I'm very happy to share with you that we have officially reached Release Candidate (RC) status for Serv-U FTP Server and MFT Server v15.  The contents of this release contain exciting new features and improvements, namely,


  • File sharing in Serv-U MFT Server
  • New web client user interface
  • Rebranding of the user interface
  • FTP Voyager no longer requires an activation key


You can download the RC in the Release Candidate section of your Customer Portal. If you have any questions I encourage you to leverage the Serv-U Release Candidate RC group on thwack. RC is the last step before general availability and is a chance for existing customers to get the newest functionality before it is available to everyone else.

File Sharing


All of us need to occasionally share a file with a partner, colleague or a customer (we call them Guests in File Sharing, or someone who does not have an account in Serv-U). File Sharing is a great new feature of Serv-U MFT Server which helps you to share small or large files without email limitations, temporary accounts or any administrative hassles. It allows you to have your own on premise file sharing service. File Sharing is meant as a temporary storage for simple web-based file sharing. Guests will simply receive an email with the link allowing them to download or upload files. If you wish you can also send links via IM, social networks or by other means.


First you need to enable File Sharing in the Serv-U Management Console. You can configure settings on the global level in the Server Limits and Settings section or per domain in Domain Limits and Settings.


On the screenshot below you can see the simple configuration settings for File Sharing. You can define a URL for the File Sharing, you set a folder where all shares will be stored and you can also define how long expired shares should last before Serv-U deletes them permanently. If you wish you can also define a template for emails received by Guest users, enable or disable usage of SSL and most importantly enable/disable the entire File Sharing feature.




After you enable File Sharing you can find the link to the File Sharing UI in the bottom of the management console next to the FTP Voyager JV and Web Client links.




As a regular user you can choose the File Sharing UI during login or click on the upper menu in the new Web Client UI.




In the home page of File Sharing you can see the last 5 shares for requested files and sent files with some basic information about each share like date share was created, name of the share, email address(es) of Guest(s), status of share, expiration date and so on.




If you wish to start with sharing files simply click on "Request Files" or "Send files" in the menu to create a share. Let's first send some files to a Guest. After clicking on Send Files, you are presented with a form with basic settings for the share. You need to define one or more email addresses. You can change the default Subject line of the email which will be sent by Serv-U.


Then you can briefly describe what data you are sending and change your email address if it's different from the default. Since a share is only a temporary storage, you have to define the expiration time which is up to 90 days. This is to prevent filling up your storage with shares.


You can also ask Serv-U to send you notification when the file is downloaded by a Guest so you know immediately and can follow-up. Additionally you can also protect shares with passwords. When you are done click "Next".




In the next step you simply choose files to upload, click Upload button and you are done. The share is created, notification email is sent to the Guest user(s) and you can close the confirmation screen by clicking on the Done button.


You can request files for upload in the same way by clicking on Request Files in the menu. After that a similar form is displayed as for sending files. You configure your share (when requesting files you can also limit individual size of files uploaded) and this time click on Send Request and your are done.




After you create a share, an email is sent and the Guest user can click on the link in the received email. If the share is password protected, then the Guest is asked for a password and after entering it, it's as simple as clicking on the Download All button or choosing files to upload.




New Web Client UI


With the new File Sharing feature, which as you noticed is using a new, cleaner UI, we also redesigned the Web Client UI. It is now cleaner, faster and behaves more like Windows Explorer.




FTP Voyager is now FREE!


FTP Voyager is a powerful FTP client with many great features like scheduler. We decided to make it a free product! We removed all references to purchase or any licensing constraints. Go, download FTP Voyager now from the customer portal and enjoy its rich functionality!


Download Serv-U v15 RC, which is availble in the Release Candidate section of your Customer Portal.


If you have any questions I encourage you to leverage the Serv-U Release Candidate RC group on thwack.

