During this customer training session, we will discuss and demonstrate how to get the most out of SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset. Here’s your chance to see how it works, get some pointers and to ask questions from the best! Join hosts Josh Stephens, Head Geek at SolarWinds and Matthew Harvey, Technical Support Representative as they demonstrate the power of Engineer’s Toolset.
We hope you like it.
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Tell us your compelling stories and daily deeds, and you’ll be registered to win one of three great prizes!
The survey will only take about 10 minutes of your time. We’re looking forward to your feedback!
The Log & Event Manager team has been busy lately with both maintenance to our current version and, of course, an upcoming release. In this Release Roundup, I'll bring you up to speed on what's been going on lately in the Land of LEM.
We received a lot of good feedback after our 5.3 release and rolled up those changes into a 5.3.1 maintenance release, available on the SolarWinds Customer Portal to all customers under active maintenance. This includes:
You'll notice when you go to download the 5.3.1 update that the Customer Portal looks a little different. We've made it easier for us to get releases to you faster by streamlining some of the behind the scenes work. To download the appliance update for all virtual/hardware appliances, first click on the button next to your SIM/LEM product listing, then click "Download" next to the "Appliance Upgrade" download. It's not always easy to find, so here's a picture that might help:
We've also released a hotfix to 5.3.1 that resolves difficulty customers were having configuring our Check Point integration. Only customers affected by that issue will need to download and apply it. It's located in the "Hotfixes" section on the portal, and included in the hotfix are instructions on how to apply.
We've improved the distribution of connector updates to regularly update the SolarWinds Customer Portal as we support new connectors and maintain our existing connectors. Anyone who's under maintenance can go download the connector update package and apply it to their SIM or LEM appliance. Back on the multiple downloads page, you can find the Connector Package listed separately, and instructions for applying it are in this (always awesome) SolarWinds Knowledge Base article.
You can check out the full detail of this in our What We're Working On in the Land of Log & Event Manager post, but for those of you that prefer "Executive Summaries" here's what we're up to (disclaimer: this is not a commitment to these features on any timeline, it's just an idea of what's in our priority queue):
If you're an active customer interested in testing any of these features when they become available, you can sign up by filling out this survey and you'll get an email when something is available.
If you're new to LEM and still trying to find your way around, be sure to check out our AWESOME new LEM Intro video series! This series was prepared as a part of our upcoming release and should hit the sweet spot of trying to find your way around. There's 5 videos and they are all around 5 minutes long.
For a taste, here's our video on filters and real-time data:
This week Storage Manager, powered by Profiler 5.2 was released. For Storage Manager and Storage Profiler customers, this release includes many of the features you have clamored for, and we think you will be pleased. The release focused on supporting Dell Compellent, improving support for other arrays, improving the target view and charting, and more integration with Virtualization Manager 5.0.
Support for Dell Compellent
With the addition of the Compellent arrays, Storage Manager is the only storage product that supports all of Dell's arrays - Compellent, EqualLogic and the PowerVault MD30/32/36 series. Features of the Compellent support include:
Here is a fully populated Target View for a Compellent Array:
Improved Support of Arrays
In every release, we generally include improvements to arrays that users have been asking for, and Storage Manager 5.2 is no exception. Here are the changes in this release
The layout of the charts has been improved in several ways to improve visibility and interpretation of the data. These changes affect the charts generated throughout the product - from the tab menu, the report chart icon, and for charts emailed or published by the report schedules. Improvements include:
Here is a sample of the new chart, with the changes highlighted:
Improvements to the Target View
The target view provides the single view that shows contention for both array and virtualization. In Storage Manager 5.2, we made a couple of improvements:
Integration with Virtualization Manager
Storage is an integral part of your virtual infrastructure, and SolarWinds award winning Virtualization Manager covers virtualization, but what happens when you need to look beyond the virtual layer and take a deep dive into storage? In STM 5.1, we added the ability to do this with a single click, drilling from a VMware object in Virtualization Manager to the associated storage target (LUN) in Storage Manager. In STM 5.2, this capability is extended for new links in Virtualization Manager 5.0 (not yet released). Stay tuned for more information once VMan 5.0 is out.
Odds and Ends
Additional features and capabilities that made it into this release:
All in all, this is a great step forward for Storage Manager that improves not only the data available, but also how it is displayed and used. Let us know what you think.
