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Product Blog

72 Posts authored by: bshopp Employee

We are nearing the Release Candidate stage of Toolset 10.9, so I wanted to share with folks some of the things we have done in this release, but also solicit customers who have Engineers Toolset with active maintenance for their help in testing out some new things we added.


Our Roots

Toolset is how SolarWinds started and over the years, we have added more and more tools to where we now have over 50 tools engineers can use in troubleshooting issues.  While this is great, unless I know exactly what I need and where it is, sometimes finding the right tool to troubleshoot a problem can be difficult. 


Launch Pad – the Next Generation

With this in mind we have expanded on a concept we introduced a while back called the Launch Pad, but this one is on steroids.  Some things you will notice right off the bat are a Google-like search to help guide you in finding the right tool to solve the problem you are currently working.

Second is organization.  As you see on the left hand side with the folders, these are customizable and you can even create your own folders and organize which tools are in them in a way that makes sense to you and how you work.

This leads me to the third and one of my favorite things about the new Launch Pad - the ability to import other tools.  Ex. If you own DameWare MRC or use PuTTY or any other tool outside of toolset, you can import or link them to the Launch Pad, which includes entering a description (which is then exposed to the search described above) and adding them to the folders. 

The new Launch Pad should be your one stop shop for all your tools based troubleshooting needs, whether the tool comes from SolarWinds, is Open Source, or you purchased from another vendor.

 

Toolset 10.9.png

 

But wait, there’s more…..

For many years, many of the older tools only worked with Cisco. Which back in the late 90’s made sense, but this is a different world today.  With this being said, we have expanded device support for many of our tools to other Cisco OS’s but also Juniper, which was the most highly requested vendor.  Going forward we plan to add more based on your demand.


Great, how can I try this out?

This is where my request for assistance comes in.  As we approach our release candidate phase, we would love feedback on the new  Launch Pad, but also those of you out there who have Juniper or Cisco Nexus gear, we would love to have you participate in the RC and give us feedback and ensure the broadest support against all the various OS versions and models these vendors offer.  While we have a nice lab, we cannot own every device Juniper releases as much as I would love to have them all. Below is a list of the tools by vendor we added support for.


Juniper Support (JunOS)

  • Interface Monitors
  • CPU monitoring
  • Memory Monitoring
  • Router CPU Load
  • Advanced CPU Load
  • Netflow Realtime
  • Switch Port Mapper
  • IP Network Browser
  • Neighbor Map

 

Nexus Support

  • Interface Monitors
  • CPU Monitors
  • Memory Monitors
  • Router CPU Load
  • Advanced CPU Load


These are many of the main things coming in Toolset 10.9 besides bug fixes.  If you are a customer on active maintenance and are interested in installing the RC when we release it, please let me know by signing up here.

At SolarWinds, we believe one of our differentiators vs. other companies out there is the fact we have such a strong user community, and we listen to that community.  With that being said, I am excited to talk about an acquisition we just announced, Web Help Desk.

 

Personally, I am very excited about this acquisition.  A Help Desk offering has been requested by our customers for a while now and we finally found the right product that represents what we expect in a SolarWinds product.  There are tons of help desks out there that we could have acquired, but what makes me excited about this one is how it started and why it was built in the first place.

 

For those of you who have been around SolarWinds long enough, you know that we started with Engineer’s Toolset, which was written by our founder when he was a network consultant to help make his own job easier.  He shared it with other engineers where he worked, and they loved it too.  They told him he should sell his tools and SolarWinds was born.

 

The story with Web Help Desk is very similar.  The founder worked for a K-12 school district and was looking for a IT Help Desk product, but all of the products available were too hard to use, set up or manage, or were way too expensive, or were offered as software-as-a-service, for which he would have to pay recurring annual costs, basically re-buying the product each year, which was a problem for a school with a limited IT budget.  So what did he do?  He decided to build one himself and then decided to start selling it as well, creating Web Help Desk.

 

Web Help Desk fits perfectly into the SolarWinds family of products.  I highly encourage you to go and check it out.  The two pages I recommend are:

  1. Feature Page - This page walks through all the features that are available in the product.  This is not only a ticketing system, but also has features for IT Asset Management, Knowledge Base, Change Approval/Change Management and much, much more.
  2. Online Demo & Download Page - where you can check out an online demo and if you wish, download a fully-featured 30 day evaluation, which you can get to from here.

