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12 Posts authored by: cliton1981

To receive updates on the Engineers Toolset roadmap, JOIN thwack and BOOKMARK this page.

 

We are constantly looking for new tools to add to our Engineer's Toolset so don't forget to vote or submit your ideas. Meanwhile, we are working on a few things to improve your experience:

 

  • Silent Installer Option - You will now have ability to quietly install Toolset for your large scale deployments.

 

  • Free Tools Integration into Engineer's Toolset - Why should yo have to download each and every free tool manually? Bringing all the free tools into Toolset will save you time and not leave your free tools littered all over the place.

 

  • Orion + Desktop Toolset Credential Transfer - Why? Because nobody wants to enter credentials multiple times and keep these credentials in sync.

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

Network Topology Mapper 2.1 Release Candidate will be generally available soon. This RC bits will be made available in SolarWinds customer portal, to all our customers who are on active maintenance.


RC builds are made available prior to the formal release, to existing customers under active maintenance. These are used to get your feedback in production environments and are fully supported. SolarWinds Support are prepared to take on any support cases referencing RC built and our engineering team are on standby to handle any escalated issues reported.


Now to the notable features packed in 2.1

  • SNMP V3 AES 192 & 256 Encryption Support
    • Use-Case: Users who have their devices configured for AES encryption 192 or 256 keys, can take advantage of the product discovering those nodes and mapping out the network.
    • Work Flow:
      • Create a New Network Scan
      • In SNMP Credentials page, click on Add Credential
      • Give a unique credential name, which will help you identify this entered credential from the rest of the entered or going to be entered credentials
      • Choose the radio button called SNMPv3
      • Enter the User Name, select between MD5 & SHA1 authentication methods
      • Choose the encryption method, which has been configured on your devices, select from DES56, AES128, AES192, AES256
      • Test your entered credential with any one of node IP Address configured for SNMP V3 AES192 or AES256 encryption.

 

 

  • Enhanced Node Properties PageRight Tab.png
    • Use-Case:
      • Right Pane - Grid and tab display: Obtain detail node information along with visibility of your discovered map
      • Node information for multiple nodes on the map, by single-click a given node one at a time.
      • Visualize fields with lengthy text without ever being truncated.
      • Share basic node information content to colleagues, using the new copy to clipboard function.
    • Work Flow:
      • Select any node on the map, right-click and choose node properties
      • This action will trigger the opening of the right pane, and auto populate the data for the selected node
      • The Right Pane be default will display three tabs, namely Node Details, Interface Data & VLAN Data
      • Node Details tab - Gives useful information about the identified node like the Node name, Node role, IP Address, Vendor etc. Fields like Node Name, Primary Node Role, polling IP Address and Custom Properties can be edited/changed/added depending on the user's need. The basic information section, also holds an option to copy to clipboard the displayed data for sharing purposes.
      • Interface Data tab - Displays the STP data for the given switch and ARP cache identified from the node.
      • VLAN tab - Is a new tab we introduced in the application, which maps interface names to the VLAN ID/Name for the selected node.


  • Polling and displaying VLAN data for Juniper, HP/3Com and other vendor devices which provide VLAN data using Q-Bridge MIB
    • Use-Case:
      • Create an dynamic design map for a given VLAN(s), for network analysis

      • Analysis & Understand which nodes participate for a given VLAN

      • Option of displaying VLAN(s) on connection links for easier & faster referencing

      • Generate static Visio, PDF & PNG format VLAN designed map for sharing, referencing or archiving.

      • Export VLAN design map(s) to the Orion console, for visual referencing and monitoring.

      • Understand and Analysis, the VLAN parameters for a given switch.

        • VLANs configured on a particular switch
        • VLANs to interface mapping.
      • Identify configured VLAN IP Address for referencing, configuring and designing using VLAN Reports

    • Work Flow:
      • Analysis & Understand which nodes participate for a given VLAN
        • On the left pane, section Network Tree View - Group by. Choose VLAN
        • Un-check all the filters and select the ones you want to map (We are now displaying the VLAN Name to the ID, for better understanding and referencing)
      • Option of displaying VLAN(s) on connection links
        • On the left pane, section Connection Display Options
        • Under Layer 2 (Switches) filter, one can find a new filter call VLAN
        • Once the filter is on, this map can be export to generate static Visio, PDF & PNG format.
        • The displayed map, can be export to Orion Network Atlas and brought up on the Orion console.
      • Analysis, the VLAN parameters for a given switch
        • Right-Click a node and choose Node properties
        • Under VLAN data, obtain and understand interfaces configured to which VLANs
      • Identify configured VLAN IP Address
        • Choose Reports from the Menu bar
        • Select VLAN Reports
        • VLAN Reports have 3 new columns namely Interface Name, VLAN Status and VLAN IP Address

VLAN Data.png vlan report.png


  • NTM Help Menu - Discovery Log & SNMPWALK Utility                                                                                                          help menu.png
    • Use-Case:
      • Troubleshoot issues like nodes not identified correctly and links/connections misses
      • In Product SNMPWALK utility, run and launch the snmpwalk utility from the application
      • Check for any latest Software Update for the application and download
      • Direct access to NTM Thwack Forum to gather information about the product and to create feature requests.
      • Tech Diagnostics Utility now offers our users to package walks from devices or other files (like visio output, pictures etc) with the diagnostics package for SolarWinds Engineering investigation.

        log.png

  • Other Enhancements
    • Search bar into Reports
    • Interface display name is now configurable and the default display character count has been increased to 20.
    • Export of Interface display names, Speed and VLAN display to Visio (We recommend not to enable many display filters, the result could have your maps looking noisy)
    • Informative Discovery Scan Messaging
    • Incorporated better merging algorithm after completion of every discovery scan.

