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Intro to NPM 11.0

 

With NPM 10.7 just out the door, we are pleased to announce that NPM 11.0 has entered Release Candidate phase. In a first for SolarWinds, NPM 11.0 has the ability to collect packet-level data from sensors distributed throughout your environment, and calculate Network Response Time (NRT) and Application Response Time (ART) for ~1,200 applications. These statistics make it easy to tell at a glance whether an issue is a problem with the network or the application. In addition to response time statistics, we are capturing aggregate volume metrics, and have the ability to classify application traffic on your network by risk-level and relation to typical business functions.

All of this data is displayed in the new "Quality of Experience" dashboard:

 

QoE_Dashboard.png

 

Sensor Topology

 

So how are we able to gather this data? In NPM 11.0, we have the ability to deploy Packet Analysis Sensors (PAS) to Windows-based (64-bit / 2008+) systems. Sensors can be deployed in two configurations: "Server" or "Network."

With a "Server" PAS, the sensor is deployed directly on a server you would like to monitor. So for example, if you wish to monitor your Exchange response time / traffic, you would push the sensor directly to your Exchange server:

SPAS.png

For a "Network" PAS, the sensor is deployed to a dedicated Windows-based system with a dedicated interface attached to a tap / SPAN / mirror interface.

NPAS.png

Once sensors are deployed, you can choose from our library of ~1,200 application signatures to monitor, or create your own custom HTTP applications.

 

NPM 11.0 RC is available in your customer portal today. RC's are fully supported and upgradable to the final GA version (if it differs from RC.)

Please let us know if there are any questions. Comments welcomed below.

As we announced previously in Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 - What's Coming in Recorder post we have just launched Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 Beta release. This Beta has many great new features, continues to evolve WPM and integrates with other Orion-based products.

 

Note: This Beta is over.

 

What are some of the new features in this Beta?

 

  • Integration with SAM
    • Ability to create dependencies between Transactions and Applications
    • Ability to create dependencies between Transactions and Nodes
    • New Resources to display linked Applications and Nodes for easier troubleshooting
    • New Transactions subview in Node Details page
    • New Transactions subview in Application Details page
  • Custom Properties for Transactions and Recordings
  • Support for web-based Reporting

 

... and a lot more described in Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 - What's Coming in Recorder post.

 

Integration with SAM

When the transaction is down or performing poorly, you want to know where the problem is. All of that information is present in Orion, but you must know where to look. You also need to look into many places before you identify the root cause. The problems could be located in the network, on the server where your web application is running or in any of the services which your web app is using. To help you troubleshoot the issue, you can create a link (dependency) between your transaction and applications or nodes. There are two ways of doing this. Either as part of new transaction wizard or in manage dependencies page.

 

Create a Dependency

When you are creating a transaction, there is a new step in the wizard. On the Transaction Summary page click on the "Manage Transactions" in the "All Transactions" resource. Click on the "Add Monitor" button, which will start a wizard.

 

new step in wizard.png

 

This step lets you create a new dependency on both applications and nodes. In case you selected more recordings or more locations in the previous steps of the wizard, you will create "recordings x locations" transactions (for example, 2 transactions and 3 locations will create 6 transactions). You can define dependencies individually for every transaction.

 

add nodes or applications.png

 

When you click on "Add nodes" or "Add applications" you have the ability to choose from all Orion nodes or applications.

 

select nodes.png

 

add applications.png

 

You can achieve the same result by creating a dependency using standard Manage Dependencies page in Node & Group Management under Settings.

 

manage dependencies.png

 

Displaying Dependencies

When you are done and your transactions are linked to nodes and applications, you will notice two new resources in Transaction Details page. First is "Transaction related Nodes" and second is "Transaction related Applications". They display a simple list of nodes and applications with their statuses. You can click on the node or application name to open Node Details or Application Details page.

 

new resources.png

 

Dependencies will behave as you would expect in terms of statuses. If the transaction is down and any of the nodes or any of the applications are down, transaction status will change to "Unreachable".

 

Dependencies are visible in the Node Details and Applications Details pages. There is a new subview for each with transactions linked to the respective node or application. This subview is using resources from the Transaction Summary page, but their content is filtered only to linked transactions. Thus you can easily identify transaction affected by any changes to the given node or application.

