Product Blog

2 Posts authored by: Dez Employee

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~

Top three new monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities every SolarWinds customer should learn to use (and that we’ll be demonstrating during our Lunch & Learn at Cisco Live)

See how to use and set up these dashboards at the SolarWinds Lunch & Learn, Monday, June 8 in San Diego, during Cisco Live. Sign Up In Advance Here.


Over the past year, SolarWinds has been hard at work bringing you more product features to make your everyday work a bit easier. But the benefit to you isn’t just about having MORE features, but rather about how those features work together. Weall know it’s time to stop wasting time going back and forth between toolsets to find and fix things. So, without further ado, let’s walk through the top three new monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities we’ve rolled out recently (that work across SolarWinds® products) that all our customers should learn to use.


Network Troubleshooting Dashboard

Through combining our products, you’ll have access to powerful dashboard views. Integration of Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Network Configuration Manager (NCM), NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), and Engineers Toolset allows you to consolidate and use shared data to your full advantage.


When you look at pieces of a puzzle, you can understandthat there’s a picture, but the pieces are not a clear representation of the entire picture. However, when you put the pieces together,you’re able to clearly see what you were vaguely aware of before. That is the essence of the network troubleshooting dashboard. It allows you to visualize and be alerted on critical paths, identify the root cause from configurations to bandwidth analysis, and resolve issues through configuration management.


Map your critical path and set up intelligent alerting so you can visually see issues from your troubleshooting view. Then,from the same page, correlate events, syslog, real-time change notification, and NetFlow data to pinpoint the root cause, followed by real-time stats on interfaces and devices with the Toolset. Now you are focus-driven and have identified the issue. Simply use the NCM resources to upload a configuration or execute a script to resolve what you have identified, all from one view.


The future is not simply monitoring or having network change management software. The future is being able to link monitoring, analyzing bandwidth data, and managingconfigurations together.

How to create a Network Troubleshooting Dashboard

       

        Deep Packet Inspection

The SolarWinds Quality of Experience (QoE) console leverages packet analysis. What does this mean to you as a customer? This is a solution for your critical network and server performance. This allows you to have traffic type and volume distributions from one view by identifying types and relative  application traffic flowing over a network based on the host IP addresses, ports, and protocols in use.


Because DPI is inspecting AND interpreting network transactions, you are able to use the QoE dashboard for troubleshooting application issues. That pesky little question of is it the network or the application” finally has an official answer with the QoE dashboard.  (In depth look at DPI)


The QoE dashboard allows you to quickly identify reductions or changes in application performance and determine if the change is caused by an increase in network delay or slow application server performance.


Monitoring applications returns detailed information and specific types of each of the following three categories:


  1. Category
    1. remote access,social networking,streaming media, VPN, and Web services.
  2. Risk level
    1. No risk,minimal risk,possible misuse,data leaks/malware,evades detection/bypasses firewalls.
  3. Productivity rating
    1. All social, mostly social, both business and social, mostly business, all business.


As you can see, the amount of information just from the QoE dashboard is extensive and valuable. You are able to determine behaviors of applications and even set up accurate Quality of Service (QoS) policies that can help ensure that your network performance is optimized for critical applications.

Learn more about DPI


          AppStack

Now, number three on the list, AppStack. You know the requirements for effective management. OK, I’ll provide the list. Contextual visualization for faster root cause analysis, agentless is better, out-of-the-box usability and customizability, and capacity management. Wow, did I just list a SolarWinds portfolio or what? LOL. Seriously, application awareness is a top priority.


Visibility from the application down is expected, app-centric storage insight is wanted, rapid time to value across platforms is being demanded, and of course, virtualization is becoming more robust.


How can you quickly, confidently, and cost effectively cover these areas and be in the know?  SolarWinds Application Stack view. This combines Server & Application Monitor (SAM), Virtualization Manager, Storage Resource Monitor (SRM), and Web Performance Monitor (WPM) to give you the app stack consolidated views necessary to stay on top of your application needs!  (Quick overview video)


Integration of these products allows you to correlate therelationship, resources, and metrics across products within one view. This shows you how infrastructure resources impact application performance directly.


Using automatic maps, see how infrastructure layers relate to one another so you can identify trouble areas at a glance. Hmmm, could I use this for impact analysis? Yes! This bundle has impressive risk assessment and impact analysis that allows you to determine what would be effective in case an upgrade was to fail.


Think about storage teams that want a quick risk and impact report on an array. All they have to do is to click on an array in question. This shows you all the relationships and dependencies on that SAN. Then, determine if any ESX®, Hyper-V® hosts, VMs, and/or applications they serve would be impacted if the array went down. Having a clear view of your application relationships means you are proactively in charge of your network, and are able to make accurate risk assessments when needed.


On top of that, you are able to gather data and correlate information like WPM: user experience for internal and customer facing Web applications; SAM: applications, servers, hosts, virtual clusters, virtual data centers, volumes;Virtualization Manager: data stores, additional performance metrics for virtual servers like CPU ready, ballooning, snapshots, etc.; SRM: LUNs, NAS volumes, pools, vServers (NetApp), storage arrays.

More on AppStack


Man, I’m telling you what; the network troubleshooting and AppStack bundles really are some work horses! The key to data is that the information is valid and consistent. SolarWinds,by using one database for storage data, allows you to group, use custom properties, and even use limitations throughout to get theinformation you require where you want it. That is the power of integrationbeing able to combine useful information to help you troubleshoot faster and resolve sooner.


Well that sums up the top three monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities with Solarwinds products. Expect more from your software suite. We are constantly integrating and adding features to our products. We love to discuss planning and what you really want from your IT solutions. So come join us at the Lunch & Learn @ Cisco Live – San Diego.

 

~Dez    

Filter Blog

By date: By tag:

SolarWinds uses cookies on its websites to make your online experience easier and better. By using our website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies, see our cookie policy.