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38 Posts authored by: bmrad Employee

I'm excited to announce general availability of SolarWinds Identity Monitor, an easy-to-use cloud-based service specialized in preventing account takeover. Identity Monitor is enabled through a partnership with SpyCloud, experts in recovering data breach information. Since this is the introductory post about Identity Monitor, I wanted to talk about the main problem it solves and then give you a quick overview of the product.


What Is Account Takeover?

Account takeover is exactly what it sounds like--when a bad guy obtains your credentials associated with one site, and then tries to use them to take over your accounts on other sites.

As someone in IT, you probably use unique, strong passwords with multi-factor authentication for every site or service you use (right?), and at work, you probably enforce secure policies for the servers and applications you control, but... are your users as careful as you?  Do they ever reuse passwords, mixing them across work with non-work services? They do, and this is why account takeover works--because once the bad guys get one set of credentials, they try them on hundreds of other sites using credential stuffing tools to find out what else they can access... and then the bad stuff starts to happen.


How Do You Prevent Account Takeover?

You can take all the preventative steps in the world, but there will continue to be data breaches where your credentials and information are taken, and once your credentials are compromised, the only way you protect yourself is to change your credentials. Seems simple--but first you have to know you've have been compromised to take action.


Identity Monitor has billions of records from previous data breaches and can tell you if you or your company are compromised right now. Identity Monitor presents this data in a timeline and summarize it into asset types, allowing you drill down on specific breaches in the past and see what credentials were exposed.  Data can include usernames, email addresses, passwords (both encrypted and unencrypted), addresses, birthdays, phone numbers--almost anything you've ever entered into a website.


Identity Monitor continuously scours the internet for new data breaches, and as this new information is ingested, it will analyze the data and alert you to new compromises. Speed is the key here--you need to know about new compromises of your users as fast as possible.


If the hair on the back of your neck is standing up and you're ready to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, go sign up for a free Identity Monitor account.   Otherwise, let's look at how Identity Monitor works, evaluate how compromised your company is right now, and find out what kind of information you might see.


Am I Compromised Right Now?

As IT professionals, part of our job is to protect our companies physical and digital assets. Let's log in, look at timelines, and drill into some detail. Here I have one domain registered (example.org) and I can see the timeline of breaches on top, the most recent breaches on the right, and the types of compromised information.

Let's take a closer look at the breached asset types.

You can see how email addresses are compromised, how many passwords are known, and the amount of Personal Identifiable information available. Let drill down on the emails and see what's exposed. I'll pick the first one since it was just a few days ago and is marked critical... and I'll click to expose the password (which turns out to be "secret").

I am also interested to see what personal information is available, so I click View Raw Data.

Here you can see the extensive amount of personally identifiable information... and it's scary.


Once you get a feel for the scope and type of exposure your company and employees have, you can address the current situation, and then decide how to improve your processes going forward. Each breach has advice on remediation too.


Ongoing Protection

Let's says we've addressed all the problems Identity Monitor found, but sadly we know another security breach is around the corner (just look at the history on the timeline). How does Identity Monitor protect us going forward? By continuously scouring the internet for new breaches, digesting the data as quickly as possible, and alerting you. In the Email Assets example above, you can see there were only a few days between the breach date and the date it published in Identity Monitor. We also get this handy email alert telling us there was a breach and link us to the details:

And you aren't limited to just your domain. You can extend your protection to any email address as long as the email owner gives permission.  This is great for watching personal emails of critical employees (like your executive team), DL used for signing up for external services, or any other email used for company business.


Sign up now for free! Pricing is by number of employees and starts at $1795 USD for 100 employees.


These are the primary use cases Identity Monitor covers, but there's more--be watching for more blog posts.

I'm very excited to announce that SolarWinds Server Configuration Monitor (SCM) 1.1 is now available for download! This release expands on SCM 1.0 capabilities, both giving more detail for each change detected, and adding a new data source that can be analyzed for changes:


  • Detect “Who made the change” for files and registry
  • Detect changes in near real-time
  • Deploy PowerShell scripts and track changes in the output (with links to additional example scripts)
  • Set baselines for multiple nodes at once


Who made the change? In near real-time

SCM 1.0 is good at detecting changes in your Windows files and registry, but it didn't tell you who made the change, leaving you to do some additional investigative work. SCM 1.1 adds "who made the change" by leveraging our File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) technology, which also detects changes in near real-time -- a double benefit. Near real-time allows us to catch changes almost as they happen, and gives us a separate record for each change, even if changes are happening in rapid succession.


Turning on "Who made the change"

After you install or upgrade to SCM 1.1, you can easily turn on the "Who Made the Change" feature for the servers you want to monitor via a wizard:

  • From the "Server Configuration Summary -> What's New Resource," click the Set Up "Who Made the Change" Detection button
  • From the "All Settings -> Server Configuration Monitor Settings -> Polling Settings Tab," click the Set Up Who Detection button

Either way, it starts the "Who Made the Change" wizard.

The first step tells you about what happens when you turn on "Who Made the Change" detection:

The second step allows you to define the server exclusion list and turn on the feature:

Once you press Enable Who Detection, SCM will push out FIM driver to the agent(s) and turn it on, so file and registry changes will be monitored in near real-time rather than polled once a minute as in SCM 1.0. You can always come back and change the exclusion list or turn off "Who Made the Change" later.


Where to see "Who made the change"

You can see who made the change (user and domain) in a number of places, represented by the person icon.

  • SCM Summary: Recent Configuration Changes resource
  • Node Summary: Configuration Details and Recent Configuration Changes resources
  • Node: Content comparison, note the time I added to the file matches the time SCM shows the file changed.


When building an alert, you can filter on "Who made the change" and add it to the text of your alert.



The out-of-the-box SCM report includes "Who made the change" data.


Deploy and monitor the output of PowerShell scripts

Everyone's environment is different, and SCM could never monitor everything you want to "out-of-the-box." So, we added the ability to deploy and execute PowerShell scripts and compare the output over time. Now, configuration monitoring is only limited by your imagination and scripting super powers.


Adding a new script

I created a new Profile for this test, but you can add scripts to your current Profiles too.

First, create a new Profile and click Add to add a new element.

To add a PowerShell script configuration element:

  1. Choose PowerShell script as your Element type.
  2. Paste your script into the box.
  3. Click Add to add the element to the profile, then add again to save the profile.

Deploy and enjoy!

Once your new (or modified Profile) is ready, you can deploy it to one or more agents. From Server Configuration Monitor Settings > Manage Profiles, select the profile and click assign, then pick the servers you want, and walk through the wizard. SCM will deploy the scripts and start executing them on schedule.

Comparing the output

Comparing the output of the script over time works like any other source (file, registry, asset info) in SCM. You can set baselines and see changes in the content comparison. As you can see, the entire output of the script is captured and stored.

Mix and match elements in profiles

Don't forget -- one of the great things about SCM is you can mix and match elements in a single profile. Mix and match registry setting, multiple files, and PowerShell scripts into a single profile to monitor interesting aspects of your configurations.


Check Out Some Cool PowerShell Examples by Kevin

SolarWinds' own Technical Community Manager KMSigma put together some awesome examples of what SCM can do: Manage and Monitor PowerShell Scripts

Keep a lookout in our SCM forums for more PowerShell script examples in the future, and feel free to post your scripts too.


Set/Reset baselines for multiple nodes at once

Our early customers in large environments were limited to setting/resetting baselines one node at time, which was very painful when the dozens or hundreds of servers were updated (like a Windows update), so we addressed it quickly in this release. Now from the Server Configuration Monitor Settings screen, you can pick multiple servers, see a quick summary of the number of baselines you'll be updating, and then reset the baselines to the current output -- easy as 1-2-3.

What's next?