 

node details subview.png

 

Currently these new resources support only dependencies created between nodes or applications and a WPM transaction..

 

Custom Properties

Custom properties is a great way to give additional structure to your transactions, create dynamic groups, account limitations, filter resources or group by them in various resources. You can define a new custom property within the Manage Custom Properties page located under Settings. Click on the "Add custom property" button and in the first step choose Transactions or Recordings.

 

add custom property.png

 

In the next step you can define parameters of the custom property

 

define custom property.png

 

and define values for one or more transactions. From this point, you can use custom properties to filter or group transactions in resources, create dynamic groups, report on their values or limit accounts.

 

Now you know what is coming, don't forget to leave us feedback!

SolarWinds takes security seriously, and in addition to performing exhaustive internal security testing, we do our best to respond swiftly to any reported issue.  On the heels of the Heartbleed comes another new OpenSSL "man-in-the-middle" vulnerability called ChangeCipherSpec.  In the spirit of transparency, the matrix below represents the results of our internal analysis of products affected.

 

Product

Status

Product Versions Affected

Disposition

LEMOKN/ALEM uses OpenSSL as a server. As a server, OpenSSL is only vulnerable in versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2-beta1. Regardless we are updating to patched 0.9.8 to rule out any misconceptions.
WHDOKN/A
Alert CentralOKN/A
Patch ManagerOKN/A
DameWareOKN/A
Virtualization ManagerOKN/A
N-centralOKN/A
FSMOKN/A
STMOKN/A
Serv-UOKN/A
FTP VoyagerISSUEN/AVulnerable client. Will be updated to 0.9.8za in FB345434.
NCMOK

N/A

Orion Core >2012.2 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, but is only used for outbound SNMPv3 AES communication. It is not able to be referenced by outside process or communication, therefore not vulnerable. Core 2012.2 and earlier do not contain affected OpenSSL library.  Regardless, hotfix shipped and is available for download: http://downloads.solarwinds.com/solarwinds/Release/HotFix/OpenSSL-Security-HotFix.zip

Kiwi CatToolsOKN/A
Kiwi SyslogOKN/A
EOCOKN/A
WPMOKN/AOrion Core >2012.2 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, but is only used for outbound SNMPv3 AES communication. It is not able to be referenced by outside process or communication, therefore not vulnerable. Core 2012.2 and earlier do not contain affected OpenSSL library.  Regardless, hotfix shipped and is available for download: http://downloads.solarwinds.com/solarwinds/Release/HotFix/OpenSSL-Security-HotFix.zip
SAMOKN/AOrion Core >2012.2 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, but is only used for outbound SNMPv3 AES communication. It is not able to be referenced by outside process or communication, therefore not vulnerable. Core 2012.2 and earlier do not contain affected OpenSSL library.  Regardless, hotfix shipped and is available for download: http://downloads.solarwinds.com/solarwinds/Release/HotFix/OpenSSL-Security-HotFix.zip
NPMOKN/AOrion Core >2012.2 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, but is only used for outbound SNMPv3 AES communication. It is not able to be referenced by outside process or communication, therefore not vulnerable. Core 2012.2 and earlier do not contain affected OpenSSL library.  Regardless, hotfix shipped and is available for download: http://downloads.solarwinds.com/solarwinds/Release/HotFix/OpenSSL-Security-HotFix.zip
UDTOKN/AOrion Core >2012.2 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, but is only used for outbound SNMPv3 AES communication. It is not able to be referenced by outside process or communication, therefore not vulnerable. Core 2012.2 and earlier do not contain affected OpenSSL library.  Regardless, hotfix shipped and is available for download: http://downloads.solarwinds.com/solarwinds/Release/HotFix/OpenSSL-Security-HotFix.zip
NTMOK

