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67 Posts authored by: bshopp Employee

I am going to go in a bit of a different direction with this post, however, I am hoping you will enjoy it to learn about some new, terrific tech bloggers and see some cool pictures if computer history.  Besides going to shows like Cisco Live or VMWorld, I don’t get much opportunity to travel somewhere to meet face to face with other network engineers.  I talk with many of your on the phone and we converse via thwack, however, I was given the opportunity to come and present to a great set of industry tech bloggers here in San Jose and talk to them about SolarWinds and networking in general.


The event is called Tech Field Day and consists of a bunch of companies like us coming to talk with these guys and gals and both educating them further on what you do, but also get their raw, open and honest feedback.  Some of the guys and gals you may already know from reading their blogs or subscribing to their twitter feed.


Ivan gives a great write up of his initial impressions of the event in general, but here is what he had to say about us:


Solarwinds did a great job adapting to our knowledge level (quote from their head geek: “It’s so nice to finally get such an audience”). It looks like they’re slowly evolving their element manager product into the right directions (configuration management and auditing, automated provisioning, large-scale deployments, distributed system ...).


You can also watch a video from our Head Geek Josh talking about the event and his thoughts here.


I had some terrific conversations with Terry and Ivan regarding virtual switches and the challenges these pose to network engineers.  It resides on an ESX server and is setup and installed automatically by the ESX install.  How does the network engineer gain visibility into this switch?  Whose problem is it now?


I was able to further validate some of our thoughts here at SolarWinds regarding some ideas we have, but also got some new ones. 


Plus I was able to be graced by greatness.  Without naming names, I met the guy who came up with up arrow key in Cisco IOS.  I think we all owe him a great deal of gratitude.  I am sure most know what this does, but just in case, by pressing the up arrow on your keyboard in your telnet/ssh session it will recall your last sets of commands so you don’t have to retype them again.  A true time saver!! 


At the end of the day we went to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and got to see some old school computer and networking history, including the Babbage Engine, which they even fired up and showed us how it worked.  For those not familiar with this awesome machine, you can read more here and see a picture of it below.


2010-09-16 19.04.16


It may be hard to see the vendor icon on this next picture, but for those who have seen the original Cisco logo, this is one of the first Cisco boxes, the AGS Router


 2010-09-16 20.00.47


Some of you folks who have been in the networking game for awhile may recognize this next picture.  This is an Ethernet cable with two Isolan transceivers.


2010-09-16 20.01.27


This picture may not look all that impressive at first glance, but look at my shadow in the platter to help give you a better indicator of the size of it.  There are actually two hard drive platters here to help give you an understanding of how far we have come.  The large one is 1974 10MB ILLIAC IV platter and in the middle is a 1GB IBM microdrive.  To give you a better mental visual of the difference from the two, the 1GB IBM microdrive is smaller by a factor of roughly 40,000.


  2010-09-16 20.02.13    


I wanted to share this experience with everyone cause pretty awesome to how far we have come technologically.  It is easy to forget about the origins of computing and networking and take for granted wireless networks and USB drives with gig’s of data etc.

Alright, so I don’t mean afraid of the dark meaning no lights on in the room.  What I do mean is being in the dark if the server Orion is on fails due to a hard drive or OS failure (for example) and you have no visibility into monitoring your network.


What do you do if this happens?  Sleep sound, my dear friend, we’ve got your covered with the new SolarWinds Orion Failover Engine.  The Failover Engine -- or FoE for short -- will monitor and protect Orion, including all of the installed modules, additional pollers and even EOC if you have this.  As you can see in the below marketecture graphic, you can monitor and protect all of your Orion machines.




Let me take you on a feature tour of FoE.  The FoE client, which can be run from the Orion server or loaded on your desktop, allows you to configure failover settings and monitor the current status of all your FoE installations.


 FoE Summary


The FoE monitors all of the SolarWinds Orion services, including the IIS web server on both the primary and secondary Orion servers.  Based on your preferences for each service you can define the behavior of what happens if a service stops/fails.  This allows you to define some self-healing behavior into the FoE instead of just doing a flat out failover.  For example, say the Orion Information Service stops.  Since this is the first time, let’s go ahead and re-start the service.  Hmm, nope that didn’t work, it won’t start and stopped again, maybe there is a dependency on one of the Orion services, so let’s go ahead and re-start the entire Orion application.  OK, the service didn’t start that time either, something must be wrong, lets go ahead and initiate a failover to the secondary server.


