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As awesome as SolarWinds applications can be at helping avoid a network crisis, sometimes disaster strikes closer to home: in the Orion® Platform itself. You come in to work one morning and click on the web page, only to see an unhandled exception, or you realize you haven’t seen an alert in a suspiciously long time, or you plan an upgrade expecting everything to go smoothly and find yourself stumped by a configuration wizard error. While our awesome support folks are here to help you get past any trouble you might run into, wouldn’t it be great if you had a way to check the health of your SolarWinds environment to prevent a catastrophe?

Well, good news: now you do! Introducing the Orion Health page, designed to help you keep your SolarWinds environment humming along trouble-free. You can go to Settings -> All Settings -> High Availability Deployment Summary (found in the Product Specific Settings section). Once there, you will see a tab called Deployment Health (and don’t worry, even if you don’t use our High Availability product, you still have these options).

 

This page has over 70 checks created from analyzing the most common reasons why customers call us. We cover everything from database maintenance to disk space. The best part is, you don’t have to remember to come to this page and run the server health checks regularly—they will run every night along with our regularly scheduled database maintenance. We run specific tests against each server in your deployment. Got an additional web server? A scalability engine? A standby server? We got you covered!

 

Shhh…

Of course, every environment is different, and we know that some tests might not apply to everyone. For example, we’ll warn you that if your SQL Server is on a VM, that might not be the best setup.  Sometimes resource-intensive applications like SQL don’t play well with shared resources. But if you know that your VM is a beast and can handle whatever we can throw at it, you can just silence that particular check:

You won’t see it again unless you un-silence it, so your daily view will be only the tests you care about.

 

There’s a KB for that!

So now you’re using the health page to keep everything copacetic, and you find a failure that you’re not quite sure what to do with.  Well, we’ve got a whole database full of Knowledge Base articles right at your fingertips! Just click on the arrow at the end of the row with the test on it, and a panel will pop up with a description of the test and a link to an article with more info.

 

 

Now that you have this tool at your fingertips, remember that we always welcome your feedback. Think there’s something we could test for that we don’t? Something that needs to be tweaked? Let us know and we’ll be happy to take a look!

Hi, all! Welcome back to the continuation of our Primer posts on SWQL and the Orion® SDK. In the last post, we established how to create a query, and how to link tables together to get useful information. In this post, we’re going to discuss how to apply these to your Orion Platform products.

If you don’t feel entirely comfortable creating a query, I highly encourage you to read over the last post. It serves as a foundation for today’s discussion.

 

Reports:

The first and most obvious application for SWQL queries is generating Orion reports in the web-based report writer. To start, go to Reports à All Reports, then select “Manage Reports” in the upper right corner:

 

 

From here, click on “Create New Report”:

 

 

If this is your first time creating any report, you will see a nice splash page on how to create reports. I highly recommend you read it over to get an idea of the process, and when you’re finished, go ahead and close to proceed with the remaining steps.

 

The first page you see when you create a report is Add Content. For what we’re doing, there really are only two options, Custom Chart and Custom Table. Since we’re going to use the example from the previous post, let’s select the “Custom Table” option.

 

 

Once selected, you are asked to add your data source. This is where our SWQL magic comes into play; change the Selection Method from “Dynamic Query Builder” to “Advanced Database Query (SQL, SWQL)”:

 

 

Make sure the radio button is set to “SWQL” so Orion knows which language to construct from. From here, let’s copy and paste our query from the previous post into the big box. Then click on “Preview Results” to make sure everything is working correctly. Note: this will not show you all results, just a small selection:

 

 

Once that’s complete, click “Add to Layout,” which will automatically send you to the custom table formatting table. Here you can add the columns from your query into the report:

 

 

 

Now that your columns are added, you’ll see the table layout section. Use the dotted icons to arrange the columns in any order you want (1). You can also expand on the column to change their name (2) to something friendlier, such as “System Name” instead of “Caption” (3):

 

 

Once you’re finished, click “Submit” to finish the table. If you wish to add more tables, or if you charted something, you can add more resources to the page. Otherwise, you can finish your report as you would normally.

 

That wraps it up for now. Next time we’ll continue exploring how to apply SWQL queries into widgets in the dashboard. Thanks for reading!