Don't forget to read the SCM 1.1 Release Notes to see all the goodness now available.


If you don't see the features you've been waiting for, check out the What We're Working on for SCM post for a list of features our dedicated team of configuration nerds and code jockeys are already researching. If you don't see everything you've been wishing for, add it to the Server Configuration Monitor (SCM) Feature Requests.

To kick off the Q3 systems releases, I am happy to announce Generally Availability of Database Performance Analyzer version 12.0.   This release focuses on analysis with two major features: Query Performance Analyzer (QPA) and the Table Tuning Advisor.  We've also improved our integration with Orion® Platform by adding blocking, deadlocks, and wait time status to PerfStack™. In this post, I'll cover QPA and the Orion integration. Table Tuning Advisor will be covered in another post.


Query Performance Analyzer

QPA is designed to intelligently assemble current and historical data for a query, combining all the information about a query into one place, including the query analysis (summarized per day) and the historical charts (30 days of data, down to 10-minute intervals). QPA analyzes the data about the query and automatically expands sections and selects metrics to show you the most relevant data. It also allows you to change time ranges on the query, and still has the great drill-down capability you are used to. You can use QPA for queries in any database supported by DPA.


Since QPA has all the data you previously saw on multiple screens, all links on query hashes and names now go to QPA, keeping your current timeframe. So now, when you go to look at a query in the product, you get QPA!


New Charting Capabilities

QPA uses SolarWinds' new Nova GUI components, allowing us to assemble and present data in new ways. We are very excited to have adopted this technology. There are a few nifty features that you'll see in the screenshots below.

  • Charts all have the same x-axis, even if their data is at different frequencies or ranges
  • As you roll over the chart, the values and time are shown both for the chart you are on and all other charts displayed
  • In all charts, you can uncheck one of the items on the legend to remove it
  • When you roll over an item in the chart legend, it is highlighted while other items are grayed out

All of these combine to make it very easy to inspect and correlate data across multiple charts.


QPA Layout

QPA has two main areas:

  • The Wait Type Chart and Time Navigation
  • Three tabs showing different data and analysis


Top Chart - Wait Types and Navigation (yes it's sticky!)

DPA is all about waits, so the top chart shows the total wait time by wait type, and it is sticky so it stays at the top of the page, making it easy to correlate the waits with the data in the charts below it. The new time navigation at the top of the chart allows to you to choose a pre-defined time range or build your own.  And now, you can display data further back than 30 days if you need to.


Tabs - Intelligent Analysis, SQL Text and Supporting Data

QPA has three tabs which we cover in detail below.

  • Intelligent Analysis: Intelligently assemble and display the most relevant data about this query
  • SQL Text: A nicely formatted version of the SQL text
  • Supporting Data: Additional performance data about this query available in under 24 hours


Intelligent Analysis

QPA can intelligently assemble the most important information about a query and allow you to customize your view to meet your needs. Intelligence includes expanding sections to show you relevant data and picking metrics based on the predominant wait type.


Sections include:

  • Query Advisor: Latest advice for the query in the current time period
  • Tables Tuning Advisor: Latest Table Tuning Advisors for the query in the current time period
  • Statistics: Query statistics, both the actual value and per execution
  • Blocking: Shows blocking info (blockee and blocker) if it sees significant blocking
  • Plans: Shows plan information if more than one plan is used for the current time period
  • Resource Metrics for the Instance: Displays instance resources based on the predominant wait time

Here is a query with both Query Advisors and Table Tuning Advisors.

Keep scrolling to see multiple plans and PLE (and more CPU/memory resources). Note that:

The wait type chart shrinks and stays at the top of the page

Rolling over a chart shows detailed data on each chart

QPA selected which sections to expand and which metrics to show


SQL Text

Formatted SQL text that is easy to read, as well as easy to copy.


Supporting Data

Supporting data is additional per-query data we collect and is only available at timeframes of 24 hours or less.  Sections are auto-expanding if DPA detects interesting data.



Analyzing a Query with QPA (Example)

If we look at the following query for 30 days in QPA, we can see that wait time started increasing around April 23. The query advisors show advice for the latest day (just like on the trends page), but instead of drilling, let’s scroll down the page some

I see the number of executions is unchanged, but wait time per execution increased with wait time... so it looks like something changed.

If I keep scrolling, I'll see that the blocking section is closed (so no blocking), but the plans section is open and showing multiple plans. DPA noticed a plan change and displayed this chart automatically. If there was only one plan, DPA closes the chart and just gives you a link to the plan.

Note that increase in wait time and wait time per execution correspond to the same time as the plan change on April 23—BINGO!

If I want to see more detail on April 23, I can drill by clicking on the bar chart (just like on the trends page).  I can click it on the top chart, or any other bar chart (like the plans chart).

When I drill into Apr 23, I can see that the change correlates to the plan change. Note that I can also see the instance statistics, and they don't indicate any kind of resource pressure.


From here, I can drill down to an hour if I want, or I can click the plan hashes and take a look at the differences between them.


Blocking, Deadlocks and Wait Time Status in PerfStack

We don't have a new DPA Integration Module (DPAIM) for the 12.0 release, but PerfStack is so versatile, we can share new data with it and have it available automatically. Now blocking (root blocking and blockee), deadlocks, and wait time status are available in PerfStack.

When you highlight the blocking info, you can see the queries in the data explorer.


Find. Analyze. Optimize.™ with DPA.


What did you find in your environment?

We'd love to hear your story about queries and indexes you've improved in your environment. Feel free to post your stories here and commiserate with your fellow admins. For example, during an RC-assisted upgrade, we helped a customer upgrade and walked through the new features, and in just a few minutes, we found a query with over six hours of wait time in QPA. By drilling into the new Table Advisor, we were able to discover the table was missing an index.


What's Next?

Don't forget to read Dean's blog on the Table Tuning Advisor and the DPA 12.0 Release Notes


If you don't see the features you've been wanting in this release, check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated November, 2019) post for what our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests.

I am happy to announce General Availability of Storage Resource Monitor 6.6.   This release continues the momentum of supporting FLASH and HYBRID arrays that were highly requested by you on THWACK!  We've also updated to SRM to the latest version of the Orion® Platform and installer, so you'll enjoy the benefits of easier upgrades and participation in all the latest Orion® features.  Check out the SRM 6.6 Release Notes for more information about installing, upgrading and new features and fixes.


New Array Support

Support includes all the standard features you love: capacity utilization and forecast, performance, end to end mapping in AppStack, and integrated performance troubleshooting in PerfStack.  We also were able to squeeze in Hardware Health for all these arrays too!

  • EMC Unity
  • HPE Nimble
  • INFINIDAT InfiniBox
  • IBM V9000

Now for some screenshots for your viewing pleasure!


Monitoring EMC Unity

SummaryBlock StorageFile StorageHardware Health
EMC Unity Monitoring SummaryEMC Unity Block Storage Monitoring EMC Unity File Storage Monitoring EMC Unity Hardware Health Monitoring


Monitoring HPE Nimble Monitoring

SummaryBlock Storage File Storage Hardware Health
HPE Nimble Monitoring SummaryHPE Nimble Monitoring Block HPE Nimble Monitoring FileHPE Nimble Monitoring Hardware Health


Monitoring INFINIDAT InfiniBox

Block Storage
File Storage
Hardware Health
INFINIDAT InfiniBox Monitoring SummaryINFINIDAT InfiniBox Monitoring Block INFINIDAT InfiniBox Monitoring FileINFINIDAT InfiniBox Monitoring Hardware Health


Monitoring IBM V9000

You'll have to try this one yourself, looks the same as our monitoring for IBM SVC.



Don't see what you are looking for here? Check out the What we are working on for SRM after 2019.4 -- Updated on November 15, 2019 post for what our dedicated team of storage nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Storage Resource Manager Feature Requests.


