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After releasing NTA 4.0, we have been working on the next release.  Here is our "hot list" of things we are currently working on.  Your comments, feedback and especially participation in Beta releases are more than welcome. 

 

  • The ability to configure devices directly from the NTA web console - NTA 4.1 Beta
  • Improved application and web URL classification leveraging DPI type technologies
  • Additional Flexible NetFlow Field support (IPFIX)
  • Improved workflows by expanding on the integration between existing Orion Modules and NTA
  • Increased sampled support for - J-Flow, S-Flow, IPFIX, & Netstream - NTA 4.1 Beta
  • Improved Alerting capabilities
  • Improved Web-based Reporting
  • Improved handling of backup jobs
  • Additional Flow Navigator capability: filter by source to destination IP Group pairing
  • Support for MS SQL 2014.

 

 

End of Support for 32-Bit Operating Systems

SolarWinds is considering to end supporting NTA on 32-bit operating systems soon. Starting from one of the future versions, NTA will run only on 64-bit operating systems.

 

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 based on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.

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After release of Web Help Desk v12.1, we are now busily working on some new features and enhancements to the product. Here is a preview:

 

  • Asset Reporting
    • Including Reservations and Purchase Orders
  • DameWare integration
    • Some options are chat, screenshot capability or easier configuration for remote connections
  • Revamp of setup section
    • Make settings easier to find when returning to configuration options
  • More comprehensive documentation for different areas of Web Help Desk
    • Possible candidates for detailed documentation are SSO, Database migration, sizing and so on
  • Settings export for easier migration
  • Java 7 support
  • NPM integration improvements
  • Ability to export reports to Excel
  • Ticket Approvals from Tech interface
  • iOS Application improvements

 

PLEASE NOTE:  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!

Many of you are patiently waiting for new version of VNQM and hope to see support for Avaya call quality monitoring. Well, now is a good chance how to help us recognize technical differences and challenges our engineering needs to solve before GA. We are here with first beta that supports Avaya call managers (have S7x series in our lab). We would highly appreciate if you can try to install this version on your test environment (could be VM) and let us know how it works on your end.

 

This is currently supported functionality:

  • Avaya support
    • Storing CDRs in Orion internal DB
    • VoIP search for Avaya calls (search with time and CM only)
    • VoIP Call details view (without CQR and Call Signaling)

 

If you want to participate in beta, you should own VNQM and be under active maintenance. Then you need to simply agree with this beta agreement: SolarWinds VoIP & Network Quality Manager 4.2 Beta Participation Survey and I'll send you download link.

 

How to add Avaya call manager? Click on "Add new call manager" button on IPSLA Summary page and our wizard will take you through the process.

 

I'd also welcome any feedback on wizard UI and improvement points.

 

Here are few screenshots:

 

beta 1.png

 

 

beta 1 - detail.png

beta1 - ccm details.png

With NTM 2.1 out the door we're now focusing on the features and functionality for the next release.  The team is currently working on the following:

 

  • Import User Defined Graphics

Users will be able to bring into the application their own custom graphics.

  • Do Not Scan List/ Scan Exclusions option into the Discovery Settings page

Users will be able to configure scan exclusion to increase the scanning performance and skip scanning nodes which causes false alarms

Not all vendor devices serial numbers will be polled in one release, due to the introduction of performance issues while scanning. We would encourage you to comment on which vendor devices we need to focus on. We will priorities accordingly depending on the response we get.

  • Creating a new map from selected Node objects

This function will help in better representation & creating specific maps


Questions? Comments? If you've got questions or ideas about a particular feature that might be most useful to you or your organization, or want to take part in a release candidate or beta, feel free to comment. Make sure to file a feature request over in our Network Topology Mapper Feature Requests forum if you don't see your request. If someone else already posted it, please add your comments so we know there's interest in a particular feature or issue.


To receive updates on the NTM roadmap, join thwack and bookmark this page.

 

PLEASE NOTE:  While we are working on these items, 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 are pleased to announce the general availability of Web Help Desk v12.1.0. The contents of this release contain new features and improvements, namely,

 

  • Ability to de-escalate a ticket
  • Casper 9 support via Casper API
  • New REST API for Locations
  • New REST API for Assets
  • Improved help accessibility and many documentation improvements
  • Many bug fixes and performance improvements

 

You can view the full set of release notes here.

