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Geek Speak

32 Posts authored by: christineb

We heard you wanted more deep dive, technical training on your SolarWinds products, and we listened! We're pleased to announce the brand-spanking new Customer Training Program for current (in maintenance customers). This is a totally free program that we are delivering as part of your maintenance (who else does that?!). Even though our products are very easy to use, we want to ensure every customer gets the most out your products. Initially launching with four NPM classes, we're planning to grow this program substantially in 2014 to offer more topics on more products very soon.


All classes consist of both lab and lecture - so the lessons are very applicable and transferable to what you're doing on a day to day basis. Classes are hosted by a professional trainer and class sizes are limited to ensure a quality learning experience.


To sign up for a class, you must be current on maintenance for at least one product - but it doesn't have to be the product you're taking the class on. So, (for example) feel free to sign up for an NPM class if you are a Toolset customer interested in learning more about NPM.


Where to Sign Up


You can sign up in the Customer Portal.




Current Classes


Currently, we have four NPM classes offered at various times on various dates. If the class you want is full, feel free to write us at CustomerVoice@solarwinds.com and we'll let you know as soon as we add new classes to the schedule.


SolarWinds NPM 201: Advanced Monitoring – Universal Device Poller, SNMP traps, Syslog Viewer

NPM 201 digs into some of the more advanced monitoring mechanisms available. We’ll get away from the “out-of-the-box” object configs and default monitoring settings to create a customized monitoring environment. If you have a good understanding of MIBs, OIDs, and SNMP (or would like to), this is probably the class for you.


SolarWinds NPM 202: Performance Tuning –Tuning, Remote Pollers, License Management

NPM 202 focuses on maximizing performance. This means tuning your equipment to optimize its capabilities, tuning your polling intervals to capture the data you need without bogging down the database with less critical data, and adding additional pollers for load balancing and better network visibility.  This class is great if your NPM could use a tuneup, or if you are considering expanding your deployment with additional licenses, polling engines, or web servers.


Solarwinds NPM 101: Getting Started – Maps, Users, Custom Views

NPM 101 will take a user from the initial install through customization and daily use. We cover the Orion core platform (getting used to NPM’s web interface), network discovery and adding devices, creating maps, adding users, and creating custom views.


Solarwinds NPM 102: Digging In – Advanced Alerts, Reporting, and More

NPM 102 dives into advanced alerts and reporting. We cover creating and managing custom alerts, alert suppression, device dependencies, and custom properties. We create and automate reports, and also show how to integrate those reports into custom views for easy, real-time access.


Comments by Training Participants

“This class was definitely worth my time. It provided me with lots of information and tactics to better manage my network. I look forward to the evolution of this training program because my job is always changing and I want to stay up-to-date with how SolarWinds NPM can help me with my network.”

Corinne Johnson



“The training program has definitely been worth my time. It has provided me with in-depth product information and tactics to help me monitor my network. I am looking forward to taking more classes from SolarWinds and exploring other products. My job is continually evolving and this new training program that SolarWinds has put together is helping me to maintain a competitive edge.”

Will Luther




We're ramping up this program, so watch this blog and the training page in the portal for more classes, on more products, at more times all throughout 2014 and beyond. And as always, let us know your requests at CustomerVoice@solarwinds.com.


Don't Forget About Customer-Only Trials!


And... don't forget about the benefits of downloading customer trials from the customer portal. You have access to every SolarWinds product with a streamlined evaluation experience including:


  • No need to fill out a registration form.
  • The download will not trigger emails about other products or offers.
  • Unless you reach out us, we will only contact you at the beginning and midway through your trial.
  • If you have questions or need assistance with your evaluation contact customersales@solarwinds.com.

If you own more than one Orion platform product, chances are, there are benefits to be had via their inherent integrations that you aren't leveraging. What you say? I can get more out of what I have right now? It's true! Because so many SolarWinds products have built-in integration points. there's a lot of power there that is yours for the taking. So if you ever find yourself asking:


  • What products integrate with the product that I own?
  • What products does SolarWinds have, in general?
  • What would these integration points do for me?
  • How do I set it up?


Well, we're going to tell you. In the "Admin" section of your Orion products, you'll see a new resource.



Click on the "Integration Overview" to see a large diagram of our products and how they fit together. It's a large diagram, so you'll only see part of it here.



Click on any link (any product) to read about commonly integrated products and to get step by step, illustrated guides about implementing those integrations.


Let us know what you think of this new feature at productintegration@solarwinds.com.

Don't miss our New Release Roundup tomorrow at 1pm CT. Learn how you can easily add more power, deeper insight, more accurate alerting, and faster time to root cause with snap-in applications from SolarWinds. In this short webcast, we take you through a few of our newest releases and discuss how these products could power up your existing infrastructure. Want to be more proactive? Solve problems faster? Free yourself from routine tasks and focus on more strategic ones?


Bring any questions you have about your own infrastructure or product integrations and we’ll help you solve them.


