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Alright, so NPM 10.2 has just gone out the door and our developers already have some fun stuff to play with! We have just created the first Beta for our next release of NPM. One of the biggest changes you will notice is the new shiny charts! I know you'll want to start using these in your production environment today, but remember that betas are specficially for testing in lab environments and not for using in production (they aren't supported). If you are currently using our network monitoring software NPM, and interested in taking the beta for a spin, fill out this survey and I'll send you the download information.

Here is a brief list of the other items available in the first beta:

  • Alert enhancements for table based UnDPs
  • Native support for Alaxala and Apresia
  • Better support for international customers

To see the other items we are still working on in the next release of NPM network monitor, see What we are working on for NPM.

Without further ado, new charts!

 

 

Some of the new charts on NPM network management software will be enabled by default during the Beta. When the next version of NPM launches, we will not turn them on by default because we are still in the process of updating all of the charts (you might notice that only a few charts are represented above). We will provide instructions to easily enable the new charts that are ready if you just can't wait. Again, if you want to see these charts in your network today, just fill out this survey!

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is a very rich reporting product, with a number of different styles of reports for getting information.  There’s more than one way to “skin a cat” as it were when it comes to reporting with Virtualization Manager.  We will cover the primary types of reports, as well as scheduling of those reports.

 

 

Dashboard Reports

 

The dashboards within virtualization manager are numerous and cover a variety of different use cases, and of course, it’s easy to customize them and create your own.  There are currently 11 different widget types for you to choose from.  You can also create a PDF report for any of the dashboards (out of the box or ones you create) – simply click on “Create Dashboard Report” on the top right part of the dashboard view

 

imageimage

 

Create a PDF of any dashboard

 

This provides tremendous flexibility since any dashboard you customize or create can be instantly exported to PDF (they can also be scheduled – more on that in the scheduled reporting section).

 

Dashboard Widget Sharing

 

We get a tremendous amount of positive feedback around the capability of being able to share a dashboard widget as a URL that can be sent or embedded in a portal like Microsoft SharePoint.  Click on the “advanced options” arrow on a widget and select “Copy widget link” – this yields a direct URL to this widget that can be cut and pasted.  A lot of administrators I talk to will embed these on a web page somewhere so that it is convenient for other teams to see information on the virtual infrastructure without those teams needing access to vCenter for example.  They will also send the links via email or IM as a way to collaborate with other administrators – these links provide live views into Virtualization Manager (and therefore the underlying virtual infrastructure) unlike some other tools that only offer point in time snapshots.

 

imageimage

 

Let’s share this with my manager……

 

The widgets can also be embedded into APM/NPM dashboards. (see Single Pane of Glass – Tying in Storage Manager & Virtualization Manager into Orion Dashboard)

 

image

 

Or add a widget to my Orion dashboard

 

 

Search and “Data Export”

 

Virtualization Manager leverages search as a foundation – and comes out of the box with more than 60 saved searches (or queries).  These span configuration details as well as performance.  For example, want to find all of your Linked Clone VMs? – there’s a search for that!

 

imageimage

 

An out of the box saved search – and the results from running it

 

Pretty much all of the configuration and performance information Virtualization Manager collects is searchable – which is great for ad-hoc reporting, you don’t always know what you don’t know if you know what I mean Smile

 

There’s a query builder to help you augment the out of the box saved searches or create your own – want to know how many VMs are in the production folder? – bring up a search for it in the query builder.

 

imageimage

 

Using the Query Builder

 

“Data Export”

 

What about if you’ve got a great search but want to get a hard copy of it (e.g. in Excel) or get additional details about those items, for example, maybe you want to search for all the VMs with one or more snapshots but then get an Excel report with each VM and details about every snapshot it has.  That’s where data export comes in.  Simply select the items (VMs in this case) you want to export to Excel and hit the “Export” button.  This takes you to a screen where you can choose which attributes for each item you want to include in your Excel report.  Once you’ve chosen the attributes, you can also save them as a “template” for convenient future use – we also provide a number of common ready made templates for you to use.

 

imageimageimage

 

Found the VMs with one or more snapshots, lets export them to Excel.