We are pleased to announce the general availability of SolarWinds Web Help Desk 12.0.1. This is a service release, which contains number of improvements and fixes. Namely,


  • Installation issues with non-standard installations
  • Friendlier and more informative messages during installation and upgrade
  • Certificate issues on Exchange when running SSL.
  • Upgrade and migration issues.
  • PostgreSQL service does not start on Win2003.
  • E-Mail account type label includes Exchange 2013.
  • Exception when deleting an attachment.
  • Upgrade fails when IP Address is bound in WHD.conf.
  • Unable to create ticket notes using API.
  • Escalate privileges to admin when running WHD scripts in Windows.
  • WHD discovery Engine (WMI) ignores XP machines.
  • Escalate privileges to admin when running WHD installer.
  • Performance issues with SAVE operation on notes.
  • Installer blocks on maintenance expired.
  • Discovery engine not collecting HDD info.
  • Additional logging during migration.
  • Call uninstallation of whd from installer.
  • Update installation script to be HDD independent.
  • Verify previous installation of WHD.
  • Windows installation on different HDD.


You can view the full set of release notes here.


Download Web Help Desk now and have fun!

We have a new "What We're Working On" post. Click here for the new post.

We shipped v10 mid year, added mobile access for your iOS devices and last month we added support for Android OS based devices.  We're now working on the next release. 

Here is a list of what we're working on:


  • Remote control 'over-the-internet' to support remote control scenarios outside the LAN.
  • Centralized Server for both DRS.  This will provide the following benefits:
    • Central console to setup and manage centralized functionality
    • Centralized and easily accessible host lists
    • Drastic simplification of SolarWinds offline license activation and license management
    • Ability to search host lists
  • Native OSX agent
  • Native Web Help Desk integration
  • Ability to reboot a system into safe-mode and connect with MRC
  • More granular connection and client agent security
  • Session recording either ad-hoc or forced to a central location
  • Reverse screen sharing
  • Advanced Centralized Functionality
    • Ability to restrict / grant access to various DRS functions via user profile / policy
    • Ability to push MRC agents and agent updates
    • Ability to push DRS consoles
    • Leverage Active Directory/LDAP for authentication as well as access control based on groups
    • Centralized MRC agent configuration management
    • Centralized access logs for auditing

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!

We have been keeping an eye on the discussions here asking for improvement in terms of network traffic analysis, beyond what MIB 2 (Interface traffic) and Flow technology (NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow...) have to offer.

And we recently saw that NBAR support was voted #1 enhancement request for NTA - the Network Traffic Analyzer (see more about SolarWinds Network Traffic Analyzer here)
As we were thinking about this, we wondered whether the requirement was basically for NBAR - period - or if this was the sign of a larger requirement for better tools to ananalyze your traffic.
For example, we did a Traffic Analysis survey, asking if you used DPI-type solutions and we discovered that a large proportion was using Wireshark (not really a surprise, but was a good confirmation) or any other form of DPI product
DPI solutions used by SolarWinds customers.PNG
Also, I recently talked to some of you and confirmed that a significant proportion (actually higher than what the above chart suggests) either had a Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) solution in place (Riverbed Cascade/Opnet, LanCope, ...) or had this in their budget for this year.
So all this fueled a lot of thoughts and raised some questions on our side, on which we'd really appreciate your comments and answers:
  • Does Wireshark meet most of your needs?
  • Do you need Advanced Traffic Analysis for environments other than Cisco, where solutions like NBAR may not be available? In other words, do you need a vendor-agnostic solution?
  • All of you who own a DPI-type solution, mentioned their (prohibitive) cost as an issue. We are convinced that you don't need to be an Enterprise, able to spend $200K or more on these solutions, to really need them. Small and medium-size businesses also encounter challenges with their traffic which require deep analysis.
    Is it time for SolarWinds to commoditize that market and offer 80% of those features for 20% of the cost?

Before I'll let you go and express your thoughts and describe your experience, here is a bit more on how we think about this problem.

What are the needs for Advanced Traffic Analysis?

We see mainly 4:

Breakdown my traffic by application and user, like Netflow does ... but better

As convenient as Netflow technology is, it actually does a pretty average job at identifying your applications (unless you deploy Flexible Netflow):
    • Limited to static ports. Any app using dynamic ports will be invisible to (Net)flow technology
    • Ignores that many application use port 80 to go through firewalls and are actually NOT HTTP / Web applications
    • Is unable to identify reliably true Web applications: either because (Net)flow does not inspect the HTTP header and does not do URL extraction. Also, content networks such as YouTube.com (owned by Google) are identified by the Content Distribution Network they use as opposed to the Web site they really have (e.g. 1e100.net for YouTube.com...).
      See this typical question we have, pointing to this great post explaining why (Net)flow is really not the ultimate weapon and why Flexible Netflow is not the panacea either.