 

Here is a screenshot from the online demo of the dashboard, which is fully customizable.  Tell us what you think, we would love to hear your feedback.

which you can get to from here.


Dashboard.png

The following table provides an overview of the SolarWinds products that are certified and under evaluation.  Our current certifications are listed here on the NIAP website.  More information on products under evaluation can be found here.

 

ProductCertifiedIn Eval
Network Performance Monitor (NPM)10.1.310.6
Network Traffic Analyzer (NTA)3.73.11
Network Configuration Manager (NCM)6.17.2
IP Address Manager (IPAM)1.74.0
VoIP and Network Quality Manager (formerly IPSLA)3.54.1
User Device Tracker (UDT)3.0.1
Enterprise Operations Console (EOC)1.31.4.1
SAM (formerly APM)4.06.0
Web Performance Monitor (formerly SEUM)2.0.1
Fail Over Engine (FoE)6.7
Log and Event Manager (LEM)5.7

YOU'RE INVITED TO A FREE WEBCAST

TechEd 2012 – What happened when you weren’t looking.

 

If you weren’t able to clone yourself at Microsoft TechEd 2012 to see everything you wanted or you were not able to be at this content packed event, we have you covered!  Join myITforum’s Rod Trent for the rundown of key messages, monumental product releases and critical technology components that are sure to impact your professional life for the next year.

 

Presenters: Rod Trent and Lawrence Garvin

 

WHEN: June 21st,  2012

TIME: 11:00 am CDT

REGISTER:       https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/194532184

It hasn’t been very long since EminentWare joined the SolarWinds family and we are already working on the next release of SolarWinds Patch Manager.  You can get a full run down of all the features we are working on for this release here, but the one that I wanted to focus on today is Microsoft SCCM 2012 (also known as ConfigMgr 2012), which just went GA in April at Microsoft Management Summit. Our dev team is working hard at adding SCCM 2012 support (Patch Manager already integrates with SCCM 2007) and below are a few screenshots which show Patch Manager snapped into the SCCM 2012 Console.


If you are an existing customer of Patch Manager and are interested in signing up for the beta, you can do so here.


sccm 2012 3rd party updates.PNG

List of all available third party vendor catalogs from Patch Manager collapsed in the 2012 console

sccm 2012 admini update servers.PNG

sccm 2012 catalogs.PNG

The details of a given third party patch from Patch Manager in the SCCM 2012 console


sccm 2012 synchronization.PNG
Status of Patch Manager third party patches deployed to end points managed in the SCCM 2012 console

THIS POST CONTENT IS NOW UPDATED IN THIS KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE.

FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE POSTING YOUR COMMENTS IN THIS PAGE

Alerting is nothing new, so why consider a dedicated product on this now?  This is a fair question, but IT has changed a lot as well.  No longer are the days of looking into the phone book for a service or company, having to mail in or go to the drive thru at your bank to deposit checks, go to a store to buy something etc.  Heck, I still get phone books at my house and every time I wonder why.  I don’t even have a land line any more at my house; I just use my cell phone always.  Also users are not just located in an office anymore.   There are remote workers from home and smart phones and tablets have continued to push this to make the past walls of work disappear.  No matter where I am, I always have email; can VPN and remote control systems etc.

 

My point is that the way IT is perceived and plays a role in the success or failure of a business has drastically transformed.  As businesses have become more reliant on IT in order to function and run, the complexity of problems and the number of systems in order to monitor and manage this infrastructure has grown as well.  Downtime is no longer considered an inconvenience; it now costs the business money by the minute.

 

As SolarWinds has grown, both in terms of customers, as well as number of products we offer, I have had the ability to talk to lots of customers.  Some of these customers solely use our products, but as much as I would like to think we are the only software IT folks use, alas I know that this is not true.  IT teams work with products from multiple vendors to solve different needs and use cases in their environments and each system has its own alerting capability to let folks know when an issue arises.

 

In the past a pager would get passed around to who ever was on call that evening or weekend.  An alert would fire and they would get a page.  Get up, go VPN in, and look at what the issue is.  Heck, some folks may still do this, if you can find a pager for sale, anywhere anymore J

 

What I have heard over and over is, “what I need is a system that can centralize all of these alerts that I get into a common dashboard, that I can access from anywhere, apply rules to them, such as who is on call, and notify them and setup escalation policies if they don’t respond in a certain period of time.”  We performed our own survey here at SolarWinds beginning in August 2011.  We surveyed our customer and prospective base while offering them a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card[1].  We believe that the respondents to our survey were clear about their opinions on this topic.

