Upgrading SolarWinds Orion Platform Products is Amazing

By Destiny Bertucci

 

 

          I know what you’re thinking right now, “She's out of her darn MIND!” Bear with me for a moment here. I’ve seen a lot of failed upgrades and pushback on upgrading systems to newer OS and application versions. However, I’ve seen more, even smoother upgrades in the past few years that have allowed me to want to make sure everyone has the best experience possible when upgrading.This means I’ve gathered information that can help you be more knowledgeable about why you should upgrade and to get the best features available all while achieving more secure options for your environment. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

 

          I’d like to start with some necessary information to help you prepare for upgrading, no matter what level you are currently on. I can help guide you to a better environment with the SolarWinds® Orion® Platform while maintaining proper control on how it should be done to help sidestep some “gotcha” moments.

  1. You must know what version you are on, period. When I say that, I mean I’d like for you to have a notepad or an Excel® sheet that allows you to have all the info on your environment readily available. I’ve attached the one I currently use while managing my environments.
  2. You’ll need to know where to find your version and upgrade path:
  3. If you are on 12.0 or above, use this: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Orion_Documentation/SolarWinds_Orion_Installer
  4. If you are below 12.0, please use the following: https://customerportal.solarwinds.com/support/product-upgrade-advisor
  5. Check out Windows® version support for each level of SolarWinds Orion Platform products:  https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Knowledgebase_Articles/Windows_Server_2012_2016_and_SQL_Server_2012_2014_2016_and_2017_Support
  6. My favorite information is the migration guide. Because sometimes when you’re behind in the upgrade cycles, you realize you need a complete overhaul of your environment. Again, perfectly fine! Sometimes it’s even best to migrate when upgrading because you can stay up to date more easily on a new platform. So, this guide is one I keep near and dear to my heart: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Network_Performance_Monitor_(NPM)/NPM_Documentation/Migration_Guide
  7. DBAs love information about the types of databases needed and/or used. Here’s a link to help everyone on your environment team be aware of the end game with databases: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Knowledgebase_Articles/Databases_used_by_SolarWinds_modules
  8. SQL Server® requirements: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Knowledgebase_Articles/Databases_used_by_SolarWinds_modules
  9. Port requirements: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Network_Automation_Manager/NAM_Install_Guide/030/020
  10. Look up each module’s requirements, so you’re creating an environment that lasts and is a pleasant environment for users to use. There is nothing worse than waiting for the page to load because the database is underpowered OR the NetFlow database is underpowered for the number of flows you are using. Please acquaint yourself with the SolarWinds Customer Success Center and use it to find the system requirements you need. 
  11. Here is an excellent link from our awesome community members on in-place upgrades for SQL: https://thwack.solarwinds.com/message/398951#398951

        

           Now that you have gathered the information that you need, let’s talk about why you would want to upgrade. With the ability to use configurations within your network devices to visualize data, it’s vital to bring in these devices and use them to stay ahead of issues better and even solve some issues you may not have seen before.

         

          What in the world is she talking about now? Well, how about being able to see interface config snippets for your Cisco® devices on the interface details page? Or visualizing a switch stack for full redundancy, and using NetPath network path analysis  to break through your firewall to show you connection points from end to end? One major reason you may want to upgrade is to simplify your environment’s “break-down” moments. 

        

           SolarWinds has been working one-on-one with IT groups in all departments to understand and work to solve for their frustrations. Being able to visualize those virtual port channel bundles, for instance. Instead of waiting for an alert, it would be nice to shake out your monitoring and management environment to allow yourself to see clearly and make decisions based on your baselines that match your unique setup.

         

          Security-wise, let’s be honest… if you’re on an unsupported version of Windows or SQL Server, that’s a security issue, big time. If they’re not patchable, they are NOT on my environment. Security should be a focus for you, especially for older versions of .NET. Let’s get our heads in the game and start visualizing these upgrades and making them happen, you know, for security’s sake and all.

          All the data I provided here SHOULD allow you to have a successful upgrade in your future. If you have any suggestions for upgrading, please drop me a line!

 

 

~Dez~