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If you have been keeping up with the Thwack product blog lately you know that Drag & Drop Answers to Your Toughest IT Questions revealed PerfStack, the new way to view performance analysis by visualizing and correlating data within the Orion web interface and Get Your Head Out of the Clouds, and Your Data Too identified that you can collect configuration and metric data directly from Amazon Web Services® (AWS), and have that data visualized along with the rest of the environment you are already monitoring in SAM 6.4 or VMAN 7.1.  This is great news for any administrator that needs to troubleshoot a Hybrid IT application with on-premises VMs and AWS cloud instances.

 

The good news is that Virtualization Manager (VMAN) 7.1 allows you to leverage the "new hotness" found in PerfStack and Cloud Infrastructure monitoring to correlate and pinpoint where the application performance issue is in your hybrid infrastructure. In the following example, we have a hybrid cloud application that has resources in the cloud (SQL AWS) as well as an on-premises virtual server (Analytics VM) both of which are monitored with VMAN. As with most IT incidents, the administrator is left trying to figure out what exactly is causing the performance degradation in their application with little to go on other than the "application is slow". Using PerfStack you can quickly dive down into each KPI and drag and drop the metrics you want to compare until the troubleshooting discovery surfaces what the issue is or isn't. The fact that VMAN contains cloud infrastructure monitoring means that you can add AWS counters from your cloud instances into PerfStack and correlate those with other cloud instances or with your on-premises VMs to troubleshoot your hybrid infrastructure with VMAN.

hybrid-2.jpg

 

In the example above, the cloud instance, SQL AWS is experiencing some spikes in CPU load but it is well within the normal operating parameters while the on-premises VM, Analytics VM is experiencing very little CPU load. With PerfStack my attention is easily drawn to the memory utilization being high on both servers that participate in the application's performance and the fact that my on-premises VM has an active alert gives tells me I need to dig into that VM further.

 

By adding Virtualization Manager counters that indicators of VM performance (CPU Ready, ballooning, Swapping) I see that there are no hidden performance issues from the hypervisor configuration (figure below).

Perfstack -2.jpg

From the Virtualization Manager VM details page for the Analytics VM, I see that the active alert is related to large snapshots on the VM which can be a cause of performance degradation. In addition, the VM resides on a host with an active alert for Host CPU utilization which may be a growing concern for me in the near future.  To monitor hybrid cloud infrastructure in VMAN  allows the administrator the ability to create a highly customized view for discovery and troubleshooting with the contextual data necessary minus the alert noise that can regularly occur.

activealerts.jpg

One of the added benefits of monitoring cloud instances with VMAN is that you can now build on the single pane of glass view that will be the monitoring authority for both your on-premises and cloud environment. Not only is it essential to have one place to monitor and correlate your data when applications span across hybrid environments but having visibility into both environments from Solarwinds allows you to determine what requirements will be necessary when moving workloads into your AWS cloud or off your AWS environment.

 

on-prem2.jpg         cloud-sum-2.jpg

 

For more information on PerfStack and Hybrid end-to-end monitoring, check out the following link.

Hybrid IT – Hybrid Infrastructure | SolarWinds

 

Don't forget to check these blog posts for deeper dives into PerfStack & Cloud Monitoring respectively.

Drag & Drop Answers to Your Toughest IT Questions

Get Your Head Out of the Clouds, and Your Data Too

I’m pleased to announce three new releases are now available!

 

NPM 12.1

 

PerfStack TMMeraki Wireless Monitoring

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All your IT metrics on a shared timeline.  >> Learn more

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API based monitoring for your cloud managed wireless gear.  >> Learn more

Along with:

  • Mute alerts
  • Minor NetPath enhancements
  • Improved Arista 7500E support

 

Check out all the details in the release notes.  You can find NPM 12.1 now on the Customer Portal!

 

 

NCM 7.6

 

Firmware Upgrades

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Leverage the power and simplicity of the new Firmware Upgrade Wizard to help

with all your Cisco IOS upgrades.  >> Learn more

 

Check out all the details in the release notes.  You can find NCM 7.6 now on the Customer Portal!

 

 

VNQM 4.4

 

  • Updated Cisco Call Manager Support (11.x)
  • Avaya Aura Communication Manager Support (6.3.x)
  • Web-based Alerting & Reporting

 

Check out all the details in the release notes.  You can find NPM VNQM 4.4 now on the Customer Portal!

There has been a lot of focus on security lately in the news and rightfully soSeemingly each week there’s news of companies being hacked, data being stolen, and mass DDoS attacks.  With the amount of news on this topic I sometimes wonder if companies are actually taking the steps to protect themselves.  Granted, taking the proper steps to protect your network can be time consuming and tedious work, of which most engineers don’t have time for.  Well times are a-changing and now with SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager 7.6 and the new Firmware Upgrade feature---Everyone Has Time for That!

 

Before I start to dig into the new features of NCM 7.6, let’s back up and talk about a previous version of NCM (7.4) where SolarWinds introduced the Firmware Vulnerabilities feature.   This feature leverages the National Vulnerability Database to notify NCM users when they’re running firmware that potentially has a serious vulnerability.

Network Configuration Manager Vulnerability Summary

 

Vulnerability Details

 

 

I’ve received a lot of really positive feedback about this feature but the obvious question that always comes up after I show it to customers is; “Can SolarWinds fix this for me?”.  Historically I would have said, Yes, using the Network Configuration Manager and the amazing scripting technologies you can upgrade your firmware.  Well, now I’m pleased to say I can answer that question differently.  Using the new Firmware Upgrade Wizard in NCM 7.6 you can upgrade one or many of your Cisco IOS devices.