Note: The SolarWinds trademarks, service marks, and logos are the exclusive property of SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC or its affiliates.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

If you are using Orion, I am sure you have already heard of PerfStack (aka Performance Analysis), SolarWinds' Drag & Drop Answers to Your Toughest IT Questions.  DPA did not make the first cut of PerfStack, but I am happy to announce that with the release of DPA Integration Module 11.1, you can now see DPA goodness in PerfStack too!!! Imagine expanding Using PerfStack with WPM and SAM to Troubleshoot Web Performance Issues to include database and query wait time!  Answer the question "Is it the database or the application?" in just a few clicks, pulling in whatever data you need from both DPA and Orion!



PerfStack Support for Databases monitored by DPA

DPAIM 11.1 exposes DPA data already available in other Orion views, but also adds some new ones as well! Data includes:

  • Total Wait Time
  • Wait time by dimension (SQL, Wait Types, Programs, Users, etc.) with drill downs to SQL text and Wait Type descriptions
  • Database metrics
  • VM metrics
  • Custom metrics (yes, even the custom metrics!)


Data History and Granularity

PerfStack is able to show all the data available in DPA. So if you have 5 years of history in DPA, you'll see it in PerfStack. As you drill down in PerfStack, you'll get to more granular data (down to 1 second wait time). PerfStack will choose the best granularity for the time range of your current view, and then adjust accordingly as you zoom in or out.


Stacking Data

PerfStack allows you to stack different wait time dimensions in the same view to help you solve problems quickly. For example, do you want to know who is writing those bad queries? Just stack SQL and user dimensions into one view and look for the correlation.  You can also stack dimensions from different databases - even if they are on different DPA servers.


Data Explorer

Even more DPA data is available in PerfStack's Data Explorer function. The Data Explorer lets you drill down and view the details of the wait time dimension you've highlighted in PerfStack. All Wait Time dimensions will show you a list of metrics ranked by total wait time. but a couple dimensions show extra information:

  • Total Instance Wait Time (SQL) will show you the SQL text, letting you find the query causing the issue.
  • Wait Time by Wait Type will show you descriptions of the Wait Type, helping you understand why your queries are waiting.


Data Explorer - Query Search

When you drill into the Data Explorer for Total Instance Wait Time (SQL), you'll see the SQL text for the queries with the most Wait Time.  However, you can search the text listed in the Data Explorer - say a specific table, group by or other parameter - to further filter the result set.


Predefined PerfStack Views for Databases

Every database displayed in Orion via DPAIM has a predefined link to a default PerfStack view, which will include both wait time and key metrics for the specific database.


Adding Database Data to PerfStack

To add database data to PerfStack, click Add Entity then scroll and select Databases Instance.

PerfStack will list all databases from all integrated DPA servers.

Once you've selected an instance, you can choose multiple wait time metrics to add to PerfStack.

Once you've added wait time metrics, selecting an area will allow you to drill to additional information on some metrics: SQL text (for Total Instance Wait Time) and the wait type description (for Wait Type).

To see a fully operation PerfStack example, check out this PerfStack Application to Database Mapping in the Orion Demo Site.


New Resource - Blocking & Deadlocks

A new resource available for every instance monitored by DPA will show you blocking (all databases) and deadlocks (SQL Server only), to let you quickly see if the source of a database problem is blocking or deadlocks.

The resource has three tabs to show which queries are waiting the most (Top Waiters), which queries are blocking the most (Top Root Blockers) and if there are deadlocks.

Clicking on the SQL hash will get you a query detail popup, with a link to the DPA historical view for that SQL.


Improved Resource - All Databases Instances

When we first created the resources for the DPA Integration Module, we tried to communicate as much information as possible, combining DPA wait time and performance data as well as data in Orion.  However, with so much information, it made it too difficult for users to quickly answer the question "is the database having a performance issue".  Yes, memory may be high, but if users aren't waiting on queries any longer than normal, then there isn't really a "performance" issue.  Based on this feedback, we've made a few changes:

  • In the last release (DPA 11.0), we changed the status shown in Orion to reflect DPA's wait time status only
  • In DPA 11.1. we've simplified resources to only show wait time status and not the status of advisors or metrics (CPU, Memory, etc.)
  • Wait time status now has three states (green, yellow, red) instead of two (green, red)

Basically, we want to make it really clear if there is a problem with the database performance issue (i.e. high wait time) before you drill down to additional data.


Database Summary View - All Database Instances Resource

For databases monitored by DPA, the status is determined by the wait time status from DPA, regardless of other indicators in DPA or Orion. For databases monitored by Orion but not DPA, the Orion status is shown.

The new resource has simple filters at the top, allowing you to select one or more statuses.  In this case I've filtered the resource to only see database instances with a red or yellow status.

Other resources have been improved as well, see the DPAIM 11.1 Release Notes for more information.


Support for SQL 2017, Oracle 12.2, MariaDB and more...

As usual, all the databases that DPA supports you'll see in Orion too.  Here are the newest databases supported by DPA:

  • SQL Server 2017 on Windows
  • SQL Server 2017 on Linux
  • Oracle 12.2
  • MariaDB 10.0, 10.1 and 10.2
  • IBM DB2 11.1

See a full list of Database versions you can monitor with DPA.


DPAIM for ALL DPA Customers!

In the past, since DPAIM was an "integration" module, it was not available as a standalone module, meaning you needed to own another Orion product to use it.  However, with the addition of PerfStack support, we wanted to make sure all DPA customers could enjoy the benefits of DPAIM and Orion too.  So now, DPAIM is a standalone module, and doesn't require to be installed with another Orion product.   All DPA customers can now install the DPAIM module and take advantage of the great features of the Orion platform.


How do I get the DPA Integration Module?

If you own DPA, you can get DPAIM 11.1 multiple ways.

  • If you have a SAM installation, when you upgrade to v6.5, DPAIM 11.1 module will be installed and ready to use.
  • If you have other Orion-based products installed (NPM, VMan, SRM, etc.) but not SAM, you can download DPAIM from the Customer Portal and install it on your Orion server.
  • If you own only DPA but no other SolarWinds Orion product, you can take advantage of DPAIM too. Simply download it from the Customer Portal and install the DPA Integration Module (DPAIM) on another server.  If you are using a SQL Server for your DPA repo, you can use the same one for DPAIM.  If not, you can opt for SQL Express bundled with the DPAIM installer.

Once you have DPAIM installed, follow these instructions to integrate it with DPA.


But wait, there's more!

See everything else that made it into the release in the DPAIM 11.1 Release Notes, including:

  • Improved Instance View - Database Response Time Resource
  • New Query Popup, with formatted SQL
  • Compatibility Checker


What's Next?

Don't see what you are looking for here? Check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated November, 2019) post for what our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests.

To kick off the Q4 releases, I am happy to announce Generally Availability of Database Performance Analyzer 11.1.   This release continues to build momentum on previous releases by extending our support of Availability Groups, supporting the latest databases, and improving the DPA interface.  We've also added a subscription option when you deploy DPA in the Amazon cloud.


Support for New Database Versions

We'd like to announce official support for the following databases:

  • SQL Server 2017 on Windows
  • SQL Server 2017 on Linux
  • Oracle 12.2
  • MariaDB 10.0, 10.1 and 10.2
  • IBM DB2 11.1

When integrated with Orion, these databases will appear in DPAIM.


Availability Groups:  Status, Alerts and Annotations!

New in version 11.1, DPA regularly polls the status of all SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs) contained in the monitored instance. The DPA Home page displays a new status icon which tells you that AGs are present in a monitored instance.