N/A

NTAOKN/AOrion Core >2012.2 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, but is only used for outbound SNMPv3 AES communication. It is not able to be referenced by outside process or communication, therefore not vulnerable. Core 2012.2 and earlier do not contain affected OpenSSL library.  Regardless, hotfix shipped and is available for download: http://downloads.solarwinds.com/solarwinds/Release/HotFix/OpenSSL-Security-HotFix.zip
FoEOKN/A
ipMonitorOKN/A
IPAMOKN/A
Mobile AdminOKN/AMA clients do use OpenSSL libs for RDP client connection (OpenSSL v1.0.1e), but since this would only be used to connect to a Microsoft RDP server (which does not use OpenSSL), there is no vulnerable connection. The next MA client release will update to OpenSSL 1.0.1h anyway. FB345311 (iOS), FB345325 (Android)
VNQMOKN/A
TFTP Server Free ToolOKN/A
SFTP/SCP Server Free ToolOK1.0.3.20 - 1.0.4.31SFTP/SCP Server 1.0.3.20-1.0.4.32 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, however only for internal encryption. No external SSL service is referenced, therefore not vulnerable.
ToolsetOK10.9.1 - 11.0.0SFTP/SCP Server in Toolset 10.9.1 - 11.0.0 does contain OpenSSL 1.0.1e library, however only for internal encryption. No external SSL service is referenced, therefore not vulnerable.
SSH ClientOKN/A
Clariion MonitorOKN/A
All other Free ToolsOKN/A

 

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and we will address them straight away.

Good news everyone!

It is my pleasure to announce General Availability of Solarwinds Engineer's Toolset (ETS) v11, the most innovative release in many years history of this product. First, let's take a look at what is completely new in v11:

 

Toolset on the Web

As many of you requested tighter integration of ETS to our single plane of glass platform - Orion - we are happy to introduce you 5 new tools accessible directly from the Web console:

  • Real-time Interface Monitor
  • Real-time Memory Monitor
  • Real-time CPU Monitor
  • Response Time Monitor
  • Trace route

The biggest difference between these new ETS Real-time monitors and standard Orion monitors is higher data granularity. Thanks to the reworked polling and charts, you will be able to display data in shorter configurable intervals (up to 5sec polling). All new tools can be found at a new Toolset tab....

alltools1.jpg

...or even better, by clicking on dropdown menu present in many Orion resources. Note that tools suggested in the drop down will change depending on the context - e.g. if troubleshooting interface, dropdown list will contain only tools related to interface and will not bother you with CPU monitoring option.

5.png

After calling any of new monitors to action, you will get to the Configuration Wizard where you can edit your selection before getting to results page. Here, you can even temporarily add a node otherwise unmonitored by your Orion and perform ad-hoc discovery of ports/CPUs/memory... All you need is to add the right IP and SNMP credentials. This option doesn't have any impact on how nodes are counted for other products licensing purposes, as the non-Orion node will be forgotten once a tool is closed.

7.png

Default view type is a chart, with a possibility to switch to the table display if more elements needs to be monitored than it's practical to visualize on the chart. Every chart instance is capable of rendering max.12 lines either for one node interface or 12 different ones. Since the history retention is 10 000 points, you also don't have to worry about several hours monitoring with the 5 sec. polling interval. There is also detailed statistics table available under the chart to help you see the Max/Min/Average values. Naturally, you can export results to PDF/CSV...

chart.png

Admin is by default assigned first Toolset on the Web "seat", assigns Toolset rights to specific Orion users and also can change global settings for everyone. Each user can personalize polling interval, SNMP credentials, thresholds for every tool and metrics available for selection in the chart view.

settings.png

Thanks to the integration with Orion Web console, you can now run new tools from literally anywhere you have access to your Orion server - even if it is your mobile. Min. recommended hardware in this case is a mobile/tablet with 2 cores and 1gb of RAM. Mobile views are supported on both major OS types - Android and iOS and their default browsers.

 

 

Engineer's Toolset Licensing

Another big change in this release is a move from "singleton" licensing to the seat based model. This change was necessary to satisfy users who want to use Desktop Toolset on a different machine than Toolset on the Web (which will be ideally installed on the Orion server). In other words, starting today you will see 2 different activation keys in your customer portal - one key for a Desktop and one for Web installer. To allow more users to use Toolset on the Web, you need to activate respective number off keys on your Orion server using License Manager application.