 

 

 

“Scripted (on demand) Reports”

 

Scripted Reports can be found by clicking on the “Reporting” link at the top of the screen – this leads to a list of reports that can be run, typically against a given Virtual Center.

 

imageimage

 

Accessing Scripted Reports

 

These reports will collect data “on demand” from the Virtual Center you specify.  For example, the VM Aging report will collect data from vCenter to attempt to find out when a VM was initially created, and who created it.  These reports generate Excel reports and you can find the generated report under the “Content” section of the product.

 

 

Performance Charting

 

The “performance analyzer” within Virtualization Manager allows you to plot arbitrary items as well as their relationships.  For example, a host and all its VMs with CPU and metrics, or a datastore and all of its VMs and storage IO metrics.  These charts can be exported as a PNG file, and the underlying chart data can be exported to Excel by clicking on the “Save Report” link.  The Excel report can be downloaded from the “Content” section of the product.  The Performance Analyzer also contains options for stack charts, and graph overlays.

 

image

 

Performance Analyzer Charting

 

 

“Trends” and “Facet” Views

 

A trend is simply a search that is run on a schedule with points (search results) plotted on a chart (e.g. the number of VMs I have) and a “Facet” view is a pie chart with breakdown of items across my environment.  Both of these views are widget types that can be put on a dashboard – if you drill into the widget, you’ll be taken to an enlarged view.

 

imageimage

 

Trend and Facet drill down views, also known as “Business Views”

 

The trends can also be exported to Excel by clicking on the “Save Report” link, and like the Scripted Reports, the resulting file can be found under the “Content” section of the product.

 

 

 

Scheduling Reports

 

Finally, we come to scheduling of reports.  The first 3 types of reports we covered – Dashboard Reports, Data Export and Scripted (on demand) Reports can be run on a schedule and delivered via email if desired.  For dashboard reports, we send out a PDF attachment but also send the email as HTML, so that you can see the report on your mobile device without having to open an attachment.  Whenever you run one of these three reports, you’ll be taken to a screen that shows you the report to download, as well as provide you with scheduling options.

 

imageimage

 

Report retrieval and schedules and SMTP configuration

 

Remember that if you want to send out your scheduled reports via email, you’ll need to have an SMTP server configured in the Administration part of the product.

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/933038544   

DATE OF WEBCAST:         Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 11:00 US CST

TITLE:                             The Journey to the Cloud: Practical Steps and Recommendations for Cloud Adoption

LENGTH:                        60 minutes

FORMAT:                        Webcast – slides and product demonstration.

PRESENTER(s):               Jonathan Reeve and Robbie Wright

DESCRIPTION:                

Please join us for a FREE webinar with SolarWinds’ virtualization management experts, Jon Reeve and Robbie Wright who will be discussing “The Journey to the Cloud: Practical Steps and Recommendations for Cloud Adoption.”

In this webinar, we will discuss the journey to Private Cloud Adoption – from the early stages of virtualization adoption to operating a private cloud and delivering IT as a service.  We’ll explore practical steps that can be taken, no matter what phase you’re in, to tackle the top management problems introduced by Virtualization and Private Cloud such as:

• VM Sprawl
• Managing Performance Contention in a shared infrastructure
• Properly planning for Capacity
• Implementing “showback” and Chargeback


Register now for this special event!

It's been a while since we talked about IPAM so I decided I show you some "backdoor" tips&tricks that can help you fix some minor issues you may run into when using IPAM.

Customizable Payload for ICMP ping request (available in IPAM 2.0.1 and higher)

You may run into a situation where the IPAM scanning seems to work fine and you can see the ICMP traffic but only some of the IP Addresses/devices are monitored in IPAM even if you are expecting that rest of the IP addresses are also in use. One of the frequent cases is typically caused by your firewall which filters ICMP packets bigger than certain a size. In this case you may try to decrease payload size of the ICMP ping request (this was a problem in this Re: IPAM only scanning some devices). To do so just add/change the following configuration in "%PROGRAMFILES%\SolarWinds\Orion\IPAM\SolarWinds.IPAM.Jobs.dll.config" configuration file:

  <appSettings>
        <add key="PingSweepDhcpJob.Payload" value="custom payload value"/>
  </appSettings>

 

The ICMP payload is changed globally so all ICMP packets used for the subnet scans will use the modified value. You also don't need to restart any service after saving your change in configuration file (next ICMP packet will just use the modified value). For those who are interested in more details please open link to Cisco forum.

