IPAM and UDT have combined like Voltron to form the new IP Control Bundle and as an IT "pro-", you may finally say goodbye to the painful and long IP Address Conflicts troubleshooting. Say goodbye to the long down-time of your servers, key network infrastructure or disconnected end users, caused by duplicated IP address on your network. For new users IPAM 4.3 and UDT 3.2 are now also available as a combo of two products with "in-line" integration focused on IP Address Conflict troubleshooting. For our existing customers both new versions act as regular product upgrade. There is no difference in functionality between bundle and standalone versions.


What IP Address conflicts it detect?


1) Static IP Address assignment on two end-points within the same network


Typical situation when this may happen is cloning virtual machines. People simply download or copy virtual image and run it within the network not knowing if there is static IP address pre-set.


Conflict statiac.png


2) Static IP in DHCP environment

There is many situations when static IP address may cause conflict within dynamic (DHCP driven) network. It can be somebody's laptop with static IP from the hotel, it can be cloned virtual machine with static IP, it can be attacker who is trying to connect to local network using static IP Address. It also can be newly connected network printer which has usually default static IP from private pool of IP address range - 192.168.x.x

Static DHCP conflict.png

3) DHCP scope overlap (split-scope)

DHCP scope overlap problem can occur these days much more frequently because local networks are usually controlled through DHCP servers and if DHCP server goes down, nobody can get new IP Address and connect to the network. from that reason, IT build backup or fail-over solution which consist from two or more DHCP servers. It's usually DHCP config misconfiguration or DHCP failure which cause both DHCP servers can provide the same IP address to two totally different devices.

scope overlap.png

4) IPAM end-point reservation vs. actually connected device

In a case IT admin reserved IP address to the specific end-point (MAC address) and other device is currently connected with that IP it doesn't really mean, there is a real IP address conflict. This may be because of obsolete IPAM information, or an upgrade of originally assigned device. However, it could be just a time bomb waiting for the reserved device to be connected back to the network. In all cases, IPAM administrator should be notified about such situation and either update IPAM reservation or change IP address of unexpected device.


How can IP control bundle help you to solve IP Address Conflicts?


By two clicks you will get the most important information about conflict:


1) Who is in the conflict? MAC addresses, Vendor, Active Directory Information and connected port or Wireless SSID (UDT functionality)


2) History of end-points connection - who is assigned to the IP Address? Show recent user of given IP Address so IPAM admin can understand who should be disconnected first.


3) "How-To" steps helping you do an action


Here is an example of DHCP scope overlap and how IPAM and UDT can help you to troubleshoot the problem:

conflict story.png


Both IPAM 4.3 and UDT 3.2  are now ready on customer portal and waiting for your download and upgrade. If you don't have one of these product, or if you would like to evaluate entire IP Control Bundle, you may download it for evaluation.


IPAM and UDT also brings other improvements and bug fixes, for more details, see our release notes for IPAM and UDT.


I can recommend you to watch following web-cast we made recently, which not only summarizes IP Address Conflict issues but also compares multiple IP Address Management solution and demonstrates latest IPAM & UDT (IP Control Bundle).

For just over a year now, the SolarWinds customer training program has been offering classes on the Orion Core platform and NPM. During that time, we’ve delivered over 150 classes to nearly 2500 students. And now, it’s time to grow!


New courses coming soon:

We have a number of new courses in development, including SAM courses, additional NPM classes on new features like DPI, and we’ll be working our way through the rest of the SolarWinds product line.


New training delivery options:

In addition to the live classes, we’re also developing recorded sessions. But we’re not just talking about an online video. The recorded classes will include a student guide, lab guide, and even access to a live lab environment for all the features of a live class, but on your schedule.


New training products:

We realize one of the biggest challenges to attending training is trying to find the time to squeeze it in. And sometimes you may not need to attend a full course to get just the bits of information you're looking for. With that in mind, we'll begin rolling out training quick hits; shorter training videos focused on a specific topic. We'll be starting with a series of quick start guide videos for our extended product line; designed to get you started out on the right foot.


All new student lab:

We’re currently rebuilding our student lab environment to accommodate more users and a faster turnover time between training sessions. The new lab will let us host simultaneous classes for more students, provide the lab environment for video training users, and ensure a faster, easier user experience.


2015 is shaping up to be a big year for customer training! We’re excited about the offerings and hope to see you in class soon.