As some of you own multiple Toolset licenses and v11 brings extra set of Web keys, we have decided to make your life a bit easier also when managing increased number of activation keys. With the license merging function, you can request a merge of your licenses to one multi-seat license for all your Desktop Toolsets and one for Toolsets on the Web in Solarwinds customer portal. All criteria for merging are described in this video: Engineer's Toolset v11 License Overview - YouTube


Installation and Getting started


In order to enjoy new features in v11, install and activate both installers included in the download package. For customers owning also another Orion based product, it is recommended to use the existing SQL database during installation of Toolset on the Web. Others can install Toolset on the Web even on a clean server, as the installer contains Orion core and SQL database. Ability to manage 10 nodes comes for free with the Orion resources, so you can try out these core features together with new tools even if ETS is your only Solarwinds product.

Extra installers for additional pollers and additional web sites are also available for download on your customer portal. Once installed, Orion Admin is assigned first seat and ability to assign other available seats (depending on the number of seats activated) to existing Orion users.


Please feel free to leave your feedback using comments and/or request more tools to be integrated with Orion using Engineer's Toolset Feature Requests ...

Thanks and have a great day!

Peter Ksenzsigh

 


This post is an update of the NCM 7.0, 7.1, and 7.2 Architecture and Deployment blog post and focuses on the differences introduced in Network Configuration Manager (NCM) 7.3.

 

NCM 7.3 architecture is different from the previous versions as we have taken two important steps towards complete integration with other Orion modules:

  • NCM and Core/NPM databases have been merged. (See Network Configuration Manager v7.3 is Now GA! for full list of benefits.)
  • Deployment scenario where NCM is integrated with NPM but installed on a separate server is no longer supported.
    This kind of deployment was a temporary step between NCM 6.x (and older) and NCM 7.x with additional poller support. As NCM 7.1 was released in Q3'2012, this installation scenario is no longer supported.

 

Standalone Deployment

  • Choose this deployment if you only have NCM or if you want it completely non-integrated to any other Orion-based product.
  • Other SolarWinds products can be installed and integrated to a standalone NCM at a later time.
  • Node, User Account and Syslog & Trap Management rely on Orion Platform (a.k.a. Core) components. NCM also benefits from Network Atlas.
  • NCM and Orion Platform rely on Microsoft SQL Server database which can be co-hosted or installed on separate server. The diagrams below show these two options:

 

73-SP.png               73-SP-DB.png

 

Integrated Deployment

  • Choose this deployment if you want to have NCM integrated with the rest of your Orion-based products (NPM, SAM, UDT, IPAM, VNQM, etc.).
  • In this case, the Web UI is always integrated, i.e. Home/Network and Configs tabs appear side by side in the Web interface. Note that it is possible to configure NPM users to have no visibility of the NCM tab and resources by using the NCM User Account setting NCM Role=None. See NCM admin guide section “Setting User Account Access” for details.
  • NCM 7.3 can be co-hosted with NPM 10.7 and higher.
  • The options for MS SQL database are the same as with the Standalone deployment type.

 

73-Integrated.png

 

Integrated Separate Server Deployment

This scenario is no longer supported.

 

73-not-supported.png

 

Multi-Poller Deployment

Multi-Poller Standalone

  • This is the configuration for NCM standalone, leveraging multiple polling engines.

 

73-MP.png

 

Multi-Poller Integrated

  • This is the configuration for NCM integrated with NPM (and/or other Orion modules), leveraging multiple polling engines.
  • The polling engines are shared by NCM and the other Orion modules.

 

73-MP-Integrated.png

 

Further Reading

Storage Manager 5.7 is in General Availability

It is my honor to announce the General Availability (GA) of Storage Manager 5.7.  This release is the culmination of all the great feedback that we received from the Beta and Release Candidate (RC) community!  If you participated in the Beta or RC program, give yourself a pat on the back.  In large part, this release is thanks to you!

There are many improvements and enhancements, but there are two that need a special call-out: the new User-Defined LUN Groupings and Storage Manager Health Status Overview.

