Wait no more, the Enterprise Operations Console or EOC Release Candidate is here with some goodies.
We already support Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) & Server & Application Monitor (SAM) in EOC, but we have added support for a feature of theirs called Groups now into EOC as well.
Orion introduced tabs a release or two ago and with this release EOC now has them as well. We also took some customer feedback in which users had difficulty determining if they were still in EOC or had left EOC into the given Orion server they had drilled into. This should not occur anymore as the color scheme should be clear. If you see the white header, you are in EOC and if you see the black header, you have drilled into an Orion server.
We have also added better error handling to let you know if for some reason we have lost polling connectivity with any of the Orion servers with banner notifications as you can see below.
If you are a customer under active maintenance, you should see the EOC Release Candidate or RC in your Customer Portal.
Release Candidates are fully supported by our support staff, so you can call in with any issues and you can also post questions, comments etc. on the forum here
"WE ARE LISTENING" - this is our motto and many of you can confirm that's true. We brought lot of new functionality in our products just because we are listening to you - IT professionals. I would like to say big thanks to all who have contributed somehow and sheared their pain points and problems that need to be solved.
In order to listen to you effectively we added users a possibility to participate on quick "polls"(or surveys) on Thwack. These surveys are just another way how you can express your needs and priorities. We are taking your opinion very seriously so please spend a minute of your time and tell us what's important for you.
You can participate very easily, in fact it is matter of few seconds.
For example you may see our Network Performance Management problems survey:
also available on right pane of Thwack main page:
Just simply click on your preferred choice. Your vote will help us to understand your needs.
thanks for your time.
I'm excited to announce that we're ready for another Beta for Storage Manager. Key to this release are two great features:
Isilon is one of the coolest storage platforms on the market today. It's predominant use case is large file streaming, especially important when working with large media files or as a platform for Big Data projects. Because of these use cases, the Isilon has a very unique architecture that includes just a single file system spread across a single cluster composed of many nodes. We'd love your feedback on how you'd like to see the data from the cluster and the individual nodes displayed and reported on within Storage Manager!
Dealing with SMI-S providers can be a challenge for even the most adept storage administrator. This complexity is compounded when working in a heterogeneous storage environment. Sometimes SMI-S Providers are separate pieces of software that need to be downloaded from a vendor's website (See Diagram Below: Type 1), sometimes they are installed as a component of vendor-specific storage management software (See Diagram Below: Type 2), and sometimes they are built into a storage array (See Diagram Below: Type 3). Knowing where and how these SMI-S providers are configured and installed can be a real pain. Our goal with this release is to significantly decrease the pain involved in setup and configuration of these SMI-S based arrays. That way, you can quickly get to the real work of monitoring, reporting and solving your storage problems with Storage Manager!
To participate in the Storage Manager 5.3 Beta program you need to fill out this Beta Survey. Then, I can send you a link to the Beta bits.
Thanks for helping us to make better products!
There's nothing I love more than showing off amazing new product capabilities. And today I get to show off an incredibly cool, and truly valuable new feature the Synthetic End User Monitor (SeUM) team has been working on diligently; that feature is support for monitoring web based Java applications such as Oracle Forms. As some of you may already be aware, the latest release of SeUM already supports monitoring of rich web based content such as Flash and Silverlight, as well as pages that use modern web technologies like AJAX. In the latest SeUM 2.0 beta we expand upon those already impressive capabilities by providing the ability to measure and monitor user experience and availability of your web based Java applications.
The video below demonstrates these new Java application monitoring capabilities using Citrix's XenApp Java Client, an application that allows users to interact with native Windows applications remotely. I strongly recommend starting the video in full screen mode for the best possible resolution.