 

According to Cisco documentation there are 11 steps needed to complete a firmware upgrade on your Cisco IOS devices.  While 11 steps don’t sound too bad there are actually several sub-steps which drag this process out to over 40 tasks users must complete to upgrade a SINGLE device.  Seriously, who has time for that?  We here at SolarWinds decided we could save our users time and the misery of completing these upgrades by simplifying this process while adding a bit of automation.

 

 

 

NCM Firmware Upgrade Wizard

 

 

The new Firmware Upgrade feature in NCM contains a 3-step process of upgrading your devices.  During this process, we will collect a wealth of data about the devices you want to upgrade, including several important settings and of course we will ensure there is enough free space to successfully transfer your new image.  In addition, we will automatically backup running and startup configuration files and do a comparison after the upgrade has completed.  We’ve taken the necessary steps to make this process as smooth and safe as possible.  

 

 

 

After you’ve verified all of the settings and options you can then proceed to run the upgrade immediately or schedule it for a later date.  You can always keep track of the upgrade process on the Firmware Upgrade Operations page.  Hopefully you’ll agree that this is a much-improved process to the standard method of upgrading your Cisco IOS devices.  Ready to give this a try?  You can find the Release Candidate in your customer portal if you’re under active maintenance for NCM.  Otherwise you’ll have to wait until the official release of NCM 7.6.

 

Everyone Has Time for That!

If you are in the cloud or heading there, I'm excited to tell you Database Performance Analyzer 11.0 has your databases covered.  DPA already monitors databases on cloud VMs and Amazon RDS, but now we've got each vendors database DBaaS offerings as well.  Also, the updated DPA Integration Module (DPAIM) shows these new databases in Orion, and add SRM integration as well.  Here are some of the great features in DPA/DPAIM 11.0 RC:

  • Azure SQL Database... and in Orion too!
  • Amazon RDS Aurora support
  • SQL Server Availability Groups
  • Oracle Adaptive Plans
  • SRM Integration
  • GUI Improvements
  • Updated wait type descriptions

 

Monitor Azure SQL Databases

Microsoft did an awesome job creating a DBaaS option in Azure using SQL Server technology, and now we can analyze the database just like we do SQL Server, with database cloud metrics too!

Moving databases Azure SQL DB is measured and priced by by DTU's (Database Transaction Unit).  The more CPU, Memory or IO your SQL DB needs, the more money you pay.  In addition to our measuring the Wait Time, DPA captures DTU size and utilization, and captures CPU, Memory and IO in terms of percent utilization of the DTU, making it easy to see which resource is driving your DTU consumption.

So if you're bumping up your DTU limit, before you move up to the next DTU tier and increase you OPEX, try tuning some queries, eliminating blocking or adding some indexes.

And you can use Azure SQL DB as your DPA repository too.

 

Azure SQL Database in Orion too!

Oh, did I mention this would show up in Orion too!  If you have the DPA Integration Module (DPAIM) installed and configured, as soon as you add Azure SQL to DPA, you'll see your Azure Databases Orion as well.

Now you can map your DBaaS to your applications running on Azure VMs to fully support Hyrbrid-IT end-to-end single pane of glass!!!

 

Monitor Amazon Aurora

Aurora is Amazon's database that is MySQL compatible is now fully supported by DPA, to round out support for Amazon's database offerings.

 

Support for SQL Server Availability Groups

Availability Groups are one of the most popular features of SQL server these days, and DPA can now show you health and status of the availability groups and their member replicas and  databases.  You can configure DPA two ways:

  • Monitor via the listener - DPA will follow the primary replica from server to server.
  • Monitor each instance in the cluster

Either way, you'll see the same data for the primary server - the status of all availability groups for that server.

And if you drill down on an individual availability groups, you can see the status of all the replicas and databases.

When an instance is not the primary replica, you can still see the status of the itself in the availability group, but not the overall AG health or health of other replicas.

So now, when you see HADR wait types increasing, you can drill in and see the health and status of your availability groups

 

See Oracle Predicates and Adaptive Plans

For all Oracle users, we've added structure to our plan view and made it easy to filter out noise by hiding/showing the predicates.  Oracle 12c instances get the added bonus of seeing how Oracle is adapting plans for their queries.  And you can download the plan in easy to use and share text version, complete with link back to the plan view.

 

Storage Resource Monitor Integration

If you are a DBA and need to take a deeper dive into your storage array, you can now monitor your arrays with SRM and build relationships to the databases you are monitoring with DPA.  Once built, you can see capacity utilization and performance of the LUNs connected to your databases, including where you are at risk at to run out of a storage or performance capacity.

 

And a lot more!

In every release, we do a lot more than we can include here, but here are a couple more features worth mentioning:

  • GUI Improvements - Streamlined home page and filters, pages require less scrolling, simplified flow to Advisors and Historical Charts.
  • Updated Expert Advice - the expert advice for the most common Wait Type descriptions were expanded and improved... and to compliment the new Availability Group feature, we updated the HADR wait types as well.
  • Simplified Help - we unified our help into a single "Learn More" button and began adding and updating content, especially training around wait time analysis to help new users... more to come.
  • To see more, check out the release notes.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Log into the Customer Portal and download DPA 11.0. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to post them in the Database Performance Analyzer RC group as well.

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