1601_thwack_February-mission_basketball_150x150.jpgGreat saves... are born from great tools. And that's what you have here, this month, thwacksters. Free tools. That’s what you’ve earned here.

You were born to be IT professionals. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here. This is your time.

A few things to remember before we get started: If you’re not first, you’re last & most importantly there’s no crying in bracket battles.

Now that we got that settled… Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it’s bracket time!


February Mission

We’ll start with 16 free tools & each week for the next 4 weeks there will be a new elimination round until we determine which SolarWinds free tool is the one that rules them all. Each week you will start with a clean slate and a new chance to win the weekly prize, so make sure you’re checking back and entering each round!


Print the entire Free Tool Bracket attached to this blog post to keep track of your votes and each round's winners!


Mission Rules:

  1. Each Monday the bracket will open a new round of voting starting on February 1.
  2. Once a round has opened, it will remain open until the following Sunday. Check the schedule below for exact open/close times.
  3. Correctly pick everyone who moves on to the next round and you win that week's prize.
  4. You start with a clean slate at the beginning of each round. Therefore, you can enter to win prizes each week regardless of how you performed in prior rounds.
  5. You will earn 50 points for each vote you cast on the match ups.
  6. The grand prize winners will be drawn at random from those who correctly guessed the Free Tool Bracket Battle winner!


Print the Free Tool Bracket attached to this blog post to keep track of your votes and each round's winners!


Round 4 "Championship" Winner



Your pick didn't win the Championship?

Find out why>>




Voting Opens

Voting Closes

Winners notified

Sweet 16Customized Converse w/ thwack IDFebruary 1Voting closed

Email sent

February 23

Elite 8Raspberry Pi w/ caseFebruary 8Voting closed

Email sent

February 23

Final 4

SolarWinds Sport Pack

Backpack, Sweat Band, Final 4 Trading Cards, Water Bottle

February 15Voting closed

Email sent

February 24

ChampionshipGeek Fuel 1 year plan - 5 winners will be drawnFebruary 22February 28

Email sent

February 29

Free Tools Brack-IT-Ology


Network Analyzer & Bandwidth Monitoring Bundle


Fresh off of the Columbus, OH SolarWinds User Group, we are kicking things into gear for our next meetup! As mentioned in my previous blog, we will be in Dallas, Texas on March 9th!  Our UG leaders for this area are Jfrazier and zackm who are helping us to coordinate the agenda and getting the word out to folks in the area.

However, if anyone else is interested in being a UG Leader for the Dallas area and is willing/has space to host up to 40 user group attendees, I need to speak with you! Please comment below or email me at danielle.higgins@solarwinds.com and I will be in touch with you ASAP.  This is the last component we need to solidify in order to make this meetup happen so your help is greatly appreciated!  Also, if you are interested in joining us in Dallas, join the The specified item was not found. group to get more information as it becomes available.


Thanks in advance!


Thwacksters, we’re home.

You have successfully built a team of indomitable monitoring solutions (Network Performance Monitor, Server & Application Monitor, Log & Event Manager, and Database Performance Analyzer) and defeated the performance slowing empire.

You have restored order to your network galaxy and saved us all from the clutches of server outages, sluggish network performance, and elusive USB devices.

The Force is strong in this community. You have fulfilled your IT destiny.


Now to help us stay on target we’re introducing Wear your shirt to work week! We want to see you wearing the shirts you earned in the IT Is Your Destiny challenge.

For each photo uploaded between February 1st and February 5th, you will be awarded +250 thwack points!

Upload your photo in the comment section to get points.


**Daily Bonus Round:

  1. Share your submission(s) by tweeting @thwack and use the hashtag #ITisyourdestiny
  2. Those who tweet their submissions will be entered to win a $50 AmEx gift card that day.
  3. 1 winner per day from February 1st  @8 AM CT- February 5th @12 PM CT (5 chances to win!)


To help get this party started (and for your amusement) here are some pictures from our SolarWinds Wear your shirt to work event:

WYSTWW collage_1.jpg



Here are some additional resources to help you get started with this alliance of monitoring solutions:

Network Performance Monitor:

Server & Application Monitor:

Log & Event Manager:

Database Performance Analyzer:


Remember… the four will be with you, always.


To see which free tools are available to help you defeat the dark side, check out this month’s mission>> thwack Monthly Mission - February 2016

Last December we announced our new Speed2Value program, which is focused on helping you maximize the impact of SolarWinds products by delivering new resources including onboarding guides and expanded product training. As promised, we are bringing you additional training courses in 2016! The benefits of being under active maintenance include having access to new product features, 24/7 support and FREE training. To kick off 2016, we are launching SolarWinds Academy – Expert Series. These monthly instructor-led one-hour courses cover advanced product topics and common product optimization issues.


Expert series schedule (requires active maintenance):

  • January 28th - Database migration & maintenance and troubleshooting Orion® Web Performance.  Recording is now available in the Customer Portal.
  • February 25th - SNMP: A classic, powerful muscle car for the modern monitoring age CLASS IS FULL. It will be recorded and the recording will be available in the Customer Portal.
  • March 31st - Optimize continuous integration and service delivery of your application stack (registration open now)

Register for all classes here: Customer Portal Login | SolarWinds


If you’re not ready for the Expert Series, check out our other SolarWinds Academy offerings:


We look forward to bringing you additional SolarWinds Academy offerings as the year progresses. Stay tuned!


