Please join us for a monthly product update from the SolarWinds Product Management team.
This month, we’ll delve into “What We Are Working On” for a number of our tools. We’ll discuss the “What We Are Working On” thwack posts live with our product managers. Featured products include Engineers Toolset, Network Topology Mapper, and DameWare Remote Support. Our PMs will also be able to answer any of your questions about our other recent releases. It’s an action-packed hour. We hope to see you there.
If you have any requests for topics or products to be included in this series, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SolarWinds is hosting a Customer Event at Cisco Live Orlando! Sign up to join us for one or more sessions. Sessions will be held Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 & 27, over lunch. The Customer Event will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, directly across the street from the hotel. Each session is limited to 30 people, and a catered lunch will be provided. We hope to see you there.
Wednesday June 26, 11:30-12:30
Don’t Forget the Superglue
This session covers three critical areas that can be overlooked until you’re in a pinch: config backup and policy scanning, network discovery and diagramming, and maintaining a clutter-free helpdesk queue.
Wednesday June 26, 12:30-1:30
NPM – What’s New, What’s Coming, and Popular Extensions
Join us for a product update, one-on-one discussion, and live demo with SolarWinds Product Managers and Head Geeks to learn and ask questions about the brand spanking new PM 10.5 release. The Product Management team will discuss what we’re working n for future releases.
Thursday June 27, 11:30-12:30
Protect Your Network From Hackers
Join us for a power unch to swap stories from the front lines and learn what SolarWinds is bringing to the table in the security space. A SolarWinds customer will also join the presentation to share how they are using SolarWinds in their environment.
Thursday June 27, 12:30-1:30
NPM – What’s New, What’s Coming, and Popular Extensions
Join us for a product update, live demo, and one-on-one discussion with SolarWinds Product Managers and Head Geeks to learn and ask questions about the brand spanking new NPM 10.5 release. This session will also feature a long-term SolarWinds NPM customer as a special guest panelist. The Product Management team will discuss what we’re working on for future releases.
Get our latest free tool - hot off the press.
While the cloud has simplified the ways you can manage your network, it’s also created new challenges that can leave you feeling in need of a little help. SolarWinds offers the perfect sidekick to help you manage your cloud-based servers. With our Cloud Performance Monitor Powered by CopperEgg, you can troubleshoot cloud-based performance problems quickly and easily by taking advantage of real-time alerting on server, OS, system, and process issues. See a video.
Using Cloud Performance Monitor, you get constant monitoring over server, system, OS and process health for your servers running in the cloud. With that info you can keep your cloud-based servers up and running and your customers happy!
We've all had the situation of a troublesome interface. In those cases, it's super helpful to know bandwidth at a granular level, especially when troubleshooting or making network changes. Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor is our newest free tool that is designed to help you keep an eye on those interfaces with configurable polling, with intervals down to every half-second.
Here's the scoop:
· Monitor multiple interfaces simultaneously
· See interface bandwidth usage by actual and percentage
· View traffic in and traffic out on each interface
· Set warning and critical thresholds and instantly see when usage is out of bounds
· Specify data collection time frame or data point thresholds
· Poll at configurable intervals, as frequently as every half-second
Like all our free tools, it's *free* and it only takes a jiffy to download it and get it installed and running. You can use Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor whenever you need to keep a close eye on an interface... or two. It's a generally handy tool to have around.
We hope you'll try it out and send us some feedback or review it online.
Do you love free tools? What do you want us to build next? In true SolarWinds style, instead of just making the decision ourselves, we decided to go out and ask you directly. Because, of course, these tools are for you, and you should have some say in what they are!
Choose from five contenders in three categories. Vote in one category or vote in all of them, but by all means Vote Today!!
And... do you have opinions? Oh, come on, I'm sure you do! We have two free tools in beta and we'd love to get your feedback.
1. VM to Cloud Calculator - inventories VMs and prices them in the cloud at three major vendors.
2. Storage Response Time Monitor - Monitor the performance of your vCenter and ESX host datastores. Easily see the host to datastore connections with the highest response times and see the busiest VMs for each connection via IOPs.
If you are interested in trying out and providing feedback on either one (or both) of these, please send me a message or comment here and I'll get you the bits asap!
I'm working on a new free tool and would really appreciate some feedback on our beta. Let me describe it like I'm pitching a movie.. it's like VM Console meets Pricegrabber and there's a huge budget and elaborate scenery and all the best actors. Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but does it sound interesting? If so, send me a message or comment below and I'll get you the bits asap.
We have been super busy in the free tool department. We just launched two over the past few weeks.