 FoE App Service Actions


The Orion FoE doesn’t just monitor the services, it also monitors key OS, server and web server statistics and just like above, you can define the behavior on first, second and third event.  For example, if the server hard drive space gets to 15%, then send an email to user A.  If it gets to 10%, then email user B.  If it gets down to 5%, then initiate a failover to the secondary server. 


 FoE App Rules


The Orion FoE also has a built in alerting engine, independent of the Orion alerting infrastructure, which will notify you on any key statistic or event occurring with the FoE or the details it is monitoring.


FoE Alerts


Let’s get into more of the specifics here on some of the details going on in the back end.  The FoE can support multiple hardware deployment configurations:

  • Physical to Physical
  • Physical to Virtual
  • Virtual to Virtual

Once you get Orion installed and setup, the FoE will create a clone of key critical configuration, registry and file system parameters which get restored to the secondary server.  Once that initial setup is complete, a set of real-time file and registry filters as you can see below, replicate any file system and registry changes to the secondary.  This way you secondary Orion server is always up to date with what is going on within the primary Orion server.


 FoE Data Replication Filters


Let’s walk through the specifics of how it works in a high availability scenario using the below diagram as our guide.


The Orion primary and secondary servers are located within the same subnet and share the same identity including IP Address.  Since two identical IP’s cannot be on the network at the same time, a packet filter is installed on the secondary public NIC so it is not broadcasting or receiving traffic.  A second NIC exists between the two servers which handles the heartbeat and real-time data replication between the primary and secondary. 


When a failover condition occurs the following sequence of events occurs:

  • the remaining Orion services on the Primary Orion server that are still running are shut down
  • the packet filter is removed off the secondary NIC and the Orion services are started on the secondary server and the secondary server is now the active server
  • the primary Orion server which is now down is now the passive server and if the server is still online, a packet filter is placed on its primary NIC

Your downtime is minimized to the time it takes for the server failover to initiate and the services to start on the secondary Orion server.  The other beautiful thing here as well, since both servers have the same IP Address, is you do not have to reconfigure your network to send any Syslog, SNMP Traps or Netflow traffic to a new IP Address.


This is just one specific use case that the Orion Failover Engine can handle.  In another post I will walk through additional use cases and scenarios.


If you need more information, please check out the product page here and you can request a demo from one of our SE’s by emailing your sales rep or clicking here.



In this prior blog Graphing multiple data points on a single graph with the UnDP I outlined how you could put multiple elements in the same graph using the Universal Device Poller.  We have been having conversations with many of you on thwack about wanting to expand this to support additional use cases.  Based on that, I wanted to go ahead and do a post and give you a sneak preview into something we are working on.  Just as in our So what’s on tap next for Orion NPM posts, I cannot commit to any dates or releases, but I would love to get your feedback on the use cases and some of the mock ups we have put together on this.


So the first set of use cases we are looking to do are the following:

  • Chart an interface from one or more nodes
    • this also includes the ability to display as a sum/aggregate
  • Chart multiple interfaces from a single node
  • Chart a single UnDP which is assigned to many nodes
  • Chart a single UnDP which is assigned to many interfaces

I will walk through the user flow of how this would work for multiple interfaces on the same device

  1. Add a new multi-element graph resource to a node details view
  3. Select which interfaces you wish to add to the chart    
  5. Tweak the parameters of the view. For example, do you want to show all interfaces individually or as a sum?    
  7. Submit and those interfaces will be rendered on the same chart



So what do you think?  Are there features or use cases not covered here?


Some of you may already be familiar with this feature, but for those of you that are not, this is a handy little gem.  We often hear requests for the ability to put multiple data points on to a single chart/graph and while we have this on our list of items to make easier and more robust in the product going forward, you can accomplish this today on a single node leveraging the Universal Device Poller (UnDP).  For those of you not familiar with the UnDP, check out this tutorial here for more info.


A couple examples of what you may want to do with this are graphing utilization of multi-core CPU’s or looking at multiple interface utilization.  I have put example screenshots of both of these below. 


Ex. Multi-Core CPU Utilization




Ex. Multiple interface utilization




Now, we’ll get to the details on how to accomplish this with Orion. You can do in 9.5 and 10.0. 