 

To learn more about new features in this release see this blog post.

 

Download Web Help Desk now and have fun!

When I talked to you - IPAM users, I've heard many times that one of the typical tasks of IP address management is obtaining available IP address(es) for selected subnet. This is tricky if you use spreadsheets and share it with more people (you never know if the doc is in sync and if you won't create IP address conflict).

 

You also voted for similar feature - IP Request Form on Twhack. Where one of the scenarios is ask & approve assignment of first available address in subnet.

 

In this post, I'd like to unveil an IPAM API method that can give you one or more Available IP Address in a subnet.

 

What we need in order to accomplish this trick:

 

  1. IPAM 4.0 (could be an Eval)
  2. Latest version of Orion SDK installed on the IPAM server.
  3. Access to Windows PowerShell (could be applied on Python, Perl or VBScript as well)
  4. User and Password into IPAM
  5. Ten minutes of your time :-)

 

Install and configure your IPAM

Simple start, install and configure your IPAM. It must contain at least one subnet with IP addresses and their statuses inside:

 

Install your Orion SDK

Orion SDK will provide API access to IPAM database via secure methods. I don't expect any single problem during install process (link for download). My recommendation is to install as local Administrator.

If you run into any problem, please speak up in this forum on Thwack.

 

Open your PowerShell window

And now the real fun begins. Run your PowerShell Window and make sure that Orion SDK was successfully registered:

Type this command: Get-PSSnapin | where {$_.Name -eq "SwisSnapin"}) and hit enter key.

The result should looks like this:

 

If you didn't get this, simple type following command (will add PowerShell snappin from SDK)

Add-PSSnapin "SwisSnapin"


Now you have to setup connection to your database/IPAM.

Type in following commands and change your $hostname to domain name or IP address of your IPAM, $username to the username you want to use for connection and $password to your password (like $password = "solarwinds"). If you are using Eval of IPAM and running the script from the same machine, keep it as it is below.


$hostname = "localhost"

$username = "admin"

$password = New-Object System.Security.SecureString  

$cred = New-Object -typename System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $username, $password

$swis = Connect-Swis -host $hostname -cred $cred

 

OK, so we set up the connection, and now we can call an API method and get information about available IP Address. You also need to know the name of the subnet from where you want to get free IP Address. In our example I'll use "DEV" name (see screenshot above). Type in the command below and hit enter key:

 

Get-SwisData $swis 'SELECT TOP 1 I.Status, I.DisplayName FROM IPAM.IPNode I WHERE Status=2 AND I.Subnet.DisplayName = ''DEV'''

 

Et voila:

 

As you may see we got first free available IP Address as 10.140.126.4 with status "2" (Available") which corresponds to my sample IPAM data:

OK so that's good, but I don't assume that you'll want to run such background script every time you want to get your first available IP Address. You can certainly save the whole script into a file and then run it just by simple click (feel free to download my example).

 

The result of the "Get-SwisData" is stored in DataSet - .NET object which you may use for further processing. For example, you can store the results to the file or you can call it from the web service or helpdesk system.

 

If you want to iterate via IP addresses in the result, you may use this powershell query (useful when getting more than 1 free IP address or you want to run the query for more subnets):


$addresses = Get-SwisData $swis 'SELECT TOP 1 I.Status, I.DisplayName FROM IPAM.IPNode I WHERE Status=2 AND I.Subnet.DisplayName = ''DEV'''


foreach($address in $addresses)

{

     write-host "Free IP Address is" $address.DisplayName

}

blogpost foreach.png

We can slightly modify SWQL query and populate subnet address and CIDR next to the available IP Address (by the way, this is the beauty of SWQL language, you don't have to use JOINs in many cases, simply use dot notation in order to list properties of related entity - in this case "Subnet"):

 

$addressesWithSubnets = SELECT R.Address as SubnetAddress, R.CIDR, R.FriendlyName, R.PercentUsed,

(SELECT TOP 1 I2.IpAddress FROM IPAM.IPNode as I2 WHERE I2.Status=2 AND I2.SubnetId = R.GroupID ) AS FreeIpAddress

FROM IPAM.GroupReport as R WHERE R.GroupType='8'

 

Where GroupTyp=8 means type "subnets" (not supernets or DHCP scopes,etc.)