The video demonstrates the steps recorded in this transaction using the SeUM Recorder, starting with logging into the Citrix XenApp Web Interface. After successfully logging in you'll see me change the session settings from Seamless to 1024x768. This ensures any Citrix application being recorded will remain within the bounds of the SeUM Recorder. Next you'll see me launch the Firefox published application in the Citrix XenApp Web Interface. Once the application has launched I validate content on the page to ensure the application is running properly before interacting with the Windows App by clicking on the FireFox menu item and clicking "Exit" to close the application and end my Citrix session.
Once I've saved the recording and assigned it to a player I now have detailed insight into the performance and availability of my published Citrix application, no differently than any other web based application; complete with screenshots that help diagnose the cause of application issues before end users report them.
Support for web based Java applications is only one of many new features the SeUM team is working on. In my previous blog posting I provided a sneak peek at the new waterfall charts, and Page Elements Overview Resource. I'm sure to cover many of the other new features as we get closer to release, so keep your eyes on the Product Blog for more information. In the meantime, existing SeUM customers' under active maintenance can sign-up now to download the beta and start playing with these new features today.
I am pleased to announce the General Availability of Engineers Toolset 10.9.
With this release, we have expanded on a concept we introduced a while back called the Launch Pad, but this one is on steroids. Some things you will notice right off the bat are a Google-like search to help guide you in finding the right tool to solve the problem you are currently working.
Second is organization. As you see on the left hand side with the folders, these are customizable and you can even create your own folders and organize which tools are in them in a way that makes sense to you and how you work.
This leads me to the third and one of my favorite things about the new Launch Pad - the ability to import other tools. Ex. If you own DameWare MRC or use PuTTY or any other tool outside of toolset, you can import or link them to the Launch Pad, which includes entering a description (which is then exposed to the search described above) and adding them to the folders.
The new Launch Pad should be your one stop shop for all your tools based troubleshooting needs, whether the tool comes from SolarWinds, is Open Source, or you purchased from another vendor.
For many years, many of the older tools only worked with Cisco. Which back in the late 90’s made sense, but this is a different world today. With this being said, we have expanded device support for many of our tools to other Cisco OS’s but also Juniper, which was the most highly requested vendor. Going forward we plan to add more based on your demand.
Juniper Support (JunOS)
With any release there are also bug fixes, so head over to the customer portal to download this version if you are on active maintenance.
Version 7.1 of SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager brings a few enhancements of the scripting language for Config Change Templates (CCT). (For all new features of NCM 7.1, please see NCM 7.1 Release Candidate Available.) This new functionality is especially useful for access-control list (ACL) creation. In this blog post, we provide a commented example of a CCT that adds ACL entries for routers located in different branches of the company. Although the structure of the entries is the same for all branches, the IP addresses in the ACL statements depend on the subnet, which differs for every office.
When you want to create a brand new CCT, click on 'Create New Config Change Template' on the Config Change Templates page:
You will be redirected to the page where you enter all necessary details -- name, description, tags, and, most importantly, the script itself:
As you can see, a CCT consists of parameter section and script body. The @ContextNode parameter is mandatory for each CCT. For more details about CCT language see Understanding Config Change Template Semantics in NCM Admin Guide.
Assume the company has a lot of branches and there is a router for each branch. Their IP addresses have the form 10.20.[branch#].40. Now we want to add two ACL statements to device configuration across the company with a single CCT run. The third octet of each device IP address equals branch# as a rule. (This is a simplified version of a real customer situation. Imagine there are hundreds of routers and more complex conditions and you get the real case.)
Except for @ContextNode, the CCT will have another parameter -- the 'template' of router IP address (called @ipTemplate). In the ACL statements that will be passed to each device, the third octet of this template IP address will be replaced with the third octet of the IP address of the device.
The CCT code:
script ChangeACL(NCM.Nodes @ContextNode, string @ipTemplate ) Header
string @octet = getoctet(@ContextNode.AgentIP,3) Extract 3rd octet of device IP -- this is branch#.
string @ipnew = setoctet(@ipTemplate, 3,@octet) Take the template IP and replace the 3rd octet.
