IT professionals come from all walks of life, work in all manner of industries, and have experiences that make each of them unique. To better understand your personal and professional growth, we’re requesting ten minutes of your time to complete our census.


This survey will cover many aspects of your career, not just the parts where SolarWinds plugs in. The IT landscape is constantly changing and new needs are continually emerging. Whether it’s migrating workloads to the cloud, the need for an increased security posture, or optimizing line-of-business applications, we want to know: what are you working on today? What are you anticipating tomorrow? What’s keeping you up at night, looking at the next few years? Let us know and pad your THWACK wallet.


As compensation for your time, the first 100 respondents will receive a $25 Visa® gift card, while supplies last*. Everyone who completes the survey and enters their THWACK username before March 31, 2019 will be rewarded 3,000 THWACK points to use in the store, good towards any purchase you like.




*See Terms and Conditions for official rules


DevOps as Plumbing

Posted by KMSigma Administrator Feb 25, 2019

Plumbing is about fundamentals


Let me tell you a story about plumbing.


As a young homeowner, I was house-rich and cash-poor, and because of that I needed to handle breakdowns myself as much as possible. I learned to do electrical work, cabling, drywall, basic carpentry, and plumbing. Of them all, I found the greatest satisfaction with plumbing work. Sweating copper pipes together was elegant, utilitarian, and beautiful. Not all joints were the same, so there were challenges to overcome each time, but a clean weld and a solid seal was a mark of satisfaction. There were a handful of tools that took care of most of my problems; a few pipe wrenches, a hacksaw, a pipe cutter, flux, a blowtorch, a bucket, and a mess of couplers were enough to tackle a majority of my issues. The bucket was multi-use. It could be used for when there was a leak, or as a receptacle for my tears when things went badly.


Then things changed. I’m not a tradesman, so I can’t say exactly why this change happened, but the next time I needed to do work, there was a new infrastructure that was taking over. The aisles that were outfitted with row upon row of shiny copper pipe were being replaced with bland white tubes and flexible colored bundles. My jobs didn’t change; I still needed to get water from one place to another without a bucket, but my materials were different.


Like all skills I’ve picked up, I needed to start learning new approaches. Since the objective didn’t change, but the approach and the materials have, there was a learning curve but with the same goal in mind.  A  new infrastructure and implementation philosophy had its own nuances. Flux was out, to be replaced with inline couplers or chemical cements. Cutting was relegated to special slicing tools. Supporting new plumbing codes, using new techniques that shortened the time it took to accomplish a task. Everything about it changed, except the goal—getting water from one place to another, getting it there quickly and at the right temperature (a temperature requirement that is always changing). Thankfully, the bucket stayed the same.


You may ask yourself, how is moving from copper to CPVC or PEX anything at all like working in IT? Well, although the infrastructure may have changed, your job has remained the same: to provide services to your end user regardless of where their services reside. You could be working with a team that is containerizing everything or a team that’s shifted everything to a cloud platform, but none of that matters. Making sure that the end users can do their job is your job.


Where and how the user does their work is immaterial. Realistically, it doesn’t matter where the work is done, be that on a bunch of physical servers, within a plethora of virtual servers, in a private cloud, hybrid cloud, public cloud, or within a SaaS solution. In that light we’ve added the Cloud Management forums to THWACK. It’s the work that’s valuable to your organization and why you have a job. The tool and the approach that was right last year may not be the same for the next year. This is why SolarWinds® AppOptics, Loggly®, Papertrail, and Pingdom® share the spotlight with products like Network Performance Monitor and Server & Application Manager. You can easily take what you know, combine it with your years of experience, and apply them to this new emerging IT environment, armed with tools that are purpose-built for the new plumbing.


New approaches, tools, and skills never, ever replace your existing skillset; they just supplement it. That’s what makes for great IT professionals.  There are times when I’ve had to go back and sweat copper while helping a friend or replacing an old water softener. Your legacy skills and tools are just as viable, but you need to know when and how to use them.


