiles
    • Define multiple connection profiles (device credentials, protocol, port etc.)
    • NCM will try which of the predefined connection profiles works for a device (configurable per device)
  • The execution of Config Change Templates can be scheduled.
  • Change Approval System enhancements
    • Approved requests to be executed at specified date/time
    • Approved requests to be returned to requestor for execution
    • Requesters can see a history of what they requested and was approved
    • Approvers can see a history of what they approved
  • SNMPv3 -- Support of AES-256 encryption
  • Inventory for Brocade devices
  • More devices supported natively (Palo Alto)
  • Config Change Template Extensions: 'delay' command, string <-> number conversion
  • Make downloaded configurations searchable for IP addresses with FTS enabled.
  • Security enhancements of the Web UI
  • Support for database encryption using MS SQL TDE.

 

NCM v7.2 is available for download in your customer portal for those customers under current SolarWinds NCM maintenance.

 

You can view the full set of release notes, including problems fixed here.

 

Enjoy NCM 7.2!

Join us for a quick show and tell to get the details on SAM’s next release.  It’s jam-packed full of features:

 

  • Deep SQL monitoring
  • IT asset inventory dashboard
  • statistical thresholds generated from baseline
    data
  • Real-Time Windows Event Log Viewer
  • And a lot more!

 

The SAM 6.0 release candidate is now available for current customers.

 

NA sign up here for Aug 21, 1pm CT.

EMEA sign up here for Aug 22, 10am BST.

Are you a fan of Geek Speak?  Help us get to #1 on BizTech's 2013 list of Must-Read IT Blogs!  Place your votes here: Listly List - BizTech 2013 Must-Read IT Blogs Nominations #smallbusiness #technology #blogs #socialmedia

 

Ready, set, GO!!

Next episode: August 14, 2013 at 1pm CT - Don't miss this great new interactive show!

 

Management wants a bird’s eye view of the network and systems, but you need to know what’s going on at the component level. The one thing everyone agrees on is that maps rule. In this episode of SolarWinds Lab, our Geeks tackle map creation, roll-ups, and custom views. Get some cool tips and tricks for creating awesome maps that work for everyone in the company. Sign up for a calendar reminder or just join us at lab.solarwinds.com at showtime.

Part 1: Package Creation Fundamentals, August 7, 2013, 11am CT

Lawrence Garvin, SolarWinds Head Geek and WSUS MVP, will provide an overview of the detection logic used by the Windows Update Agent and how that determines the update states reported to WSUS (Installed, Not Installed, Not Applicable), the three rule sets (Prerequisite, Applicability, and Installed) thate comprise the detection logic and how they are used in the detection process, focusing on the six detection logic rules that are used in 99% of package creation activities. 

 


Part 2: Creating Packages with Patch Manager, September 4, 2013, 11am CT

Lawrence Garvin, SolarWinds Head Geek and WSUS MVP, will discuss how to create basic and advanced packages with the Package Wizard feature of Patch Manager.  He will also discuss how to use the PackagBoot™ function to create complex before and after deployment scenarios.  Bring your questions and we’ll answer them!

 

 

Register here. Can't make it? Register anyway and we'll send you a link to the recorded webcast.

New Engineer's Toolset 10.9.1 has just arrived. The upgrade is available for free for all Toolset customers under active maintenance and can be downloaded from the SolarWinds customer portal.

 

The 10.9.1 comes with following list of improvements:

 

•  TraceRoute tool Changes.

    • Added SNMP Support
      • Additional columns can be displayed for devices which support SNMP
      • User can enable/disable SNMP Discovery
      • SNMP credentials are provided by common Credential Managment
    • Context menus over columns were enhanced
      • Right-click over IP Address column allows user to run some tools.
      • Right-click over other columns allows user to choose displayed columns
    • 0.0.0.0 addresses are not displayed in results

• WorkSpace Studio

    • Export is now possible from IP Network Browser (WSS)

• Neighbor Map

    • Export Neighbor Map to Visio

• Proxy Ping

    • Deprecated the old version and implemented a new one.
    • New version adds support for IPv6
    • Supports Cisco, Juniper, Mikrotik and Extreme Networks

• SCP Server changes

    • Existing files of the same name are renamed during an upload
    • Is now FIPS supported
    • Support for DSA Keys