Please join us for a free webinar with Scott Lowe, Founder and Managing Consultant at The 1610 Group, and SolarWinds virtualization expert Jonathan Reeve. We’ll be discussing “Hyper-V vs. vSphere: Understanding the differences.”
The virtualization market is abuzz with talk of different hypervisors – most prominently VMware ESX® versus Microsoft Hyper-V®, who together own over 90% of the market. Small and medium businesses are already moving quickly toward Hyper-V, and a growing number of larger organizations are beginning to put plans in place to transition some portion of their environment from ESX to Hyper-V.
In this webcast we’ll explore the reasons for these changes and the ecosystems for these two platforms both now and in the future. We’ll also take a look ahead to what is known about Hyper-V 3.0 and why it warrants an even deeper look when evaluating hypervisors for your future virtualization deployments.
Register now for this special event!
The webcast can be found via this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/845459393
DATE OF WEBCAST: Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 11:00 US CST
TITLE: Hyper-V vs. vSphere: Understanding the differences
LENGTH: 60 minutes
FORMAT: Webcast – slides
PRESENTER(s): Scott Lowe and Jonathan Reeve
First, we learn how Application and systems are changing at a break-neck pace. While the legacy management technologies are still valuable, there are entirely new ways to manage apps and systems as well. Brandon Shopp, Director of Product Management discusses The Evolution of Application and Systems Management.
He begins by covering:
And continues with:
After watching this webcast you could truly walk away with the guidance and know-how to keep up with the systems and application management revolution!
The on-demand webcast is now available here.
Have you read about What we are working on post IPAM 2.0 and are you interested to try the new features before the official IPAM 3.0 release become available? If yes, I have great news for you. We are going to serve you a brand new IPAM 3.0 beta build with juicy features to try!
Let's take a quick tour through them:
As you know, we always listen to you and we want to resolve your pain points and problems. Here is something you've asked for (Suggestion for Scanning subnets) and we listened - the new "Enhanced User Restrictions" for IPAM!
Now you will be able to set user's restrictions per supernet, subnet and groups like this:
So now you should not run into any problems where you need to grant access to multiple network administrators simultanously and be scared that they would change something that is not in their administrative scope (for instance when every group represents a site then local network admins will be able to make a change only to their own site).
So that was the first thing you asked for and here comes another one: DHCP Management
We know that centralizing management is very important based on all of the thwack Deleting a DHCP Scope and we prepared an integration of IPAM and Microsoft DHCP servers. Now you don't have to go to a DHCP server, create your new scopes there, and wait for a sync in IPAM. Instead of that, you may do it directly via IPAM and all your DHCP changes will be propagated onto your physical DHCP servers. Or you can mark an IP address as reserved in IPAM and if this IP is managed by some DHCP server then the reservation will be propagated there automatically.
But that's not all! We've also listened to your requests about DNS servers and DNS zone monitoring and the beta has support to poll your DNS servers like this:
Obviously this is still beta functionality so you may expect more in the final version. Now is a good chance to try out DHCP management and the other new features in your environment and give us feedback if something is not working as expected.
To participate in the IPAM beta program you need to fill out this beta agreement. After that, I can send you link to beta bits.
I'd also like to thank all who participated in the previous beta and I hope that the new build will give you what you are asking for.
Thanks for helping us to make better products!
After the release of NCM v7 (and 2 service releases 7.0.1 and 7.0.2), here is what the NCM team is working on now, for the future of the product.
The main theme is performance and scalability:
Other improvements include (but are not limited to):
PLEASE NOTE: Comments given in this forum should not be interpreted as a commitment that SolarWinds will deliver any specific feature in any particular time frame. All discussions of future plans or product roadmaps are base on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.
With the official release of WPM 2.0 the WPM team is working hard to generate several new and exciting features including:
PLEASE NOTE: We are working on these items based on this priority order, but this is NOT a commitment that all of these enhancements will make the next release. We are working on a number of other smaller features in parallel. If you have comments or questions on any of these items (e.g. how would it work?) or would like to be included in a preview demo, please let us know!