DPA’s new AG monitoring gives you the ability to:

  • See the status of all your AGs on the home page, including a new filter widget.
  • When you drill down, see the status of AGs, databases, and replicas. This includes synchronization and failover status information.
  • See annotations on trend charts that show when AG failovers have occurred. The annotations show you the previous and current replica (from/to), and allows you to correlate failovers to changes in load.
  • Send an alert email when:
    • An AG failover occurs.
    • An AG status becomes Partially Healthy and Not Healthy.

For a detail view of new AG features, see this feature post:  DPA 11.1: Improved monitoring of SQL Server Availability Groups




Amazon Subscription

Have a lot of databases in the Amazon cloud?  You can now monitor them via your Amazon subscription, simply start up DPA from the AWS Marketplace, connect up a repository and start monitoring your databases. All currently supported databases can be monitored, and you can integrate DPA with your Orion server and see the data in Orion.


Improved Wait Time Status Indicator

The wait time indicator on the home page has been improved in two ways.

  • There are 3 status (Green, Yellow, Red) instead of 2 (Blue, Red).  Default thresholds are now 1.3x and 1.6x the historical wait time for Yellow and Red, respectively.
  • We evaluate every 10 minutes, instead of once an hour.

This increased frequency and new thresholds allow DPA to show you wait time pressure much quicker than previous versions.

This new status is propagated to Orion via the integration module.


And a whole lot more!

  • When you search for a SQL statement while creating an alert or a report, the search results include each SQL statement's total wait time for the last 7 days
  • Improved instance filter includes if instance monitor is on/off.
    status indicator.png
  • New icons and images that align better with Orion
  • See the DPA 11.1 Release Notes for the rest!


What's Next?

Don't see what you are looking for here? Check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated November, 2019) post for what our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests.

A long time ago, in a network far, far away, a post was written called Why Should I Care About Release Candidates?  I say a long time ago because it was 2009, shortly before I joined SolarWinds and while feature phones still ruled the earth.   Since that post, SolarWinds has added thousands of customers, but as Product Managers, we work hard to stay close to you so we deliver real value in every release.  And we are very thankful for your willingness to share your time and thoughts about our products and company.


However, we wanted to reach out again, to customers both new and old, to tell you (or remind you) the secret of how to get what you really want in future releases of your favorite products. Ready for the secret?  The main secret to getting what you really want?  It's easy - PARTICIPATE!  Participate as much as you can!  Since we operate on the YAWL principle (You Asked, We Listened), the more we hear from you, the better.  We have a variety of ways for you to participate.

  • Review What We Are Working On: Our What We Are Working On posts details the features we are currently working on across all our products.  Its a great place to start and see what is on the roadmap.  If you don't see what you want, check the feature request form for your products and vote.
  • Vote on Feature Requests: Each product has a Feature Request forum  (examples:  NPM, SAM, DPA) where you can add and vote on your favorite features.  While product managers reviews all feature requests, voting helps up prioritize... and when we start working on a feature, we can reach out to directly to everyone who votes.
  • Walk Through UX Mockups:  Early in the release process, our excellent UX team puts together functional mockups for you to review.  Feedback here has a big influence on what we implement and how it works. At times it may feel like a therapy session, but we really want to understand what you see, how you process the information and decide what to do next.
  • Install Beta Releases: Beta's are early versions of the next release with some features complete and ready to try in your environment.  This is where the rubber meets the road and features come to life - and your feedback is crucial.  Remember - beta's are fresh installs only, not suitable for consumption on your production server.
  • Upgrade to Release Candidates:  As emphasized in the old post, Release Candidates are fully supported releases, meaning you can upgrade your production servers and start using new features right away. Our Support and Sales Engineering teams are fully trained in the new version.  Don't hesitate - our new upgrade process for Orion products is amazing.
  • Show Us Your Environment:  Our UX team also loves to do "Show Me" sessions, where we watch you use our products in your environment, and see how you solve problems.
  • Answer Surveys:  From time to time, you will receive requests to fill out surveys, here on Thwack and via email.  These help us understand broad trends of your business, environment, and feature needs.


Hopefully you are in inspired mood, because here is your opportunity to participate: Take this one page survey so we can reach you next time we are looking for volunteers.

REALITY CHECK: Will I really get EVERYTHING I want?

You may be thinking to yourself "Will I really get everything I want"?  Sadly, no... we can't make all your dreams come true because we have limited resources and no limit of good ideas from you.  But this is why your participation is so important, to help get the most valuable features to the top of the list.  And patience often pays off - check out this feature we implemented earlier this year from a request in 2012 - Silence Alerts While Still Monitoring.


Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully we will be hearing from you!


The PM Team.

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 The specified item was not found. group as well.

Time flies when you were having fun, so I must be having a blast because Database Performance Analyzer 10.2  has arrived in a blink of an eye (just 6 months since 10.1).  If you are ready, you can download it from the customer portal and for free evaluation from the SolarWinds Website. Be prepared to save hours every day as we take analysis of blocking and deadlocks to a whole new level.


New Features in 10.2

  • Identify Root Blockers causing the greatest impact
  • Find the last activity of an Idle Blocker
  • Monitor Deadlocks
  • Use MySQL as a DPA repository
  • Support for the latest databases - SQL 2016 and MySQL 5.7
  • AD/LDAP Configuration Wizard
  • Tomcat 8 and Java 1.8
  • Lots of minor fixes - see the Release Notes.

A major theme in this release is blocking and locking analysis.  Blocking occurs when the database locks an object to perform a transaction and another request for this same object is received.  The database blocks the second transaction until the original transaction is complete and the lock is released. Locking is a good and necessary thing for a database to function properly, but excessive blocking causes programs and clients to wait, and is very difficult to diagnose.  DPA 10.2 is focused on solving difficult blocking and lock problems with just a few clicks.


Identify Root Blockers causing the greatest impact

Blocking can involve more than just two transactions, as transaction A blocks transaction B, B blocks C, and so on, piling up the time applications are waiting quite quickly.  DPA 10.2 not only identifies the root blockers, but also aggregates the wait time in the correlation tab to show which queries are causing the most overall wait.  If one query is the root blocker for other queries, say from your online website store, customers may be waiting - which can impact your bottom line.

This new blocking summary information appears as a correlation tab under the wait time chart and tracks with your choices of dimension and time slice (from 30 days to 1 sec)... even the colors of the queries in the bar chart matches.

Bonus 1: You can toggle on the idle blockers (gray bar), to see if they are causing a lot of wait.

Bonus 2: We also have a Top Waiters view, so you can quickly find which queries are most impacted by blocking as well.


Find the last activity of an Idle Blocker

Imagine a construction crew blocks the road you're on, and while waiting for them to complete their work, you notice they stop jack hammering and walk away.  You are being blocked, and your blocker is idle - they're doing something (maybe eating lunch), but they sure aren't working on the road.  This is analogous to an idle blocker, where a program or user locks an object in the database, but then performs work outside of the database before completing the transaction.   From the database's perspective, the blocker is "idle" because its not doing database work, and there is no association with database activity.

So when you try to diagnose an idle blocker, you have no starting place, nothing to pass on to the developer other than "it's idle".  Often times, the DBA would have to spend hours sifting through queries to identify the last activity before the lock went idle, so that the problem could be found and fixed. Well, you don't have to do that manual work anymore - with a couple of clicks, DPA will take you back to the last known activity of an idle blocker, and let you easily annotate it too.

To find the last activity, drill down to an hour and click the Blockers tab. On the left of the table, root blockers are shown, and you can expand the tree to see all the waitiers.  For Idle blockers, there is a new link called Find Last Activity on the right.

When you click Find Last Activity (ex SPID 79), a popup appears with a couple of choices - Annotate and View Activity, or just View Activity.

If you choose "Annotate and View Activity", DPA will search the past 48 hours for last activity for that session related to the blocker (Session 79).  We've now found the last activity before the block went idle.