Then the result may look like this:

subnets-script.png

 

I can iterate through the $addressesWithSubnet variable and do whatever I need witch each record, for example send email, send data into help desk, update database (custom property) or store it into a file.

 

The interesting option is create a webservice that can call this IPAM powershell script with attribute "subnet name". Then you can ask for first available IP address from anywhere.

 

Example where simply writing each row to the console output:

list of subnets.png

Download the full script.

 

Example of .NET webservice that can call our PowerShell script:


[WebMethod]

//When calling the method put the path to our script file as parameter to the method GetFreeAvailableAddress.

//For example: c:\script\getFreeIP.ps

//Feel free to add exception handling you prefer.


public void GetFreeAvailableAddress(string script)
{
  
RunspaceConfiguration rC = RunspaceConfiguration.Create();

  
Runspace runspace = RunspaceFactory.CreateRunspace(rC);
   runspace
.Open();

  
RunspaceInvoke scriptInvoker = new RunspaceInvoke(runspace);

  
Pipeline pipelineCommand = runspace.CreatePipeline();
   pipelineCommand
.Commands.AddScript(script);

  
// execute the script
   pipelineCommand
.Invoke();
}

 

Integration with SAM (Server and Application Monitor)

One of the easiest way to get Powershell script monitored by Orion web interface is via SAM (try eval if you don't have it). SAM can monitor powershell scripts and show the results on the web very simply.

 

I had to just re-format the output of my PowerShell script and then define new PowerShell template in SAM so it can transfer the data from script on web.

There is a very nice article about how to add Script Monitor into SAM. So I'll skip this phase and just summarize that what you need to do on your Script side, is populate data you want to show via two specific messages:

Detail Type

Required

Meaning

Statistic

Yes

A numeric value used to determine how the monitor compares to its set thresholds. This must be an integer value, (negative numbers are supported).

Statistic.Name1: 123

Statistic.Name2: 456

Message

No

An error or information message to be displayed in the monitor status details. Note: Multi-line messages are supported. To use this functionality print each line using a separate command. For example:
Message.Name1: abc

Message.Name2: def

and it must end by "Exit(0)" statement.

 

I modified our script in order to produce messages that are parsed properly by SAM (how to add add new SAM template). The template show you percentage used of IP address per subnet and also first free IP Address for each subnet.


Section added


Write-Host "Message.$($freeIP.FriendlyName): Subnet: $($freeIP.SubnetAddress)/$($freeIP.CIDR) named: $($freeIP.FriendlyName) has this available IP  ADDRESS$($freeIP.FreeIPAddress)";   

Write-Host "Statistic.$($freeIP.FriendlyName): $($freeIP.PercentUsed)";

 

Feel free to download SAM template from here. Wondering how the result looks like on the web? Here it goes:

utilization.png

statistics comments.png

 

Let me know if you have any questions and don't be intimidated by our API, it's very easy to use.

We have completed another bulk of the development effort and are now focused on testing the latest release of Network Configuration Manager (NCM); We have Beta2 for NCM v7.3 available. 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 NCM so far:

  • NCM and NPM databases merged
    • Optimized DB schema
    • Account limitations are applied to NCM jobs.
    • Core node management page is used to add/remove devices from NCM.
    • In the discovery wizard, users can choose whether to import newly discovered nodes into NCM.
    • Node Sync is gone!
    • Subviews are fully supported.
  • A completely new version of the Configuration Management page
  • EoL/EoS info on (NCM) node details page
  • Admins can now clear all transfers for all users from the Transfer Status page in the Web UI.
  • Limit policy reports for individual accounts
  • Jobs Summary table can be sorted according to any column.
  • NCM supports SWISv3 now.

 

Benefits of the Merged Databases

The merge of NCM and NPM databases enable NCM users to take advantage of certain features of the Orion Platform (Core) that were not possible to use before.

 

Improved Node Management

As there is no concept of "NCM Node" anymore, "Licensed by NCM" has become just a flag for Orion nodes. What does it mean? You can manage all NCM properties using the Core none management infrastructure:

 

Node-Management.png

 

Node-Properties.png

 

Improved Node Details

The merged DB made it possible to use sub-views -- you can easily review NCM node details next to information from other Orion modules.