For current course schedules and registration, please visit http://customerportal.solarwinds.com/virtualclassrooms.

It is our extreme pleasure to announce Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) 9.0 is generally availability.


Below is a quick summary of the features, but check out these two blog posts for all the details:


Top features in this release include:

  • Storage I/O Analysis

o   Determine if your slow queries are related to storage

o    See latency and throughput of specific files and correlate these to SQL statements

o   Clear visibility of storage performance and its effect on SQL response time

  • Resource Metrics Baselines

o   Determine if your resources are behaving abnormally and correlate them to SQL statements.

  • SQL Statement Analysis and Advice

o    Get expert advice on specific SQL statements

  • Database File/Drive tab for SQL Server (with continued support for Oracle)

o   Use the File and Drive dimensions to isolate poor performance

  • Alerting Improvements

o   Resource Metric Alerts

o   Alerting Blackouts

  • New Version Support
    • MS SQL Server 2014
    • Oracle 12c (single-tenant)
    • DB2 10.5



Want more information on DPA and this release?

On November 11th, Microsoft released a total of 16 security updates for November's Patch Tuesday which mitigate potential security threats in Office, Windows, SharePoint, and Internet Explorer. If you are a patch administrator for your company, then it's worth your time to read the Microsoft Article (Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for November 2014).


In theory, there are several issues that could be causing concern when you read the article, but the one that seems to be the generating the most buzz is MS14-066: Vulnerability in Schannel Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2992611).  This vulnerability was additionally reported as CVE-2014-6321.  Although there are no known exploits of this vulnerability, it is quite serious and you should take note.  This vulnerability in the Microsoft Secure Channel or Schannel, is a set of security protocols used to encrypt traffic between endpoints and is primarily used for Internet communications over HTTPS.  This particular patch is applicable to every Windows Operating System under active maintenance.  This ranges from Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Windows Vista SP2 through Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.


Although the media is touting both the scope and the number of updates as the craziest thing that we've ever seen in patching, this isn't even the largest bundle of patches that Microsoft has released for a single Patch Tuesday. That current record is for April 2011 with a total of 29. But fear not, Patch Administrators, although the quantity seems daunting, the process is still the same. This is most definitely not a "sky is falling" moment - we're here to help.


One thing that people seem to forget is that Patch Administration is the same on Patch Tuesday whether there are 2 patches or 100 patches. If you follow the same procedure from start to finish, you are guaranteed to make sure that your environment is up to date and secure.  The best practices for any software (not just patches) is to test them on a small segment of your infrastructure before sending them everywhere. Thankfully, you can do this easily with SolarWinds Patch Manager.



Download the Updates from Microsoft to your WSUS Server

I've found that the easiest way to see these updates is within a Custom Updates View. I have one called "Microsoft Updates - This Week" which is defined as "Updates were released within a specific time period: Last Week" and "Updates source is Microsoft Update." If you need to create one, you can navigate to "Patch Manager\Enterprise\Update Services\WSUS Server\Updates" and then right-click on the Updates node and select "New Update View." Feel free to use this screenshot as a reference.


On that view, I tweak a few of the settings so that I can get a direct look at the updates that are concerned with this particular Patch Tuesday. I start by flipping the "Approval Settings" to "All" and the "Status" to "Any" and let the list refresh. Then I group it by the MSRC Number, which I do by dragging the "MSRC Number" header to the gray area just above the headings.


Now I have a list of the all the items released by Microsoft within the Last Week, grouped by the MSRC Number. After that it's as easy as expanding each and scanning through the list and seeing if all the updates that are applicable to my environment are approved. (You can also flip the Approval filter at the top to "Unapproved", but I like seeing all the information.) It's also good to check the "State" field to make sure that the updates are "Ready for Installation."


If you don't see any of this information, it means that the updates haven't yet been synchronized to your WSUS Server. Running a manual Synchronization with Patch Manager is simple - highlight your WSUS server in the left pane and click on the "Synchronize Server" in the Action Pane (right-side of the screen). Click Finish and it's kicked off.


After the synchronization is completed, you can go back and verify that the updates are available using the Update View that we just finished building. Or you can use a report. I've crafted one especially for this month's updates.


To use it, download (Software Updates for MS14-NOV) and import it into the Windows Server Update Services folder. This report has a prerequisite that the WSUS Inventory job has completed after the updates have been synchronized to WSUS. This is normally a scheduled job that runs daily, so you can either kick it off yourself, or just wait for tomorrow to run the report.