And we annotated it, so its much easier to find in the future!

Now you have something you can share with your team and quickly identify and fix the problem!


Monitor Deadlocks

A deadlock happens when two or more transactions block each other by holding locks on resources that each of the transactions also need.

DPA uses a modified Extended Event session in order to capture deadlock details for SQL Server, and will use the default system health session for SQL Server on Amazon RDS. Users are able to configure a non-default session using the Advanced Properties page. When deadlocks are detected, they are displayed at the bottom of the Trends tab:  DPA also shows a metric named Victim Impact, which is a measure of time the victim's transaction was running and consuming resources.

Deadlock analysis is contained in the correlation tab with two options - Deadlock List and Deadlock chart.  The deadlock list contains a list of all the deadlocks for the current timeslice.

Clicking on a deadlock link takes you to a deadlock details page which has three parts.

1. Deadlock Summary, which shows the Total Victim Impact.
Bonus:  Open the deadlock XML in SQL Server Management Studio and see the visualization of the deadlock or email the deadlock information with a click of the button!


2. Victims and Survivors: Shows you details of the queries that were victims and thus rolled back, as well as the survivor which completed.

3. Deadlocked Resources - Bonus: All those links have popups with definitions and expert advice.

The Deadlock chart simply counts the number of deadlocks occurring in the same dimension and time slice you are viewing, helping you identify trends.

For a deeper dive on the nature of deadlocks and how to analyze them with DPA, check out our deadlock analysis KB article.


MySQL as a DPA Repository

When we released monitoring for MySQL in DPA 10.0 less than a year ago, our customers were excited to finally be able to monitor MySQL with the same wait time analysis methodology as used for SQL and Oracle.  However, there were lots of folks who wanted DPA to use MySQL as a data repository too.  I am happy to say you have the option to use DPA as a data repository!  If you want to change from SQL or Oracle, we don't migrate old data when changing repository types.


New way to get to Historical Charts

A new trick that's easy to miss is the addition of a link to the historical charts wherever you open the query popup.  There is a new button in the bottom left that allows you to jump to historical charts from almost anywhere. Its a small but welcomed change.


But Wait, There's More

Every release has some minor features too, and 10.2 is no exception.

  • Support for the latest databases - SQL 2016 and MySQL 5.7
  • AD/LDAP wizard now makes it much easier to connect to your directory.  Current configurations are supported and you can modify them via the Wizard.
  • Tomcat 8 and Java 1.8 moves DPA to the latest versions with security updates.
  • Lots of minor fixes - see the Release Notes.


Sign up to get on the next beta!

The dust hasn't settled on 10.2, but our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already hard at work on the next awesome DPA release - check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated November, 2019) post.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, you add it to our Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests


If you want to get your hands dirty as soon as our next beta is ready, get on the list for the next beta by filling out this survey.

I am excited to announce that Database Performance analyzer 10.1 with support for Oracle 12c multitenant is now available in the customer portal and for free evaluation from the SolarWinds Website. What's so special about DPA 10.1?  Let's take a look!


New Features in 10.1

  • Support for Oracle 12c Multitenant
    • Monitor Oracle Pluggable Databses (PDBs)
    • Automatic Grouping of PDBs
    • Summary View, showing usage per PDB
    • Detect and alert when PDBs are added, remove or moved.
    • Mass registrion for PDBs, just like other
    • PDBs should up in the Orion integration
    • Using a PDB as an DPA repository
  • Improved Mass Registration
  • Offline License Deactivation
  • Lots of minor fixes - see the Release Notes.


What is a PDB?

What's a PDB you ask?   Officially, a Pluggable Database is "user-created set of schemas, objects, and related structures that appears logically to an application as a separate database". Basically, its everything that makes up the database.  Why is this important?  Previously, Oracle didn't have a good way to have multiple databases on one Oracle instance. You had a couple of options, table spaces and multiple instances per server, but they had their drawbacks.  Multitenant support is kind of like virtualization, where you can quickly "plug" in multiple databases into one Oracle "container" (aka CDB) and let them share resources and be managed as a whole, improving resource utilization and reducing management time.


Monitoring Oracle Multitenant and PDB changes

Adding individual PDBs now works just like Oracle single tenant or the classic Oracle databases.  Just choose Oracle, enter the needed information and go!  Same thing with mass registration.  DPA will only allow you to register PDBs, not CDBs (Container Databases).  If you try to add the CDB, DPA will politely ask you to register the PDBs instead.


Once you have registered two Oracle PDBs in the same CDB (Container Database), they will auto group in the home screen.  If you register just one PDB from a CDB, is will still show up as an individual database.

CDB View - Summarizing PDB Load

As a bonus, you can click on the CDB and get summary data across the PDB instances, allowing you to quickly see which PDB has more wait time, what kinds of waits they are experiencing,


Which PDB is waiting the most in the CDB?  Quickly see the balance between the PDBs.

If you are seeing unusual wait times at the PDB level, you can drill up and review the PDB.  Here we see a major increase "direct path read" and "read by other session".

Finally, if you want to look across all your PDBs and find the query with the most wait time, use the Top SQL tab.  You can click on the link to see the query.


PDB Annotations and Alerts

The data collected from a PDB is the same data we've always collected for Oracle.  However, we do annotate all PDB changes - when they are added, removed or moved.

For example, you will see annotations on the 30-day trend when

  • You plug in a PDB
  • You move a PDB from one CDB to another (see sample below)
  • You unplug a PDB

PDB Odds and Ends

  • If you have a dozens or hundreds of PDBs, mass registration allows you to quickly add them via a spreadsheet upload.
  • If you want to use a PDB as a repository for DPA, no problem - it works out of the box.
  • PDBs will show up in the Orion integration and support all current features, so they will map to your Orion nodes and application just like traditional databases.



But Wait, There's More

Every release has some minor features too, and 10.1 is no exception.

  • The mass registration file can now be uploaded directly to DPA via the GUI, rather than moving the file to the DPA server.  This simplifies mass registration and makes it a more secure process.
  • You can now deactivate licenses without involving support or customer service - even if you are offline.
  • Lots of minor fixes - see the Release Notes.


What's next?

Our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockies are hard at work on the next awesome DPA release - check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated November, 2019) post.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, you add it to our Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests


If the above features get you excited, get on the list for the next beta by filling out this survey.

Virtualization Manager 6.0 introduced integration with NPM and SAM, exposing VMan data in native Orion resources, allowing you to navigate from Application to VM to Host to Datastore/Cluster Shared Volume without leaving the Orion interface.  However, the integration did not allow you to leverage all of Orion goodness on the virtualization data - but the team has been hard at work to make that a reality. To try it out, please fill out this short survey, Enough of introductory chit-chat, lets get down to the fun stuff - features!!!




Baseline Thresholds for Virtual Machines

In the last release of Server & Application Monitor, we introduced baselines and we are happy to announce the feature has been expanded to Virtualization data as well.  When monitoring VMs (both Hyper-V and VMware), you'll be able to leverage your historical data to automatically build your warning and critical threshholds (note that host baselines will be available in future betas).  Simply click edit node and scroll down to the Alerting Thresholds and choose Override Orion General Thresholds and click Use Dynamic Baseline Data and it will automatically set your thresholds based on the analysis of historical data. .


If you want to see or adjust how your baseline is calculated, simply click the Latest Baseline Details to see more information about the calculation.




VManWizard9.pngSynchronization Wizard

To maximize the usefulness of the integration of Virtualization Manager with SAM and NPM, users need to keep the configuration of both products in sync or confusing data and linkage gaps occur  Keeping the configuration in sync is painful and tedious and many of you encountered this problem as your environment grew or changed.  Also, the product didn't notify you that there was a synchronization problem, so you would find you were missing the data right when you needed it.