 

Node-Details.png

 

New Configuration Management UI

This is a great improvement in usability of the NCM Web UI in this release. Unlike the old UI, the new one is much more node-centric to make the workflows much smoother: First you select the devices and then perform an action. The new UI enables you to accomplish a chain of tasks efficiently as you can work with the same set of nodes repeatedly.

  • You can group your devices by up to three parameters.
  • The node selection is persistant; even if you switch to another group of nodes or another page, your selection is preserved.

 

New-Config-UI.PNG

It is our pleasure to announce NPM 10.7 has reached Release Candidate status. Since just recently announcing the 10.6 release, the SolarWinds development team has been hard at work delivering great new features for 10.7.  Release Candidates are fully supported and can be installed on your production environment. Some highlights of 10.7 RC1:

 

Link Utilization on Maps

 

If enabled in Network Atlas, L2 link utilization will be displayed on the map:

Link_utilization.png

 

Independent Node Thresholds and Baselining


As first seen in SAM, NPM inherits the ability to have independent node and interface thresholds. These thresholds can be dynamically calculated on a weekly or daily basis to provide a moving window.

Thresholds.png


NOC View


For those of you that have your NPM console up on the big screen, 10.7 also introduces a special "NOC Mode" that removes the top tabs and cycles through subviews. Since NOC screens tend to have a lot of real estate, we've increased the max columns to 6.


NOC_View.png


Custom Poller Packages


Imagine if you could take your Universal Device Poller data and stick it in native CPU and Memory fields. In 10.7, now you can! Define your polled OIDs, transform, and apply to CPU / Memory fields- polled data will be treated just as native data is. No need to create custom reports and alerts. Import / Export and share on thwack. We've included some sample ones to get you started. (HP Procurve and Fortimanager chief among them.)


DeviceKit.png


Routing Resources now Support VRFs


VRF.png


Resource Drag and Drop


If you had a chance to try any of the 10.7 betas, you may have noticed the hashed "grab-bars" now at the top of each resource. That's right- drag-and-drop resources! We've also added dynamic column resizing to make view customization even easier.

 

DnD.png

 

Support for Ruckus and Motorola Wireless

 

Ruckus and Motorola wireless polling is now natively supported. No need to use UnDPs to retrieve AP info.

 

SNMP Status

 

Since time immemorial, ICMP reachability has been a requirement for a node to show "Up" in NPM. No longer! "List Resources" or use the new "Manage Pollers" page to change what determines status

SNMP_Status.png

 

In addition to these highlighted features, there are a host of incremental feature enhancements and bug fixes. Download the RC from your customer portal to check it out.

We have completed the bulk of the development effort and are now focused on testing the latest release of Kiwi CatTools. CatTools v3.10 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 CatTools so far:

  • Support for scheduling activities on a monthly basis
  • Support Cisco® Small Business devices
  • Improved support for HP® switches
  • Enhanced possibilities for ignoring text in device configuration
  • Newest version of SolarWinds® licensing framework adopted
  • Fixed problem with Connect Via feature when both target and media devices use variations
  • Various updates of device templates
  • Bug fixes

Virtualization Manager 6.0 introduced integration with NPM and SAM, exposing VMan data in native Orion resources, allowing you to navigate from Application to VM to Host to Datastore/Cluster Shared Volume without leaving the Orion interface.  However, the integration did not allow you to leverage all of Orion goodness on the virtualization data - but the team has been hard at work to make that a reality. To try it out, please fill out this short survey, Enough of introductory chit-chat, lets get down to the fun stuff - features!!!

 

 

 

Baseline Thresholds for Virtual Machines

In the last release of Server & Application Monitor, we introduced baselines and we are happy to announce the feature has been expanded to Virtualization data as well.  When monitoring VMs (both Hyper-V and VMware), you'll be able to leverage your historical data to automatically build your warning and critical threshholds (note that host baselines will be available in future betas).  Simply click edit node and scroll down to the Alerting Thresholds and choose Override Orion General Thresholds and click Use Dynamic Baseline Data and it will automatically set your thresholds based on the analysis of historical data. .

VManTheshold1.png

If you want to see or adjust how your baseline is calculated, simply click the Latest Baseline Details to see more information about the calculation.

VManTheshold2.png

 

 

VManWizard9.pngSynchronization Wizard

To maximize the usefulness of the integration of Virtualization Manager with SAM and NPM, users need to keep the configuration of both products in sync or confusing data and linkage gaps occur  Keeping the configuration in sync is painful and tedious and many of you encountered this problem as your environment grew or changed.  Also, the product didn't notify you that there was a synchronization problem, so you would find you were missing the data right when you needed it.

