FEATURED EPISODE:How to Monitor Changes to Windows Server Roles
December 10, 2019
Your servers perform distinct functions in your environment. If one of those roles is removed or added unexpectedly, chaos could ensue. Learn how to understand the roles your servers are currently performing and know if or when those roles change with SolarWinds® Server Configuration Monitor.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Monitor Changes to Hardware and Software Configurations
December 3, 2019
Server configuration changes are a major cause of application outages and performance issues. Changes with the greatest impact often are the simplest. Memory pulled from one server to boost another server’s performance can leave the lingering applications starved. Adding new software can automatically update configurations and cause another application to become inoperable. Having visibility into when these types of changes occur is critical to resolving application availability and performance, fast. Learn how to achieve this visibility with SolarWinds® Server Configuration Monitor.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Perform a Bare-Metal Recovery With SolarWinds Backup
November 26, 2019
Recovering quickly from a catastrophic hardware or software failure is key to keeping your business running smoothly. If simply restoring files and folders isn’t enough, SolarWinds® Backup gives you the option to perform a bare-metal recovery to get your critical systems back online.
What's a SWUG™? The short answer is it's an extension of this online community, delivering over 14 hours of technical, hands-on education for free. We started this program in 2015 and in 2020, we're back and—literally—bigger than ever with two full days in cities across the globe. SWUG connects you with SolarWinds executives, product managers, user experience researchers, technical advisors, engineers, Head Geeks™, and other end users like you. It's a great place to get the answers to the hard questions perplexing you, get details from behind the curtain at SolarWinds, take a pulse to see what other industry professionals are doing, and where they're going. Our goal is to help you be the best IT pro you can be. But don't take our word for it. Here's what attendees at recent SWUGs have to say:
As a first-time attendee, I have to say this was my favorite work event I was able to attend this year. As mentioned, it was an event actually dedicated to us, for us.
— Paige Barnes (medleyp812), Chicago SWUG 2019 Attendee
I've been to events like this before only to be bombarded with what I can purchase from either the host or their partners. I got the feeling that the employees representing SolarWinds genuinely care about their customers.
— Ashley Warren (abby.warren), Chicago SWUG 2019 attendee
This was my first SWUG. I found value in the information provided as well as the personal contacts made during the conference. I will definitely plan on attending next year and I also look forward to THWACKcamp.
— Jim Yocum (jpyocum), New York SWUG 2019 attendee
Fantastic conference. Instead of sitting there listening to a marketing presentation like many conferences, the attendees were able to engage SolarWinds employees and address concerns and speak to their own environments.
— Steven Dean (chezbrgrs), Atlanta SWUG 2019 attendee
As my first SWUG, this was an excellent event. I felt overall it was very informative, and really highlighted the amazing user community around the SolarWinds products.
— Benjamin White (bwhite23) Seattle SWUG 2019 attendee
Join us and more than a hundred other IT pros ranging from monitoring engineers, help desk techs, MSPs, DevOps to the "I do it all"-folks in building bridges and tearing down silos. Remember, the goal is to get the information you need so when your workweek’s done, you can enjoy your weekends. If you would like to be notified as soon as registration is available, please complete the pre-registration form for the SWUG(s) of your choice below. Be sure to watch the SolarWinds User Group space for the most up-to-date information.
All locations and dates are subject to change. We would advise to not book any travel until formal registration is available.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Monitor Changes in Active Directory Group Policies
November 19, 2019
Active Directory is the nerve center of any organization. Besides users and groups, group policies are essential to making sure things run smoothly. If changes are made to your GPOs, you need to know about it quickly to reduce the risk of possible vulnerabilities being created or users losing access to applications needed do their work. Learn how to monitor for changes to Active Directory Group Policies with SolarWinds® Server Configuration Monitor.
It's no exaggeration to say it's been a whirlwind year for the SolarWinds User Group (SWUG™) program. Like I said when announcing the 2019 SWUG list, we completely rethought the program and made drastic changes between last year and this year. The biggest (and IMHO best) change was moving to a multi-day schedule.
It all boiled down to one concept: time. Until we get backwards time travel working, time is our only 100% non-renewable resource. When it's gone, it's gone, so making the most of it should be your top priority. For me, that means leaving on time and enjoying my evenings and weekends, getting the most out of my business day by decreasing "unplanned work," and having stimulating conversations that enrich me as a human being. The SWUG program has provided the latter for me all year long. And the conversations we've had this year? Just amazing. It doesn't matter if, like me, you're a long-timer with SolarWinds solutions, or a relative newcomer. The conversations drive me.