• Licensing upgraded to GEN3

 

Notable Bug Fixes in 10.9.1

 

• Issues with Neighbor Map (250173, 186932)

• Port Mapper - In correct VLAN ID displayed (156029)

• Port Scanner - Maxes out on 65,000 port scan (218038)

• Port Scanner - Crashes (222332, 218038)

• Bandwidth Gauge –Historical Statistics issue fixed (175923)

• Config Viewer –  SNMP community first character cut off (184082)

• Compare config Tool error out when logged in as a standard user (240296)

• Subnet Calculator – Resulting in wrong subnets (243226, 228460, 222771)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Does not work with Cisco Nexus 5000 (197087)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Does not show MAC Addresses  (204097)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Incorrectly displays MAC Addresses  (233180)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Fails to export to CSV format (250453)

• Workspace Studio - Crashes (236890, 236888)

• TraceRoute - Crashes when hostname is not resolved (233322)

• Cannot add nodes to Bandwidth Gauges, with Non Admin user rights (234987)

• WorkSpace Studio -  Interface Chart % Utlization Rx+Tx faulty logic (245706)

• SNMP Real Time Graph - Displaying duplicate column names (250074)

• Watch It - Gives a Run-Time error after exiting the application when log in as a standard user (241675)

• Advanced CPU Load - Not showing Call Manager 7 data  (184082)

• Netflow Real Time - Fails to launch when toolset is installed into a user defined custom folder (251815)

• After upgrade toolset takes ages to load (193803)

 


So, what are you waiting for ? go ahead and download the General Availability 10.9.1 bits from your customer portal today !

We're making things a bit more interesting this month and it's going to take a little more dedication than usual to complete (it is called a "mission" after all, right?).  I've been working with you all for the past 2 years and if there's anything I've figured out, it's that we have some of the most dedicated users and when faced with a challenge, you accept.  Be sure to pay attention to the rules, they'll save you this month.

 

August's Mission

Think you've mastered your virtual environment?  Show us what you know!  Complete the What's Your Virtual IQ quiz.  Correctly answer all 22 questions over the course of 22 (business) days and be entered to win a Xbox 360 Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars Bundle!  Points are being awarded at 100pts/question.  We're also going to be putting out 1 bonus question per week which will earn you 200 points and 1 extra entry to the drawing for each bonus question correctly answered.  Let me break it down a little more.

 

Mission Rules

  1. Each "daily" question will open at midnight on the corresponding day and remain open until the end of the mission on August 30.
    • Earn 100 points for each correctly answered "daily" question.
    • All 22 questions must be answered correctly in order to receive 1 entry in the drawing for the grand prize.
  2. Each "bonus" question will open at midnight on a randomly selected day of the week and will only be open for 24 hours.
    • For each correctly answered "bonus" question, you will earn 200 points.  There will be 1 bonus question per week starting the week of August 5th.
    • There are 2 ways to catch when bonus questions are available.  Check this blog post every day to make sure you aren't missing out (which hopefully you'll be doing anyway to answer the "daily" question) and/or follow our thwack Twitter handle for updates.
    • VERY IMPORTANT - Participants who correctly answer all 22 "daily" questions will receive 1 additional entry in the drawing for each bonus question answered correctly.
  3. As always, only your first attempt at each question will be counted.
  4. Points/badges/entries will be added and accounted for at the end of the mission.  If you have an inquiry as to your progress throughout the month, feel free to reach out to me and I'll look into the request. 
  5. The grand prize drawing will be held on September 3rd (Terms & Conditions).

 

So, all-in-all, you can earn up to 3,000 thwack points and put your name in the drawing up to 5 times to better your chances at winning.  My advice?  Make sure you're keeping tabs on when bonus questions open - that is where the time restraint lies.  Daily questions will open each business day and remain open until the end of August.  Simply pay close attention to the resources provided on each question to ensure you'll get it right the first time.  The charts below should help keep you on track.

 

Good luck everyone!