I need an aggregated view of the Quality of Experience rendered by my applications to my users

In a perfect world, users experiencing slowness in their application will open a ticket or send an email, and IT will know about it. But the world is not perfect and how many IT engineers discovered the hard way, as they were thrown under the bus by an email from a user to the CIO, that the QoE offered by IT is actually not that great, despite what they thought?

Of course there are solutions to simulate users connecting across the network (E.g. SolarWinds VNQM, based on Cisco's Ip SLA technology) as well as simulate the details of their transactions on their mission critical applications (e.g. SolarWinds WPM), but those are based on simulations and do not reflect the true experience of users.

Wouldn't it be great to have a dashboard looking at the traffic of all your users connecting to their applications and calculate the latency they REALLY experience and reporting this in near real-time, or on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis?


I need help troubleshooting slow access to applications

Your users are complaining about slowness when accessing some application? (or a QoE dashboard, as presented above, is keeping you informed about that)

The first things people do is use the basic tools they have, to try to troubleshoot:

    • Look at saturated interfaces that can explain slowness. Then go to  (Net)flow information to understand the nature of this traffic and see what non mission-critical traffic could be removed to avoid the saturation moving forward. The problem with this, is that a) it's not always easy to identify all interfaces on the path from the impacted user(s) to the application and b) excess of traffic is not always the cause of the slowness
    • Look at the devices along the path - from the switch the user(s) is(are) connected to, up to the server this application resides one, via all WAN routers - and see if any experience poor health explaining the slowness (CPU, memory, IO...)

Decent start, but what if this does not answer the question?

What if it's a mis-configuration? What if it's one particular transaction of this application, out of dozen, that is slow, how do you figure which one? What if the slow application is actually spread across multiple-tiers (application server, database, storage...) and what you thought was a "simple" analysis of the path between the user and the application server, happens to be more complicated and involve several back-end servers?

All these more complex but unfortunately real-life examples, are almost impossible to troubleshoot with the basic tools.


Security is key for us and I need to know exactly what peole do on my network

Who is accessing internal file shares? From the outside of my network, really?

How about browser-based file shares (e.g. dropbox)? Is last amount of internal material being copied over to those?

Are your users downloading copyrighted content from P2P media and storing it on company-owned asset, e.g. their workstation?

Do you have unusual traffic from unexpected countries? What is this traffic about?

You already have an Advanced Traffic Analysis (e.g. DPI-based solution)? Tell us what you think about it...

  • What use case(s) does it meet for you (from list above or other)?
  • Do you consider it cost effective?
  • How important is it to have these products integrated to platform such as an NMS / IT infrastructure management platform such as Orion?
  • Would you consider a solution integrated to Orion that would address your most important need at a fraction of the cost? Or do you need the full power of those expensive solutions? Tell us what the minimum bar is!


How does encrypted traffic impact the effectiveness of your Advanced Traffic Analysis (e.g. DPI-based solution)?


If you currently run some form of Advanced Traffic Analysis product (e.g. DPI-based solution), how does encrypted traffic impacts it.

Did encrypted traffic dictated where you deployed your packet capture probes? Are there areas of your network that carry encrypted traffic that you are blind on due to that?


Sniffing traffic, ok, but which one?

Let us know about your most important traffic types, on which to perform Advanced Traffic Analysis:

  • A) LAN traffic on corporate / Data Center (internal)
  • B) LAN traffic on remote site
  • C) WAN traffic (general)
  • D) WAN optimized traffic (e.g. Cisco WAAS, Riverbed, Bluecoat)
  • E) VM to VM traffic
  • F) Load balanced traffic (e,g, Cisco ACE, F5)
  • G) Virtualized traffic (e.g. analyse traffic in/out of an application hosted by a Cloud SP)
  • H) DMZ traffic


Sniffing traffic, ok, but how?


Agents, span or Tap or RITE?