Alerting is nothing new, so why consider a dedicated product on this now? This is a fair question, but IT has changed a lot as well. No longer are the days of looking into the phone book for a service or company, having to mail in or go to the drive thru at your bank to deposit checks, go to a store to buy something etc. Heck, I still get phone books at my house and every time I wonder why. I don’t even have a land line any more at my house; I just use my cell phone always. Also users are not just located in an office anymore. There are remote workers from home and smart phones and tablets have continued to push this to make the past walls of work disappear. No matter where I am, I always have email; can VPN and remote control systems etc.
My point is that the way IT is perceived and plays a role in the success or failure of a business has drastically transformed. As businesses have become more reliant on IT in order to function and run, the complexity of problems and the number of systems in order to monitor and manage this infrastructure has grown as well. Downtime is no longer considered an inconvenience; it now costs the business money by the minute.
As SolarWinds has grown, both in terms of customers, as well as number of products we offer, I have had the ability to talk to lots of customers. Some of these customers solely use our products, but as much as I would like to think we are the only software IT folks use, alas I know that this is not true. IT teams work with products from multiple vendors to solve different needs and use cases in their environments and each system has its own alerting capability to let folks know when an issue arises.
In the past a pager would get passed around to who ever was on call that evening or weekend. An alert would fire and they would get a page. Get up, go VPN in, and look at what the issue is. Heck, some folks may still do this, if you can find a pager for sale, anywhere anymore J
What I have heard over and over is, “what I need is a system that can centralize all of these alerts that I get into a common dashboard, that I can access from anywhere, apply rules to them, such as who is on call, and notify them and setup escalation policies if they don’t respond in a certain period of time.” We performed our own survey here at SolarWinds beginning in August 2011. We surveyed our customer and prospective base while offering them a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. We believe that the respondents to our survey were clear about their opinions on this topic.
We believe these are some pretty compelling stats, which is why we intend to build and introduce a product in order to handle this. Whether you use our products or not, this is a common IT problem and we believe this solution should be able to support any IT Management system, which supports alerting and can send an email out when an alert occurs.
Tell us what you think, would love to hear your feedback. If you are interested in being a part of the UI wireframe reviews or try out the beta, etc. please let me know.
PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a commitment that this product may not evolve into something else or that we will deliver this product to market.
 110 customers or prospective customers responded to the survey. Not all respondents answered each of the questions.
Some of you have commented than NCM 7’s new architecture, leveraging Orion platform (aka Orion Core), changed a few important things, especially how they were integrating NCM with NPM and how they were adding nodes to NCM.
Our response to this, was in NCM 7.0.1 and is in NCM 7.0.2.
This blog post recaps most of these enhancements, especially those in 7.0.2 that was release today (Mar 6, 2012).
NCM 7.0.2 offers more granular control of the NCM-NPM integration:
If you are not familiar with NCM 7 deployment scenarios, we recommend to read NCM 7.0, 7.1, and 7.2 Architecture and Deployment before reading further
Some of you have commented that NCM 7.0 did not offer enough flexibility in regards to the integration of NCM and NPM. In particular:
With NCM 7.0.1 (included in 7.0.2), it is possible to configure an Orion user account (e.g. an NPM user) in order to have no visibility of the NCM resources, by using the new NCM User Account setting NCM Role=None. See the NCM admin guide section “Setting User Account Access”, for more details.
Note that it is also possible to remove the NCM Configs tab by configuring your Orion user like this:
To address this, we have made it possible in NCM v7.0.2, to slow down considerably the frequency of status and statistic polling for the nodes that are not supposed to be monitored, so they don’t generate any significant load on the system.
These 2 parameter’s value can now be set to a maximum value of 32767, which means status polling performed every 9h and node statistic polling every 22 days:
One could think of setting the Polling method as “External Nodes” or “ICMP” to eliminate/lower the load, but the side effects are that these modes do not store SNMP credentials, which means that NCM will not be able to run Inventory reports effectively. Similarly, turning these nodes as “unmanaged”, will make it impossible for NCM to download configs or execute scripts.
Usability of the NCM “Add or Manage Nodes” page has been improved
We added “Edit Properties” and “Search” buttons as well as a more complete list of properties, usable to organize – “Group By” - the list of nodes (includes custom properties):
Orion‘s API has a new verb which makes it possible to programmatically insert news node into NCM 7.