User-defined LUN Grouping

Collecting and displaying metrics is great, but organizing them into something that makes more sense in your environment is even better.  It's been a longstanding request that Storage Manager Server be able to group information about your LUNs.  Customers have asked for this for a multitude of reasons.  If you are an MSP, you'd like to create a view broken down for each customer.  If you are geographically disbursed, you will want to see what's happening with a specific region in a single view.  If you concerned about a Tier 1 application (think Microsoft Exchange, SQL, CRM, etc.), you'll benefit from having all of those LUNs on a single view.  In 5.7, that's delivered using User-defined LUN Grouping!

 

There is a step-by-step for creating your own User-defined LUN Groups in the Beta 2 post.

Performance Charts

There are two charts and I'd like to bring to the forefront for everyone. They are the VM Disk Metrics per LUN and the LUN Metrics per VM. The names are similar, but they each give you a different insight into your storage and virtual infrastructure.

 

VM Disk Metrics per LUNLUN Metrics per VM
Graphic_VmMetricsPerLun.pngGraphic_LunMetricsPerVm.png
Select the LUN to display the Virtual Machine informationSelect the Virtual Machine to display the LUN information
Screenshot_VmMetricsPerLun.pngScreenshot_LUNMetricsPerVM.png

Image Source: VMware Storage Infrastructure

These are great charts that can be used to identify problem virtual machines or problem LUNs within your environment. Storage I/O drops are some of the biggest culprits of performance drops in any Virtualized Environment (see Configuring Database Servers for Optimal Performance). These charts let you see if you are taxing a particular LUN and conversly, what VM's that might affect.  Each view provides insight into the other.

 

Ever wish that you could see Read IOPS and Write IOPS for a LUN in one view? We did too, so we added that as well.

Screenshot_LunGroupingLunComparison.png

Just pick the "LUN Performance Comparison" report from the Performance Tab, select your LUN, and select your additional metric, and presto-chango, you've got both statistics. This is just one of the new features added as part of the entire charting enhancements in 5.7. You'll get the full breakdown below.

 

Storage Manager Health Status Overview

Monitoring the health of your Storage Manager server is critical to making sure that you are collecting valid data consistently.  We've heard many of the same questions over the years regarding sizing the memory, processors and storage in the Storage Manager server, setting up memory allocation on services, determining which devices are failing on collection and why, and questions about scaling your environment with additional agents.  All of this information could be gathered by running from one page to another in previous versions of Storage Manager.

 

We knew that we could do better.  Storage Manager would be no good to anyone if the server on which it was running started having problems.  There are many parts to this page and I'll only cover a few in details, but if you'd like a full breakdown of all of the elements on the page, you can review the Beta 2 posting.

Everything critical - all at a glance...

 

Screenshot_ServerManagerServerPerformanceMetrics.png
Screenshot_Services.png
Screenshot_Database.png
Screenshot_StmProxyAgents.png

Any monitoring system worth its salt is good at collecting metrics.  Storage Manager is no exception.  For quite some time we've polled metrics from the server itself, but there's never been a "single pane of glass" from which to review this information.  Since the Storage Manager Server is the brain of the solution, we want to make sure it stays healthy. Part of keeping Storage Manager in tip-top shape is sizing it correctly for your constantly evolving environment. There's an excellent resource on thwackCamp about how to size your infrastructure depending on your environmental needs.

 

The Storage Manager Server Performance Metrics displays the overall health of the Storage Manager Server.  In a quick visual, you see the CPU, RAM, and Disk consumption of the Storage Manager Server.  These are all linked to more detailed information so that you can dig in and view detailed graphs of the metric over time.  The graphing engine has also been drastically improved, but I'll talk about that a little further down.

 

If you breach a threshold on your disk consumption, there's also a cool warning that displays (cool that it's there, not that you have a disk in a warning state).  The warning will let you be proactive about the disk space on the Storage Manager Server itself.  Based on the metrics that it's calculated so far, it lets you know if your server is projected to run out of room and when.  Lack of disk space on a Storage Manager Server or an STM Proxy Agent are key reasons for collection failures, so this allows you to prevent any future issues.

 

The Storage Manager Services pane displays memory consumption and Java Heap memory allocation of the various services critical to Storage Manager. If any of these services are stopped, they will be classified as "offline."  When these values start pushing up against thresholds, we provide a convenient help link so you can learn how to allocate physical memory for services.