  1. Remote Desktop to your Orion server and launch the Universal Device Poller application and create a new Universal Device Poller    
  3. Specify the MIB or OID you wish to poll.  Note this only works with polling a table
  5. Assign to the nodes you want to poll this information from
  7. Select where you want this data to appear, most likely this is going to be as a chart on the node details page
  9. Log into the Orion web console and navigate to one of the nodes you assigned the Universal Device Poller to and click Edit in the upper right hand corner of the resource
  11. Within the edit dialog you can modify multiple parameters to you preference including:
    • A more user friendly resource title name
    • Which items from the table you want to be graphed on this chart
    • Select the chart format of how you wish it to be displayed within the graph
    • Time period and sample period for the chart graph      
  13. Enjoy!

Here is another example of the same above interface utilization chart, but as a line chart instead of a bar chart.






Also, here are some of the OID’s we use to gather some of the more common statistic in Orion which you may find useful here.




Windows CPU & Memory:

  • hrProcessorLoad
  • hrMemorySize
  • hrSWRunPerfMem

Interface Errors and Discards:

  • ifInDiscards
  • ifInErrors
  • ifOutDiscards
  • ifOutErrors

Interface Bandwidth:


32bit Counter based

  • ifInOctets
  • ifInUcastPkts
  • ifInNUcastPkts
  • ifOutOctets
  • ifOutUcastPkts
  • ifOutNUcastPkts

64bit Counter based

  • ifHCInOctets
  • ifHCInUcastPkts
  • ifHCInMulticastPkts
  • ifHCOutOctets
  • ifHCOutUcastPkts
  • ifHCOutMulticastPkts

First, I wanted to say it was great to meet so many of you out at Cisco Live last week and finally put a name with a face!  I had many various conversations while I was there, but there was one that I had a couple times, so I decided to dedicate a blog post to it. 


Since we released Orion NPM 9.5, there have been various System Manager functionality in version 9.5 and posts on thwack regarding Orion System Manager and some of the administrative functionality being disabled and having to use the Orion web console web node management to perform these functions.


The first question always is why? 


Well the answer is quite simple. As Orion grows and we add more features, modules, etc., they each require new administrative settings.  For us to put them in both places and maintain them in both places ultimately means we have less time to work on other enhancements and features.


Also, as Orion gets more widely adopted in organization you may have more than one person whom you want to have administrative access.  With Orion System Manager, users must be given permission to RDP to the Orion server which may create security issues and you may have to purchase Windows terminal server licenses depending on the number of users that need access.  In contrast, with the Orion web console, users can just hit a web browser from where ever they are which allows for controlled access and is much more efficient.


So why is the web console better than System Manager?

  1. You don’t have to RDP to the Orion server to use it
  3. You can do “multi” operations meaning multi-edit, multi-poll now etc.
  5. You can populate custom properties directly inline to editing a device, interface or volume
  7. You can directly assign Universal Device Pollers from here
  9. You can unmanage and remanage nodes and interfaces
  11. You can create VMWare API credentials directly inline creating and editing a node

The primary complaint we hear from users is that using the web node management in the web is slower that the win32 UI.  We have done some work to improve this and continue to do work here. For example, we introduced paging in the UI to load elements quicker.  However, I wanted to give ya’ll some tips and tricks to more effectively utilize the web node management


Question: I want to view specific interfaces and be able to filter on them without having to expand each node to see them.  
Answer: Use the show drop down and select interfaces and you can then filter or search for the specific interfaces you want




Question: I want to do a mass edit or delete of items that span across multiple pages, but I don’t want to have to go through and select them all.  
Answer: On the first page, when you select the checkbox next to name in the header, you will see a new dialog which allows you to manage just the elements on that page, or you can select all elements across all pages and then choose edit, delete, poll now etc.




Question: I want to view more than 40 elements on a single page, how do I do this?  
Answer: This is quite easy to change, just remember, the higher you increase the value, the longer it will take for the page to load and refresh.  Under page size you can change the value and hit enter.




Question: I don’t see the columns I want to view within the web node management console, can I change these?  
Answer: Yes, you can, it is somewhat hidden but in the screenshot below you can see the two arrows pointing to the right.  If you click on these you will get a new dialog which will allow you to choose which columns to display.