Remove the limitation of 150 subnets

Have you ever seen this message in your left pane in IPAM: 

 

If yes then you probably know that the current version of IPAM has a limitation that allows you to display only 150 subnets in left pane by default. If this is your case and you need to see more than 150 subnets then you can use following steps and change this default limitation:

Locate and run this executable application: %PROGRAMFILES%\SolarWinds\Orion\IPAM\SolarWinds.IPAM.InternalSettings.exe.

The item you need to change is named: "Subnet Page, Tree Max Items" - enter the number of subnets you need to see. Then you need to restart the "SolarWinds Orion Module Engine" service.

Initially we introduced this limitation because of the possible negative impact on website performace so you may notice a small slowdown in case of huge number of subnets you want to display.

 

 

You may also use this tool for an additional UI changes of IPAM - if you are interested in more details see IPAM v1.5 "Internal Settings" tool can help change UI defaults and Re-size of Columns in Manage Subnets & IP Addresses?? thwack posts.

This blog is a sequel of the previous Orion Architecture blog and focuses on the NCM 7.x architecture and deployment.

 

NCM 7.x architecture is different from the previous versions, mostly because it leverages several components from Orion Core (see Orion Architecture blog) and integrates more tightly with Core-based products such as NPM.

 

NCM 7.1 brought these additional changes:

  • Support for additional polling engines
  • Fresh installation does not allow for installing NCM integrated with Orion (e.g. NPM) on a separate platform. However, customers running NCM 7.0 integrated with NPM on a separate server, can upgrade to 7.1 and remain in this deployment type (integrated - separate server). As described in NCM 7.1 release notes, section "NCM 7.1 deployment types", the integrated-on-same-server deployment will be the only option in a future release.

 

The recently released NCM 7.3 instroduces these changes:

  • NCM and Core/NPM databases have been merged.
  • Deployment scenario where NCM is integrated with NPM but installed on a separate server is no longer supported.
  • Please see NCM 7.3 Architecture and Deployment for details.

 

Standalone deployment

 

  • Choose this deployment if you only have SolarWinds NCM or if you want it completely non-integrated to any other Orion-based product.

  • Other SolarWinds products can be installed and integrated to a standalone NCM at a later time.

  • Node, User Account and Syslog &Trap Management rely on Core components. NCM 7 also benefits from Network Atlas.

  • NCM 7.0 always relies on 2 databases

    • The “Core database” contains essentially the information related to Node and User Account. The “NCM database” contains all information related to device configurations
    • They can be hosted on the same or separate database servers. Here are a few diagrams showing NCM standalone with several possible database deployment options:

 

image        image        image

 

  •   Watch a video of a Standalone NCM 7.0 deployment here

 

 

Integrated Single Server deployment

 

  • Choose this deployment to optimize your hardware footprint for NPM and NCM
  • NCM 7.x always relies on 2 databases, see the Standalone deployment type for more information.
  • NCM 7.x can be co-hosted with NPM 10.x
  • In the future, this will be the only mode supporting NPM integration.

 

In this deployment, both share the same Core.

 

In this case, the Web UI is always integrated, i.e. Home/Network and Configs tabs appear side by side in the WEB interface. Note that it is possible to configure NPM users to have no visibility of the NCM tab and resources, with NCM 7.0.1, by using the NCM User Account setting NCM Role=None. See NCM admin guide section “Setting User Account Access”.

 

In an upgrade scenario (E.g. NCM 6 to NCM 7 and NPM 10.1 to NPM 10.2), the nodes previously in NCM 6.x will be synchronized with the Core database and appear in NPM. If some of these nodes are to be NCM-only nodes, you can hide them from NPM users, by using account limitations. Orion Core will also poll them for status (up/down).

 

image

 

In this deployment, the database location options are similar to the Standalone deployment, described above.