An example of a script leveraging this verb is described PowerShell script that exports Nodes from NPM and imports them into NCM (for Core 2011.2.x and before - NPM 10.2 and before) and covers the use case of extracting nodes from an Orion database (e.g. NPM nodes) and inserting them into NCM 7.0.2. This can be used to replace the scheduled job that was used before to perform similar operations.
NCM 7.0.2 has a new Custom Property that identifies “NCM only nodes”
When you have a large amount of nodes managed by NCM, that you don’t want to manage with NPM, it is helpful to be able to identify them, in order to mass-change one of their attributes (e.g. polling cycle, see above) or group them. To facilitate this, the NCM 7.0.2 synchronization creates and populates a custom property called “Imported_From_NCM”, for all nodes that were in the NCM database before the synchronization and were added to the Orion database because they did not exist in the Orion/NPM database. For these nodes, the property Imported_From_NCM is populated with the value “true”.
For more on 7.0.2, see the release notes
As our customers deploy more SolarWinds products, we see an increasing number of demand for a programmatic way to export and/or import nodes (as well as interfaces, volumes…) from/to an Orion instance.
The combinations of products involved in these scenarios cover, but are not limited to combinations such as:
This blog contains and describes a working PowerShell script example, that exports nodes from SolarWinds NPM network monitoring software and imports them into NCM, but it can be easily modified to accommodate other combinations, including non-SolarWinds sources (CMDB)
The required configuration to run this script is:
The script for 10.2.x is located here:PowerShell script that exports Nodes from NPM and imports them into NCM (for Core 2011.2.x and before - NPM 10.2 and before).
The version adapted for Core 2012.1 (comes with NPM 10.3) is here: PowerShell script that exports Nodes from NPM and imports them into NCM (for Core 2012.1 and after - NPM 10.3 and after)
Here is an example of run, which extracted 561 nodes from my NPM 10.2.2 and imported them into my NCM 7.0.2
A few features of the script:
I hope you will enjoy and benefit from this script, and I don’t want to finish without thanking Tim and Tomas for their invaluable help!
YOU'RE INVITED TO A FREE WEBCAST
Customer Training - Synthetic End User Monitor
SolarWinds Synthetic End User Monitor (SEUM) offers a powerful and affordable solution for monitoring business-critical web transactions and web sites from the end-user's perspective. Whether you are testing the impact of website changes or troubleshooting web application performance problems remotely, you don't want to miss this session to learn how SEUM can save you countless hours! And with v1.5, we make it quick and easy for you to deploy tests to the cloud and run synthetic transactions whenever you see fit!
During this session we'll discuss:
When: Thursday, March 15, 2012 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT
Register Now: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/642261400
If you have any questions regarding this webcast or suggestions for things you'd like to see covered please e-mail email@example.com.
It’s been a long and exciting Beta and Release Candidate process, and the First thoughts of SAM 5.0 RC2 from our SAM testers along the way has been Oh, APM (now SAM!) How You Have Changed My Life.... They each helped ensure that SAM 5.0 is a rock solid release. With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce today that SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor 5.0 has now been officially released! I encourage all customers who installed any of the release candidates (RC1 – RC3) to upgrade to the GA build, now available in your customer portal. There you will also find permanent commercial license keys for SAM 5.0 that will need to be applied to your installation.
In my last Application Performance Monitor 5.0 Beta – Sign up now blog posts I’ve covered some of the major new features included in the newly renamed Server & Application Monitor 5.0 (SAM), such as the Real-Time Process Explorer (RTPE), multi-vendor server hardware health monitoring, and WMI node management with improved credentials handling. Today I’m going to touch on some of the lesser known features also included in this release.
SAM Admin Role and More
Commonly I hear from SolarWinds Network Engineers who’ve been using our Network Performance Monitor (NPM) that they want to share some of that SolarWinds goodness with their Systems Administrator colleagues. The promise of a unified and integrated, single pane of glass view into the entire organizations infrastructure has obvious advantages. For example, they can eliminate the finger pointing between teams when issues arise in the environment, as well as reducing the time to resolution for problems when they occur. However, one issue that has historically plagued earlier versions of Application Performance Monitor (APM) is a lack of a dedicated APM/SAM role that would allow Systems Administrators to manage applications independent of the Orion Admin role, which permits adding, removing and modifying Orion user accounts.