Daily Questions - 100 pts/question - max 2,200 points

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Aug 1 - Day 1Aug 2 - Day 2
Aug 5 - Day 3Aug 6 - Day 4Aug 7 - Day 5Aug 8 - Day 6Aug 9 - Day 7
Aug 12 - Day 8Aug 13 - Day 9Aug 14 - Day 10Aug 15 - Day 11Aug 16 - Day 12
Aug 19 - Day 13Aug 20 - Day 14Aug 21 - Day 15Aug 22 - Day 16Aug 23 - Day 17
Aug 26 - Day 18Aug 27 - Day 19Aug 28 - Day 20Aug 29 - Day 21Aug 30 - Day 22

 

Bonus Questions - 200pts/question - max 800 points

Bonus 1Bonus 2Bonus 3Bonus 4
CLOSEDCLOSEDCLOSEDCLOSED

 

 

 

 

 

Questions + Answers

 

1.  What all elements of your virtualized infrastructure can you explore on Virtualization Manager’s Environment Map functionality?

(multiple answer selection – 4 answers)

  1. VMs
  2. Hosts
  3. Datastores
  4. Network devices
  5. Clusters
  6. Servers

Video: http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/videos/find-virtual-resource-contention-with-mapping.html

 

 

 

2.  How is SolarWinds Virtualization Manager available for installation?

    1. Virtual appliance
    2. Physical appliance
    3. Separate software

Online Admin Guide: http://www.solarwinds.com/documentation/vMan/docs/html/en-US/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

 

 

 

3.  How can you identify zombie or idle VMs using SolarWinds Virtualization Manager?

    1. By finding VMs with lower CPU, Memory, Network Throughput, and Disk IOPS
    2. By finding VMs with higher CPU, Memory, Network Throughput, and Disk IOPS

Video: http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/videos/how-to-identify-zombie-vms.html

 

 

 

4.  What hypervisors does Virtualization Manager monitor?

(multiple answer selection – 2 answers)

  1. VMware vSphere
  2. Red Hat
  3. Citrix XenServer
  4. Microsoft Hyper-V

Feature page: http://www.solarwinds.com/virtualization-manager.aspx




5.  How is Virtualization Manager licensed?

    1. Per number of powered on VMs
    2. Per number of sockets
    3. Per number of OS instance

Feature Page: http://www.solarwinds.com/virtualization-manager/resources.aspx#ProductFAQ

 

 

 

6.  What “Top-N” dashboard widgets are provided in the out-of-the-box “Adminstrator: All” dashboard?

(multiple answer selection – 4 answers)

    1. Cluster CPU Utilization
    2. VM Memory Ballooning
    3. Cluster Memory Depletion
    4. VM Network I/O
    5. Host VM Capacity
    6. Datastore I/O Latency

Demo: http://virtualization.demo.solarwinds.com/

 

 

 

7.  What is the optimum VM kernel I/O Latency level measured on an ESX host?

    1. 0 to 1 millisecond
    2. 0 to 5 milliseconds
    3. 5-10 milliseconds

Video: http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/videos/vm-host-i-o-latency-troubleshooting.html

 

 

 

8.  What does Virtualization Manager allow you to monitor for the VMs accessing a storage array from the out-of-the-box “Storage” dashboard?

(multiple answer selection – 4 answers)

  1. Datastore IOPS Hour
  2. VM Memory Ballooning Latest
  3. Datastore I/O Latency
  4. VM Storage Consumed
  5. Top-N Stale VMs
  6. Cluster CPU Utilization
  7. Datastore Low Free Space

Video: http://virtualization.demo.solarwinds.com/  (Hint: Select “Storage” from the “More Dashboards” drop down menu in the upper right)

 

 

 

9.  How do you detect a capacity bottleneck on your virtual environment using Virtualization Manager?

(multiple answer selection – all 4 answers)

  1. High VM CPU Ready
  2. VM memory ballooning
  3. High Datastore I/O latency
  4. High disk capacity
  5. Low Datastore Disk Capacity

Video: http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/videos/how-to-identify-vm-capacity-bottlenecks.html

 

 

 

10.  Virtualization Manager allows you to identify what’s causing your ______ to run slow on VMs.

    1. Servers
    2. Hosts
    3. Applications

Video: http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/videos/virtualization-manager--the-silent-savior.html




11.  Which of the following is NOT one of Eric Siebert’s Top 5 Storage Enhancements from VMware & Microsoft?

    1. Storage APIs and integration
    2. Virtual Storage Appliances
    3. Storage Command Line Functions
    4. Storage load balancing
    5. Storage resource controls

Blog Post: http://vsphere-land.com/news/top-5-hypervisor-new-storage-enhancement-use-cases.html

