The network management system (NMS) is a key component of the network infrastructure which monitors your network health and identifies issues causing performance bottlenecks. This much we know already. But what will happen when the NMS is not available perhaps due to a failure in NMS implementation due to one of the reasons below?

  • Server running the NMS fails due to a hardware issue
  • Power supply to the NMS-installed server is lost
  • Scheduled maintenance downtime


In these conditions, to ensure consistency in monitoring network health, we need to make provisions to get the NMS up and running ASAP. This is where NMS failover plays a crucial role. Let’s understand this in context of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM). If something should happen to your primary NPM server, you should have a failover plan to automatically switchover NMS operations to a remote server. This passive failover server assumes the full identity of the primary NPM server and assumes all monitoring, alerting, reporting, and data collection as did the primary server.


SolarWinds Failover Engine (FoE) is a NMS failover option from SolarWinds, which when deployed on a secondary server, can provide five levels of protection to the server, network, application, performance, and data) and can be deployed for High Availability in a Local Area Network (LAN) or Disaster Recovery over a Wide Area Network (WAN).



#1 Server Protection

A failover occurs when the first passive server detects that the active server is no longer responding. This can be because the active server’s hardware has crashed or because its network connections are lost. In a failover, the first passive server is brought up immediately to take on the role of the active server.


#2 Network Protection

SolarWinds FoE proactively monitors the ability of the active server to communicate with the rest of the network by polling up to three defined nodes around the network, including by default,

  1. the default gateway
  2. the primary DNS server, and
  3. the Global Catalog server at regular intervals


If all three nodes fail to respond, for example, if a network card or local switch fails, SolarWinds FoE can gracefully switch the roles of the active and passive servers (referred to as a switchover) allowing the previously passive server to assume an identical network identity to that of the previously active server. After the switchover, the newly active server then continues to service the clients.


#3 Application Protection

SolarWinds Failover Engine running on the active server locally monitors the applications and services it has been configured to protect through the use of plug-ins. If a protected application should fail, SolarWinds Failover Engine will first try to restart the application on the active server. If a restart of the application fails, then SolarWinds FoE can initiate a switchover which gracefully closes down any protected applications that are running on the active server and restarts them on the passive server along with the application or service that caused the failure.


#4 Performance Protection

SolarWinds FoE proactively monitors system performance attributes to ensure that your protected applications are actually operational and providing service to your end-users, and that the performance of those applications is adequate for the needs of those users. Similar to application monitoring, various rules can be set to trigger specific corrective actions whenever these attributes fall outside of their respective ranges.


#5 Data Protection

SolarWinds FoE ensures the data files that applications or users require in the application environment are made available should a failure occur. Once installed, FoE can be configured to protect files, folders, and even the registry settings of the active server by mirroring these protected items in real-time to the passive server. If a failover occurs, all files that were protected on the failed server will be available to users on the server that assumes the active role after the failover.


Register for this FREE webinar to understand more about the failover options for SolarWinds network management, application and server management software, and learn from our product experts how SolarWinds can provide high availability and fault tolerance for your NMS implementation.

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