CLI Beginning of CLI statements
Allow @ipnew out First ACL statement
Allow @ipnew UDP 2055 OUT Second ACL statement
When you run the CCT, you will get something like
The complete CCT is attached (at the bottom).
This is for your reference. The following functions are now available:
string SubString(string str, int startIndex, int length)
Retrieves a substring from this instance. The substring starts at a specified character position and has a specified length.
While you can create your ACL statements in bulk with NCM, SolarWinds has recently introduced its Firewall Security Manager (FSM), that you can use (among others) to check the newly deployed ACL changes e.g. before they go to production. Details can be found in You have NCM and manage firewalls: Firewall Security Manager is for you.
Today I am happy to announce the general availability of Patch Manager v1.8. All current Patch Manager customers under active maintenance can download the upgrade immediately through their customer portal.
The product also rolls up a number of incremental changes that have been made over the past six months:
For new installations, we've added the third-party update wizards to the auto-launch sequence that runs after the first console launch, and we now give you the option to not auto-deploy the WMI Providers on first-use, protecting your systems from accidental unwanted software installations.
All of the third-party updates functionality is now available directly from the Software Library page of the Configuration Manager console. Drilling into the Third-Party Updates node, we provide a handy filter list by synchronization date, so you can quickly get to this week's updates, or this month's updates, and no longer have to filter through the hundreds of legacy packages you may no longer need. Within the update view, the same multi-pane navigation that you are already familiar with is still used, with the dynamically generated vendor subnodes. Selecting the Sun node, for example, allows you to focus directly on the latest Java update packages. All package functionality is available from the context menu, or from the ribbon bar at the top of the console.
On the Asset & Compliance page, in the Devices node, we've integrated all of the client monitoring and management functionality: Client Actions, Agent Configuration, and the Computer Explorer.
Brand new functionality in the form of a web interface will be very useful for getting quick looks at the state of your environment, or for sharing information with managers, executives, or other system administrators, but eliminating the need to create, schedule, and distribute reports. The Home Page of the web console shows a user-customizable view of important patch management status information, and each update or computer item can be drilled into via hyperlink to get detailed per-update or per-computer status information.
One of the most powerful tools in Patch Manager is PackageBoot. Unfortunately, though, until now it's also been one of the most complicated to use. Nobody likes editing XML by hand, and nobody should have to know and understand an XML schema just to use the functionality it provides. We heard you loud and clear and this release introduces the PackageBoot Graphical Editor. Now, rather than focusing on the how something gets done (and fighting with the predictable syntax errors), you can focus on the what that needs to get done.
Addiitionally we've enhanced the operational functionality within PackageBoot.
Finally, we've been hard at work developing a new series of product videos
and a few of the older popular ones are now available on the Thwack Patch Manager Resource Library along with a brand new Patch Manager Administration Guide on the Patch Manager Documentation webpage that consolidates everything you need or want to know about Patch Manager into a single document.
We also recently launched a new community for patch administrators everywhere.. checkout the new PatchZone.
For more information about Patch Manager, or to download a free 30-day evaluation, see the Patch Manager page.
Today I'm pleased to announce the general availability of Server & Application Monitor 5.2. All current SAM & APM customers under active maintenance can download the upgrade immediately through their customer portal.
In the months leading up to this release, I've made several postings in the Product Blog that highlight many of the new features and enhancements included in SAM 5.2. Most notable amongst these new features is added support for Microsoft® Hyper-V. In fact, SAM 5.2 will be among the first products available to support Microsoft's latest Hyper-V v3.0 that's included as part of Windows 2012.
SAM 5.2 also includes many other great new improvements, such as a completely overhauled template editor featuring multi-edit, awesome new charts, hardware health & Real-Time Process Explorer improvements, as well as radical enhancements to the Windows Event Log Monitor. Today I'll touch on some of the equally as important, but lesser known features included as part of this release.