Doing more with less seems to be a staple of working in IT today.  Part of that also includes doing more with the existing tools at your disposal or adding tools to make your job easier, giving you back your well-earned free time.  For IT professionals, getting the information into a network monitoring software (NMS) solution is only the first step in the battle.  Deciding how to work with that information is the next phase in your evolution as a monitoring professional.

 

It's no secret that I was a customer before I come to work for SolarWinds.  As a former customer, I tried my best to make sure that my monitoring solution did as much of the heavy lifting for my organization as possible.  In my eyes, what good was a system that just alerted me to problems without actively trying to correct those problems?  Were the metrics important to specific teams being shown in the proper light to guide business decisions?  Were our help desk and IT teams properly informed about the state of the infrastructure? These are just a few of the questions that I asked myself on a near daily basis.  Making tweaks and updates to the NMS became a process of care and feeding for the solution.  Thankfully, I had the THWACK® community and the plethora of content therein to help guide me, but every environment is different.  I often thought it would be nice to be able to get first-hand information and ask questions of the experts about my situation.

 

I've spoken at multiple SolarWinds User Groups (SWUGs) about the ways to help optimize and scale out your build, streamline your support and monitoring processes, isolate and pinpoint the root cause of issues, eliminate noise in your alerting, and leverage the data collected to make informed decisions.  Any one of these can help you do more with what you already have.  The more feedback we get from the community, the more resources we can provide to give you back your weekends.  We've listened, and that's part of what makes THWACKcamp so epic.

 

This year, THWACKcamp is packed full of knowledge bombs that can help you do your job better, more efficiently, and with less stress.

 

If you are thinking about working towards automating your infrastructure, take what you've learned and leverage the SolarWinds Orion API with “There's an API for That: Introduction to the SolarWinds Orion SDK.”  We are even including our code samples (here, here, and here) so that you can play along with the home game.

 

There's an API for That: Introduction to the SolarWinds Orion SDK

Repetitive tasks are boring and repetitive. Why do we have computer systems if not to make our lives easier? In this session, learn why we want to leverage the SolarWinds® Orion API to do just that with me and fellow THWACK MVPs Leon Adato and Zack Mutchler.

 

Do you have a large or growing deployment and are worried about optimizing your build?  There's a session just on “Optimizing Orion.”

Optimizing Orion

In this session, we will help you understand how to optimize your Orion® Platform. We will discuss topics such as when to know if you should scale up or scale out, and how to identify issues with your current Orion installation.

 

Are you struggling from beneath a pile of unnecessary alerts and are trying to find the light?  Why not have your alerts work for you, instead of against you?  “Alerts, How I Hate Thee” is the session for you.

Alerts, How I Hate Thee

Many IT professionals believe if you can't get an alert when something is going wrong, why monitor at all? Yet alerting is also seen as a curse, a source of constant interruptions, false alarms, and “noise.” In reality, it can be so much better. Well-crafted alerts based on insightful monitoring are a benefit to the business and a gift to the recipient, saving hours of investigation and thousands of dollars. Whether alerts are a blessing or a curse depends largely on their design and implementation (more so than any specific monitoring tool or technique) and thankfully, good design can be taught and learned. In this session, we'll take a brief tour of the alerting hall of horrors, and then look at real-world, vendor-agnostic techniques to make alerts meaningful, effective, valuable, and actionable.

 

Is it time to get the biggest bang for your bits with your NMS, it's probably useful to take peruse the goodness during “Tips & Tricks: Thinking Outside the Box

Tips & Tricks: Thinking Outside the Box

Making its third round at THWACKcamp, this popular session covers the tips and tricks of our beloved SolarWinds products that are a way of life for me and Head Geek Destiny Bertucci. Combined forces makes for some great tips and tricks that help you to think outside of the box for your day-to-day monitoring needs. There are always ways to create solutions with just a little tweaking to make your SolarWinds products be the highlight in any organization.

 

The best part about a THWACKcamp session?  They are completely free for everyone – you just need to sign up, select your sessions, and then sit back and absorb all the nerdy goodness online. Plus, if you watch live, you can join the chat and ask questions of the experts while the session is happening. What are you waiting for?  Sign up now!

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