We're pretty excited about our latest Log & Event Manager release, version 5.4. We've packed a ton of good stuff in this release in typical SolarWinds "You Asked, We Listened" fashion. You can check out the Release Notes for all the details, but here's the slightly more descriptive version. For those of you curious about the picture, it's a shot of the first piloted Mercury spacecraft (just a little less roomy than the Love Boat, only room for a ship's complement of 5).


Appliance Improvements: Hyper-V, Migration, & Resize


We've spent a little time improving our virtual appliance support after tons of great customer feedback. With this release we officially support Hyper-V 2008 R2 and have provided an evaluation download just for Hyper-V.


In addition, we've expanded our migration & restoration capabilities (for both hardware and virtual appliance customers), should you find yourself in the situation where you need to:

  • stand up an entirely new appliance
  • migrate from the TriGeo hardware appliance to the LEM virtual appliance (or a VMware appliance to a Hyper-V appliance)
  • recover settings after an outage


There's a great KB documenting the appliance migration process: SolarWinds Knowledge Base :: How to import settings from a SIM or LEM appliance backup to another appliance


Lastly, we've made it possible to expand the virtual appliance beyond the default 250G, by popular demand. You'll find those instructions in yet another awesome KB: SolarWinds Knowledge Base :: How to resize a LEM virtual appliance


A Browser-Based Console! Hooray!

As we've had our Flex/AIR console in the wild for over 2 years now, we heard from a lot of people who really wanted to run it in the browser. As a part of the SolarWinds family, we've heard this even more, and we put it at the top of our list for this release.




There's only a few differences between the two related to importing/exporting settings, file operation dialogs, popups, and things that in the desktop console are in a separate window, otherwise they are functionally identical. We haven't ended support for the desktop console (and we've included it in the upgrade for those of you that already have it), but response from the RC was that even long-time desktop console users were pretty happy with the move to the browser. Customers interested in moving to the browser-based console from the desktop console should upgrade their desktop console to the new version, Export their desktop settings (all of them!) from Manage > Appliances (gear on the far right), then Import them into the web console from Manage > Appliances (gear on the far right).


Make sure you're running a supported browser AND flash version BEFORE launching the console, there's some misbehavior with older versions of some browsers and Flash. We officially support:

  • Chrome 17+
  • Firefox 10+
  • IE 8+
  • Flash Player 11+


For those of you with NPM, SAM, or other Orion-based products, you can add the LEM console as an External Website view and have them all in one browser tab/window.


Authenticate to LEM via Active Directory

For those of you tired of managing dedicated accounts for your LEM users, we can down pull in those users (or groups) from AD and use them rather than requiring you to manage both places independently. I blogged on this one pretty extensively in the RC Post and there's some instructions/notes on it in the KB: SolarWinds Knowledge Base :: How to create LEM console users with domain credentials.


Send/Receive SNMP Traps from SAM, NPM, Virtualization Manager, and LEM

We've added a new notification to LEM - Send SNMP Trap - to let you correlate data in LEM and pass that on to other systems. We've also added a connector that is designed to gather data generated from NPM, SAM, and Virtualization Manager and present it to you in LEM, so you can correlate and monitor that activity in the context of your other systems & event log data.


Some examples of how this is useful:

  • If LEM correlates an issue, you can send the notification to SAM/NPM, where it'll appear in the SNMP Traps section of the system, and you can perform root cause analysis from the SAM/NPM side to determine if there was a security or other event found in the log data around the time your issue started.
  • Rather than using SAM/NPM to receive ALL your event log, syslog, and other data, use LEM and forward only the critical/useful events on to the teams that need them.
  • Notify and forward events to third party systems (outside of NPM/SAM) to share data across your organization.


There's setup details on this one in the previous RC Post, too.




Videos, Help, & Manuals

We've spent a lot of time listening to customers who have had to spend time wrapping their brain around LEM as a pretty flexible, but naturally complex, system. For a lot of people, this is the first time you're seeing all your log data consolidated in one place and it feels a little (or a lot) overwhelming. Rest assured, you're not alone. We've done our best to add new content that we think will really help.


The first place you want to stop: our new Introductory (SHORT) Videos. These videos are meant to help you understand LEM, identify common tasks and tips, walk you through an example or two end-to-end, and help you decide when to choose one part of the system (or method) over another. Each one is around 5 minutes long. For those of you who want more details, we go through a TON of examples and all of the parts of the system in our Advanced Videos/Tutorials (best enumerated here on Thwack), but those can run more like 20 minutes.


We've also been cooking up a new User Guide (HTML) that has really useful content in it. The "Leveraging" sections will help you implement LEM for common tasks. There's a lot of good troubleshooting content we added based on YOUR feedback, and our InfoDev team did a complete restructure of the organization of the manual - losing 200 pages in the process (more effective than any diet, for sure!).


Fixes & Notes

There are a bunch of specific issues resolved that are noted in the Release Notes. Included in them are:

  • Event Explorer performance improvements. The Event Explorer is a super handy (often overlooked) tool for figuring out events around rules (why did this rule fire? what specifically occurred and when? what actions took place? who was notified?). Previous versions didn't always return results in a timely fashion, so we've spent some time ironing those issues out.
  • nDepth Explorer cancellation issues. Some customers reported the search-oops-cancel-search pattern caused never-ending searches - things weren't getting cancelled. We ironed these out and you shouldn't see any backlogged searches bogging down new ones.
  • Tool Profile synchronization issues. Sometimes the "Agents" list in Tool Profiles would show old hostnames, mismatched hostnames, and cause difficulties when you tried to tweak the profiles.
  • Improved copy/paste! This one probably drove some of you nuts, but we think we've resolved most/all of the copy/paste issues in the alert grids in Monitor.


Thanks & Feedback

We'd like to send a shout out to all of our RC participants - your feedback helped us tie the bow on top of a great release. For anyone who has additional feedback, feel free to post here on the forums or contact me directly.


As always, be sure to check out the Release Notes. There's also some detailed tips (noted above) about implementing several of our new features in the recent Log & Event Manager 5.4 RC Available blog, and be sure to check out the hot off the presses User Guide (HTML) also.