The synchronization wizard takes the Virtualization Manager "datasources" (vCenter, standalone ESX, and Hyper-V Hosts) and credentials and maps them to SAM/NPM, displaying discrepancies and then allowing you to pick and choose which pieces of the virtual environment you want to synchronize.  Best of all, when the products are out of sync, you get a notification with a link to the synchronization wizard so you can quickly fix it.

You can get to the integration wizard two ways:

  • The integration wizard will automatically start when you first configure integration.
  • The Run Synchronization Wizard link (Settings > Virtualization Settings in Virtualization Manager Integration section)
  • When SAM or NPM detect a configuration difference between the two products, it will prompt you to run the notification wizard in the notification banner.



First step is turn on integration, go to Settings > Virtualization Settings > Setup Virtual Manager Integration.  You'll enter the IP address and port of the Virtualization Manager and admin credentials.  When you click submit, the linkage will be tested and any errors reported.  If the connection is good, the synchronization wizard starts.


If you already have the integration turned on, you can go to step through the wizard again.

Next, you can choose if you want to skip to the end and synchronize everything (Recommended) or pick and choose which datasources (VC, standalone ESX, and Hyper-V Hosts) and credentials to synchronize (Advanced).  Let's choose Advanced so we can see the intermediate steps.VManWizard2.png

Here we can select which datasources we want to synchronize.  If the datasource is already configured in both products, it is hidden by default.  Pick which ones you want to synchronize, press the green arrow button and then press Next.


Lets skip the next two screens (Synchronization Exceptions and Assign Pollers) for now.


The review screen allows you to review the proposed changes before they are implemented, including the additional node licenses needed.  You can uncheck any changes you don't want to make before pressing Next.


One of the great things about 6.1 is it will provide Orion with all the virtualization data directly, so your virtual environment is only polled once to supply Virtualization Manager and SAM/NPM with all their virtualization data.


Don't worry, this change is transparent to you - your data, alerts, customizations, GUI, etc. continue to work as they do today.

As the synchronization occurs, the wizard will report success or failure of each step. Once completed, any new nodes will be configured and licensed in SAM/NPM and data will start populating shortly.VManWizard7.png
And here is the notification you get when the product configurations are out of sync.VManWizard10.png



VManVNodeTree.pngSee All Your Virtual Machines (vNodes)

Virtualization Manager collects information about every VM in the environments you are monitoring.  In the current integration with SAM/NPM, you have to manage each VM (node) in order to see the data.  We've changed that so that you will see the data for every monitored VM regardless if they are Managed in SAM/NPM.  These will look like regular nodes but with just two subviews (Virtualization and Storage).  We've made it easy to add them as a node if you want to... but you are no longer required to.




More to come...

To try out the beta, please fill out this short survey, Stay tuned for more information on Orion based alerting, RBAC (Role Base Access Control), and more metrics!

Superseded by this page: EOC - What We Are Working On - Mar 2015

Please bookmark that page and follow it.

It is with great pleasure I introduce Virtualization Manager 6.0, fulfillment of the dream of deep integration with SAM (Server & Application Monitor) and NPM (Network Performance Monitor). This isn't simply embedding a view or two, but real contextual integration into Orion views and resources allowing you to navigate seamlessly from App to VM to Host to Datastore/CSV without ever leaving the familiar interface of SAM and NPM.  Is it perfect? - well no (at least, not yet), but it is a huge step forward and has been your most requested features on our Thwack ideation forum. But enough with the pleasantries, lets get down to business!




What's New In 6.0?

This release is a smörgåsbord of goodness, including large features and small enhancements, plus numerous bug fixes as well.  We will cover the most important and asked for features in this blog post.


Integration with SAM and NPM

The goal of integration was to expand the breadth of virtualization data in SAM & NPM, but maintain a seamless experience in the Orion GUI, with contextual linkages to Virtualization Manager when needed.  The focus for the data was around storage (datastores, local volumes, cluster shared volumes) and how it relates to other nodes - mainly hosts, VM's and applications.  Here is a quick video showing the kinds of issues you can solve with the integration:



To cover these new capabilities, let's list the different integration points (Views, Resources & Links) and their benefits:


New Views:

Let's start out with the 6 new views added to SAM and NPM that appear after you install/upgrade and turn on the integration. Under the virtualization tab, you will see the 5 new links (click on the image to brief video).  The datastore view is available via links from other views.




ViewDescriptionUse Cases and BenefitsImage

High level summary of storage capacity, usage and performance of all the storage in your virtual environment in a single view.  Resources Include:

  • Virtualization Storage Summary
  • Top 10 Datastores by Low Free Space
  • Predicted Datastore Space Depletion
  • Top 10  VMs by Storage Consumed
  • Predicted VM Disk Depletion
  • Top Datastore I/O Latency
  • Top Datastore IOPS
  • Top VM Latency
  • Top VM IOPS

From this view, you can see capacity and performance across the entire virtual environment, generally emphasizing where you have issues:

  • Identify the busiest Datastores, drill down to identify which VM and Application is causing the load.
  • Identify the busiest VM's, drill to the datastore and see what other VM's are affected.
  • Identify which Datastores and VM's are low on storage and which ones will run out first.
  • The Storage Summary (aka "the bragging screen") lets you know how big your virtual storage environment really is.

Wait - there's no "datastore" link in the Virtualization Tab!  Correct - you link to this view from other virtualization nodes (VC, DC, Cluster, Host, VM).  We use the name "datastore" to represent any storage managed by the host - i.e. datastores for VMware and local storage and cluster shared volumes (CSV) for Hyper-V.

The datastore view unifies three different areas:

  • Datastore capacity, usage and growth.
  • Datastore relationships with both applications and virtualization nodes (VC, DC, Cluster, Host, VM)
  • Datastore performance (IOPS and Latency) overlaid with the busiest VM's

Resources on this view include:

  • Virtualization Manager Tools - Links directly to Virtualization Manager features (see more below)
  • Virtualization Manager Alerts (see more below)
  • Datastore Info
  • Datastore Usage
  • Related Nodes - related clusters, hosts and VM's
  • Applications on this Datastore - which applications are running on this datastore, more info on this one later.
  • Top 10 VMs by Used Space
  • Top 10 VMs by Allocated Space
  • Top 10 VMs by Low Storage Space
  • Datastore IOPS and Latency Gauge
  • IOPS: This Datastore and its Top VMs
  • Latency: This Datastore and its Top VMs

This view combines all the key data onto one screen to show you contention between VM's at the datastore level, allowing you quickly identify which VM's are the source of the issue and what other VM's and applications are affected.

  • Identify contention on a datastore, drill down to the VM causing the load, investigate applications and services on that VM.
  • Identify over allocation from thin provisioning.
  • Find which VM's are using the most storage or about to run out of storage.
  • Quickly see what Applications and VM's are using this datastore, with status and drill down.
  • Visually map relationships between the datastore and other nodes, ranked by current status.
  • See additional alerts (from Virtualization Manager) indicating configuration and performance problems, drill down to see suggestive corrective actions.