The synchronization wizard takes the Virtualization Manager "datasources" (vCenter, standalone ESX, and Hyper-V Hosts) and credentials and maps them to SAM/NPM, displaying discrepancies and then allowing you to pick and choose which pieces of the virtual environment you want to synchronize.  Best of all, when the products are out of sync, you get a notification with a link to the synchronization wizard so you can quickly fix it.

You can get to the integration wizard two ways:

  • The integration wizard will automatically start when you first configure integration.
  • The Run Synchronization Wizard link (Settings > Virtualization Settings in Virtualization Manager Integration section)
  • When SAM or NPM detect a configuration difference between the two products, it will prompt you to run the notification wizard in the notification banner.

 

 

First step is turn on integration, go to Settings > Virtualization Settings > Setup Virtual Manager Integration.  You'll enter the IP address and port of the Virtualization Manager and admin credentials.  When you click submit, the linkage will be tested and any errors reported.  If the connection is good, the synchronization wizard starts.

 

If you already have the integration turned on, you can go to step through the wizard again.

VManWizard1.png
Next, you can choose if you want to skip to the end and synchronize everything (Recommended) or pick and choose which datasources (VC, standalone ESX, and Hyper-V Hosts) and credentials to synchronize (Advanced).  Let's choose Advanced so we can see the intermediate steps.VManWizard2.png

Here we can select which datasources we want to synchronize.  If the datasource is already configured in both products, it is hidden by default.  Pick which ones you want to synchronize, press the green arrow button and then press Next.

 

Lets skip the next two screens (Synchronization Exceptions and Assign Pollers) for now.

VManWizard3.png

The review screen allows you to review the proposed changes before they are implemented, including the additional node licenses needed.  You can uncheck any changes you don't want to make before pressing Next.

 

One of the great things about 6.1 is it will provide Orion with all the virtualization data directly, so your virtual environment is only polled once to supply Virtualization Manager and SAM/NPM with all their virtualization data.

 

Don't worry, this change is transparent to you - your data, alerts, customizations, GUI, etc. continue to work as they do today.

VManWizard6.png
As the synchronization occurs, the wizard will report success or failure of each step. Once completed, any new nodes will be configured and licensed in SAM/NPM and data will start populating shortly.VManWizard7.png
And here is the notification you get when the product configurations are out of sync.VManWizard10.png

 

 

VManVNodeTree.pngSee All Your Virtual Machines (vNodes)

Virtualization Manager collects information about every VM in the environments you are monitoring.  In the current integration with SAM/NPM, you have to manage each VM (node) in order to see the data.  We've changed that so that you will see the data for every monitored VM regardless if they are Managed in SAM/NPM.  These will look like regular nodes but with just two subviews (Virtualization and Storage).  We've made it easy to add them as a node if you want to... but you are no longer required to.

VManVNode2.png

 

 

More to come...

To try out the beta, please fill out this short survey, Stay tuned for more information on Orion based alerting, RBAC (Role Base Access Control), and more metrics!

I'm happy to announce that IP Address Manager 4.1 RC1 is available for download and installation on your production servers.

Except bug fixes, there are two new big features we added into this release of IPAM:

 

  1. ISC DHCP management and monitoring
    • Create, edit or remove ISC DHCP subnets directly in IPAM using the same UI as for Microsoft or Cisco DHCP
    • Manage ISC DHCP subnet options, ranges and pools (RFC standard options, including options 66 & 67 for VoIP settings)
    • Default alerts for high DHCP subnet utilization
    • Monitoring of ISC DHCP shared subnets and their utilization
    • Monitoring of availability of ISC DHCP servers and their subnets (up, down, unreachable)
    • Monitoring of ISC DHCP IP address static assignments within groupsall DHCP vendors.png
  2. Support for management of standard DHCP scope options on Microsoft or Cisco DHCP servers
    • Setup VoIP options (66 & 67) on your DHCP scopes
    • Manage all RFC standard DHCP options using web UI that describe usage of each option.
    • Automatic both-way DHCP scope option sync between IPAM and DHCP servers

 

The installation is available on your customer portal or via this RC agreement (IPAM 4.1 RC Participation Survey).