Sept 13 @ 1pm CT REGISTER HERE
Sept 20 @ 1pm CT REGISTER HERE

Please join us for a monthly product update from the SolarWinds Product Management team. The team will cover what’s new, what’s coming, and what we’re thinking about for future releases. Each session  will be very collaborative. We want to hear your thoughts, questions, and requests.


September 11  

In September, we’ll show you some interesting new developments centering around Orion platform product integrations. Plus, our NCM PM will give a brief overview of what’s new and what’s coming up. Be sure to bring any questions on our recent releases, and we’ll get them answered.


Register here.

There are many VoIP and video providers on the market today. One of them is Microsoft Lync. We would like to understand your plans for Lync in your environment. Do you plan to use it for VoIP, video, IM? Share your thoughts in our quick survey, and we'll enter you to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Thank you in advance for you time! Take the survey now.

Ready to take your mapping skills to a whole new level? You learned a lot from the Admin guide and thwack, and now, this episode will take your mapping skills to a whole new level.


In this episode, get step by step demos of:

    • How to Add & Embed a Sub-Map
    • Create Maps for Specific Users/Permissions
    • Why You’ll Want to Map Racks, Apps, & More
    • How to Create the Big Green Button (and the Boss
      Log On)



After the episode, you might want to check out Network Topology Mapper.

Join SolarWinds Sales Engineer Rob Johnson on July 25th at 1pm for an exclusive presentation for LEM Customers on LEM’s new Workstation Edition Features. There will be a live demo on expanding your compliance and log management to desktops. This live event will allow you to ask questions and get your answers right away! Register now.

11553_270_172_cache.pngHave you had a chance to check out the 30+ free tools on DNSstuff.com? If not, there's no better time than the present. DNSstuff has all the tools you'll ever need to troubleshoot DNS and email issues - all in one super easy interface.

And best of all... the tools are now totally free! Yes, we love you guys.

There's more infomation about the tools here. And you can check out the site itself here. Let us know what you think!

Flow technologies deliver one of the best ways to see what is going on with your network traffic. In the next episode of SolarWInds Lab, we'll introduce our newest Head Geek and resident flow technology guru, Don. Our Geeks will walk through side-by-side, command line configuration of JFlow, sFlow and NetFlow. They'll also discuss their relative merits and use cases. As always, bring your questions and we'll answer them!


Next Episode: July 10: 1pm CDT.

Technical Topics. Live Chat.

Sign up for a calendar reminder.

It's been a great show! We're so glad we got to see everyone (and hope to see you soon if we missed you this year). Here's our final espisode from Lab at Live.


Lawrence and Patrick discuss show highlights and do a booth recap. Visit lab.solarwinds.com for the content we delivered in our Customer Event and booth demos even if you didn’t make it to the show. And don’t forget to join us every month for SolarWinds Lab (learn more here). We’ve had a great time and enjoyed seeing everyone at Cisco Live!  

Day 3 at Cisco Live Orlando! The show is in full swing. Patrick and Lawrence discuss the neat things they have seen so far, what’s going on in the booth, cool features you  already have in your products that you might not even know about (drop by to get a demo of those), and our cool booth giveaways!  Booth #629!

Have you been catching the most popular new show from SolarWinds? We certainly hope so! SolarWInds Lab covers technical topics you care about -- with demos, diagrams, discussion and live chat. SolarWinds Lab is hosted each month by our Head Geeks and special guests. As always, we want to know what topics you would like to see and what you think about the show. If you are at Cisco Live - drop by booth #629 and talk to the geeks in person. To get updates on SolarWinds Lab - visit our page at lab.solarwinds.com.


Lab at Cisco Live - Day 2


Lab at Cisco Live Day 1


Have questions about your products? Want to know what we're working on or when your favorite feature is going to be implemented? Join us for the Customer Event at Cisco Live for short presentations, lots of Q&A, and a catered lunch. Presentations will be brief to allow plenty of time to chat with SolarWinds staff about your own environment and products.


The Scoop


Sign up to join us for one or more sessions. Sessions will be held Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 & 27, over lunch. The Customer Event will be held at the Rosen Centre, directly across the street from the hotel. Each session is limited to 30 people, and a catered lunch will be provided.




Wednesday June 26, 11:30-12:30

Don’t Forget the Superglue


This session covers three critical areas that can be overlooked until you’re in a pinch: config backup and policy scanning, network discovery and diagramming, and maintaining a clutter-free helpdesk queue. We'll be sharing some real-life stories from the front lines, and discussing how other people have solved problems when the going got tough... and stayed out of the weeds on a day to day basis.


Wednesday June 26, 12:30-1:30

NPM – What’s New, What’s Coming, and Popular Extensions


Join us for a product update, one-on-one discussion, and live demo with SolarWinds Product Managers and Head Geeks to learn and ask questions about the brand spanking new PM 10.5 release. The Product Management team will discuss what we’re working n for future releases and we'd appreciate your feedback. We’ll also introduce few popular NPM extension modules that address common network, server, and pplication management use cases. Bring all your NPM and associated module questions: we’ll have plenty of time for Q&A and one-on-one time with our SolarWinds experts and users like yourself.