  • The agent-based technique is about running agents on the OS - virtual or not - that hosts your mission critical applications. If your focus is the traffic that goes to your applications (as opposed to look at all traffic including the fully meshed opne that goes across all your sites sites), then agents are a good solution because they make the 3 techiques below unnecessary, but they require an invasive action on your OS by adding a component to it: what CPU/memory do they consume on the OS? Are they really only looking at the traffic? How do we upgrade 100's of them that are deployed on yuour server farm...
  • The Port Spanning / Mirroring technique is basically about high-jacking one port from your switch and dedicate it for mirroring all or part of the entire traffic of the switch. Then the management product listens to packets from this port and performs analysis, storage...

Pretty simple, because most switches support this now, just a commend top issue and a cable to connect and you can start drinking from the fire hose; but may have an impact on the switch and can't guarantee 100% packet captured on very heavily loaded switches.
Note that spanning a port is possible on a HW switch but also on a vSwitch within a virtual environment

  • Network Taps are basically pieces of hardware that you buy to replace the switch for this function (capturing packets). They are placed inline and have no influence on the switch and pretty much capture 100% of the traffic.
  • RITE - Router IP Traffic Export, is a Cisco technology like spanning a port on a switch, except that it's done on a router. Again, easy to deploy since it leverages an existing device, but it impacts it and won't work great at high speed. See this nice and short blog post


Tell us about your experience, your preferences, what's allowed and not allowed on your networks, as far as capturing packets for Advanced Traffic Analysis.




We have officially reached Release Candidate (RC) status for Network Configuration Manager 7.2. RC is the last step before general availability and is a chance for existing customers to get the newest functionality before it is available to everyone else.


Here is the content of this RC version:

  • Continue moving functionality from Win32 client to Web UI
    • Job management (Windows Task Scheduler not used anymore)
    • Config management (edit, delete, set baseline)
    • Possibility to test device login credentials
    • Import config from file
  • Provide End-of-Life information for managed devices.
  • Multiple global connection profiles
    • Define multiple connection profiles (device credentials, protocol, port etc.)
    • NCM will try which of the predefined connection profiles works for a device (configurable per device)
  • The execution of Config Change Templates can be scheduled.
  • Change Approval System enhancements
    • Approved requests to be executed at specified date/time
    • Approved requests to be returned to requestor for execution
    • Requesters can see a history of what they requested and was approved
    • Approvers can see a history of what they approved
  • SNMPv3 -- Support of AES-256 encryption
  • Inventory for Brocade devices
  • More devices supported natively (Palo Alto)
  • Config Change Template Extensions: 'delay' command, string <-> number conversion
  • Make downloaded configurations searchable for IP addresses with FTS enabled.

More details and screenshots can be found in the NCM 7.2 Beta blog post and in Manage End-of-Life Information for Your Devices with NCM!


RC builds are made available to existing customers prior to the formal release. These are used to get customer feedback in production environments and are fully supported. If you have any questions, I encourage you to leverage the NCM RC forum.

You will find the latest version on your customer portal in the Release Candidate section.

SolarWinds has prepared a new on-line sessions for all of you who are interested what's coming in our product series. This sessions will be presented by Product Managers and we believe that it will give you an interesting look into product's future.

If you would like to attend, simply make your registration at GoTo meeting web site: New Series: PM-Hosted Monthly Product Roadmap Updates


The upcoming Wednesday 17th July's session will be focused at Network Performance Monitor 10.5 and beyond. In this episode, we will review the new features in SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor v10.5 and additionally, we will discuss what we are working on for the future. Feel free to bring your comments and questions.


See you there.

We have completed the bulk of the development effort and are now focused on testing the latest release of Kiwi Syslog Server (KSS). KSS v9.4 has reached Beta status. This is your chance to install the latest version and provide feedback on the new features and fixes. Providing feedback during the beta is the best way to ensure that your feedback will be incorporated in to the release. To participate, simply fill out this survey and you will be sent the download links for the Beta. Remember, Betas cannot be installed in production and you cannot upgrade the Beta to any other future versions.


The following enhancement have been added to KSS:

  • Moving to a new web server
    This change brings a lot of new functionality "for free". Examples:
  • Active Directory authentication for web access
  • Alerting for Message Queue Monitor
    Be notified when the number of messages in the message queue crosses certain threshold. This indicates there might be performance problems and gives you chance to take an action before messages get dropped.