The NPM team is busy at work on a number of highly requested enhancements

  • Active Directory authentication integration with group support
    • Ability to authenticate users into Orion using their individual AD account, based on their membership in an AD group, or using native Orion authentication (same as today)
  • Dependencies 2.0 / Basic Root Cause Analysis
    • Ability to define dependency relationships within the Orion web console.  For example, if this parent node or interface goes down, then mark all items defined as children as “unreachable” instead of “down”.   This effectively suppresses alerts on all children objects while still allowing you to use your existing alerts configured on “down” status.
    • New state called “unreachable” for elements which are children to a parent device or interface that has gone down
    • Allows parent and children to be defined using groups (see below).   For example, objects in the “Site A” Group are dependent on the WAN link being up
  • VMware infrastructure monitoring
    • Visibility into the vCenter, DataCenter, and Cluster levels (in addition to ESX host and VM guest visibility already provided)
  • Dynamic Service Level Groups
    • Ability to select multiple Orion objects (statically or using a dynamic query) even of different types (e.g. nodes, interfaces, applications, groups) and group them into a container that can be used to visualize status and for configuring "service level" alerts
    • Ability to see Groups at the summary and details view levels
    • Ability to set Group level status as worst (worst status rolls up), mixed (yellow unless all objects are green, or all or red), or best (best status rolls up for high avail/hot backup scenarios)
    • Ability to alert on Group status
  • Ability to PDF Reports and Web Console Views via Report Schedule
    • Send Orion Web Console Views or Report Writer Reports as PDF attachment to Orion users email account
  • Cisco UCS Support (Unified Computing System)
    • Dynamically maintain the logical relationships from operating system through virtual guest and host to the Cisco UCS blade  and chassis
    • View the status of the UCS chassis hardware, such as fans and PSU’s
  • Meru Wireless Controller Support
    • First class support for the Meru Wireless Controllers
    • See Controller and Thin AP stats along with connected client information
  • Ability to create custom SQL advanced alerts
    • Just like in Report writer, you can use SQL to create advanced alerts you cannot create through the built-in trigger creation interface
  • Mobile Alert View
    • A dedicated alert view made for mobile web browser to allow you to view and acknowledge alerts from your phone
  • Node and interface details on Summary Views
    • Ability to quickly and easily add any resource from node details and interface details to Summary views
  • Enable, disable, and delete Advanced Alerts in the web console
  • Notes on alerts
    • Ability for users to add notes to alerts in the web console
  • Acknowledge Alerts via link in email alerts
    • Receive an email alert notification and directly from your email whether on your PC or mobile device, acknowledge that alert by clicking on a link
  • Platform Support  
    • SQL 2008 
  • Stackable Charts 
    • Ability to place multiple interfaces from a single node or multiple nodes on a single chart
    • Ability to place a UnDP assigned to one node or multiple nodes to a single chart 

    PLEASE NOTE:  We are working on these items based on this priority order, but this is NOT a commitment that all of these enhancements will make the next release.  We are working on a number of other smaller features in parallel.   If you have comments or questions on any of these items (e.g. how would it work?) or would like to be included in a preview demo, please let us know!

    I have been asked this question a few times now thought the NPM 10.0 blog series would be a good place to talk through this.  Since this feature is near and dear to me, this will be one of my longer blog posts!


    With NPM 10.0, leveraging Network Sonar, we are now gathering and storing topological data and this is exposed in various features through out the product.


    Question: How is Orion gathering topological information?  
    Answer: Orion uses the following MIB’s

    • Bridge-MIB
      • For Cisco, browse the Bridge-MIB::dot1dTpFdbTable ( )
      • For non-cisco device, browse the dot1qTpFdbTable (
    • ARP-IP MIB
      • Browse for the ARP-IP::ipNetToMediaEntry ( ) table

    Question: So what is ConnectNow?  
    Answer: Connect Now is a new feature within Network Atlas with Orion NPM 10.0 focused around automating drawing L2 topological connections. 


    Once you have run the Network Sonar discovery and imported the nodes and interfaces you wish to manage

    1. Open Network Atlas, select the nodes you want to automatically connect, and drag them from the tree onto right pane
    3. HIt ctrl-A to select all the nodes on the map and either right click and select ConnectNow or on the top menu ribbon click the ConnectNow button
    5. You will see a dialog once it has completed indicating how many direct connections is has found and mapped
    7. On the top ribbon bar, select the Edit tab and on this tab you will see a set of auto-arrange selection to lay out the map in a more readable fashion
    9. Save and name your map

    The first screenshot below is an example of how this will look within Network Atlas.  Once saved you can edit your Summary Home page in the Orion web console to display this same map, see second screenshot.