Thursday June 27, 11:30-12:30

Protect Your Network From Hackers


Join us for a power unch to swap stories from the front lines and learn what SolarWinds is bringing to the table in the security space. A SolarWinds customer will also join the presentation to share how they are using SolarWinds in their environment. We will provide a short overview of SolarWinds Security products and cover topics such as:



• Understanding the importance patch management. It saves time... and your network!

• How and why to deploy security information and event management (SIEM)

• The importance of discovering and managing what devices users are using on your network

• How to manage your firewalls & network device configs more effectively


Thursday June 27, 12:30-1:30

NPM – What’s New, What’s Coming, and Popular Extensions


Join us for a product update, live demo, and one-on-one discussion with SolarWinds Product Managers and Head Geeks to learn and ask questions about the brand spanking new NPM 10.5 release. This session will also feature a long-term SolarWinds NPM customer as a special guest panelist. The Product Management team will discuss what we’re working on for future releases and we'd appreciate your feedback. We’ll introduce a few popular NPM extension modules that address common network, server, and application management use cases. Bring all your NPM and associated module questions: we’ll have plenty of time for Q&A and one-on-one time with our SolarWinds experts and users like yourself.


Sign up here!

Now that we’re past all that holiday madness and safely into the new year, it’s a great time to sit down, take a breath, and take stock of where your IT infrastructure is and where you’d like it to be.


I recently got into a conversation with our Head Geeks at SolarWinds about monitoring best practices, asking specifically, how do you know when you have enough coverage to be proactive and avoid issues? Their sage advice, “It depends.”  In a nutshell: “Don’t focus on interfaces, nodes, and volumes. Think about the criticality of the services you are delivering, and decide how much - and what to monitor - based on that.” We all have growing networks, and networks that are growing in complexity and density via IT onvergence. All of this deserves a bit of a think once in a while, to make sure everything in staying in line.


Here are a few other things to ask yourself while you’re having that think:


  • Sure, I’m monitoring what I need to with NPM, but am I getting the full benefit of IPSLA technology to ensure remote campuses also have reliable access
    to applications hosted on the internet or at headquarters?  Productive users are happy users.


  • Am I keeping support costs in check by ensuring all desktops are patched? Am I truly deploying those patches automatically?  Your IT staff is too valuable to assess and patch machines one by one.


  • Are you getting maximum value for your WAN connections by using QoS policy shaping to ensure non-business traffic isn’t choking out the critical traffic? Don’t let YouTube steal all the bandwidth from video conferencing!


  • As the number of virtual devices on your network increases and more services are concentrated into a smaller number of devices and links – are you able to adequately monitor those converged elements?  As you know, IT convergence increases the criticality of every piece of network gear, making single failures have larger impacts on your network. Every one counts in large amounts.


  • The added complexity of virtualization drives additional monitoring requirements – do you monitor your virtual infrastructure as well as you monitor your physical one? If not, is that costing you something? Could it in the future? Hmmm.


  • Do you continue to add additional subnets to your network? Are you moving forward with an ipV6 transition? Have you had an acquisition that caused overlapping subnets? How are you managing IP addresses? If it’s by spreadsheet, would you like to move to something more modern? It’s 2013 for gosh sakes.


  • You’re monitoring your business critical applications. Would you like to provide that same level of availability throughout your organization? Perhaps baby steps are in order.. Or squeaky wheels get more monitoring first. But in general, better monitoring, stability and uptime is a win win for everyone.

So, some food for thought.  Let us know how you’re doing and if we can help. And don’t forget to keep your maintenance current.


And don’t forget to keep your maintenance current. We are constantly delivering updates that offer new features to enhance the depth and functionality of your products. Stay on maintenance and get all your product updates for free.  Here’s to a healthy, happy admins in 2013!

A few weeks ago, we surveyed the SolarWinds Community to find out what challenges they are facing with IT alert mangement. 156 people filled out the survey. I posted some of those stats, here. Since we have established that alert management is a pain in many organizations, let's talk about how that pain is felt. In that same survey, we asked: "What are the biggest challenges you face with alert management?" and the responses, in a word cloud, loook like this.



The most common responses were:

  • False positives
  • Getting a timely response
  • Getting the alerts to the right person on the right team
  • Having enough resources to handle the alerts


At the same time, the consequences for missing an alert, or not addressing it in a timlely manner, were pretty dire. These included:


  • Critical system events missed
  • Unscheduled downtime
  • Disk fills
  • Customer impact/staff impact
  • Delay in problem identification and resolution
  • Lost revenue
  • Lost data
  • Missed SLA targets


Some respondents identified very uncomfortable personal consequences including: "having to attend meetings with angry customers" and "customer complaints resulting in having my boss sitting in my office" and even, "it comes up during review time." Ouch.


So we asked, what features are missing from your alert management process? And this is what the respondents told us.



Do you agee? Are you feeling the pain of alert management in your organization? Where is that pain being felt, and what would make it easier in your organization?

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