After upgrading to SAM 5.2 you will find a new Component Settings resource on any Component Details view. The information displayed in this resource is completely dynamic based on the type of monitor being viewed, and the specific application settings defined within the Component Monitor.
In earlier versions of APM and SAM the information contained in this resource was only available to admins who had the ability to edit application templates. This new resource allows all users of the system access to this vital troubleshooting information.
Now with this new Component Settings resource and the Expert Knowledge included with most of our out-of-the-box Application Templates; should your helpdesk staff notice the number of Lazy Writes per-second on your SQL Server is in a warning or critical state for instance, they'll know precisely what a Lazy Write is, which SQL instance is affected, and how to resolve the issue. They'll also see any User Notes that have been defined in the template by the IT staff that may contain additional troubleshooting or escalation steps.
Improvements have also been made to the SNMP Monitor in this release. Previous releases of APM and SAM only supported the basic SNMP GET method. SAM 5.2 now allows users to leverage the more flexible GET-Next method for creating more dynamic monitors. Unlike an SNMP GET, the GET-Next method retrieves the next value of the OID in the tree, which means that providing the instance value as part of the OID is not required. This is particularly useful when retrieving table data or variables that cannot be specifically named.
We've also added a Count Statistic as difference option, which functions similar to the Rate setting in the Universal Device Poller that's included with NPM. Using this new option allows you to monitor SNMP counters as if they were rates. For example, if you wanted to track the volume of malware detected by your Mcafee Web Gateway, you'd likely monitor the 22.214.171.124.4.1.1126.96.36.199.1.2 OID. However, the statistic returned from this OID is an ever increasing counter that only resets to zero when the device has been rebooted. What if you needed to track the number of viruses detected per-hour or day? Or what if you wanted to configure an outbreak alert to notify you if the number of viruses detected by the gateway suddenly spiked? This is where the Count Statistic as Difference setting becomes a very useful and powerful option in your monitoring arsenal.
So here I've given you two more great new reasons to upgrade to SAM 5.2 today. As always, if you have any questions regarding any of the new features in SAM 5.2, you can reference the Administrators Guide, our online Knowledge Base, or post your question to the SAM forum on Thwack. If your matter is more urgent, you can always open a support case, and one of our Support Engineers will be happy to assist.
Virtualization Monitoring With Server & Application Monitor 5.2
We are very close to releasing the next version of DameWare Mini Remote Control and DameWare Remote Support (formerly NT Utilities). Version 9.0 includes some exciting new features in both products; let's take a look.
First, we've added the ability to connect to Mac and Linux endpoints with MRC. This means you can now use MRC to initiate a remote control session on operating systems other than Windows. If you've been using more than one tool for your Mac and Linux needs, you now have the opportunity to do some consolidation and use MRC for all of the platforms you're responsible for supporting. The Mac and Linux support relies on the VNC server already installed on your Mac or Linux box. As long as the VNC server is enabled on the endpoint, you can use MRC to connect with the appropriate credentials.
Here you can see an active MRC session connected to a Mac!
Next is support for some of the native AMT features on vPro machines. We've added functionality that leverages some of the native AMT functions on a vPro box, namely remote control (or KVM), and the ability to manage power on the machine (think Wake on LAN). You can now use MRC to connect to a vPro AMT machine for a remote control session, and you can use DameWare Remote Support (DRS) to power up or restart a sleeping machine.
Here you can see where the Power and AMT configuration settings have been added in DRS.
Here you can see where we've added the ability to initiate a remote control session on an AMT supported vPro system from MRC.