 

You should contact SolarWinds support in case of any problems or bugs you found.

 

We are looking to your feedback on this latest version.

To receive updates on the Kiwi Syslog roadmap, JOIN thwack and BOOKMARK this page.


LAST UPDATED March 2015

 

We are just coming off the latest Service Release of Kiwi Syslog in which we added support for Windows 2012 R2 and the development team is already hard at work on the next version and I am pretty excited about some of the things we have coming.  Below is a highlight of some of these items in the pipeline.

  • IPv6 Support
    • The ability to receive not only IPv4 messages, but also IPv6 as well.
  • Enhanced SNMP Support
    • SNMPv3 Support
      • We already support the ability to both receive and send SNMPv2 traps, this will also add SNMPv3 support as well
    • Allowing trap "varbind" elements in output
      • Originally suggested by our own head geek adatole when he was a customer, this is native supporting of the parsing of incoming trap data into "varbind" elements so that these varbinds can be used in output options (send syslog, email, log to file, etc
    • Enhanced SNMP Trap Forwarding
      • Similar to how we do with Syslog today, allowing you to retain the actual IP and trap message data from the Kiwi server
  • Enhanced Email Reports
    • Better reporting around system and message receiving statistics
  • Enhanced Web Console User Access
    • Removing the existing hard limitation of only 5 users accounts in the web console

 

Disclaimer: 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 based on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.

To receive updates on the Kiwi CatTools roadmap, JOIN thwack and BOOKMARK this page.

 

The Kiwi team is currently focused on new feature work for Syslog currently and once completed will work on the next release of Cattools.  Any serious bugs or other issues, we will release updates as required.

 

Disclaimer:  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 based on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.

dexml

Routing Basics

Posted by dexml Jan 10, 2014

This blog is meant to provide a simple overview of routing in general, for those new to networking, and as an addendum to my other two routing related blogs:

  1. Routing Tools Overview for Network Performance Monitor 10.5
  2. TROUBLESHOOTING WITH ROUTING TOOLS FOR NETWORK PERFORMANCE MONITOR 10.5

 

While network and internet routing can be quite complex, the fundamentals are easy to comprehend.

 

  • If I am at “Location A” and want to get to “Location Z” 
    • I might be able to take a direct route and get there without stopping. 
    • In other cases I might have to use an alternate route, going through “Location B” or “Location X” first along the way.

               01_locations.jpg

Let’s take a look at a simple network topology map and see what a route might look like connecting networks together from across the world.

 

  • Sender 1 - on the left side of the map - is connected to Router 1 (R1) in California.
  • Receiver 2 - on the right side of the map - is connected to Router 4 (R4) in Paris
  • Router 2 (R2)- in the middle of the map - is connected to both Router 1 and Router 4.

     01_routes.jpg

As you can see, if you want to send packets from Sender 1 to Receiver 2 there is only one route to take. Any device connected to Router 1 must go through Router 2 in order to get data to any other device connected to Router 4. In this scenario:

 

  • The “Origin” is Sender 1
  • The “Next Hop” is Router 2
  • And the “Destination” is Receiver 2

 

I am sure you can imagine other possible scenarios where additional Routers could serve as the “Next Hop” similar to Router 2 connecting Router 1 to Router 4. For example there might be a “Next Hop” Router in Miami in addition to New York, in which case you would have multiple pathways (routes) that could make connections between the Origin and Destination.

 

To summarize, there can be multiple routes that packets can take through networks to get to any given destination. With the new Routing tools now provided by SolarWinds NPM, you know have a view of end to end routing for easier troubleshooting of network issues.

 

Protocol Overview


A routing protocol defines how routers communicate with one another. Routers need to communicate with one another to share information that will enable them to select routes between any two network nodes. Routers can only communicate directly with their neighbors but information is passed along, one to another, so that eventually a router can gain and store an entire network topology. There are several different routing protocols in use today for both internal networks and external networks such as the internet. By “Internal” network we really mean an “Autonomous System” or “Autonomous Network” which is defined as a network that is under the domain and control of a single Administrative entity such as a corporate network.  Protocols for internal use are referred to as “interior” protocols while protocols used on the internet are referred to as… you guessed it, “exterior” protocols.

