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New management challenges have emerged with virtualization adoption around assuring performance, capacity, reporting and chargeback.  How do you find a powerful solution to all these new challenges without breaking the bank? Join SolarWinds for a sneak peek webcast of our upcoming Virtualization Manager 4.0 (formerly Hyper9) release where we'll show you how to take your virtualization initiative to the next level.

 

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SolarWinds User Device Tracker bridges the gap between the network and the physical world. It sniffs out each device on each switch port, just waiting to tell you where something is, or where something was. Historical data can even show you where a device was last seen, so you can find that long lost laptop. Come see what SolarWinds *NEW* User Device Tracker can do for you!

Date/Time:

NA/LATAM - Thursday May 5, 2011 @ 11:00 AM CDT     
EMEA - Thursday May 5, 2011 @ 2:00 PM BST      
APAC - Wednesday May 4, 2011 @ 11:00 AM SGT

GoToWebinar link to sign up for the sneak peek:

NA/LATAM- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/614764688     
EMEA- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/233499057     
APAC- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/152541209

Do any of these apply to you? 

1. You like to try new things. 

2. You like to give your opinion. 

3. Those new things you like to try and opinions you like to give include things like RC versions of SolarWinds software. 

4. You are an ipMonitor customer under active maintenance and would like to try the 10.5 RC (see features below). OR you have a Clariion SAN or a Citrix Netscaler and would be interested in learning more/trying out new free tools currently in development that pertain to those devices.

If you see yourself in the description above, send me a private message and we'll get you fixed up with more information and the downloads as appropriate. 

I know, I promised, so here are the features that are in the ipMonitor 10.5 release candidate. I have to say (due to rules and regulations) that we cannot promise that all of these will make it into the GA build, but that seems likely at this point. 

  • Bandwidth monitors will separate inbound and outbound traffic. This enhancement provides a more detailed view of bandwidth usage, allowing the ability to test incoming and outgoing data rates.
  • Enhanced Exchange support - support for Exchange 2010. 
  • A shiny new printer monitor! 
  • The ability to sort columns in reporting view. 
  • As well as several bug fixes. 
I hope we'll be hearing from you. 

We  spend so much time on the network side of things, dealing with IP  addresses, URL’s, MAC’s etc. that often the physical location of a  device is all but forgotten.  When things are going well, this isn’t  much of a problem.  We know that all the devices are out there somewhere, tethered  to the rack of switches.  But what happens when things aren’t going so  great?   Port tracking software bridges the gap between the network and  physical world.  Below are a few scenarios that illustrate the value of  knowing where things are and sometimes, where things were.

Bad Machines

Security  issues and rogue devices present a formidable challenge to the  unprepared team.  If a machine is flagged as having a virus or malware,  and only an IP or MAC is given, what is the quickest method to deal with  the problem?  Yanking the power cord would be the most direct action,  but first you’d have to physically find that device.  Knowing what  IP/MAC/Hostname is attached to each switch port at this moment would  prove most beneficial.  In fact, you wouldn’t even have to get up from  your desk.  Just log into the correct switch, and disable the port for  the offender.  The same method would apply to deal with a rogue or other  unknown device.  Once the IP or MAC has been detected on the network,  it can then be traced to the current switch port, which ultimately leads  to a physical drop.  Won’t they be surprised how fast the IT Police  show up after plugging in their personal wi-fi router?

Lost Assets

Misplaced  or lost devices introduce another problem that can be easily solved by  integrating the network and physical worlds.  How often has a computer  been “borrowed” from a department, never to be returned?  As with the  previous example, the current physical location of the missing device  can be determined with a simple lookup of the MAC or Hostname.  But what  if this machine was used briefly, turned off, cast aside, and forgotten  about in some dark corner of a lab?  If our port tracking software  keeps historical data as well, we can discover the last known location  of the device, which will give us a good lead in finding it now.