Today we made it official - our library of handy DNS and email troubleshooting tools on DNSstuff.com are now free! You can use the tools a few times before being prompted to create an account, with an account you can create your own favorites and arrange the tools as you see fit. The DNSstuff Toolbox ("Professional Toolset") has dozens of tools for testing/retrieving DNS records and troubleshooting configuration issues that might affect network connectivity, routing, DNS and email; the Mail Server Test Center consolidates a few critical tests that might affect email into one place.


Questions DNSstuff Tools can Help you Answer


Is it down for everyone or just me? Can people reach my site? Is my site slower from different parts of the internet?

DNSstuff is a great third party external resource that lets you troubleshoot remote connectivity issues without calling all your friends to ask them to try accessing your site and tell you how slow it is. In addition to the usual traceroute, our vector trace tool lets you drop in an IP and we'll connect to it from 2 different locations to see whether there's any issues with your site that might differ based on someone's location. While you're there, dig into the details about any hop to find out more about who owns it and where it is.





Are my DNS records good? Has my DNS change propagated through the internet yet? I am setting up a new site or working with a new customer and how can I tell their DNS is configured correctly? Is there a problem with one of my listed DNS servers not responding?


Nothing's more fun than making changes or making a new site live and having someone ask you every 5 minutes why the traffic isn't coming yet, or why people are still seeing the old site. Okay, maybe more fun than that is when you have random reports of lookup failures or communication errors to your site and have no idea why - but all of the network connectivity itself seems good. You can use DNSstuff to do tests against your DNS records and their listed DNS servers to make sure all of the listings are correct AND help you identify common problems or pitfalls with DNS that might lead to these types of failures.


Our DNSreport tool will run a number of tests against your domain and subsequent listed DNS servers to tell you if there's a problem anywhere down the line. You can also use the ISP cached DNS lookup tool to see if ISPs have cached your records or are showing the new ones.




Where is this IP address physically located? How does traffic route through different geographic areas to get to one of my sites? Could a wonky route that sends traffic overseas be making my site particularly slow?

DNSstuff has a few IP location and visual traceroute tools that help you identify where a certain IP is located and what routes traffic might be taking to get to an IP address. The vector trace (sample above) is handy to see how different locations might be reaching you. Our standard traceroute performs the exact same lookup but from a single host. IP information will look up all of the info related to an IP (including location across several location tools) and there's always standard IPWhois to do a simple reverse ownership lookup.


Am I listed on any spam blacklists?

There's a bunch of spam blacklists out there and getting listed means email from you might not reach someone using a blacklist to prevent unwanted email. DNSstuff has a blacklist lookup tool that checks your IP address against those lists.  You can also check a domain against a URI blacklist tool in case your domain has appeared in spam and that's causing you to be blocked, too. If you are blocked, we've lined up the contact info so you can react accordingly.




Who owns this site and which whois service should I use to find out if I need to contact them? I changed my whois record info, but how do I know it's done?

There are several online whois tools, but usually in order to use them, you have to at least figure out which whois service to go to. We've hooked them all up to one lookup tool so you can drop in an IP or domain name and see who it belongs to (and all the other useful whois info). We also have snapshots so you can see when whois information last changed and what changed.



People are getting bounce messages from our email, but not all of the time, and I can't figure out what's going on - help?

If you've got multiple servers configured as your MX, mail can find its way to all of them - but only sometimes, which makes problems pretty hard to track down unless you check every server. Mail Server Test Center runs a bunch of tests that check basic connectivity, records, SPF, and other info against ALL of your MX records.




And More!!

There's a ton of other tools on DNSstuff - everything from a Speed Test to DKIM Key/SPF record checking to a CIDR calculator and even social media search. DNSstuff is also here on Thwack, over in the DNSstuff space where our product management and sometimes even dev team checks in to see how we can help.


NOTE: All paying DNSstuff customers continue to have access to the same tools and information that they did before, and access to create an online case with our support team up to the expiration date of your account. As your account expires, your access to any tools won't change and you'll experience no interruption in service.

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