 

Within the Database Status pane, you are presented with critical stats revolving around the database as a whole; get the database size, the largest table, and the last maintenance date. With a quick click you get the processes within the database, the crashed database tables (if any exist), and can learn how to properly run maintenance on the database.

 

STM Proxy Agents are responsible for reporting back information from various parts of the infrastructure.  They are akin to an additional polling engine from Orion and used so that you can get data from devices in a different location or to simply split up the work in very large environments. From this single pane, you can see the status of all of the STM Proxy Agents within your environment. If any are overworked, I'd recommend taking a look at the thwackCamp resource for infrastructure sizing.

 

Getting information about such a complex system is very useful.  With that in mind, we've included links to the most helpful information we have available.  At the very bottom of the Storage Manager Health Status Overview is a few links to your best bet for assistance: the Storage Manager Video Resources, the Thwack Storage Community, and the Storage Manager Admin Guide.  Each of these is a wealth of information and you should avail yourself of them.

 

Did I forget to mention?

Storage Manager Health Status Overview and User-Defined LUN Grouping are great features, but there's even more in this release.  I'll touch on each of them in turn, but first up is…

Improved Chart Performance & Data Visibility

Yes, I'm finally going to talk about it.  The previous charting engine was dated.  There's no other nicer way to say it.  The graphs were created as a PNG file on the fly, which limited the interactivity of the metrics that could be shown.  Shifting the time scale (the x-axis) was not as intuitive as it should be.  Limiting your view (say to only two or three data series from a larger amount) was impossible.  Lastly, we didn't like the restrictive time selection.  It's your data and you should be able to view whatever area of time you choose.

 

In light of these limitations, we've adopted the same charting package being used by the SolarWinds Orion products.  The voodoo magic of this charting engine gives us many, many enhancements and addresses all of the charting concerns.

Screenshot_ImprovedCharts.png

There is native "hover-over" support for looking at individual data points on any graph. This is especially useful when dealing with multiple data sets. You can easily zoom in by horizontally dragging on the chart area, and zoom out (or in) by moving the edges of the selector in the y-axis.  You can also dynamically select the data sets using the check boxes at the bottom.  It's all very quick and easy.

EMC FAST VP Support

EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools (FAST VP) is a new technology which takes advantage of the high I/O capable with SSD Drives.  It's currently supported on the VMAX/Symmetric and VNX arrays.  And although the technological theory differs greatly between the product lines, it all falls under the umbrella of "FAST VP."  If you want to dig deeper into the details of the technology, I'd recommend Vijay Swami's post as an ideal reference.  That being said, we've adopted support for this technology within Storage Manager.

 

We can go on and on regarding the specifics of the data which is collected.  In summary, for VMAX gear, we collect the disk groups, the virtual pools, the tiers, the policies, and the storage groups.  For the VNX gear, we pull information on the physical drives, the storage pool, the LUN, and the tiering policy of those LUNs.

 

When you select an EMC SAN Array which supports FAST VP, you'll see this additional information in the sub-views in the Storage Tab.

 

Deprecation of Generic "Storage Array" Reports

The "Storage Array" report category is being deprecated.  In the announcement for Beta 1, we give the reason they are being deprecated.  If you want specifics, I'd recommend that you check out that post.

 

Already a Storage Manager customer? Go to the Customer Portal to download your copy today!

It is with the pride and pleasure to announce that we have reached General Availability for version 15.1 of Serv-U FTP Server and Serv-U MFT Server! This release is packed with many great new features and improvements. To mention few:

 

  • Completely Redesigned Management Console, which is now faster and with new modern fresh look
  • Domain setup wizard for File Sharing to make file sharing setup easier for new users
  • File Sharing Administration Options for granular control over file sharing on all levels
  • Automated File Management for removing and deleting old files
  • Ability to use Multiple SSH/SFTP keys per user
  • Shares for files, which are already on the server
  • Anonymous shares
  • Search in file shares
  • Custom Branding for File Sharing Guest UI
  • ... and many other bug fixes and other improvements

 

You can learn more about these features and more in previously posted SolarWinds Serv-U FTP & Serv-U MFT Server 15.1.0 Release Candidate is Available! post or in Release Notes.

 

Download Serv-U 15.1 now from your customer portal.

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