Digital needle in the haystack

Saving  historical switch port data gives us one more twist, and that is  rewinding the network a few months to find out who or what was  responsible for an event in the past.  Perhaps it took a few days or  weeks of analysis in order to spot a trend that points back to something  that needs attention.  Or maybe a law enforcement agency is asking for  help in identifying an individual responsible for some online  activities, and all they have to offer is an IP address from the past.   At this point, you can either pore through old DHCP logs, or ask your  port tracking software for the history of this IP address.  This can be  correlated with a MAC or hostname, which will point to an individual.

 

Switch Utilization

An  additional benefit of all this switch port monitoring is that it gives  you the opportunity to view switch utilization in a concise and  consolidated fashion.  A rack full of switches and cables may look  “full”, but just how many ports are in use?  How many have never been  used?  Vendor-agnostic port tracking software can easily display which  ports are currently in use.  A glance at this information will let you  know what switches are operating at or near port capacity.  Click on a  “dark” port to see when it was last used, or if it has ever been used at  all.  Reclaim enough ports on the rack and perhaps a new switch  purchase can be delayed.  Don’t forget the switch’s own CPU and memory  utilization.  As long as you’re monitoring all these ports, might as  well query these values to make sure none of the equipment is overloaded  another way.

Conclusion


Here  at SolarWinds, we recognize that these scenarios can represent a lot of  frustration and needless effort for an IT staff not properly equipped.   Clearly an affordable, effective tracking tool is needed so that these  problems will be solved with just a few mouse clicks. Would you like to see what we're working on?

Finding where devices are connected in your network

bshopp

The Magic 8 Ball in Orion

Posted by bshopp Apr 14, 2011

I walk into one of our Development Managers office on a weekly, if not daily basis, asking for a feature or bug fix and to mess with me he has a magic 8-ball on his desk he likes to shake up and make the decision.  I am sure almost everyone has either owned or played with one of these things where it gives you responses like “outlook does not look good”. 

 

 

I bet most of you have come across a situation where a manager or someone else comes up to you and ask questions like:

 
      
  • when is that disk drive going to run out of space?
  •    
  • how far out are we from maxing out the capacity in the link out to the Internet?
  •    
  • based on historical usage of the CPU on this box, when are we going to max it out?
 

It is a bit like pulling out the magic 8-ball and giving it an nice big shake.

 

Well not anymore.  There is a cool, little feature in Orion which many folks do not know about which allows you to do trending analysis, with much more accuracy than the good ole’ Magic 8-ball.

 

We use a method called “Least Square” to perform this analysis.  If you are interesting in reading all the geeky stuff on this algorithm, check it out here.

 

Let’s walk through how do do this in Orion using the disk drive example above.  Your manager comes in and is doing budget planning for the next year and need to know if this specific server is going to need a drive upgrade or not.  In the Orion web console you drill down to the server in question and select the drive and get a nice chart like you see directly below.  It looks boring and flat and only using 14gig of 39.9gig, plenty of room for the next year right? 

 

image

 

If you now select “Edit Chart” in the drop down you will get a new page, where under the Time Period heading, you can select custom.  Enter a date in the past and then a date in the future, say six months out and click refresh.

 

image

 

The result will be chart where based on the historical we have gathered and stored you can see you have plenty of room and overall is on a downward trend.

 

image

 

 

 

This feature work with Volumes, Interfaces, CPU, Memory, etc. 

 

Still keep the Magic 8-ball on your desk to mess with people, but now you can give you manager much more precise data for their budget capacity planning exercise.

Several weeks ago I posted What We're Working On for APM with a list of some of things we’re working for APM.  I’d like to provide a little more detail on some of these features because we’re working on some pretty cool stuff!

 

Java Monitoring

  • For those of you interested in JMX, this is your huckleberry.  APM will support JMX, and we plan on giving you the ability to select which beans you’d like to monitor via the process browser.
  • We’re also working on some templates for monitoring Java application servers.  Which Java application servers are you using? (Feel free to reply to this post!)

 

Better Nagios and Scripting Support

  • This is a big one.  First, we’re adding the ability to leverage scripts that return multiple values.  In other words, APM scripting component monitors will no longer be restricted to scripts that return a single value.  You will be able to leverage scripts that return multiple values, and be able to set thresholds on each.
  • Obviously this new functionality will apply to Nagios scripts as well.  We know many of you have already invested a great deal of time in building and maintaining Nagios scripts.  We are also working on trying to make it easier for you to leverage those Nagios scripts in APM and take some of the manual work out of the process.