 
      
  • 80% of folks had some sort of on-call policy in place
  •    
  • 72% said they managed this on-call schedule in a spreadsheet and 20% just admitted they did not do it very well
  •    
  • 61% had an escalation policy if the first person did not respond in a certain period of time and for 84% of those customers, the escalation process was manual
 

We believe these are some pretty compelling stats, which is why we intend to build and introduce a product in order to handle this.  Whether you use our products or not, this is a common IT problem and we believe this solution should be able to support any IT Management system, which supports alerting and can send an email out when an alert occurs.

 

Tell us what you think, would love to hear your feedback.  If you are interested in being a part of the UI wireframe reviews or try out the beta, etc. please let me know.

 

PLEASE NOTE:  This is NOT a commitment that this product may not evolve into something else or that we will deliver this product to market. 

 

[1] 110 customers or prospective customers responded to the survey. Not all respondents answered each of the questions.

During this expert customer training session, we will discuss and demonstrate how to get the most out of SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset.  Here’s your chance to see how it works, get some technical pointers and to ask questions from the best!  Join hosts Josh Stephens, Head Geek at SolarWinds and Brandon Shopp, Director of Product Management as they take a deep dive into the power and technical aspects of Engineer’s Toolset.

 
      
  • Workspace Studio
  •    
  • Real Time NetFlow
  •    
  • Switch Port Mapper
  •    
  • Toolset/Orion Integration Widget
  •    
  • NPM/NCM
  •    
  • Config Tools
 

Register to attend this live event:

 

March 8, 2012 @ 11:00 (US Central Time)

 

 

 

FAQ:

 

 

 

How much is the webcast?   
It’s free.

 

Will this webcast be recorded?     
Yes, it will be recorded. To all those who register, we’ll email out a link to the slide deck and to the recorded version.

 

 

 

Can I forward this to my co-workers?     
Yes, forward it on to as many as you’d like.

 

 

 

If I can’t make this webcast, will there be others in the future?    
Yes, we’ll be sending out announcements for future sessions as they’re scheduled.

I am pleased to announce the General Availability of our latest free tool, the SolarWinds Event Log Consolidator. This latest free tool allows folks to centralize Windows Event Logs from up to 5 servers into one centralized console instead of having to remote desktop into each server or use native tools to accomplish this.  With SolarWinds Event Log Consolidator, IT Engineers can do the following:

 
      
  • Remotely gather Windows Event Logs from up to 5 server
  •    
  • View Event Log information graphically over time as well as the ability to drill into and read the contents of specific event log  messages
  •    
  • Define alert pop-ups in the OS system tray, as well as the ability to silence events from ever showing in the tool that the user does not care about
  •    
  • Filter base on time range, server or user defined custom filters
  •    
  • Export event log details to .csv file
 

Below is a video walking through this free tool, as well as a screenshot.

 

To read more about this free tool and to download, please visit here.

 

Let me know what you think and what other free tools you would like to see us do in the future.

 
 

ELC

Application and systems are changing at a break-neck pace. While the legacy management technologies are still valuable, there are entirely new ways to manage apps and systems as well. Join Brandon Shopp, Director Product Management to discuss The Evolution of Application and Systems Management.  We will cover:

 

Top-to-Bottom Monitoring

 
      
  • Understanding Application Components
  •    
  • Machine Level Systems Monitoring
  •    
  • Process and Service Monitoring
 

End-to-End Monitoring

 
      
  • Transaction Monitoring
  •    
  • Leveraging new technologies to monitor global application monitoring
 

 

 

Join us for this educational webcast and walk away with the guidance and know-how to keep up with the systems and application management revolution!

 

Register to attend one of three live events:

 

North America/Latin America

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012  

 

11:00 a.m. CST          

 

REGISTER NOW

 

Asia Pacific (APAC)

 

Thursday, 01 March 2012      

 

11:00 a.m. SGT          

 

REGISTER NOW

 

Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA)

 

Thursday, 01 March 2012                  

 

14:00 GMT    

 

REGISTER NOW

If you are a Sysadmin or an IT “jack of all trades” admin, then there is a good chance you are already familiar with DameWare.  However, for those not familiar with DameWare, I am going to spend time talking about the products and what they do.  I will apologize up front, this post is less technical than we traditionally do, but I wanted to make sure I let folks know about this change.