    Can I display my directly connected neighbors on the node details page?


    Yes, please read If topology gets you excited, here’s something else for you to tinker with… on how.  I put a screenshot below to entice you to read this post too.


    If you want to learn more on this, you can watch this video here by our Head Geek




    VMWare monitoring for all

    Posted by bshopp Employee May 25, 2010

    Since GA a couple weeks ago on NPM 10.0, there have been a few threads on thwack asking various questions about VMWare support, so I wanted to review the features and talk about those questions.

    Question: So what exactly is different from our support from 9.5 vs. 10.0?   
    Answer: We are not pulling any new data that we did not pull in 9.5.  What has changed is the methods in which we gather this data.  Instead of just relying only on SNMP, we are now also leveraging the VMWare API to gather some data.  See the below matrix for what we gather and how we gather it across the different versions and editions of VMWare.

    In 9.5 we only supported ESX 3.5 formally.  Now that we are going through the API for some data we also now support vSphere 4 and can gather some information from ESXi.





    Discover as ESX





    Poll Volumes





    Poll Interfaces




    Partial SNMP (missing traffic)

    Poll CPU





    Poll Memory





    Total Memory/CPU and Network Traffic Utilization





    Guest VM List





    Question: How do I setup SNMP across the various editions?   
    Answer: Take a look at the doc we created configuration_of_SNMP_on_vmware_esx_3.5_and_4.0.pdf.  This walks you through with screenshots on how to set this up.

    Question: How do I setup API Access on the various editions and what level of permissions does this user need?   
    Answer: Take a look at the doc we created how_to_create_credentials_for_vmware_api_on_vmware_esx_3.5_and_4.0.pdf.  This walks you through with screenshots on how to set this up.  As for the user permission required for the API account, you only need RO access.

    Question: Are you going through my vSphere server to gather this data through the API?   
    Answer: No, we are not currently going directly through vSphere.  We are going to each ESX server individually.

    Question: How do I troubleshoot if I can connect via the API?   
    Answer: See if you can open a browser and connect to the IP Address of the ESX box and login with the account you are using in Orion.

    Question: So I don’t want to setup SNMP on my ESX servers, do I need to have both SNMP and API for this to work?   
    Answer: No, you don’t need to use both, just be aware based on the above chart you will only get certain info if you choose to only monitor via SNMP or API and not both.

    Question: So I don’t have SNMP currently setup on my ESX servers, can you figure out which ones are ESX boxes?   
    Answer: Yes, if you setup a discovery profile in Network Sonar you can choose to Poll for ESX.  We will the analyze the discovery results to determine which IP’s we discovered which support the VMWare API (see the first screenshot below).  Even if you don’t have the credentials we will notify you that we found some ESX servers (see the second screenshot below).



    Question: So what happens if I vMotion a guest from one ESX to another, do I need to go into Orion and update it manually?   
    Answer: No, during the next polling cycle we will automatically detect this and make the appropriate changes within Orion to continue to monitor it as long as the two ESX servers are managed in Orion.  If only one is, you will just see it disappear and no longer being monitored.

    That pretty much covers what I wanted to talk about today.  I would recommend also checking out these posts Denny and Chris did previously about other things you can do with VMWare and Orion Look Mom, I’m Virtual! and A Series of Unfortunate Events: Using Orion’s Syslog Server to Monitor VMware Events

    I always like to end with some sweet screenshots, so check out below which I took from our online demo here



    Sometimes it’s just the little things that get me excited about a new release.  Orion NPM 10.0 is loaded full of great new features, but one little gem which you may not notice right away makes us happy.  I have already had a few users find this and either post on Great ATLAS Icons - finally.... or email about how awesome this was.


    Many of you who have been with SolarWinds for some time know the old icons in Map Maker and Network Atlas and let’s just say there was room for improvement. :)


    With 10.0, we overhauled the icons and you can now find tons of great networking icons to use in your network maps, see below




    So in the past you had to create custom icons and import then.  You can still do this with 10, we have just hopefully made that something you need to do less frequently now.  You can now go into the image library and select from over 100 different network-related icons to use.




    A special thank you to Cisco for creating and posting these icons for use.


    This is post #2 of our Orion NPM 10.0 Sneak Peak series, consider the following scenario - every Saturday at 2am we have a policy to reboot xyz devices.