This report tells you the WSUS Servers in the environment, the Security Bulletin updates, the Approval Status, the Product Titles, and the Update Title, filtered to only those updates in the MS14-NOV Bulletin.


Test Group

You should run updates against a test group whenever possible.  For me, I've got a test group with a few different versions of Windows in it, so I'll use that.


Approve the Updates for a Test Group

If you need to approve the updates, just right-click on them and select Approve and then "Approve for Install" in the Approve Updates window and (recommended) scope it only to your testing computers. They may already be updated based on your automatic approval rules. If that's the case and you are trusting, then you are good to go!  If not, send the updates to a test group first.


Theoretically, you can stop here and the updates will apply based on your defined policies (either via GPO or Local Policies), but where's the fun in that?

Run a Simulation of the Patch Installation on the Test Group

For any Patch Tuesday, I'm a fan of creating a set of  Update Management Rules and save it as a template. That way I can refer to it for pre-testing, deployment to the test group, and then deployment to the rest of the organization. You can either create your own MS14-NOV Template (within the Update Management Wizard) or download and use mine. It's defined to include all Security Bulletins from MS14-064 through MS14-079.


Now it's time to pre-test these patches. I right-click on my Test Group and then select "Update Management Wizard."


Select "Load existing update management rules" and select the MS14-NOV entry from the drop-down. (If you need to build your own, you can select "Create custom dynamic update management rules"). Click Next.


Verify that the Dynamic Rule shows Security Bulletins from MS14-064 through MS14-079 and click Next.


You can leave most of the defaults on the Options page, but be sure to check the "Run in planning mode" checkbox in the Advanced Options. Click Finish.


Either change your scope to include a few other computers or add additional computers for the testing and then click Next.


Select the schedule (I am a fan of "now") and Export or Email the results as you like and click Finish.


Planning mode is an oft-overlooked feature that you should definitely use for large patch deployments.


This gives you in three quick tabs, the overall status summary of the job, the per patch and per computer details, and the distribution of the job (if you have multiple Patch Manager Servers in your environment).




Pre-Stage the Patch Files on a Test-Group (optional)

If you have a large or highly distributed environment, you can use the Update Management Wizard to deploy the patches to the endpoint, but hold off on installing them. This can be staged to run over several hours or multiple days. This is as simple as running through the same steps as the previous wizard and then checking a different box in the "Advanced Options." Leave the Planning Mode checkbox unchecked and check the box for "Only download the updates, do not install the updates."


That's it. Just use the rest of the wizard as before and check this one box to pre-stage the updates to your environment.

Install the Patches on your Test Group

Same rules apply here. Just make sure that you leave the Planning Mode and Download Only checkboxes empty.  Yeah - it's really just that simple.


Reporting on the Results

To report on the status of these patches within your environment, you can use any number of our pre-built reports or customize your own for your needs.  Likewise, you should take advantage of all the Shared Reports in the Content Exchange here on Thwack and download this one that was kindly donated by LGarvin and repurposed (very) slightly by yours truly:Report: Computer Update Status for MS14-NOV This report shows the status of the MS14-NOV Patches in your environment.


Plan & Test, Stage, Install: Three steps, one wizard, and you have successfully deployed those pesky patches to your test environment.  So what's up next?  Moving to production...

Patching Production Endpoints

You ever read the instruction on the back of a bottle of shampoo?  It says "Lather, rinse, repeat."  This is no different.

The previous process (hopefully) has been run against a group of test computers in your environment. If that go wells, then it's time to schedule the updates for the rest of your environment.  Just use the same few steps (Approve, Test in Planning, Deploy, and Install) to deploy the patches all at once, in waves, or staggered based on your needs.


Next Steps...

Hopefully, this "day-in-the-life" snapshot for a Microsoft Patch Tuesday has been helpful, but this just scratches the surface of what SolarWinds Patch Manager can do to help you keep your environment running smoothly.  Now that you've got Operating System patching under control, extend your knowledge of Patch Manager by keeping on top of patching Third Party Updates from Adobe, Google, Mozilla, Sun, and more!


If you need more help, like everything SolarWinds, start on Thwack.  We've got the best user community bar none.  Just ask a question in the forums and watch the people come out of the woodwork to help.  Start with the Patch Manager Forum and you can go from there.