 

The SolarWinds routing resources and tools contained in Network Performance Monitor version 10.5 and above provides support for the following popular network protocols:

 

  • OSPF
  • RIP
  • BGP

 

These are important networking protocols that allow network traffic to traverse vast internal networks and span a wide array of self-contained but interconnected networks such as the internet. The first two, OSPF and RIP, are interior routing protocols otherwise known as “Interior Gateway Protocols” or IGP. IGPs share information within only one routing domain and cannot span across separate autonomous networks, the biggest impact of this limitation is that these protocols cannot be used on the internet. The third in the list is BGP or Border Gateway Protocol which is currently the most commonly used exterior gateway protocol and which allows all manner of autonomous networks to communicate across the internet.

 

To sum it up internal networks can use OSPF, RIP (or other IGP protocols) and if any of these internal networks need to communicate with other networks they can and most likely will use BGP to send packets across the internet.

Note: There are a few other protocols in use today such as EIGRP and we are working on integrating these into NPM for a future release. 

 

Now if only I could find a way to insert myself into a network packet, I could have lunch in Paris and be back to work in Austin for my 1pm meeting!



Storage Manager 5.7 Beta 1

 

The Storage Manager Team is hard at work on STM 5.7. We’ve just arrived at that crucial stage of development, Beta 1, and would love your participation. Fill out this short survey to participate in the STM 5.7 Beta! Without further ado, let’s jump into what is available in Beta 1.

 

Sign-Up Button.png

 

Improved Performance Charts

 

Users of Storage Manager have been pushing for a while to get more out the performance data in the product. Before I get into the solutions, let me outline some concerns voiced by you, the end user, about the current way performance data is displayed. Concerns with the current graphs have focused around several areas:

ConcernOld Chart
  1. The graphs provided were simple PNG image files and are not interactive. This prevents simple actions like hover-over context to get insight into exact data point values and labels.
  2. The general Look & Feel of the old charts was dated.
  3. The charts didn't have a way to easily zoom in or out on the Time x-axis. To get more data in the chart, you had to refresh the whole page by selecting a new time range.
  4. When looking at several data series simultaneously, there was no way to remove a single or multiple data series from the chart. One example where this is important is when trying to look at Top 5 LUN Performance, but one LUN is massively busier than the other 4. Removing this one LUN allows the chart to re-scale to view the relative performance of the other LUNs.
Old STM Charts.png

 

Unrelated to the charting package itself, but still valid concerns were:

  1. There were restrictions that in the product around displaying “Raw” or “Roll-Up Summary” data. Basically, in an effort to keep the product snappy and stable, STM automatically defaulted to Hourly, Daily, or Weekly Roll-up data depending time range selected. This was problematic when looking for peaks in performance data, as those peaks ended up being averaged out when looking at longer time ranges.
  2. The time selector only allowed you to see data from now with a defined “look-back” period of Last Hour, 6 Hours, 24 Hours, etc. If you wanted to look at a specific 6 hour period yesterday, you had to go to the Reporter tool, or you could look at the data from the last week, but were forced into problem #1 above and could only view roll-up data.

 

So with all that said, let’s take a look at the new and improved Storage Manager performance charts.

 

We’ve adopted the same charting package used by the SolarWinds Orion products. While some of the back-end software magic is different this enables several major improvements including:

 

New BenefitNew Chart
  1. Hover-over to inspect individual data points.
  2. Significantly improved Look & Feel
  3. Embedded horizontal zoom – This functionality is tied to our new “Between” time range selector. So as you drag the horizontal zoom bar, it keeps the Between calendar range in perfect sync, so you know exactly what timeframe you are examining.
  4. Data selectors – You can now remove charted data series with ease! With the new charts, the y-axis will automatically adjust zoom to show remaining data series.
New Charts.png

 

To address the other concerns, we also added:

New BenefitNew Chart
  1. A force “Raw” checkbox. By selecting this, you will force the product to load Raw, not summary roll-up, data for your chart. WARNING – This can load extremely large datasets depending upon the timerange being viewed. It is an Advanced feature and misuse may cause slow loading or product instability. We are working on providing warning dialogues in the product to provide guidance to this effect, but it is not yet in the Beta.
  2. As mentioned with the horizontal zoom feature in the new charts, we have also included a “Between” time range selector to view custom time ranges.
New Charts 2.png
For those of you playing along at home, you may have noticed one other UX improvement – contextual text highlighting! No more are you forced to guess what report you landed on!Contextual highlighting.png

 

We made some other minor changes to the product that aren’t really super-exciting to test from an end-user perspective, but they are changes in product behavior so we’d definitely appreciate any feedback.