 

  •   Watch a video of a Integrated Single Server deployment here

 

 

Integrated Separate Server deployment

 

  • Choose this deployment to optimize the scalability of your deployment
  • NCM 7.0 can be hosted on a separate server from NPM 10.2, and be integrated.
  • NCM 7.1 can be hosted on a separate server from NPM 10.3, and be integrated, but only in an upgrade scenario. A fresh installation of NCM 7.1 does not allow for this deployment mode. This deployment will be entirely desupported in a future version of NCM (i.e. upgrade won't be possible either). We recommend moving away from this config by moving your NCM on the same platform as NPM, if you want to keep them integrated.
  • NCM 7.3 no longer supports this deployment setup.

 

In this case, the Web UI is always integrated, i.e. Home/Network and Configs tabs appear side by side in the WEB interface. Note that it is possible to configure NPM users to have no visibility of the NCM tab and resources, with NCM 7.0.1, by using the NCM User Account setting NCM Role=None. See NCM admin guide section “Setting User Account Access”.

 

In this deployment, both share the same Core (Core-1 on diagram)

 

The Core installed with NCM Server (Core-2 on diagram) is required for integration but won’t perform any polling activity. It can be used to receive Syslogs and Traps, for Real-Time Change Detection. Note that the Core-1 Syslogs and Traps (shared with NPM in this example), can also be used for NCM’s Real-Time Change Detection.

 

In an upgrade scenario (E.g. NCM 6 to NCM 7.x and NPM 10.1 to NPM 10.3), and whatever your deployment type, the rules used for Real-Time Change Detection, must be reconfigured using the Core-based Syslogs and Traps server. See NCM admin guide section “Configuring Realtime Configuration Change Detection”.

 

In an upgrade scenario (E.g. NCM 6 to NCM 7.x and NPM 10.1 to NPM 10.3), the nodes previously in NCM 6.x will be synchronized with the Core database and appear in NPM. If some of these nodes are to be NCM-only nodes, you can hide them from NPM users, by using account limitations. Orion Core will poll them for status (up/down).

 

image

 

In this deployment, the database location options are similar to the Standalone deployment, described above

 

  •   Watch a video of an NCM 7.0 Integrated Separate Server deployment here

 

 

Integrated Separate Server deployment – Additional Web Servers

 

  •   Choose this deployment to further optimize the scalability of your deployment
  •   The separate deployment of NCM can leverage 2 NCM Web modules

 

One integrated with NPM and one (or more) integrated with an Additional Web Server

 

image

 

In this deployment, the database location options are similar to the Standalone deployment, described above

 

NCM 7.1 multi-poller deployment

Multi-poller - Standalone

  • This is the recommended configuration for NCM standalone, leveraging multiple polling engines

Capture1.PNG

Multi-poller - Integrated Same Server

  • This is the recommended configuration for NCM integrated with NPM, leveraging multiple polling engines
  • The polling engines are shared by NPM and NCM

Capture2.PNG

 

Multi-poller - Integrated Separate Server

  • This configuration (NCM integrated with NPM on a separate server), is still possible in the case of an upgrade from NCM 7.0, but will be de-supported moving forward. It is not possible to install a fresh NCM 7.1 in this configuration.
  • The polling engines are shared by NPM and NCM
  • The notation (A, B, …H) reflects example of 8 nodes managed by NPM and NCM integrated, to describe the activities performed but the platform components, on each of these nodes
    • Devices A, B, C, are assigned to Additional Poller 1
    • Devices D, E, F are assigned to the Orion Main poller
    • Devices G, H are assigned to Additional Poller2

Capture3.PNG

  • The activity performed on these 8 devices is as follows:
    • Node status and performance polling:

»ABC: performed by Poller 1

»DEF:performed by Main poller

»GH: performed by Poller 2

    • Config management

»ABC: performed by Poller 1

»DEF: performed by NCM server

»GH: performed by Poller 2

 

NCM 7.x cannot be co-hosted with scalability engines

 

  •   NCM 7.0 cannot be installed on the same server as a scalability engine: Additional Polling Engine or Additional Web Server

 

image

 

 

NCM – Multiple NPM

 

  • This NCM 6.x/NPM 10.1.x configuration (one NCM integrated to multiple NPMs), is not supported anymore with NCM 7.x/NPM 10.2

 

images

 

  • EOC can offer views integrated between one NCM and multiple NPMs

 

EOC displays aggregated data and allows for drill-down to respective UI’s in order to get detailed views.