 

First off, I am pretty darn excited about adding these products to the family.   For those familiar with the history of SolarWinds, we got our start with Engineers Toolset as the main product aimed at providing network tools for network engineers and many of our other products have graduated from here, including NPM.  DameWare is like Engineers Toolset, but for folks performing Systems Administration management and tasks.

 

DameWare provide two primary products:

 
      
  1. NT Utilities
  2.    
  3. Mini Remote Control
 

Let’s first dig into NT Utilities in more depth.  The best way I can describe this is that NT Utilities is like a Swiss army knife for managing anything related to managing your systems. 

 
      
  • Remotely administer Windows servers and workstations
  •    
  • Manage Active Directory, users and groups, servers, and printers
  •    
  • A complete administration solution for Windows administrators that covers virtually any problems in administering Windows Server, Active Directory, or Exchange
  •    
  • Inventory and manage domains, workstations, disk drives, event logs, local groups, global groups, domain members, open files, printers, processes, properties, registry, services, sessions, shares, software, terminal services, users and many more
 

image

 

The other cool product is called MRC or Mini Remote Control, but don’t let the mini in the name fool you, this thing is packed with functionality.  You can find a list of the key features here, but in the conversations I have had with folks so far they ask me why this over using built in RDP?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
         

Mini Remote Control

      
        

MSFT RDP

      
Multi-monitor support        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports more than one active connection on WinXP        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports more than two active connections on Server 2000/2003        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Built in file transfer        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports Screen Sharing        

Yes

      
        

No

      
NAT Pass thru Support        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Audio Support        

Yes

      
        

Yes

      
Seamless Window        

Yes

      
        

Only Win2k8

      
IPv6 Support        

Yes

      
        

Yes

      
 

Vista2-P3

 

A next natural question is how do I use these products in conjunction with Orion, specifically APM?  There are tons of use cases, but let’s walk through a couple basic ones.

 
      
  1. You get an alert from Orion that a service is consuming a large chunk of memory on the server and you want to bounce or restart the service.  So instead of remoting into the server, you can quickly stop and start the service in NT Utilities.
  2.    
  3. An application is having connectivity problems to a database and thus the counters are not showing properly in Orion, you can remotely perform troubleshooting, including basic functions like executing ping or traceroute from that machine having connection issues
 

SysAdmins don’t just manage server most of the time, this also includes end user support.  I remember in my days of doing end user support, I would get a page in the middle of the night from a user and I didn’t have tools like this.  How many of you have situations like this occur?

 
      
  • Application X is broken, fix it.  99% of the time, it was a problem between the keyboard and the chair or pilot error, but I would have to get out of bed, get dressed and head upstairs only to find they had cap locks on or something else really basic they were doing wrong
  •    
  • I can’t print, the printer is broken.  I would look at the print spool and some crazy person was trying to print a 200 page document from the internet with tons of images and it was taking forever for the printer spool to process and prep
 

The list goes on and on.  With DameWare, I would have been able to remote connect to their machines and do things like screen sharing and have them show me exactly what they were doing and the problem without leaving my cabin.

   

You can read more about the products and download a fully featured evaluation from www.dameware.com.  Love to have folks who own it, give me feedback on what they would like to see going forward and same to those of you who don’t own it, try it out and let me know what you think.

bshopp

An IPv6 State of Affairs

Posted by bshopp Employee Nov 10, 2011

THIS POST CONTENT IS NOW UPDATED IN THIS KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE.

FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE POSTING YOUR COMMENTS IN THIS PAGE

Over the past 18 months we have expanded our product portfolio with products like Virtualization Manager and Storage Manager.  As we make these expansions, a logical question our customers have asked us is “how do I place everything into a single console or pane of glass?”  Within SolarWinds Orion, this can be accomplished very simply by following the below steps.