So, don’t be afraid to think about picking up some new tools and taking a different approach to solve problems that are ultimately the same as before—helping your users do their jobs—on some new infrastructure. The skills you picked up in your past are valuable, useful, and reduce the learning curve when challenged with something totally new.  Your skills, those which help you work through problems from a multitude of angles, are the ones needed with any new infrastructure.


But if there’s one thing I can recommend, it would be to not forget the bucket.

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, so dust off your “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt and celebrate! Before heading out to show off your Irish stepdancing skills, tell us about your luckiest moments as a tech pro—because leprechauns aren’t the only ones who can find a pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow.


We want to know when you’ve felt luckiest in your career—the situations that made you raise a glass to yourself, or to the “luck of the tech pro!” When did you feel like things could have gone terribly wrong but didn’t? Did something break? Get lost or deleted? You know that feeling—all hope seemed lost, but like magic, everything worked out. (At least we hope you know that feeling).


Share your luckiest stories about finding the tech pro pot o’ gold by March 12, 2019, and we’ll give you 250 THWACK points in return!



What a journey, THWACKsters!


They always say it's not the destination but the journey. I'm inclined to believe them this time around.


You navigated your way through new, unexplored territories with great precision. The ride itself found us traversing through cloud-native technologies. But with you at the helm, there was never really a worry. I'd be more than happy to travel alongside any of you any time. Let's start by heading together into the new mission!


Mission Recap & Survey Questions:


This mission alone held such wonderful exploratory finds. That being said, there were quite a few of you who actually found REAL treasure along the way. We'd like to recognize those who won this month's amazing giveaways.


Week 1: erdogan


Week 2: c0eus


Week 3: monitoringlife


Week 4: jakesmith44


Grand Prize: tonedepear


Shortcuts: davevato | mathewpgds | dcschwalm | wluther



Check out the various cloud-native technologies that were discovered along this Month's Mission.



* The newest Monthly Mission is live! Start it now here - THWACK Monthly Mission - February 2019

Rise of the Undead User Accounts!


They rise from the grave with a single intent: to bite you in the neck. The users are long gone, but the accounts are lingering in your infrastructure—hiding below the placid landscape, just sitting, biding their time. They are waiting to rise like the undead, clawing, infiltrating your world. Don’t let them catch you off your guard—like everyone else during an undead invasion.


ARM yourself with the necessary tools to lock down your home and secure your environment.  Barricades will only get you so far. It’s time to take some action!


Use the mission’s resources to complete the tasks and answer the questions for a chance to win!

Correctly answer each question during the week and you'll be entered for a chance to win the weekly prize.

Correctly answer all 20 questions over the course of the month and you'll be entered for a chance to win the grand prize.

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.

Want to join the mission, but not a member? Sign up FREE now!



A new question will open every day (Monday - Friday) starting on February 4th, 2019. Once a question has opened, it will remain open until March 3rd, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Check the schedule below for exact open/close times.


Complete the mission shortcut between February 4, 2019 and March 3, 2019 to earn an additional 1,000 THWACK® points & enter to win Last Night on Earth: 10th Anniversary Edition

The shortcut is simple:

  1. Download a free trial for Access Rights Manager
  2. Connect ARM to your Active Directory
  3. Take a screenshot of the Dashboard (Top Nav)
  4. Submit screenshot here


Weekly PrizesMonTueWedThuFriWinners
Week 1: Complete questions 1-5 by February 10th, 2019 to be entered to win: The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead & The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide
Week 2: Complete questions 6-10 by February 17th, 2019 to be entered to win: Blackest Night Comic
Week 3: Complete questions 11-15 by February 24th, 2019 to be entered to win: Ash vs. Evil Funko Pop Figure
Week 4: Complete questions 16-20 by March 3rd, 2019 to be entered to win: Plants vs Zombies Package Set

Correctly answer all 20 questions by March 3rd, 2019 and get entered to win the Grand Prize! Emergency Zone Bundle & Save 2 Person Urban Survival Bug Out Bag + Basic Dog Emergency Kit

Monthly Mission Terms and Conditions: US, UK, and Canada | Germany | Australia

Mission Shortcut Terms and Conditions: US, UK, and Canada | Germany | Australia

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