 

Best Practices on What to Monitor for a Given Application

  • Many of you have already benefitted from the preliminary work on this through the updated templates we’ve been posting to thwack.  These templates are being built by Solarwinds staff who have experience in systems administration and have a good understanding of what should be monitored and what the thresholds for given counters should be.  We are leveraging this expert knowledge and updating our templates accordingly.
  • In addition to providing this expert knowledge, we are updating our APM templates to include a description field for each component monitor to include this information.  We will also be exposing this field as an alert variable, allowing you to include this information in alerts to help with troubleshooting when something goes wrong.

 

Data Transforms on APM Component Monitors

  • Many of you have requested the ability to take the value returned from an APM component monitor and do some math on that value, much like the UnDP in NPM.  This feature will allow you to do just that.
  • This feature will be added as something you can configure on individual component monitors within an APM template.

 

As we make progress I’ll have some screenshots to share in a future blog post; we’d love to hear your feedback!

How many times have you heard this?  How many times does it look like everything is fine to you?  If this is you, then read on. 

You’ve probably heard about NetFlow and you may have even seen it at a tradeshow, but what you may not know is that this core technology is built into your existing infrastructure. So, how can you use NetFlow to understand what’s really going on when you get the ‘it’s slow’ complaint?

Here’s the scenario: You’ve heard complaints from your users that the network is slow but you don’t know why or where.  You suspect it may be your WAN and/or internet links and you don’t want to simply increase bandwidth because that gets expensive quickly.  How do you create alerts so you are the first to know when you approach capacity and can hunt down bandwidth hogging users and applications before your boss hunts you down?

 

Step 1 - Manage your NetFlow sources and CBQoS Polling

From the NTA Summay tab, you will see your currently managed NetFlow Sources.

 

 

Click on Manage Sources and you can add, delete or edit your NetFlow Sources.

 

 

 

Step 2 – Manage Alerts     

Once you have set-up your NetFlow sources, you will use the advanced alerting features of NPM and NTA to create a “Top Talker” interface utilization alert that notifies you when certain thresholds are met, for example, High Transmit Percent Utilization or High Percent Receive Utilization.

 

 

 

Step 3 – Monitor Traffic

Once alerted that you have reached certain critical thresholds, or at any time, you can view “Top Talkers” within the Orion NetFlow console:

 

 

You are not limited to Top 10 conversations or applications; however, you can also see countries, endpoints, receivers, transmitters, IP Groups or protocols.

In addition, you can view your NetFlow sources by % utilization:

 

 

 

as well as create custom filtered views

 

 

 

Step 4 – Tell your boss it’s all under control

Now that you know who and what are consuming your network bandwidth, you can use the data to modify your network bandwidth, traffic policies and user behavior to optimize costs.

 

If you don’t already have Orion NetFlow Traffic Analyzer installed, you can learn more about it and Download a Free 30 Day Trial.

 

Stay tuned to part 2 where we will demonstrate how to determine the direct impact of network traffic consumption on your business critical applications using the IP SLA technology that is already built-in to your Cisco routers.

Date/Time:

NA/LATAM-Thursday April 21, 2011 11:00 AM CDT

EMEA- Thursday April 21, 2011 1:00 PM GMT

APAC- Wednesday April 20 11 AM SGT

To sign up:

NA/LATAM- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/200908976

EMEA- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/344221472

APAC- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/197966576

Description:

Learn about the common pitfalls that you will encounter as you progress on your Virtualization journey towards Private Cloud computing.  Join SolarWinds Head Geek Josh Stephens as we discuss the changes that these Virtual Environments have caused and how they affect management best practices. Some of what he’ll cover will include:

· Best practices for management as you progress on your Virtualization journey

· Identifying and Resolving Performance and Capacity Bottlenecks

· Conquering the inevitable VM Sprawl that will arise

· Preparing for management of your Private Cloud

Also during this webcast we’ll demonstrate key technologies from SolarWinds that help to conquer these challenges and ensure success in these environments.

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