Most network monitoring solutions (NMS) are going to use some combination of Simple Network Monitoring Protocol (SNMP) and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to monitor your network. SNMP and ICMP are industry-standard technologies that are supported by pretty much anything you could care to monitor on a modern network, but, if a significant portion of the devices on your network are running some variety of a Windows OS, you should consider an implementation of WMI for those Windows PCs and servers. This post will provide a brief overview of WMI and show how it can function as a complement to SNMP and ICMP polling.

 

What is WMI?

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a proprietary technology used to poll performance and management information from Windows‑based network devices, applications, and components. When used as an alternative to SNMP, WMI can provide much of the same monitoring and management data currently available with SNMP‑based polling with the addition of Windows‑specific communications and security features. Basically, if you've got any Windows PCs and servers on your network, WMI gives you the ability to manage them in accordance with industry standards, specifically the Common Information Model and Web-Based Enterprise Management.

 

So How Does WMI Help Me?

If you're managing any network equipment running a Windows-based OS, WMI gives you a Windows-specific, standardized framework for developing management scripts and applications. In other words, if you're comfortable working in the Windows domain, if the .NET Framework and COM/DCOM programming are old hat for you, you'll want to give WMI management a try. There is even a CLI available for the old-schoolers among you that prefer to manage your equipment without all the visual bells and whistles your NMS gives you. Getting into implementation details would exceed the limits of this blog space, but you can find all the info you need by searching WMI at Microsoft.

 

Does SolarWinds Work With WMI?

Yes, of course we do. If you've enabled WMI monitoring and management, SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM), SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM), SolarWinds IP Address Manager (IPAM), and SolarWinds Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM) are all capable of giving you insight into the Windows-based devices on your network, particularly if, for security reasons, you do not want or are unable to use SNMP for network monitoring.

 

When you install any SolarWinds Orion application, simply indicate that you want to monitor WMI-enabled devices on your network by providing appropriate credentials when prompted. For more information about configuring a SolarWinds Network Discovery to discover WMI-enabled devices, see "Network Discovery Using the Network Sonar Wizard" in the SolarWinds Orion NPM Administrator Guide.