1. Real-Time AppFlow Analyzer - This new tool captures and analyzes AppFlow data in real-time, making this powerful diagnostic data available at a glance. Want to know who is sending all the traffic to your web applications? Or if slowdowns are on the server or client side? AppFlow makes this information available, at a glance.
2. SAN Monitor for EMC Clariion - When our popular San Monitor launched, we got a lot of positive feedback , as well as a lot of requests for a similar tool to monitor other types of SANs. We heard you, and voila - the SAN Monitor for EMC Clariion was born.
In addition to these tools, we're working on several more, with several more on the road map. We always want to hear what you think about our free tools and your ideas for new ones, so please review them, send me a message with your ideas, or post on thwack.
Do any of these apply to you?
1. You like to try new things.
2. You like to give your opinion.
3. Those new things you like to try and opinions you like to give include things like RC versions of SolarWinds software.
4. You are an ipMonitor customer under active maintenance and would like to try the 10.5 RC (see features below). OR you have a Clariion SAN or a Citrix Netscaler and would be interested in learning more/trying out new free tools currently in development that pertain to those devices.
If you see yourself in the description above, send me a private message and we'll get you fixed up with more information and the downloads as appropriate.
I know, I promised, so here are the features that are in the ipMonitor 10.5 release candidate. I have to say (due to rules and regulations) that we cannot promise that all of these will make it into the GA build, but that seems likely at this point.
Last week, SolarWinds launched another great free tool: SNMP Enabler for Windows. If you haven't gotten a chance to check it out, you can read about it, watch a video to see it in action, and download it here.
Here is a short overview of what the tool does:
This year's conference theme is "Celebrating a Decade of Cyber Security Training, Innovation, and Idea Sharing."
Stop by SolarWinds booth #521 to learn how our IT management solutions are used throughout the FAA both nationally and regionally. Whether its mission networks, engineering networks, or business networks, SolarWinds proactive monitoring solutions provide the visibility and the tools necessary to manage and troubleshoot issues. Learn about SolarWinds Network Management Certification Program and how to take your skills to the next level.
Email email@example.com to schedule a demo of our IT management solutions.
The NCM team is happy to bring you NCM 6.1. What's in it for you? Well, let me tell you!
Improved Policy Reporting/Compliance Functionality – Policy Reporting to the policy reporter and also ported it to the integration module. This means you can do all your policy reporting tasks either from the server app, or from the tab integration with NPM. New functionality includes block-level policy checking (e.g. Interface, VPN, VLAN…) and thwack integration to enable sharing both inside and outside the organization. Additionally, a syntax checker in the integration module allows you to see how rules will be applied to a chosen config. For those of you in the federal space, you'll notice that our new content area on thwack has DISA STIG reports ready to import and begin using right away.
Support for multiple config types – Backup and restore configs of whatever type you prefer: Re: ASA With mutlible context.
Comprehensive IPv6 support - if you have IPv6 in your environment, NCM can handle it.
Improved inventory management – Performance has been greatly enhanced (8x improvement).
Additional device templates - Motorola WS5100 WAP and ES3000 switches, SMC switches, Meru network controller, and many others are now supported.
We also fixed bugs and did some general interface enhancements. This is a really robust release with a lot of great features. We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
With this GA, I am leaving NCM in the capable pm hands of Francois Caron (fcaron). So, if you ask me a question and get a reply from him - you will know why.
Let us know what you think of 6.1!
At long last, the RC is out and available to customers with active maintenance. If you are interested in participating - drop me a note with your SWID and we'll get you set up.
Things to try out/look for in this RC:
A customer asked us the other day if it was possible to put their own logo in the top of the their NCM reports. Not only is it possible, it's really, really easy. So, this is what you get in your email now:
And as much as you like us over here at SolarWinds, you'd like to have your own company logo across the top. All you have to do is go to:
C:\Program Files\SolarWinds\Configuration Management\WebResources\Header.jpg – this is logo itself
C:\Program Files\SolarWinds\Configuration Management\WebResources\Spacer.jpg – this is spacer repeater to fill-in free space at the right side from the logo
You'll find everything works best if you resize your logo file to be the same height as the file you are replacing (45 pixels). The width will take care of itself - or you might want to get creative and add additional content to the right of your logo.
Once you do this - your report will look like this. You'll see I just replaced the logo with the thwack logo.
Easy and definitely nice to have.
At one time or another, many of you reading this blog have probably been asked to participate in a survey, beta, RC, or some other type of customer feedback vehicle with SolarWinds. In this blog, I want to show you how we use that feedback, and what a real difference it makes in the product. A while back, I posted some mockups of some What we're working on... the live edition: NCM Improved Policy Reports. A few of you commented, but in all reality, it's really hard to know if something is going to work for you, until you actually work with it. That's why we do user testing. Mock ups can reveal glaring issues, but it's the user testing that really gives us real insight into what's working and what's not.
