How can I describe THWACK® in the simplest, clearest possible way? I bet I can do it in a single word.


Maybe “Resources?” Or “Information?” “Knowledge?” “Colleagues?”


Nope. Friends.


What makes THWACK unique, powerful, important, relevant, and useful is the friendship you find here. I don’t mean the “friendship-light” you get elsewhere. Not the pass-in-the-hallway-and-nod-hello friendly acquaintances we know from other areas of our life. Or the polite-working-relationships-but-I-known-nothing-about-them-outside-of-work relationships we may have.


THWACK is a community where we can be actual friends. Feeling safe showing our true selves; knowing we won’t be attacked or belittled for who we are, where our lives began, or the path we took to get to where we are today. Understanding we can passionately debate, and even disagree, because saying we don’t like an idea doesn’t mean we don’t like the person who expressed the idea. And, when disagreed with, we easily overcome the urge to be defensive, taking a moment to pause to consider this new point of view.


It’s a place where we not only experience our growth as IT professionals, but where we share it with others to foster their growth, too.


THWACK is the best kind of team. Understanding even though there are points for unlocking certain achievements, it’s anything but a zero-sum game.

Where, if one of us is losing, we all lose;

Where none of us win unless we can all win.


After a month of reading everyone’s attempts to whittle complex ideas down to their simplest essence; after a month of the passionate-yet-respectful discussions on whether or not a term meant this or that; after debates about whether or not a particular explanation even fit the parameters of the challenge. After reading and experiencing all these moments, I’m more committed, more connected, more enamored of this community than ever before. Thank you to each and every one who took their time to write, to comment, to read, and to be part of this amazing collection of folks.


I also need to publicly thank folks who worked behind the scenes to make this happen.


  • First and foremost to the Community team: Danielle Gaitan, Yum Darling, and Kevin Sparenberg.
  • Also at the top of the list is the editorial staff who read every single word (sometimes multiple times) to ensure we all sounded like the best versions of ourselves. Jenne Barbour, Allison Rael, Faria Akram, Alyssa Garza, and Oksana Salvarovska.
  • The designers for the challenge, Eric Noon and Leslie Nash, who manage to make even our weirdest, most out-there ideas look good on paper.
  • My fellow Head Geeks are always part of everything we do around here, whether our names are on it or not: Patrick Hubbard, Thomas LaRock, and Sascha Giese.
  • And to everyone else who authored the lead articles this year.


Everyone at SolarWinds, thanks to each and every one of you, and hopes that 2020 sees the continuation of our growth, the achievement of our goals, and the deepening of the friendships we’ve built here and elsewhere in our lives.


Thank you!


Day 2. Latency – Thomas LaRock
Day 3. Metrics – Sascha Geise

Day 4. NetFlow – Joe Reves

Day 5. Logging – Mario Gomez

Day 6. Observability – Zack Mutchler (MVP)

Day 7. Troubleshoot – Nick Zourdos (MVP)

Day 8. Virtualization – Colin Baird

Day 9. Cloud Migration – Holger Mundt (MVP)

Day 10. Container – David Wagner

Day 11. Orchestration – David Wagner

Day 12. Microservices – Melanie Achard

Day 13. Alert – Adam Timberley (MVP)

Day 14. Event Correlation – Mark Roberts

Day 15. Application Programming Interface (API) – Patrick Hubbard

Day 16. SNMP – Craig Norborg (MVP)

Day 17. Syslog – Paul Guido (MVP)

Day 18. Parent-Child – Jez Marsh (MVP)

Day 19. Tracing – Peter Di Stefano

Day 20. Information Security – Peter Monaghan (MVP)

Day 21. Routing – Kevin Sparenberg

Day 22. Ping – Thomas Iannelli (MVP)

Day 23. IOPS – Jake Muszynski (MVP)

Day 24. Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Matthew Reingold (MVP)

Day 25. Telemetry – Josh Biggley

Day 26. Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Rashmi Kakde

Day 27. Root Cause Analysis – Kellie Mecham

Day 28. Software Defined Network (SDN) – Mike Ashton-Moore (MVP)

Day 29. Anomaly detection – Kathleen Walker

Day 30. AIOps – Melanie Achard

Day 31. Ransomware – Jeremy Mayfield (MVP)

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