We asked on day one how everyone would gauge their personal level of knowledge. In a room of over 140 people, 11% said they were SolarWinds Certified Professionals, 15% said they were experts, 55% called themselves intermediate, and only 20% were beginners. I felt like this was a great mix for a user group, but we'd like to provide everyone with the tools they need to level up their careers. As part of leveling up, we made sure we spoke about SolarWinds Smart Start, the open office hours, and our certification prep guides. All of these are great ways to unlock further professional achievements.
Like the other events this year, it was my pleasure to act as the Master of Ceremonies for the Chicago SWUG. I got to give a few presentations, provide the introductions, hand out the raffle prizes, and hang out with over 140 of my fellow THWACK members. I had the privilege of opening day one with a keynote and closing the event with some warnings and recommendations about alerts. Leon Adato was again in rare form talking about the discipline of monitoring, how to be empathetic to your users, and how to use some of the lesser-known tools to do some critical monitoring. Craig McDonald gave an excellent overview of how SolarWinds has been providing visual representations of data as our environments become more complex. Ashelena did a recap of what we learned over the year and how to leverage SolarWinds resources for the career growth and monitoring glory. Mike Driskell provided his expert opinion on when it's time to upgrade, migrate, scale up, or scale out. We heard from Kellie Mecham about how SolarWinds relies on our users at every stage of the SolarWinds Development Lifecycle. Jim Hansen took to time to explain why it's important to quantify data from the outside and the inside when troubleshooting system or user issues. Kathleen Walker reminded us all that security was part of our job with tips and tricks on having the necessary conversations as well as scaring us a little straight with some of current trends in ransomware.
This trip, we brought three THWACK® MVPs to the stage. New MVP Dave Lando talked about his story of inheriting the Orion® Platform, what he did to claim control, and how he got the organization behind monitoring. Nick Zourdos couldn't let it go and had to tell you all why your dashboards are still bad. Thankfully, he provided tips and tricks on how they could be made better, including some examples and what he's done for his organization. And finally, Zack Mutchler demystified the Orion SDK by providing clear examples of how to dip your toes into working with the SolarWinds Orion API.
Since returning to Texas, I've been trying to wrap my head around the best way to encompass what I've learned over the last year at the SWUGs. After a few hours of wracking my brain, staring at a blank screen, I was inspired by a question from a friend.
Today, my friend and colleague Leon Adato asked me the question, "If you were given a salary of $1,000,000, but you still had to have a career, what would it be?" When I stopped to think about it, my answer would be talking to IT professionals, helping them break down their challenges, guiding them in their own careers, sharing my experiences, working with them to provide solutions, and basically everything the SolarWinds User Group program has provided over the last few years. This trip to Chicago, really cemented that for me—I love my job because of the people.
Now, we've traveled to the Chicagoland area before for two previous SWUGs, but 64% of this event's attendees said they'd never joined us and that made my heart sing. Putting faces to usernames is always a pleasure and some of the best questions are the ones for which we don't have an immediate answer. Those questions make us pause and have a real conversation. At a SolarWinds User Group, you might get "I don't know" as an answer, and that's awesome! It means we get to learn as well. Those conversations are still happening today.
We tried something different in Chicago this time with a "Community Pick" session. On the first day, you could submit an idea for a half-hour topic for day two. At the beginning of day two, we tallied those requests and held the session. Yes, you read that correctly. We put together a session in approximately 2-1/2 hours to present just before lunch on day two. It was one of the most stressful, exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting sessions we've ever produced. If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it.
Another new session—but not new as a concept—was BYOQ: Bring Your Own Questions. We basically stole a conference room, grabbed a whiteboard, plugged in to a television on the wall, and were there to answer questions. That's it. I know it doesn't sound extraordinary, but it was a revelation. You had a question about Patch Manager? Great. You wanted to know what happens during Orion database maintenance? Cool. You needed help writing a port inventory report? Excellent. No question was too big or too small. Even when we weren't answering questions ourselves, we heard other attendees answering each other's questions. This is the THWACK community at its finest.
Throughout the event, we had hundreds of people ask questions in person and online. There were questions we didn't get a chance to answer while we were on the ground, so we're trying to answer them as quickly as possible. Many of them we have collapsed into a single question based around a theme, but if you don't see your question answered at the bottom, let us know by commenting below. We'll be happy to continue the conversation.