    Today, a user would have to go in weekly and setup a unmanage task within web node management in the web console.  With 10.0, this will become much easier as you will be able to define recurring unmanage schedules or recurring maintenance windows. For folks unfamiliar with the concept of “unmanage” (a very Orion specific term), this in essence allow you to define a time period when a node, interface or application will be down and you do not want to receive alerts on or have it show as down in the UI.


    When you install or upgrade to 10.0, you will need to go to the additional components of the SolarWinds Customer Support portal where you can download this utility or if you are on the NPM 10.0 Release Candidate and want to check this out, send me a private message via thwack.  Once downloaded, unzip it into your SolarWinds/Orion folder on the Orion server as shown in the screenshot below.




    Once extracted, open the Unmanage Editor.exe and you will be presented with a welcome and instruction screen as seen below.




    Click on create a new task and select the nodes, interfaces and applications you wish to add.




    Click add and select the duration or time period you want these item to be unmanaged for and select ok.




    Now once you save the task you will receive a popup dialog indicating it has been saved and copied to the clipboard for use in an upcoming step.
















    So what does this produce on the backend when I saved it?  Since we are leveraging Windows Task Scheduler to handle the scheduling, this creates a .cmd file which has the appropriate switches and parameters Windows Task Scheduler needs to execute this.




    You can either manually navigate to the Windows Task Scheduler or click on the Open Windows Task Scheduler within the Unmanage Utility and click on Add Scheduled Task.  As you walk through the wizard, when you get to the step to select the program to run, navigate to the /Orion/UnmanageUtility/Tasks folder and select the .cmd file you created for this job.




    These next dialogs walk you through setting up the start time, date and frequency and which account to run this under.  This is a Windows account, not a SolarWinds account.






    And that’s it.  If you want to edit an existing job, you can go into the new unmanage interface and select edit and choose the job you wish to edit and then save it.  If you want to change the frequency or disable the job you can do this with the Windows Task Scheduler interface.


    Google maps anyone?

    Posted by bshopp Employee Mar 25, 2010

    So once again, the community is at it again.  Dal wrote a pretty sweet little integration which allows you to display your nodes on a Google Map.


    You will need to download the zip file from the thwack community exchange Google Maps for Orion NPM.  I recommend to either do this directly on your Orion server or you will have to copy it over manually if you cannot do that.


    Once you have done this, next extract it to the inetpub/SolarWinds directory




    There are 3 files here that are used:

    • makexml.aspx -> used to get data from the Solarwinds Database and makes a xml file.
    • data.xml -> the xml file made by makexml.aspx
    • displayxml.aspx -> the javascript that actually displays the data from data.xml.

    Next, using the Orion Custom Property Editor, you will need to create 7 new node custom properties (Start –> All Programs –> SolarWinds Orion –> Grouping and Access Control –> Custom Property Editor)

    • ConnectionType: To tell what equipment has been used to make the connection between the points (Icons), Modem, fiber, etc.
    • Enhetstype: What kind of equipment is this: L3-switch, Router, Radio, etc (not used for Google Maps yet)
    • Latitude: No explanation needed
    • Longitude: No explanation needed        
    • Mapname: The cryptic link name Orion makes for maps made in Network Atlas. Needs to be pulled manually from the MapStudioFiles.
    • Polyline: The encoded polyline, between two or more points. Made with http://code.google.com/intl/nb/apis/maps/documentation/polylineutility.html
    • Stedsnavn: (Sitename in English?) The name of the place you want to put on the map. Used to group together nodes at the same location (Site).

    If you want to test his implementation, you can use the files he put in the zip and go to - http://your-server-ip/GMaps/displayxml.aspx


    However, if you want to do this for your implementation, here is what you need to do:

    1. Populate the above custom properties against the nodes you want to map
    3. Obtain your own Google key, it can be done easily from here: http://code.google.com/intl/nb/apis/maps/signup.html
    5. Edit makexml.aspx database connection section with your SolarWinds Orion database information     
    7. Delete the existing data.xml from the directory
    9. Open your browser of choice and copy in the following URL - http://<yourServerIP>/GMaps/makexml.aspx.  If you have done everything right to this point, you will get something like this in return on the web page and this will create your own copy of a data.xml file     
      *Note – the first time I tried this I kept getting a permissions error and had to go in and modify the permission on the directory and turn off read-only on the files
    11. Now the Google Maps API key, you got in step 2 above, you will need to copy that into the displayxml.aspx file here     
    13. Also, within this same file, you will want to change the default map location and zoom level, which can be accomplished by changing this line     

      gmap.setCenter(new GLatLng(62.484415, 6.342545), 11);         
      The number 11 is the zoom level.