The IT field has become increasingly security conscious in recent years and there’s an ever increasing desire to limit users permissions down to the minimum required. The same is true even for those who work in the IT department itself. Long gone are the days of everyone having root/Administrator level privileges to every system, or worse yet a single shared admin account used by all members of IT.
With that in mind in SAM 5.0 we have added a dedicated SAM Admin role that functions independently of the Orion Admin Role. This new SAM Admin role, when granted to a user, will allow them to assign application templates to nodes, modify application templates, manage and maintain the SAM Credentials Library, as well as unmanage applications from within the web console. In fact these SAM Admins can perform all the administrative tasks accessible from the “SAM Settings” page.
You will find this new SAM Admin role under your users permission settings located under [Settings - Manage Accounts]. Select the user account you want to modify and then click the “Edit” button. Towards the bottom of the page you will find the Server & Application Monitor Settings. Here is where you can define user specific settings for SAM features.
In addition to the SAM User Role, we’ve also included an option that allows users the ability to launch the Real-Time Process Explorer, independent of the SAM Admin Role. You’ll also notice we’ve included an account level Temperature Unit setting for toggling between Celsius and Fahrenheit. This allows global organizations to share a common interface in which individual users in different parts of the world can view data in measurable units they’re familiar with. This setting controls the display of all temperature information throughout the product on an individual user basis.
PowerShell Impersonation and 64Bit Polling
One of the great features that was added in APM 4.0.1 was the addition of the PowerShell script monitor that allows users to leverage PowerShell scripts and snap-ins to monitor applications that might not otherwise be monitorable, similar to the Windows, Linux/Unix and Nagios Script Component Monitors. Occasionally users of the PowerShell Component Monitor encountered PowerShell/PowerCLI Monitor Problem getting their PowerShell scripts to execute properly under APM. These same scripts would execute fine when run from a PowerShell command prompt, leaving users scratching their head wondering what was wrong with APM. The problem was that these scripts were being executed through the Job Engine, which runs as a service under the local system account. Because these scripts were executed under the context of the local system account, these scripts would sometimes not run due to inadequate access permissions. It was also impossible to utilize PowerShell snap-ins that required remote privileges on another host for scripts that executed locally due to these scripts executing under the local system account.
In SAM 5.0 we addressed this issue by allowing for local impersonation of a specified user account. This feature allows users to select which user account the script will be executed under, whether it be the local Windows administrator or an account with domain privileges. Select which account will be used for Impersonation mode from the Credential for Monitoring pull down. Local impersonation alleviates the permissions issues associated with running PowerShell scripts under the context of the local system account and allows users to leverage PowerShell snap-ins no differently than they would when executing them from the PowerShell command prompt.
Users of the PowerShell Script Monitor faced another PowerShell x64 Launcher (with Parameters and Debugging) when trying to utilize this component monitor type. PowerShell comes in both 64 and 32bit varieties and as such, so do the PowerShell snap-ins that many users, including ourselves, wanted to leverage. In APM all PowerShell scripts were executed in 32bit mode with no real ability to execute 64bit PowerShell scripts locally to use 64bit snap-ins.
We remedied this situation in SAM 5.0 by allowing users the ability to specify which platform to run the job under. This option, located under the Advanced section of the application template, controls whether 64bit or 32bit PowerShell will be used when executing the script, allowing users the flexibility to leverage both 32 and 64bit snap-ins with SAM 5.0.
The usefulness of this Platform option isn’t limited just to PowerShell scripts though. When this option is selected for an application template that contains WMI monitors, it allows users the ability to poll 64bit WMI counters as well, for situations where the returned statistic is too large for 32bit counters. The most obvious example of where this option is useful is when monitoring processes or services via WMI on 64bit Windows servers where the memory used by any of these processes could exceed 4GB of RAM. In previous versions of APM for instance, when monitoring Microsoft SQL running on a 64Bit operating system the SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) service itself may be consuming 16GB of memory, but APM would report a maximum of 4GB memory consumed by this process. This was because 4GB is the highest possible value that can be represented in 32bits for these WMI counters. The solution implemented in SAM 5.0 pictured above allows you to poll these WMI counters via 64bit, ensuring the information collected from these monitored 64bit Windows hosts is accurate.