Summary of actions you could take in your environment to optimize resource utilization, including removing VM's, decreasing resources assigned to under utilized VM's, and increasing resources to busy VM's. Resources include:

  • Top 10 VMs by Underallocated CPU
  • Top 10 VMs by Overallocated CPU
  • Top 10 VMs by Under allocated Memory
  • Top 10 VMs by Over allocated Memory
  • Top 10 VMs by Snapshot Disk Usage
  • VMs Idle for the Last Week
  • VMs Powered Off for More than 30 Days
  • Rightsizing: Once over and under allocation problems are shown, drill down to the VM and see what applications and loads are on the VM and then decide to increase or decrease resources to that VM.
  • Reclamation: Reclaim resources by decommissioning and removing idle VMs, removing VMs that are not running, and deleting old snapshots.
MapShows the Virtualization Manager Map within the SAM/NPM website.  The Map shows the relationship of virtualization objects and is ranked by object status.  Bonus: When you click on an object in the Map (Cluster, Host, Datastore or VM) it opens up the corresponding node in SAM or NPM.  .
  • Visually understand relationships in your virtual infrastructure and where issues are currently occurring.
  • Focus on an issue by altering the context on the Map to any node.
  • Quickly drill down to the SAM/NPM node view to diagnose application, OS and network issues.
ReportingShows the Virtualization Manager reports in the SAM/NPM website.Allows you to run reports and see the results in a single pane of glass.VMan60ViewReports.png
DashboardsShows the Virtualization Manager dashboards in the SAM/NPM website.  You are able to switch to any dashboard while staying within the Orion website. Most links in the dashboard drill down to the corresponding SAM or NPM node.

Allows you to leverage all the default and custom dashboards from Virtualization Manager without leaving the Orion website, but with the ability to drill down to nodes in SAM/NPM.

  • Identify overloaded nodes, drill down to the corresponding SAM/NPM node and review application, OS and networking data..

If this is enough to convince you, jump to the download and install instructions. But if you want to know more, read on.


New Sub-Views

Sub-Views appear in tabs on the left of the node you are viewing.  When you turn on the integration, a new "Storage" sub-view will appear for all Virtualization Nodes, including the Virtual Center, DataCenter, Cluster, Hosts and VM's.  In general, the Storage sub-view has the same resources as the Storage view detailed above but for just that slice of the virtual environment - i.e. if you drill down to a cluster, then click the Storage sub-view, you will see storage, datastores, hosts and VM's that belong to that cluster.


Sub-ViewDescriptionUse Cases and BenefitsImage

Storage Sub-View


  • Virtual Center
  • Data Center
  • Cluster
  • Host

Same view and resources as the Storage view, but data is filtered for the appropriate node (Virtual Center, Data Center, Cluster and Host).  Resources included:

For all virtualization Nodes:

  • Virtualization Storage Summary
  • Top 10 Datastores by Low Free Space
  • Predicted Datastore Space Depletion
  • Top 10  VMs by Storage Consumed
  • Predicted VM Disk Depletion
  • Top Datastore I/O Latency
  • Top Datastore IOPS
  • Top VM Latency
  • Top VM IOPS

The cluster and host add these Resources:

  • Virtualization Manager Tools
  • Virtualization Manager Alerts

This Host also adds this Resource:

  • Related Nodes

The Storage sub-view slices up your resources according to your virtual environment configuration, allowing you to focus your attention on the data in each area.

  • Identify the busiest Datastores, drill down to identify which VM and Application is causing the load.
  • Identify the busiest VM's, drill to the datastore and see what other VM's are affected.
  • Identify which Datastores and VM's are low on storage and which ones will run out first.
  • Cluster, Host & VM: Visually map relationships between the datastore and other nodes, ranked by current status.
  • Cluster, Host & VM: See additional alerts (from Virtualization Manager) indicating configuration and performance problems, drill down to see suggestive corrective actions

Storage Sub-View for:

  • VM

The Storage sub-view for the VM is different than the others, as it focuses on a single node.  Resources include:

  • Virtualization Manager Tools
  • Virtualization Manager Alerts
  • Storage Summary
  • Related Nodes
  • Component Volumes
  • Virtual Machine IOPS and Latency (gauges)
  • Virtual Machine IOPS - compared to Datastore
  • Virtual Machine Latency - compared to Datastore

For VM's, the Storage sub-view shows how this VM is running and compares that to the overall load of the datastore.

  • Identifies if the VM is loading the datastore or if the datastore is overloaded by other VM's.
  • Visually map relationships between the datastore and other nodes, ranked by current status.
  • See additional alerts (from Virtualization Manager) indicating configuration and performance problems, drill down to see suggestive corrective actions
  • Quickly see if there have been configuration changes to your VM's or if your VM has migrated to another Host


Much of the virtualization data is presented in native resources of SAM/NPM (one of the main goals of the integration), linking to the data of native nodes and applications. However, not all of the data available is shown via the integration. In some places, there are contextual links into Virtualization Manager features (Performance Analyzer, Maps, Alerts, etc.), allowing you to launch a feature while maintaining the context from SAM/NPM.  This allows you to smoothly diagnose issues while traversing from SAM/NPM to Virtualization Manager (and back again).


Resource or LinkDescriptionUse Cases and BenefitsVideo (No Sound)
Resource: Applications on this Datastore

When you are in the datastore view, it shows the applications related to this datastore, along with their status and their associated nodes.

Appears for Datastores.

If you are having a problem with a datastore in your virtual environment, you can instantly see what applications could be affected.  You can then drill down to the application .

Link: View Performance

Allows you to contextually launch Performance Analyzer in Virtualization Manager and then pick any metric and chart, all within the SAM/NPM website.

Appears for Clusters, Hosts, and VM's.

Contextually drill down to any metric in Virtualization Manager, not just the ones shown in Orion, allowing you further diagnose performance issues.VMan6ViewPerf.gif

Link: Show in Maps

Allows you to contextually launch Maps in Virtualization Manager and see all related nodes and their status.

See a visual representation of all the nodes related to the current node, ranked by their status.  Easily drill down to any node to go to the SAM/NPM view.VMan6Map.proj.gif

Link: Diff Recent Config Changes

Allows you to contextually launch the "Virtual DNA" feature for hosts and VM's in Virtualization Manager to view configuration or environmental changes of that node over the past week. 

Appears for Hosts and VM's.

Quickly see if there have been configuration changes to your VM's or if your VM has migrated to another Host.VMan6VirtualDNA.gif
Resource: Virtualization Manager AlertsShows you the current alerts for that node with the ability to drill down to the alert in Virtualization Manager.

Appears for Clusters, Hosts, Datastores, and VM's.

See in-depth virtualization alerts not available in SAM or NPM, drill down to get more details and suggestions.VMan6Alerts.gif
Link: Datastore to Storage Manager TargetIf you have Storage Manager and turn on the integration with Virtualization Manager, the link from Datastore to the Target View (LUN/Share) will also be propagated to SAM and NPM.When diagnosing a problem with your application, after drilling down to storage level in the virtualization layer, you can drill down to the Array level, jumping directly to the LUN your application is running.VMan6STMLink.gif


Hyper-V Storage (Yes, Cluster Shared Volumes!)

VMan6CSV.pngWe've improved our Hyper-V coverage by going deep on storage, making local and CSV (cluster shared volumes) equivalent to a datastore object in Virtualization Manager... what does that mean?  It means everything that works in Virtualization Manager on datastores (trends, capacity planning, search, alerts, link to Storage Manager, etc.) now works on Hyper-V local storage and CSVs!  Yes, including the integration detailed above.


Hyper-V storage data includes:

  • Storage capacity, usage and growth
  • Relationships to Clusters, Hosts and VMs
  • Performance including IOPS, Latency and More
  • Snapshots
  • LUN information


Note: We've kept the "datastore" nomenclature to represent all storage presented to hosts (at least for now).


GUI and Speed Improvements

As this post gets longer, I get slower, but Virtualization Manager 6.0 would still be going strong.  We made numerous improvements to increase the speed of data collection, dashboards, maps and capacity planning - "snappier" is what one of our RC testers called it.  Also, we completed many long requested GUI improvements... here are a few:


FeatureDescriptionUse Cases and BenefitsVideo (No Sound)
Resize WidgetsResize widgets to 1x1, 1x2, 2x1, and 2x2.  Dashboards automatically adjust to make the widgets fill up the page properly.

Users can customize dashboards to fit their environment.

  • Enlarge the Map widget to see more of the environment
  • Enlarge key performance metrics to see more detail in charts.