It seems every single event I find myself saying, "we tried something different for this SWUG." Personally, I think that's wonderful. As each group of attendees provides feedback we try to adjust and make sure we're providing the content in a way that's both educational and entertaining. We're doing what SolarWinds has done for years: listening to the community. SolarWinds and THWACK wouldn't be who and what they are without you, the community members who make coming to the job delightful.
To say I'm excited for what 2020 holds would be a gross understatement. There's so many (figurative) places technology is going and so many (physical) places we're planning to take the program. Keep your eyes peeled for the official announcement of dates and places sometime in the new year.
If you've gotten this far, you hear ad nauseum how much I love these events, but I'm not the only one. A few of our attendees took the time to say nice things about Chicago SWUG.
"One of the most valuable vendor events I've ever attended in nearly 20 years of IT experience." —ckonz
"This was a great User Group that focused on the product rather than trying to push third-party software and vendors for prizes. The presenters were amazing and the interaction during breaks and after hours was terrific." —bbishop
"This event was way better than I expected it to be. It was recommended by the vendor we went through, and I was very happy I could attend. I am hoping that after applying what I've learned I can make a yearly SWUG attendance part of the company budget" —rhuprich
"I appreciate that the focus was primarily on how to utilize [the] Orion [Platform]. I've been to events like this before only to be bombarded with what I can purchase from either the host or their partners. I got the feeling that the employees representing SolarWinds genuinely care about their customers." —abby.warren
"I always get a lot out of these meetings, and I REALLY liked the 2-day event. It works out GREAT! I am not gone too long from work and I feel like I got A LOT more than last year." —nnettrouer
"I have already told my boss about it and he would like to go next year too. You guys are truly amazing to care as much as you do for being a big company with areas all over the place. It shows you all love your jobs and value the community." —medleyp812
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Monitor Changes to IIS Server and Application Configurations
November 12, 2019
IIS is a cornerstone of many business-critical applications, from online stores and websites, to ERPs and EHRs. If these sites go down, business grinds to a halt, revenue is lost, and reputations can be put on the line. Seeing when configuration changes have been made to the application or server itself can help speed up resolution time and lessen the impact of outages or performance degradation to these critical applications. Learn how to achieve time savings with SolarWinds® Server Configuration Monitor.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Add PerfStack Widgets to Your Orion Dashboard
November 5, 2019
The PerfStack™ dashboard is an excellent resource for point-in-time troubleshooting and analyzing trends visually. One of the best ways to share this information with other teams is to add an analysis project to a dashboard. In this video, we’ll show you how to take a great project and add it to a team’s dashboard.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Create Groups Using Dynamic Queries
October 29, 2019
Grouping your monitored elements is an easy way to begin organizing the sprawl of your monitored entities. Orion® Groups is a great tool to wrangle this potential sprawl. In this video, I’ll show you how to create a group using dynamic queries. When new elements come online matching the query, they’re automatically added to the group.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Make a Group, Add Members, and Map Relationships in the Orion Platform
October 22, 2019
Orion® Groups is a great way to organize content in your monitoring infrastructure. Creating a group manually is a great way to consolidate elements for reporting, alerting, and displaying on dashboards. In this video, I’ll show you how easy it is to build an Orion Group.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Import an Application Template and Assign to a Node
October 15, 2019
Server & Application Monitor ships with hundreds of out-of-the-box application templates. But sometimes the one you’re looking for just isn’t there. Thankfully, the members of the THWACK® community have contributed thousands of application templates for SolarWinds® SAM. It’s very simple to import a template and assign it to a node to start monitoring an application.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Use Custom Properties to Filter a Widget
October 8, 2019
Custom Properties are the not-so-hidden superpower of the Orion® Platform. It’s one of the easiest ways to customize your dashboard widgets for your needs. In only a few clicks, we’ll filter down a resource to show only the nodes you want to see.
FEATURED EPISODE:How to Set Up a NetFlow Traffic Analyzer Alert
October 1, 2019
NetFlow is an excellent resource for watching data move around your infrastructure, and it’s frequently the first indicator when things go sideways. In this video, we’ll show you how to build your own NetFlow Traffic Analyzer alert to notify you when suspicious traffic appears on your network.
FEATURED EPISODE:Office 365 OneDrive Data Protection With SolarWinds Backup
September 17, 2019
Quickly learn how to protect Office 365 Exchange and OneDrive data by leveraging SolarWinds® Backup. Own your customers’ data retention and recovery, and be ready to respond if files are accidentally deleted or misplaced.