    So now we are at a pivot point.  If you wanted to create an external link within Orion that shows up on your main toolbar, you can stop now and just copy the URL /GMaps/displayxml.aspx">/GMaps/displayxml.aspx">http://<yourServerIP>/GMaps/displayxml.aspx


    If you want to have this show up and work on your Network Summary Home page as a Custom HTML resource, you have a couple more steps to complete


    Within the displayxml.aspx file you have a couple more locations to update and put a ../GMaps in front of them.  Easiest way is to do a find in notepad

    • search for data.xml and add ../GMaps in front of it - mine looks like request.open('GET', '../GMaps/data.xml', true);
    • search for  mm_20_green.png iconGreen.image = '../GMaps/Icons/mm_20_green.png';     
      12 locations

    Now, go to the Network Summary Home page and click customize in the upper right hand corner and click the plus sign to add, under Miscellaneous, add a custom HTML resource, click submit.  This will return you back to the Network Summary Home page and for that resource click edit and enter the entire context of the displayxml.aspx file into here and click submit a voila, Google Maps on your Network Summary Home page.


    One extra item of note, you will need to run the makexml file manually on a periodic basis to pick up changes to Orion database or figure out a way to schedule this.



      Here is what mine looks like now as an example: 





    Here is what the author, Dal’s, map looks like:



    So for you other community members out there, this work has earned Dal a SolarWinds t-shirt, which I will be sending to him.  If you have done something cool with Orion or written some customizations, let us know and we may send you a shirt too.


    I ran across another cool post that a member of the thwack community put together that I wanted to share with everyone.  lasher put together some new resources for Orion NPM v9.5.1 which allow you to create double and triple gauges within a resource for Universal Device Pollers.  If you wanted to accomplish this today, you would need to use a custom html resource, so this makes life much quicker and easier.





    So I can hear you saying, ok you had me at double and triple gauges, how do I get this?


    First, you can download this resource Double Triple Poller Guage for v9.5.1


    To install:

    • Copy CustomOIDEditGaugeDoubleTriple.aspx and CustomOIDEditGaugeDoubleTriple.aspx.cs to InetPub\SolarWinds\Orion\NetPerfMon\Resources folder.
    • Copy CustomPollerRadialGaugeDoubleTriple.ascx and CustomPollerRadialGaugeDoubleTriple.ascx.cs to InetPub\SolarWinds\Orion\NetPerfMon\Resources\NodeGauges folder.
    • Copy CustomOIDEditLinearGaugeDoubleTriple.aspx and CustomOIDEditLinearGaugeDoubleTriple.aspx.cs to InetPub\SolarWinds\Orion\NetPerfMon\Resources folder.
    • Copy CustomPollerLinearGaugeDoubleTriple.ascx and CustomPollerLinearGaugeDoubleTriple.ascx.cs to InetPub\SolarWinds\Orion\NetPerfMon\Resources\NodeGauges folder.





    As lasher states, there are 4 known issues with it. 

    • Auto-Scale not working and has been disabled.
    • Auto-Hide Resource not working correctly and has been disabled.
    • Must set Warning & Error Threshold or Gauges will display red.
    • Gauge labels do not set correctly when first added to page.  (Workaround is to edit the gauge and click submit.  Labels will show up correctly after that.)

    As much as I wish I could take credit for this, I can’t.  ljenkins figured this out and posted it to Twitter (Tweeting Alerts) a few months back, which the inner geek in me thought was pretty dang cool, so I wanted to blog about it.


    Orion can send you an email or page when a network event occurs, but what about using twitter as a medium to distribute your network alerts and events?  Obviously you would not want to expose this to the entire twitterverse (which according to urban dictionary is a real word), so you can set your privacy setting to only share tweets with those who you expressly give access to.  In twitter go to Settings and in here there is a checkbox to protect my tweets, see below.




    Here are the step by step instructions to get this to work with Orion.