If you frequent the various product and geek speak blogs here on Thwack, you've likely at one time or another stumbled upon some reference, and possibly sneak peek glimpses, into what has affectionately been referred to as the "AppStack". The Application Stack, or "AppStack" for short, is a term used to describe all the various moving parts that make up today's complex application delivery infrastructure. This begins at the bottom with the backend storage arrays where data is housed, through the various different virtualization layers, up to the server that hosts the application, until finally we reach the application itself. The AppStack Environment View shown below accompanies the SAM 6.2, VMAN 6.2, and SRM 6.0 beta releases.


SAM Button.pngVMAN Button.pngSRM Button.png


The image below isn't the latest incarnation of the Candy Crush sensation, but rather a visual representation of all the various infrastructure components that make up my lab environment. Historically, all of this status goodness was tucked away under each respective categories product tab. Correlation and association of these various objects was a mental exercise based on a working knowledge of the infrastructures initial deployment, or legacy information that has been passed down from systems administrator  to systems administrator before them. To make matters worse, todays infrastructure is dynamic and ever changing, so what you thought you knew about the organizational layout of your supporting infrastructure may have changed dozens, or even hundreds of times since it was initially deployed.




The AppStack Environment provides a 10,000 foot overview of your entire environment. At first, this may seem a bit overwhelming as there's a lot of status information contained within a single view. To that end, our UX research team toiled tirelessly to ensure that the AppStack provides as much useful information possible, while reducing or completely eliminating any extraneous noise that could distract from identifying problems in the environment and their likely cause. Perhaps most unnerving to most when first presented with the AppStack Environment View is the lack of object names displayed. Well fret not my dear friend because our UX masterminds thought of everything!


In most cases, when trying to get a high level overview into the health status of the environment, you're trying to get as much information represented in as little real estate as possible. If the status is good (green) then likely it's not of any concern. For those objects that are in distress however, you may want to glean additional information into what they are before digging deeper. As with most things in Orion, mouse hovers are available extensively throughout the AppStack Environment view to expose information, such as the objects name and other important details. However, if you're trying to determine the object names for a multiple of objects in distress, a mouse hover is a fairly inefficient means for determining what those objects represent. To address this need you will find a "Show Names" link in the top left of the AppStack. Clicking on this link will expose the name of any object currently in distress. Object names for items that are up (green) remain hidden from view to reduce visual clutter, so it's easier to focus on the items currently in distress.


Show Names.png



The AppStack Environment functions as a status overview page that is valuable when visually attempting to identify issues occurring within the environment, such as in the case of a NOC view, or perhaps the view you keep on your monitor while you go about your usual daily routine.  Any changes in status are updated in real-time for all objects represented in the AppStack. No browser refresh necessary. What you see in the AppStack Environment view is a real-time representation of the status of your environment.


Leveraging application topology information gathered across various different products, from Server & Application Monitor (SAM), Virtualization Manager (VMAN), and the all new Storage Resource Monitor (SRM), Orion is now capable of automatically compiling relationships and displaying them in a meaningful fashion between all the various infrastructure components that make up the application stack. Object associations are updated and maintained in real-time, and automatically, as the environment changes. This is important in todays dynamic environments where VMs are vMotioned between hosts, and storage is so easily reprovisioned, reallocated, and presented to servers. If someone had to maintain these relationships manually, it would likely be a full time job that could drive a person insane!


Clicking on any object within the AppStack selects that item and displays all relevant relationships the object has to any other object represented within the AppStack Environment. In the case below, I've selected an Application that's currently in a "Critical" state. I can see in the selection bar that this is a Microsoft SQL Server; one I've been having a bit of trouble with lately, so I'm not at all surprised to see it in a critical state. From here I can see which server SQL is running on, the fact that it's obviously virtualized because I can also see the host, virtual custer, datacenter, and data store the VM resides upon as well. None of those appear to be my issue however, as their status is "green". Moving further down the AppStack I can see the volumes that the VM is using, the LUN where the Data Store this VM resides upon, and the Storage Pool itself. So far, so good. Wait a minute, what's that I see? The backend array this VM is running on appears to be having some trouble.


AppStack Selected.pngDouble clicking on the Array object, or selecting the array and clicking on the object name from within the selection bar (for those of you rocking a tablet or other touch enabled device) takes me to the Array Details view. There I can see the I/O on this array is exceptionally high. I should probably vMotion a few VMs off the hosts that are utilizing this array, or provision more storage to those hosts from different arrays and balance the VMs across them.