We've also implemented backwards compatibility for the MRC client agent in 9.0. This should ease the pain of upgrading for existing customers that need to update the client agent on all of their endpoints, or simply want to avoid updating the agent due to change control policies. This means version 9.0 of MRC can now connect to endpoints that are running 7.x and 8.x versions of the client agent without having to upgrade the agent.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier in the post, we've changed the name of NT Utilities to DameWare Remote Support, or DRS for those of you who prefer acronyms. If you already own NT Utilities, you'll notice this name change in the License Management section of your SolarWinds Customer Portal. Don't worry! Nothing has changed about the licensing; it's just a name change.
Look for an announcement very, very soon for version 9.0. We're looking forward to hearing your feedback on the new features, and hope you'll give 9.0 a test drive!
As you may imagine, since Web Help Desk came on board with SolarWinds, we have had a plethora of people ask about how we integrate DameWare Mini Remote Control (MRC) into Web Help Desk. While we have out-of-the-box support for DameWare on the long list of neat features we are looking at for future releases, in the meantime you can setup DameWare integration in just a few, quick steps. Let’s go through it shall we?
Once complete, you can click on the icon you chose previously in the asset view and DameWare will launch a remote session.
If you're interested in further integration between Web Help Desk and DameWare, please also check out the attached PDF.
If you already have Web Help Desk, and are looking to try DameWare integration- download the free trial and take it for a spin: http://www.dameware.com/
Note: If you want to link Dameware with WHD, but don’t want to store their password in the registry, you can use the following workaround
One of the more common areas of question for folks going through the initial Web Help Desk setup has been LDAP / Active Directory configuration. Usually this is due to unfamiliarity with LDAP syntax, and once we know what we are looking for, the rest of the configuration is a snap. This post is intended to help you setup Web Help Desk to interface with your Active Directory, but could easily be abstracted to work with any LDAP application that you would want to use AD with.
One of the great things about Web Help Desk is the fact that it is cross-platform and can be used in virtually any environment. LDAP is the OS-agnostic protocol of choice for this circumstance, and provides the ability to authenticate and import client information into Web Help Desk. While this makes Web Help Desk very flexible, LDAP certainly can cause questions for folks who are used to a Microsoft-centric environment and may not be used to peculiar LDAP syntax.
ACTIVE DIRECTORY > LDAP
Active Directory is a Microsoft implementation of LDAP and supports a super-set of LDAP features. In addition to providing the functionality required to run your Windows domain, it also provides native LDAP functionality. And this is where it gets fun. Even for those that are used to LDAP syntax, there will be a moment of reflection when it comes to configuring search criteria for Active Directory. Fear not, for it is actually quite simple once you know what you are looking for.
BASE DN? WHAT IS THAT?
So likely in your Active Directory setup, you have one or more ways of organizing your users into an OU structure, or perhaps you are using the default “Users” container. The base DN specifies in LDAP parlance where those user objects live. The syntax is straightforward and will look similar to: ou=Users,dc=domain,dc=com. A good tool for determining the base DN for your environment is Microsoft’s AD Explorer: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963907.aspx For example, if my AD domain were “solarwinds.com” and I had all of the users I wanted to have access to Web Help Desk in my “Developers” OU, my base DN would be: “ou=Developers,dc=solarwinds,dc=com”
For your typical AD deployment, just using the domain name in the format: dc=domain,dc=com should work just fine.
Typically LDAP queries can be performed anonymously, but here AD is a little different as well. A valid AD account with the ability to read LDAP info (“Domain User” privileges are fine) is required to “bind” to the LDAP server. It is usually good to have the UPN suffix of the user name match the dc values of the base DN (@solarwinds.com in the above example) If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry as you probably aren’t in an environment with multiple suffixes. (If you are interested, look here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772007.aspx) Toss these user credentials (ex. robhock@solarwinds. com) into the Connection Account field with the relevant password, and Web Help Desk should be talking to your AD. Feel free to import custom fields by modifying the Attributes Mapping values. The defaults work just fine for AD, but some environments may have extra fields they want to import.
And that is it- if you haven’t checked out Web Help Desk yet please visit www.webhelpdesk.com and take it for a spin.