As you can see in It’s Showtime!  Orion NPM 10.1 is officially GA! post Chris wrote, we have discussed a handful of the features already in NPM 10.1.  As part of the next installment of this “Meet the Features” series, I wanted to walk through a handful of new related features, which I have listed out below.

  • A dedicated alert view made for mobile web browser to allow you to view and acknowledge alerts from your phone
  • Receive an email alert notification and directly from your email whether on your PC or mobile device, acknowledge that alert by clicking on a link
  • Enable, disable, and delete Advanced Alerts in the web console
  • Ability for users to add notes to alerts in the web console
  • Just like in Report Writer, you can use SQL to create advanced alerts you cannot create through the built-in trigger creation interface

Mobile View:

We heard many times from users, “hey, why don’t you have an iPhone app"?”.  My reply is, I am an Android user, so no way we are just doing an iPhone app. :)  Kidding aside, we wanted to provide a method for users of all phones to be able to leverage Orion and not just limit it to one vendor, NPM is after all multi-vendor network monitoring right? 

In your web browser just put in the url to your Orion server.  If for some reason your phone does not auto-detect that is is coming from a mobile browser, then all you have to do is at the end of the URL add ?ismobileview=true.  Here is a URL from my Orion install, http://10.199.15.69/Orion/NetPerfMon/Alerts.aspx?ismobileview=true

Mobile Network Monitoring Views

Acknowledge alerts via email:

Continuing on the phone discussion topic, most of us monitor and respond to emails on our phones.  It is much easier to take a phone with us when we go to meetings or are out to lunch, etc.  Many folks are also connected via WiFi to their internal wireless network or have a VPN client loaded on their phone, so they never even need to boot up their laptop to do some things. Now on top of having a mobile views to acknowledge an alert in Orion, you can also do this via your email as well.

To set this up, follow these steps.

  1. Edit an existing or create a new Advanced Alert
  2. Select the Trigger Actions tab
  3. Choose Add New Action and select Send an Email/Page
  4. Click on the Message tab and select Insert Variables
  5. Select the General Category and there will be a variable in there called AcknowledgeURL
  6. Select Build Selected Variable and in the message body of the email you will see a variable that looks like this ${AcknowledgeURL}.
  7. Now when you receive an email alert, there will be a link you can click which says “Click here to ack this alert”

Enable, disable, and delete Advanced Alerts in the web console:

As many of you know, to add, edit and delete alerts in Orion, you have to RDP to the Orion server.  You have thoroughly beat me up on this on thwack and will continue to into the future, however, we did do some things in 10.1 to start to make this better.

If you navigate to the Settings page, there is a new section to manage Advanced Alerts, see below screenshot.

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You have the ability to enable or disable an existing alerts, delete an alert or edit some basic setting within an alert.  To be clear, what you still need to RDP to the server to perform is to create a new Advanced Alert, change the trigger/reset conditions or alert actions.

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While we are not all the way there and you still need to RDP to Orion to perform some functions, you can see here we are making forward progress on bringing more to the web console for ease of use and management.

Ability for users to add notes to alerts in the web console:

With the launch of NCM 6.0 we started this feature and finished it off in 10.1.  We heard from many folks, when an alert fires, I want to be able to append information to that alert for the engineers to help the research the issue, but also to put general notes on what they have done to investigate the issue and what the resolution was.  If you have NTA, you can put Top Talker information into alerts now or if you have NCM you can have a show command be run on the device when an alert triggers and the output put into the notes section of the alert.  This gives engineers more data at their fingertips much quicker to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.  If you click on the alert name you will now get a popup in which you can enter text as you can see in my below example.

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Advanced SQL Advanced Alerts:

Whew, had to say advanced twice in the title of this section, must be a powerful feature then huh? :)  The native Orion interfaces provide a lot of flexibility in creating Advanced Alerts, just like we do in Report Writer and can solve most of their use cases that way.  However, we hear from folks of the desire to do use cases, which the native UI can’t construct today.  So what we have added to Advanced Alerts is what I call an “escape hatch” to handle more of those complex use cases you can now create your own SQL queries to do checks on the Orion data.

  1. Create a new Advanced Alert and under the Trigger Conditions tab select the dropdown at the top of the dialog and at the bottom of the list, there is a new option called “Advanced SQL Alert”.  See below screenshot for further reference.    
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  3. You can select against which element you want to inspect; node, volume, etc. and define the SQL query    
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That’s it, easy to setup.  And don’t worry, we have also added a fail safe for this feature.  If someone writes a SQL query that is completely horrible and hammers the SQL database and take longer than 60 seconds by default, then we automatically kill the thread, disable the alert and log a notification to the Orion Event Log.  This timer is configurable on a global basis under the Polling Setting option in the Setting page.

A lot of content in this post, but I am just too darn excited about the NPM 10.1 release to break this out into 4 posts and string you along.  I want to get as many of you folks as possible upgraded to 10.1 and checking these features out and giving us feedback on what we did right and anything we did wrong (hopefully nothing :)).

There is a NPM 10.1 Features Highlight webinar on Thursday, December 9th where you can learn more.  You can read about it Orion Training session: Orion NPM 10.1 New Features in a post Denny wrote and sign up.