 

image

 

 

Other non-supported deployments

 

  •   2 NCMs integrated to one NPM, sharing the same NCM DB and Core DB

 

image

 

  •   2 NCMs integrated to one NPM, sharing the same Core DB

 

image

You're Invited to a Free Webcast

We're Taking You Back to the Basics of Compliance Management

While almost every organization falls under some industry compliance standard, even if yours doesn't, you need to be concerned.  In a recent survey, 90% of the respondents detected computer security breaches within the previous 12 months.  Those that were willing or able to quantify their losses (44%) reported that figure exceeded $455 million dollars!  Join Head Geek, Josh Stephens and Sales Engineer Rob Johnson as they discuss and demonstrate how SolarWinds' Log & Event Manager (LEM) can help with compliance management.    

 

  •  The Basics of Network Security
  •  Compliance Standards and Common Sense
  •  Maintaining, Securing and Analyzing Log Data
  •  Reporting - Scheduled and Ad Hoc
  •  Active Response

 

This session will explore some best practices for securing your network and explain and demonstrate how SolarWinds LEM can assist in discovery, reporting compliance and taking action against potential threats and outright malicious activities.

 

TITLE: Back to the Basics of Compliance Management

LENGTH: 60 minutes

PRESENTERS: Josh Stephens, Head Geek & Rob Johnson, Sales Engineer

 

DATES/TIMES

North America/LatAm

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

11:00 a.m. CST  

REGISTER NOW

 

APAC

Tuesday, 31 January 2012            

11:00 a.m. Singapore     

REGISTER NOW

 

EMEA

Thursday, 26 January 2012                          

2:00 p.m. London            

REGISTER NOW

 

 

If you have any questions regarding this invitation, or suggestions for things you’d like to see covered, please e-mail headgeek@solarwinds.com.

 

FAQ

How much is the webcast?
It’s free.

Will this webcast be recorded?
Yes, it will be recorded. To all those who register, we’ll email out a link to the slide deck and to the recorded version.

What products will this cover?
This will cover SolarWinds Log & Event Manager.

Can I forward this to my co-workers?
Yes, forward it on to as many as you’d like.

If I can’t make this webcast, will there be others in the future?
Yes, check out our Community Events Page to get updates on upcoming webcasts and trainings. You can also subscribe to the page's RSS feed.

If you are a Sysadmin or an IT “jack of all trades” admin, then there is a good chance you are already familiar with DameWare.  However, for those not familiar with DameWare, I am going to spend time talking about the products and what they do.  I will apologize up front, this post is less technical than we traditionally do, but I wanted to make sure I let folks know about this change.

 

First off, I am pretty darn excited about adding these products to the family.   For those familiar with the history of SolarWinds, we got our start with Engineers Toolset as the main product aimed at providing network tools for network engineers and many of our other products have graduated from here, including NPM.  DameWare is like Engineers Toolset, but for folks performing Systems Administration management and tasks.

 

DameWare provide two primary products:

 
      
  1. NT Utilities
  2.    
  3. Mini Remote Control
 

Let’s first dig into NT Utilities in more depth.  The best way I can describe this is that NT Utilities is like a Swiss army knife for managing anything related to managing your systems. 

 
      
  • Remotely administer Windows servers and workstations
  •    
  • Manage Active Directory, users and groups, servers, and printers
  •    
  • A complete administration solution for Windows administrators that covers virtually any problems in administering Windows Server, Active Directory, or Exchange
  •    
  • Inventory and manage domains, workstations, disk drives, event logs, local groups, global groups, domain members, open files, printers, processes, properties, registry, services, sessions, shares, software, terminal services, users and many more
 

image

 

The other cool product is called MRC or Mini Remote Control, but don’t let the mini in the name fool you, this thing is packed with functionality.  You can find a list of the key features here, but in the conversations I have had with folks so far they ask me why this over using built in RDP?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
         

Mini Remote Control

      
        

MSFT RDP

      
Multi-monitor support        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports more than one active connection on WinXP        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports more than two active connections on Server 2000/2003        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Built in file transfer        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports Screen Sharing        

Yes

      
        

No

      
NAT Pass thru Support        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Audio Support        

Yes

      
        

Yes

      
Seamless Window        

Yes

      
        

Only Win2k8

      
IPv6 Support        

Yes

      
        

Yes

      
 

Vista2-P3

 

A next natural question is how do I use these products in conjunction with Orion, specifically APM?  There are tons of use cases, but let’s walk through a couple basic ones.

