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Thanks to everyone that helped nominate them, several of our products here at SolarWinds have been nominated for the 2009 Community Choice Awards. This is an especially cool awards program as it's totally based on what the community likes.

You can go here to cast your vote. Orion NPM and ipMonitor have been nominated in the "Best Network Management Product" category and the free Exchange Monitor, TFTP Server, and NetFlow Configurator in the "Best Free or Open Source IT Tool" category.

Cast your vote and then stop by Austin TX sometime or ping me during one of the tradeshows/conventions and we'll celebrate our victory with some SolarWinds sponsored beverages  FYI - I'll be in Atlantic City hosting a free seminar in October.


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Josh
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Hey all - Sparky here, guest blogging again for the Geek.  I just wrote post on thwack Announcing SolarWinds Labs - WMI Browser gadget! our new SolarWinds Labs WMI Browser Experimental gadget for the Workspace Studio and I thought I might spread the word here. For the click-a-phobic, here is a summary:

What is an experimental gadget you may ask? An experimental gadget is a gadget that encompasses some functionality we would like to release, but it might be very early in the design/development stage, or maybe have plans to add more features, but want feedback from you on how to improve it, or we may have found something we think is cool, and want to find out if you think it's cool too. 

Some "Labs" gadgets may graduate to full-fledged gadgets, and some may stay at the experimental stage while we gauge interest or revise the design.  Some might just fade quietly into the netherworld...

So, if you have comments about (or ideas for) SolarWinds Labs Gadgets, feel free to post here.

 

I am really excited about this new initiative, and think it will lead to  some very cool new stuff. Well, to be honest, I am more excited about the upcoming hunting season, but I digress...

--Greg

There was a time when the need for monitoring applications was really limited to the system administrators and application owners. Makes since when you think about it - they're the ones that caught all the heat when the applications went down so they had a vested interest in knowing their status. Application monitoring was simple back then. You just monitored the device that hosted the application and the process or services on that box that was the application and you were pretty much good to go. While it's still true that system administrators need a way to monitor their applications - they're not the only ones anymore and applications today are very different...

When we think about applications today, what we usually mean is the user's perspective of the application. For instance, I have users that leverage SalesForce.com. To them, "SalesForce" is an application. They launch the application's UI, in this case a web browser, and expect the application to appear and respond to their commands. To me, SalesForce is a service that involves applications, servers, databases, SANs, routers, switches, WAN accelerators, firewalls, bandwidth, and a whole lot more. These components have all got to be working together in order for the application to be available to my users.

Additionally, because the application relies on these various components, the people that need access to this information is much broader than just the application owners and system administrators. Network engineers, DBAs, infrastructure specialists, security professionals and just about everyone that supports the IT infrastructure could be involved in solving a problem with this application.

This makes it easy to see why device-oriented monitoring isn't a great fit for today's applications and services. When I monitor an application today I want to be able to see all of the different components that could affect that application on one screen and rolled up into service availability status for the application as whole. I want to see NetFlow data so that I can monitor congestion and see individual users' application traffic. I want to see how busy the routers and switches are that support the application. I want to see relevant syslog messages combined with Windows Server events. I also want to see status and perforance information on the aplication servers, SAN devices, and database servers.

This week here at SolarWinds we released the Orion Application Performance Monitor (APM) version 3.0. APM 3.0 does some really cool things. First off, it allows you to build application views that meet the requirements that I outlined above. Secondly, it integrates with our community site Thwack.com so that it's easier to share custom application monitoring templates that have been contributed or that you've written yourself.

You can of course download a free copy of Orion APM to try out for 30 days. I've been using it here in the office since before it went into beta and I've been really happy with it thus far.


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Josh
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It's hard to imagine a company today that doesn't rely heavily on Windows Server based applications. Sure, a lot of us have some Linux based apps, apps delivered via SaaS, and probably even some apps in the cloud where we're not 100% sure what they're running on; but chances are that you rely on Microsoft Exchange for e-mail, some SQL Server for databases, and Active Directory for authentication.

Monitoring Windows servers and Windows based applications can be difficult. Traditional network management systems don't support things like WMI and web based user experience monitors and traditional application managment products are very expensive and hard to use. Luckily, today we released a new tool to help make this easier...

The new WMI Monitor is a great tool for monitoring your Windows servers and Windows based applications using WMI. It installs in no time and creates a handy dashboard for your desktop to track the performance and status of Windows applications. Additionally, the WMI Monitor has a built-in WMI Browser which can be a huge asset when managing Windows Servers.

Here's a video with a quick demo of the new tool. Check it out and let us know what you think.

[View:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI6cuTxAkxU:160:120]

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Josh
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