 

Change to Default Collection Frequencies

 

For STM 5.7, the default data collection frequencies have changed for SMI-S devices and VMware. Note that this will NOT affect upgrades, only fresh installs. If you’ve fine-tuned your collection frequencies for your environment, STM will respect that and maintain your settings upon upgrade. So why make the change? The main reason is stability of collection and matching that stability to how customers scale their systems over time. These changes were made to ensure a seamless first time user experience and allow new customers to fine tune these settings later as they better understand their monitoring needs and the product architecture. If you'd like to get a good primer on STM Deployment, this topic is discussed at length in this ThwackCamp session.

 

As always, if you need to modify collection frequencies post-install, you can do so through configuring STM Policies in Settings->Device Management->Policies. Remember that you have to “Push” your policies to your STM Proxy Agents for those new collection frequencies to take effect. For reference, these are new default collection frequencies for STM:

 

SMI-S policy

Frequency type

Original value (prior to 5.7)

Updated value (5.7+)

Asset

12 hours

24 hours

Performance

15 minutes

No Change

Storage

1 hour

6 hours

 

 

VMware policy

Frequency type

Original value (prior to 5.7)

Updated value (5.7+)

Configuration

15 minutes

3 hours

Performance

5 minutes

30 minutes

Storage

1 hour

6 hours

 

Deprecating Generic “Storage Array” Reports


The “Storage Array” report category is a little bit of mystery to outside observers and deserves some historical discussion. While at first glance, the name might imply that this set of reports are what you use to report on your Storage Arrays from a single consolidated place, sadly that implication would be entirely off-target. Storage Manager’s location for all consolidated reports, across heterogeneous arrays, is the “Enterprise” reports. Any report in the “Enterprise” reports are tested by our Product Team to ensure that the data we are presenting is valid across every array we support, even when you report across heterogeneous array types in the same report. Such is not the case with the “Storage Array” reports.

 

So then, you might ask, “What are the purposes of the Storage Array reports?” And it is a fine question, no doubt. These reports are meant for reporting on a “Generic SMI-S Device.” “Well,” you might say, “my arrays support data collection via SMI-S, so those must be for my arrays.” Unfortunately, again, this would be off-target. The “Generic SMI-S Device” was a pie-in-the-sky dream, hatched in the early days of Storage Manager development, when there was thoughts that storage vendors might actually adopt the Storage Networking Industry Association’s (SNIA’s) Storage Management Initiative-Specification (SMI-S) standard as an actual standard. Instead, the vendors went off and implemented all of their array support via SMI-S completely differently (they are not completely at fault, of course, the standard lacked some key points mainly around how to present performance data). Thus, the “Generic SMI-S Device” in Storage Manager never really worked as anticipated and is “unsupported” as an official array type. Unfortunately, we never did as good a job as we should have to outline these restrictions thus leading to our current situation.

 

If the above is TL;DR, here is the nut: A good chunk of data presented in those reports is wrong because of how the vendors differed in their implementation of the SMI spec. If you want “Storage Array” report functionality, you need to use the array specific reports where the STM team has aligned the data provided to the vendor’s implementation of the spec. For example, if you own an EMC VNX, you should use the reports under Storage Array EMC VNX/CLARiiON. The data are correct in these reports.

 

If you are currently using these reports, we recommend you switch to the Storage Array reports for your specific devices. We have salvaged some of the reports and moved them to the “Enterprise” section, as some of the reports only needed minor modifications to report data consistently. These salvaged reports include:

  • Storage – SMI-S Storage Array-LUN Masking
  • Storage – SMI-S Storage Array-LUN Masking Summary (new report)
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-Array Performance
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-Controller Performance
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-Disk Performance
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-LUN Performance

 

Note that we did not remove the reports or their templates, but merely marked them as “Deprecated” in the product. This should give you time to move to the proper reports for your reporting purposes.

 

Deprecated Reports.png

 

That's Not All Folks!

 

Note that this is only Beta 1 for STM 5.7. We have several more features we are cooking up in the lab, so watch here for future Beta announcements!

 

Sign-up for the STM 5.7 Beta today!

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