 

 

 

12.  What do you gain by using VM capacity planning feature in Virtualization Manager?

(multiple answer selection – 3 answers)

  1. Visibility into when the current virtual infrastructure will run out of resources
  2. VM sprawl – idle and zombie VMs
  3. Forecast to add new VMs onto the current infrastructure
  4. VM storage snapshots
  5. Examine how new resources will increase the capacity of their virtual infrastructure
  6. VM mapping to host and cluster

Online Admin Guide: http://www.solarwinds.com/documentation/vMan/docs/html/en-US/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm

 
 

 

13.  Which is NOT a key new capability in the new release of Virtualization Manager 6.0?

    1. Integration with Network Performance Monitor (NPM)
    2. Integration with Server and Application Monitor for in-context  Application to Datastore visibility
    3. Integration with Log and Event Manager for log-based problem determination
    4. Improved monitoring of Hyper-V cluster shared volumes (CSVs)
    5. GUI enhancements

Video: http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/videos/virtualization-manager-guided-tour.html

 

 

 

14.  Within the SAM Orion Console, which is NOT a new views that Virtualization Manager provides under the “Virtualization” tab?

    1. Storage
    2. Sprawl
    3. Map
    4. Analysis
    5. Dashboards

Hint: View the SAM integration demo at http://systems.demo.solarwinds.com/ under the Virtualization tab

 

 

 

15.  In the Collection Schedules portion of the Virtualization Manager Confirguration Wizard, what are the 2 default collection schedules available in Virtualization Manager for monitoring a VMware environment?

    1. Performance & Mapping
    2. Configuration & Diagnosis
    3. Performance & Connections
    4. Performance & Configuration

Hint: view video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5NsYmJzfVc

 

 

 

16.  What key metric does Virtualization Manager show you to address VDI performance issues during boot/logon storms?

    1. VM Sprawl
    2. Storage IOPS
    3. Cluster Utilization

Solution Finder Page: http://www.solarwinds.com/solutions/vdi-troubleshooting.aspx

 

 

 

17.  With Virtualization Manager 6.0’s SAM and NPM integration, which new resource or link shows the applications related to a datastore in a specific datastore view, along with their status and their associated nodes?

    1. Datastore view
    2. View Performance
    3. Applications on this Datastore
    4. Datastore to Storage Manager Target
    5. View Applications

Blog: Dreams Do Come True: Virtualization Manager Integration With SAM and NPM




18.  What are two GUI or Speed Improvements in the VMan V6.0 release?

    1. Resize widgets
    2. Enable vCenter UI integration
    3. Widget URL export
    4. Improved charting
    5. One click widget delete

Blog: Dreams Do Come True: Virtualization Manager Integration With SAM and NPM

 

 

 

19.  With Virtualization Manager integrated into the SAM Orion console, which view shows the overall IOPs and latency of the datastore alongside the performance of each VM?

    1. IOPs view
    2. VM performance view
    3. Datastore details view
    4. Dashboard view

Video: SolarWinds Virtualization Manager and Server & Application Manager Integration

Demo: http://virtualization.demo.solarwinds.com/

 

 

 

20.  Which is NOT one of Eric Siebert’s Top 5 Tips for monitoring applications in a Virtual Environment

    1. Understand application and virtualization dependencies
    2. Pay attention to the user experience
    3. Leverage open source OS & application heartbeat monitoring
    4. Monitor all the layers
    5. Use the right tool for the job

Blog Post:  http://vsphere-land.com/news/top-5-tips-for-monitoring-applications-in-a-virtual-environment.html


 

21.  What are the common Storage I/O bottleneck causes?

(multiple answer selection – 3 answers)

  1. VM sprawl
  2. Workload variations
  3. VM memory swap
  4. Improper configurations
  5. Poorly designed storage architectures
  6. Stale VMs

White Paper: http://solarwinds-marketing.s3.amazonaws.com/solarwinds/whitepapers/VM_Whitepaper_Bottlenecks.pdf




22.  Which of the following dashboards does Virtualization Manager not have?

    1. VMware
    2. Hyper-V
    3. VM Sprawl
    4. Capacity Planning
    5. Showback
    6. Storage
    7. All of the above
    8. None of the above

Demo: http://virtualization.demo.solarwinds.

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