 

  1. Within the SolarWinds Orion web console go to Settings –> Manage Views.
  2. Select Network Summary Home –> edit and under Miscellaneous select Custom HTML and submit.     
    image
  3. Within the Virtualization Manager web console, navigate to the widget you want to embed and right click on the header –> select Get Widget URL as highlighted below.     
    image
  4. In the resulting pop-up windows, copy and paste the text from the second dialog.     
    image
  5. Go back to the Orion Orion web console and for the newly added custom HTML resource, click edit and paste the text you just copied above and rename the title of the resource appropriately.  In this example I am embedding the Virtualization Manager Alerts widget.     
    image
  6. Once copied, click submit and voila, there you go.  Virtualization Manager data right next to your Orion data within a single console     
    image

 

Here is another example showing Top N Clusters from Virtualization Manager.

 

image

 

 

If you want to do the same for SolarWinds Storage Manager or Profiler, Brian did a blog (Adding Profiler Views to Orion) previously on this that walks you through in detail on how to do this for older Profiler customer (pre-5.0).  With the release of Storage Manager 5.0, the team created an integration plug-in for the Orion web console.  This works similar as to how the NCM integration plug-in does today.  If you want to read more on how to enable the plug-in integration, see here, but you can also view a screenshot of how this looks below.

 

image

 

If you own Profiler or if you have Storage Manager and prefer another method, I put together a brief example here on how to wrap a Profiler/Storage Manager view in an iframe.  You follow the same steps I walked you through above for SolarWinds Virtualization Manager, except in Step 5 you insert an iframe instead.  In Brian’s link, he provides you other URL’s to embed other Storage Manager views.

 

<html>   
<iframe src="http://10.199.1.81/ExternalAuthenticationServlet?loginName=user&password=password&page=0" width="750" height="350"   
frameborder="0" scrolling="auto"></iframe></html>

 

image

 

It’s as simple as that to create a single pane of glass which shows all your Network, Systems/Apps, Virtualization and Storage data all in one place.  If you own EOC or the Enterprise Operations Console, you can do the same thing as described above in Orion.

In the spirit of getting folks more excited about the next version of NPM (10.2), which is currently in Beta, I wanted to do another blog post on one of the new features coming.  We have invited folks in a couple previous posts (you can sign up here), along with highlighting some other features Orion NPM vNext Sign Up for Beta 3 & tell us what you think of improved Juniper support and many other features and improvements and Orion NPM vNext Sign Up for Beta & – Tell us what you think on the feature Multi-CPU Polling.

Over the past several months there has been tons of press over the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the need to move to IPv6 as soon as possible.  With this, there is plenty of debate out there as to how much truth there is in terms of the severity of this problem and I am sure we all have our respective opinions, but at some point in the future IPv6 will find its way into most networks out there.  Where we see heavy adoption and usage today of IPv6 are with Service Providers, Federal Governments and in the Asia Pacific region of the world.  With this in mind, we have been working across our different products to ensure they are ready for when folks move to IPv6.  Today, SolarWinds NCM, IPAM and Engineers Toolset have some level of support for IPv6 and now we are adding SolarWinds NPM to this list of products.

Just as you manage IPv4 devices today, you will be able to do the same for IPv6 devices.  Whether you are running them in a dual stack setup (which is the most common we hear about), or pure IPv6 mode; NPM will be able to handle it. 

  • Within NPM you will be able to add IPv6 devices manually or using the bulk upload feature within Network Sonar. 
  • Once managed in NPM, it will be presented like any other node in Orion.  As illustrated in the first couple screenshots below, you can group by IP Version now to distinguish v4 vs. v6 devices.
    image
  • As highlighted in this next screenshot, you as the user should see no different experience from a data collection or user flow standpoint.  Only noticeable differences are in the method we communicate to the devices.
    image
  • This will be exposed in reporting, searching, Syslog, SNMP Traps and other native features existing in NPM today.  You can reference the third screenshot as an example of search with IPv6.
  • image

Let us know what you think.  Are you moving to IPv6 yet?  When do you plan to start the transition?

Title: Creating High Availability and Fault Tolerant Environments using SolarWinds Failover Engine

 

Date/Time: Thursday August 18th, 2011 @ 11:00 AM CDT      

 

GTW link: NA Only- https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/367301032

 

Description:

 

Join us on August 18 when we discuss the SolarWinds Orion Failover Engine and how it can help you maintain 100% Orion IT management coverage through a variety of outage situations. During the session we will discuss:

 
      
  • Deployments for high availability and disaster recovery
  •    
  • Server and application protection capabilities
  •    
  • Best practices for protecting Orion services
  •    
  • Protecting Orion modules and additional pollers
  •    
  • Best practices for SQL redundancy

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