Improved Charting

Change the size of the legend, easier to select time ranges, improved selection of a time range on the chart, and made the time slider work more like SAM/NPM.

Easier to use charting - bonus, it works more like SAM/NPM.VMan6Chart.gif

Appliance Health and Status

Quickly see the health and status and link to the appliance login.

Quickly understand if your Virtualization Manager appliance is healthy.VMan6Status.gif


How do I turn on the integration?

To see the integration in your environment, you need to install two pieces.

  • First, for Virtualization Manager:
    • If you own Virtualization Manager, download the upgrade ISO from the customer portal and upgrade to 6.0.
    • If you don't own Virtualization Manager, download the appliance from the SolarWinds website and install it in your VMware or Hyper-V environment.
  • Second, you need to update your production SAM or NPM server with the IVIM package included in the zip file you downloaded above (upgrade or fresh install).

Once both servers are installed/upgraded, then you have to "turn on" integration. All downloads of Virtualization Manager installs and upgrades include the update installer for SAM/NPM too.


VMan6Setup.pngHere is a brief overview of the steps to install and configure, more detailed steps can be found in the Admin Guide.

  1. Download Virtualization Manager 6.0:
    1. Upgrades: Get the upgrade ISO from the customer portal (the full install is available too).
    2. Try It: If you want to try it, download it from the SolarWinds website.  Installation of the appliance is super easy - watch our video Virtualization Manager Installation on VMware®.
  2. Make a snapshot/backup of your servers.  Always important to have a backup!
  3. Install/Upgrade Virtualization Manager.
  4. If you are using SAM 6.0 or NPM 10.6, there is nothing additional to install on Orion.
    For SAM (5.5) or NPM (10.5), upgrade Orion with the IVIM package included in your zip.  This upgrades the IVIM module to 1.7.
  5. In SAM/NPM, go to Settings > Settings section > Virtualization Settings.
  6. Go to Setup Virtualization Manager integration
  7. Enter the required information, press Submit.
  8. If everything works, you should see a green check mark appear.
  9. Click on the Virtualization tab, you should see 5 new links.  Congrats, you are done!




The End of the Beginning

This is the first step of integrating Virtualization Manager with SAM, NPM and other Orion-based products.  We'd love to hear what you think about the integration and the new features in Virtualization Manager 6.0 - and, of course, what you want in the future.  Check out our What We Are Working On post and the idea forum for Virtualization Manager.



I am very excited to announce the beginning of the Virtualization Manager 6.0 beta (sign up for the beta).  Many of you have been voting for your favorite feature on the Virtualization Manager Feature Requests forum, but no feature is requested more than Integration with SAM and NPM. Well, you are finally going to get your wish!  Before we dive into the details of the integration, lets review all the goodness that is coming with 6.0.

  • Integration with Orion - we will talk about this feature more below.
  • Resizable widgets - one size does not fit all, and now you can change the size of your widgets.  Check out the details in the feature request Add Ability to Adjust Widget Grid for all the details and some cool screenshots.
  • Performance Analyzer (charting) - we have made numerous improvements like better date selections, allowing you to adjust the size of the legend, and improving the segmentation of data.  Be watching the feature request Change the format of the legend for charts for more details.

  • Capacity Planner - speed improvements and bug fixes
  • Speed and Security - we made adjustments to improve the speed of collection and the GUI.  A few of these sneaked into the recent 5.1.1 service release, but most arrive in this release.  We have also updated the core components of the appliance to address known issues.


Sign Up: Don't forget to sign up for the beta at Virtualization Manager 6.0 Beta Participation Survey.


Integration - what does it mean?

Before we dig into the features and screenshots, a couple of notes on what integration means:

  • Seeing it in Orion - we aren't just pasting some Virtualization Manager widgets into Orion views, were actually exposing the data in Orion in native resources.
  • Keeping it in Orion - we wanted to keep you navigating in Orion naturally, moving from Application to VM to Host to Datastore and back again without leaving the Orion interface - unless you want to.
  • Linking it to Virtualization Manager - we do want to expose the Virtualization Manager interface, but contextually.  When you see a link to Virtualization Manager, it will be in context of the Orion object you are viewing, and it will be clear that it links to Virtualization Manager.

With that out of the way, let's get to the cool stuff.

What can you do with all this Goodness?

This is a lot of new data we are exposing in Orion but how will you be able to leverage it?  Here are a few new and enhanced ways you can solve problems:

  • Enhanced:  Why is my application slow? 
    My application is running slow, I drill down to the VM, CPU and Memory look good... storage feels slow, but I don't see anything suspicious on the VM.  Click the storage subview and drill down to the Datastore View.  From here,I see another VM is using all the IO on the datastore, click to that VM and see the applications associated with it, diagnose the issue from there.
  • New: Which of my datastores are busiest?
    My hypervisor is suppose to load balance everything, but I constantly run into storage performance issues.  With the new Top 10 lists, you can find out quickly which datastores are busiest and what VMs are causing the problem.
  • New: Do I have any CPU/memory/storage capacity I can reclaim?
    With the sprawl view, Orion will give you recommendations on modifying or deleting VMs to reclaim precious CPU, Memory and Storage resources - but before you do, you can drill down to the application view to make sure there is nothing important running on that server.

List of New Views

There are many new views, subviews and resources - here is a quick list.

  • Added to the Virtualization Tab
    • Storage - summary of all virtualization storage, both capacity and performance.
    • Sprawl - where you could reclaim computer, memory and
    • Map - show Virtualization Manager map embedded within Orion
    • Reporting - show Virtualization Manager reports within Orion
  • Added to the some virtual object views in Orion (Cluster, Host and Virtual Machine)
    • Storage Subview - summarizing the storage related to that virtual object, both capacity and performance
  • Datastore View: Summary of the capacity and performance of a datastore

I'll focus on the datastore view next.



Datastore View Details

The datastore view focuses on a single datastore, presenting both capacity, utilization and performance, as well as the other virtualization objects and applications related to this datastore. Yes, applications too.


List of Resources:

  • Virtualization Manager Tools:  Links to Virtualization Manager from this object
  • Virtualization Manager Alerts: All Virtualization Manager alerts for this object
  • Datastore Info: Status, type and location of the datastore
  • Datastore usage: Capacity, utilization, over provisioning and predicted depletion date
  • Related nodes: All the nodes in Orion related to this datastore.
  • Applications on this Datastore: Show the applications running on the VM's on this datastore.
  • Top Ten VMs by Used Space: What VM's are consuming the most space
  • Top Ten VMs by Allocated Space: What VM have been allocated the most space.
  • Top Ten VMs by Low Storage Space: What VM's are almost out of space.
  • Datastore IOPS and Latency gauges: Last value collected for IOPS and Latency
  • IOPS (Datastore & Top VMs): Chart of datastore IOPS over time overlaid with IOPS from the busiest VMs.
  • Latency (Datastore & Top VMs): Chart of datastore latency over time overload with the latency of the busiest VMs.


More to Come

We couldn't list everything or cover all the aspects in a single post.  There will be lots of questions about core features (alerts, reports, configuration, etc.) that we will cover in future posts, but please ask questions here or contact me directly if you want to have a more in depth conversation about integration. 

Disclaimer:  The screenshots presented here are mockups and are not identical to the final deliverable.





To receive updates on the Virtualization Manager  roadmap, JOIN thwack and BOOKMARK this page.

We are currently working on Virtualization Manager 6.1 and beyond.  Some of the items we hope to deliver:


Disclaimer:  Comments given in this forum should not be interpreted as a commitment that SolarWinds will deliver any specific feature in any particular time frame. All discussions of future plans or product roadmaps are base on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.


If you don't see what you are looking for here, you can always add your idea(s) and vote on features in our Virtualization Manager Feature Requests forum.

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