Screenshot #1 - Main Compliance Page
In NCM 6.0 - the integration module (the tab on NPM) only allows you to view reports. However, functionality we're working on now will allow users to manage reports (rules, policies, the reports themselves) directly from the module. We originally put the "manage" button in the top right of the screen (shown). However, we had a few users miss it in that location, so we just decided to put it both places - see the red boxes below. While this is a simple change - we expect it to save a lot of users a lot of frustration in the future.
Screenshot #2 - Creating Rules
Next - the create a rule page. This one had a *lot* of feedback. Here's what we started with:
The goal here is to make it easy for users to add criteria for rules and to specify if the criteria should apply to the entire config or to each config block, as specified in the "config block start" and "config block end" fields. Let me just summarize by saying: the above layout did not work out at all. Even though it was completely clear to us what went where on the page, when we asked users to create a rule, with no guidance, the interface left a lot to be desired. One of the main problems was that to users, the flow seemed to be out of logical sequence.
So, we put our heads together, and worked through the flow a bit more. Here's where we are now.
What happened here? It's really different isn't it? Let me walk you through what we did - and why. I'll be brief.
1. We named the steps - this adds some context around what you are doing in each section of the page.
2. We added shading to delineate the functionality that is different between "regular" and "advanced" mode.
3. We moved the rule criteria creation area *above* the section where you'll specify where to apply those criteria. This flow makes a lot more sense.
4. We added some more descriptive text. You'll notice that we concentrated this around the area where you define the config block start and end, as that's where users were having the most trouble. We're still working out some of the final text as you can tell from the filler text in the mockup.
So there you go - it's gotten a lot better! Product development for every Orion product works this way - and thanks everyone. From this community, to beta forums, to user testing, and lots of other customer interaction points in between - you all are helping us improve the products every day.
Orion NPM offers some really nifty monitoring and configuration capabilities for Cisco EnergyWise. For the configuration piece, you must have NCM and what I'm going to show you relies on the integration between them. In case you aren't familiar with EnergyWise, here's a blurb from our documentation:
EnergyWise is a Cisco technology developed to help you cut enterprise energy costs, address environmental concerns, and adhere to government directives around green technologies. By deploying EnergyWise capable devices and by enabling their energy-saving features, you can run business-critical systems in a fully powered state while allowing less critical devices on Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports to power down or drop into standby during off-peak hours.
It's good stuff, and with Orion, it's easy to use as well. First - the monitoring. Orion NPM offers a really nice view of your EnergyWise-enabled devices - and in case you haven't seen it - here's what it looks like. To add this tab, simply customize your menu in the "Settings" section. For more about how to do that (and an overview of what is about to get pretty long-winded) - Cisco EnergyWise – What is it and how does Orion NPM help me?. For more about all the resources available - see Chapter 8 in the NPM Admin Guide. Do be sure and give that chapter a quick overview, as there are a number of additional EnergyWise resources available that do not appear on the EnergyWise tab by default. Be sure and customize your view just the way you want it.
Ok - you say - monitoring is great - but what can Orion do to help me configure all my EnergyWise devices? In other words - how do I get here? Hang tight - I'll walk you through it.
First - click on Manage Nodes and choose "Group By" and "EnergyWise." You'll see the nodes sorted by "EnergyWise Capable," "Enabled," and "Not Supported." Here, I chose one that was "Capable" and then chose "Manage EnergyWise" under "More Actions."
Next, you will see this screen:
Here you can make all your required configuration changes - and NPM generates and NCM then applies a script to the selected node(s) and interface(s). Once you apply the changes - you can double check that they were applied by going to NCM (Configs tab), clicking "Manage Configurations" and then View By: "Transfer Status." Select the device you applied the EnergyWise changes to, and you check the results and even select to see the script that was run.
For detailed information about all the fields in the screenshot above - what they mean and what you might want to set them to in your environment - don't forget to check out Chapter 8 in the NPM Admin Guide.
To go one step further and set policies, you'll choose an interface and then edit the interface itself in "Manage EnergyWise."
Just check whichever box you'd like to enter a value for - and enter what you need. When you check "Recurrence Policy" you get the screen below.
With recurrence polices - you can easily define how resources should be allocated. You'll notice that my node already has one policy defined (it's the line beginning Level 7...) - any additional policies you define will also appear in the list, so you can manage them as needed.
Remember - you'll need both NPM and NCM to manage the configurations in this way - so if you don't see the manage option and you only have NPM... you know what the problem is.
Try it out - it's easy to use - and powerful too.