I don’t like Windows 8. Can I upgrade to Windows 10?

You already have Windows 10.

No, this is 8. I don’t like it. Can I change it?

Every computer here already has Windows 10.

Well, can I still have the upgrade?


Let’s face it. Some people should barely be allowed to go near a computer, much less use one. IT departments across the globe are flooded with requests that, 9 times out of 10, can be solved with a pinch of common sense. And now it’s time for you to let us know your workplace horror stories.


Use the comments section below to share the silliest questions, problems and requests you’ve had to sort out for others at your workplace. We’re looking for absolutely everything from a stupefying back-and-forth to a cry for help that boggles the mind. Showcase the stupidity in the comments below, and we'll give you 250 thwack points!!

Folks - we are vigorously pulling together our Q1 SWUG stops and we're coming for YOU Columbus, OH and Dallas/Fort Worth, TX!


We have a very limited set of dates to work with so I wanted to get the announcement out and gauge how many of you would be able to attend in each location.  Reminder, we need AT LEAST 20 attendees at each user group in order for us (SolarWinds staff) to travel.


Columbus, Ohio - January 20, 2016

Click here to RSVP or suggest a different date


Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas - March 9, 2016

Click here to RSVP or suggest a different date


HURRY and let us know if you can make either of these times! The sooner we have your feedback the better chances we have to adjust and make this happen!

Get ready for a veritable virtual venture! January’s thwack mission immerses you in a haptical world of virtualization technology, featuring two powerhouses in the alliance of network management supremacy: Network Performance Monitor (NPM) and GNS3.


NPM: Monitors network devices for availability, performance, capacity, and more using agentless techniques, including SNMP and WMI.


GNS3: A virtual network environment that provides an easy way to design, build, and test full-scale networks that can include servers, routers, switches, and more without the need for hardware—and it’s free!


Like Bradbury’s real and imagined, the fusion of these two tools will expand the dimensions of your IT universe as well as your own admin superpowers. Your mission is to integrate these two tools and experience the power and flexibility they bring to your network management endeavors. Let's get started!

January Mission

Use the mission’s information resources (hints) to complete the tasks and answer the questions. Correctly answer each question during the week and you'll be entered to win the weekly prize: True Depth 3D virtual reality headsetCorrectly answer all 20 questions over the course of the month and you'll be entered to win the grand prize: The Omni Package by Virtuix Omni!


Wanting to skip to the end?

If you’ve already spent some quality time with both NPM and GNS3 and would like to bypass the mission tasks and questions, you’re in luck. Download both NPM and GNS3 to explore their combined functionality on your own. After you have both products downloaded, submit a screenshot in the comments below of the Network Topology Map of NPM & GNS3 together. You’ll earn an entry for the grand prize drawing, and as an added bonus you will receive an all-tuition-and-fees-paid academy class of your choice. We will contact you with the promo code once the mission has closed.


NOTE: To qualify for the weekly mission prizes, you still need to answer the questions.


Good luck. “Let’s see what’s out there.”


Mission Rules

  1. A new question will open every day (Monday - Friday) starting on January 4.
  2. Once a question has opened, it will remain open until January 31 @ 11:59pm CDT. Check the schedule below for exact open/close times.
  3. Only your first attempt at answering a question counts. Double check your answers!
  4. Correctly answer all 5 questions within a given week and be entered to win the weekly prize! A True Depth 3D virtual reality headset.
    • Week 1 - Drawing on January 11
    • Week 2 - Drawing on January 18
    • Week 3 - Drawing on January 25
    • Week 4 - Drawing on February 1
  5. Correctly answer all 20 questions over the course of the month to be entered to win our grand prize package! The Omni Package by Virtuix Omni.
    • Grand Prize - Drawing on February 1
  6. 150 points are being awarded for each correctly answered question.  There are 20 questions which means you can earn a maximum of 3,000 points for this mission.
    • ***Points/badges will be added to profiles once the mission has closed***



gns3_solarwinds.JPG***Mission Shortcut***gns3_solarwinds.JPG

Earn 1 entry to the Grand Prize drawing +

an all-tuition-and-fees-paid Academy class of your choice!

Step 1: Download Network Performance Monitor

Step 2: Download GNS3

Step 3: Submit a screenshot in the comments below of the Network Topology Map of NPM & GNS3 together

Weekly Prizes







Week 1: True Depth 3D virtual reality headset

Complete questions 1-5 by January 10 to be entered to win

Jan 4 - Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Question 4

Question 5


Week 2: True Depth 3D virtual reality headset

Complete questions 6-10 by January 17 to be entered to win

Jan 11 - Question 6

Question 7

Question 8

Question 9

Question 10


Week 3: True Depth 3D virtual reality headset

Complete questions 11 - 15 by January 24 to be entered to win

Jan 18 - Question 11

Question 12

Question 13

Question 14

Question 15


Week 4: True Depth 3D virtual reality headset

Complete questions 11 - 15 by January 31 to be entered to win

Jan 25 - Question 16

Question 17

Question 18

Question 19

Question 20


Correctly answer all 20 questions before January 31 and get entered to win the Grand Prize!

The Omni Package by Virtuix Omni

WINNER: goofykc

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