 
      
  1. You get an alert from Orion that a service is consuming a large chunk of memory on the server and you want to bounce or restart the service.  So instead of remoting into the server, you can quickly stop and start the service in NT Utilities.
  2.    
  3. An application is having connectivity problems to a database and thus the counters are not showing properly in Orion, you can remotely perform troubleshooting, including basic functions like executing ping or traceroute from that machine having connection issues
 

SysAdmins don’t just manage server most of the time, this also includes end user support.  I remember in my days of doing end user support, I would get a page in the middle of the night from a user and I didn’t have tools like this.  How many of you have situations like this occur?

 
      
  • Application X is broken, fix it.  99% of the time, it was a problem between the keyboard and the chair or pilot error, but I would have to get out of bed, get dressed and head upstairs only to find they had cap locks on or something else really basic they were doing wrong
  •    
  • I can’t print, the printer is broken.  I would look at the print spool and some crazy person was trying to print a 200 page document from the internet with tons of images and it was taking forever for the printer spool to process and prep
 

The list goes on and on.  With DameWare, I would have been able to remote connect to their machines and do things like screen sharing and have them show me exactly what they were doing and the problem without leaving my cabin.

   

You can read more about the products and download a fully featured evaluation from www.dameware.com.  Love to have folks who own it, give me feedback on what they would like to see going forward and same to those of you who don’t own it, try it out and let me know what you think.

Description:

 

If you are new to SolarWinds or just wondering if you are getting all you can out of the Orion Reporting Engine, join Andy McBride and Ashley Harmon for this level 2 training where we will focus on:

  • How to make the most of out-of-the-box reports.
  • Building a new report.
  • Report distribution options.
  •  An overview of custom SQL reports.

 

This level 2 session explores the best practice for configuring and using reports.  To properly prepare attendees should review the Understanding Orion Report Writer technical reference. http://www.solarwinds.com/documentation/Orion/docs/UnderstandingOrionReportWriter.pdf

 

Date/Time: Thursday January 19, 2012 @ 11:00 AM CDT

 

Webinar Link:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/223398632

The holiday season may be behind us now but that doesn’t mean the gifts have stopped flowing here at SolarWinds. The APM development team has produced a slew of new Application Templates full of Expert Knowledge and predefined thresholds based on vendors recommended best practices.

The list below expands upon an already impressive list of nearly 200 supported applications in APM, with plenty more in the works. We’d love to get your feedback on these templates, as well as suggestions for new applications you’d like to see support for in APM. Feel free to post feedback in the comments section below or in the comments section of the application template itself in the Content Exchange. Requests for new application templates can also be posted in the comments section below or in the APM Feature Requests area of the forum.

WindowsLinux/Unix
Microsoft Lync Server (Front-End Role)Common Unix Printing System (CUPS)
Microsoft Lync Server (Edge Role)Solaris LPD
Microsoft Lync Server (Mediation Role)AIX LPD
Active Directory 2008 R2 Services and CountersPostfix
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Failover ClusterHelix Universal Media Server (Linux/Unix)
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Failover Cluster 
SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic AnalyzerNon-OS Specific
SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer DatabaseApache Tomcat (Updated)
Windows Network Load Balancing 
Windows 2003-2008 FTP Service 
Windows 2008 R2 FTP Service 
Windows Remote Desktop Services (Session Host Role) 
Helix Universal Media Server (Windows) 

 

Helix Universal Media Server (Windows)   
Remember new Application Templates are released all the time. The easiest way to know when new ones become available is to subscribe to the APM Templates RSS feed.

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