    1. Log on to your Orion NPM server using an account with software installation privileges.     
    2. Download and extract the version of the cURL utility that is appropriate for your Orion NPM server from the cURL website.      
    Note: For the purposes of this procedure, the cURL package curl-7.19.5 is extracted to C:\cURL\.      
    3. Click Start > All Programs > SolarWinds Orion > Alerting, Reporting, and Mapping > Advanced Alert Manager.      
    4. Click Configure Alerts.      
    5. If you want to use Twitter notification with a new alert, click New, and then create your new alert. For more information, see Creating and Managing Alerts in the SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Monitor Administrator Guide.      
    6. If you want to add Twitter notification to an existing alert, click the alert with which you want to use Twitter, and then click Edit.      
    7. Click the Trigger Actions tab.      
    8. Click Add New Action.      
    9. Click Execute an external program, and then click OK.      
    10. On the Execute Program tab, click Browse (...) next to the Program to execute field.      
    11. Locate and then select C:\cURL\curl.exe.      
    12. Add the following parameters to the selected program path:      
    -u username:password -d status="message"http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml.      
    Note: The following is an example of a complete path with parameters and alert text specified:      
    C:\cURL\curl.exe -u UserName:Password -d status="ALERT! ${Caption} is ${Status}." http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml.      
    13. Click OK on the Edit Execute Program Action... window, and then click OK on the Edit Alert window.      
    14. Click Done on the Manage Alerts window.


    So I am sitting here in our European office trying to decide what to write on.  I was catching up on my thwack posts since I was in Barcelona last week for Cisco Live (aka Networkers) and have seen some discussions on thwack recently from some of you and I keep hearing about the Weather Map like we have on the online demo.   Hmmm seems like a great idea for a post!!


    I am going to describe this setup using 9.5 and above. 


    1. Using Network Atlas, create a new map and click on Linked Background in the top ribbon bar and you will receive a dialog to specify the URL to the weather map image you wish to use. 


    2. Enter the url and click validate to ensure we can retrieve the image ok from the Orion server and once the validation is successful, click ok.  In this case below I specified Europe since this is where I am currently at, as you can see, it is freaking cold here.




    3. Drag onto the map your nodes or other maps you want to have on this image and save the map.


    4. You can edit your map resource on the Summary Home page to show this map.




    Now your map on you Network Summary home page will always show the current weather based on when the page refreshed.


    Last week, the Head Geek and I did a webinar on Orion NPM product training.  Once of the common things that kept coming up was questions regarding database maintenance.  What is it?  How do I know if it is working right?  How do I customize it?  So I figured what better place to expand on this topic than the Orion product blog.


    First off, what is it?


    The formal definition:    
    Database maintenance performs a series of data summarizations that help you optimize the size of your Orion database. Data summarization consists of gathering all the collected network data for a defined period of time, calculating statistics from the data, and then discarding the data itself while retaining the statistics. In addition to data summarizations, it also cleans up data related to deleted items in the database, saving additional space.  Orion automatically runs database maintenance every night keep your database compact and performing well.


    What does this mean?    
    Within Orion there are tons of dials and knobs you can turn to tweak your installation of Orion including how long we keep data for before purging and how we summarize data.


    For example, in the Admin section of the web console if you are on NPM 9.5 you can go to Polling Settings and under Database Setting you can find some of these items including when the scheduled nightly database maintenance job will run (default is 2:15am).


    DB Maint


    This brings up a question around what exactly does data summarization mean and how does it affect Orion? There are three retention options to discuss.

    • Detailed Statistics Retention    
      All statistics in the Orion database collected at any frequency shorter than 1/hour are summarized into hourly statistics after the period of time designated as the Detailed Statistics Retention period. By default, this period is 7 days.
    • Hourly Statistics Retention    
      All statistics in the Orion database that are recorded at any frequency shorter than 1/day but longer than 1/hour are summarized into daily statistics after the period of time designated as the Hourly Statistics Retention period. By default, this period is 30 days.
    • Daily Statistics Retention    
      All statistics in the Orion database older than the Daily Statistics Retention period are deleted. By default, this period is 365 days.

    With the default settings, reports covering the last week will have detailed data. Reports covering the last month will have hourly data. You can run reports with daily data covering up to the last year. Beyond a year there is no data.


    How do if I know if the job is running correctly each night?


    On the Orion server if you navigate to the installed directory, mine is C:\Program Files\SolarWinds\Orion, you will find a set of files in there named swdebugMaintenance.log and 5 more with a .number extension on the end.  Open this up and you will see what the job did, how long it took to run and if there were any errors.  If you don’t see at the end that the  maintenance has completed, if there are any errors or if it is taking a very long time to complete, you may want to further investigate to see if something is wrong.

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