Selection Bar.png


In this example, the AppStack Environment view was able to cut through the all the various information Orion is capable of collecting across multiple products to expose a problem, provide context to that problem, and identify the root cause. This can be done across the entire environment, or custom AppStack Environment views can be created to focus on a specific areas of responsibility. Perhaps you're the Exchange Administrator, and all you care about is the Exchange environment. No problem! Creating a custom AppStack environment view is simple. You can filter the AppStack by virtually any property available in Orion, such as Application Name, or Custom Property by adding filter properties.


Narrow your Envionment.pngSave as New Layout.pngSave as new Layout Dialog.png


Once you've filtered the AppStack to your liking and saved it as new layout, you can reference it at any time from layout selector in the top right of the AppStack Environment view. These custom AppStacks can also be used in rotating NOC views for heads up displays, or added to any existing summary view.


In addition to this new AppStack Environment View, you will also find a contextual AppStack resource on the Details view of every object type that participates within the AppStack. This includes, but is not limited to...


  • Node Details (For Servers)
  • Application Details
  • Array Details
  • Group Details
  • Storage Pool Details
  • LUN Details
  • Storage Pool Details
  • Hyper-V Host Details
  • ESX Host Details
  • Cluster Details
  • Virtual Center Details
  • Datastore Details
  • Volume Details
  • vServer Details
New Layout - Microsoft Exchange.png


AppStack MiniStack.png

The AppStack Environment resource provides relevant contextual status information specific to the object details being viewed. The image on the right, taken from the Node Details view of the same SQL server shown in the example above, displays the relationships of all other monitored objects to this node. This context aware application mapping dramatically reduces time to resolution by consolidating all related status information to the object being viewed into a single, easily digestible resource.


Relationships aren't limited exclusively to the automatic physical associations understood by Orion however. These relationships can also be extended using manual dependencies to relate logical objects that are associated in other ways, such as SharePoint's dependency on the backend SQL server. This capability further extends the AppStack to represent all objects as they relate to the business service, and significantly aids in root-cause analysis of today's complex distributed application architectures.


Earn $100.00 & 2000 Thwack Points!


SAM 6.2, VMAN 6.2, and SRM 6.0 beta participants have been given a special opportunity to earn $100.00 and 2000 Thwack points simply for taking part in these betas and providing feedback. To participate you will need to sign-up to participate and install at least two beta products that integrate within the new AppStack Environment view.


If you already own Virtualization Manager, you can sign-up here to participate in the Virtualization Manager 6.2 beta, get it installed and integrated with SAM or SRM and you're well on your way to earning $100.00 and 2000 Thwack points. Please note though, that you MUST already own Virtualization Manager and be under active maintenance to participate in the Virtualization Manager 6.2 beta.


If you currently own Storage Manager, and are under active maintenance, you can sign-up here to participate in the SRM 6.0 beta. Install SRM alongside SAM or VMAN to earn yourself some quick holiday cash!


If you're not yet participating in the Server & Application Monitor 6.2 beta, then what are you waiting for? All SAM product owners under active maintenance are welcome and strongly encouraged to join. Simply sign-up here. If you also happen to own Virtualization Manager or Storage Manager, then now is a great time to try out these awesome combined beta releases, and earn a little cash in the process.


Space is limited, so please reply to this post letting us know that you're interested in participating. You'll not only fatten your wallet in the process, but you'll also be helping us to build better products! Here’s how it’s going down.


When:What you’ll do:What you receive:
When you receive the beta bits for 2 or more productsHave a 15 minute phone call with our UX team to review what to expect and tell us about your job and technical environmentMy eternal gratitude!
2 to 4 days after installing two or more participating beta productsSend us a 1 to 2 minute video telling us about your initial experiences with AppStack. You can make the video with whatever is easiest for you; most people use their phone.$50 Amazon gift card
7 to 10 days after installing two or more participating beta productsSend us another 1 to 2 minute video telling us about how you've used AppStack. What are your favorite things? What drives you crazy?$50 Amazon gift card
12- 14 days after installing 2 or more participating beta productsSpend one hour with us showing us how you use AppStack.  We’ll  meet using GoToMeeting so that you can share your screen and walk us through some typical use cases.2,000 thwack points

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