 

WE WANT YOUR COMMENTS !

Once we announce the RC availability, be sure to check out the Network Topology Mapper RC Group here on thwack. If there are any known issues reported we will be putting it up there and will be happy to answer questions about the RC and features in the RC.

If you decide to install the RC binaries, you will be one of the first recipients of 2.1. Because you’ll be one of the first, Product management and Engineering will be actively monitoring your posts and engage with you about any feedback you have. You can also raise a ticket to support about 2.1 RC and its fully supportable. Your feedback is important to us and we want to make sure your upgrade experience a smooth one.

 

Tip: If you install the Release Candidate in your production environment and post to the Release Candidate forum about your upgrade experience we would reward you with 2,000 thwack points + a badge award for participation

Orion Network Atlas, is a great utility for creating custom network diagrams. The tool is considered “Semi-Automated” Network Mapping Software. It uses the discovered network data in Orion and allows users to design physical and logical topology diagrams by dragging and dropping of nodes in to the design canvas. It automatically builds connections between nodes, using the Connect Now functionality and has the ability to bring up the designed map onto the Orion Web Console.


While Orion Network Atlas has been around for some years now, there are some areas in the product which you may not know existed. This blog aims to expose those features, and help you in creating informative network diagrams and at the same time help you with better presentation.

 

VARIABLES OBJECT DISPLAY - LABELS

Variables3.JPG


As an Orion Admin, you may want to display added information (like Device type or IP Address) of your important nodes being represented on your Orion Web Console. This helps in faster troubleshooting of an issue, if something goes wrong. With Orion Network Atlas you have the ability to add variables as labels on to your Atlas Maps. These variables parse real values automatically once displayed on your Orion Console.

Custom Properties values can also be represented on the map.

 

In the side example, I displayed Node name, Machine Type, IP Address for all my objects and for my Dell SonicWall firewalls displayed my Custom Property – Asset ID on the Orion Console. Below, how I achieved it

  • I drag and drop the nodes (interesting) on to the drawing canvas, changed my default Label to the following variables
  • ${caption} – Returns the node name
  • ${machinetype} – Returns the node manufacturer
  • ${ip_address} – Returns the IP Address of the node
  • Asset ID ${Assettag} – This is a custom property field, created in Orion and returns the entered data on the console.                                                                                                                  

OrionView3.JPG

 

 

 

 

 





TIP: The best way of replicating the same variables across other node objects, is by copying the assigned variables from one node object label and pasting it to the others. Another way, for applying variables to other nodes is by pasting the copied variables to other label objects Label Properties page (Right-Click – Properties).

 

 

 




 


UnDP STATISTICS VALUES


Ever wondered how to display UnDP statistics value on your Orion Map console? For example, in the past you may have had performance issues with a particular device and now you want to actively monitor the temperature of this router on your Orion map console.

The first step to achieve this is by defining and creating an UnDP for monitoring temperature for the device. To know how to create a custom UnDP, please follow this video

Once you have created your UnDP (in my case, ciscoEnvMonTemperatureStatusValueFahrenheit), you will see it automatically visible under Custom Node Pollers section of your Node(s). Simply drag this UnDP variable on to your map and change the label to the following macro ${CurrentValue}. The result is illustrated in the screenshot below


P.S: This capability was introduced in NPM version 10.6.


   UnDP3.JPG       UnDP5.JPG

 

VARIABLES OBJECT DISPLAY - TOOL TIP


For a large map, displaying additional information using labels may not be ideal and could make your maps looks clumsy. For this reason, you may want to display additional information for your map objects as Tool tip. To achieve this, first

  • Log into your Orion Console
  • On your Map resource select "Edit".
  • On the  right side of the page click on "Customize Map Tool tip"
  • Enter appropriate variables (Custom Properties & UnDP variables can also be added) into the laid empty boxes
  • Click submit and hover over your nodes on the map.


TIP: In order to view the available variables you can use in Orion, Check out the Appendix A section of  SolarWinds Orion Network Atlas Admin Guide (Page 49 onwards)



BACKGROUND OVERLAY


Many users bring in network diagrams designed in Microsoft Visio as background images in Orion Network Atlas. The most common way to bring background images into Atlas is by selecting the Home tab in the Toolbar and using the Background Image button.


Atlas Toolbar.JPG

 

 

Orion Atlas has another trick in its sleeves to bring in background images. Simply perform a Print Screen of your required image and paste it into your Atlas design canvas. With this flexibility you can bring images on the fly without having to save, search and upload images. Another use-case would be if there is a need to bring in specific vendor device graphics into your design and assigning the imported graphics to your particular Orion Node object. Below steps will help guide you to accomplish this task

 

Hpswitch.JPG

 

 

 

  • Copy the desired graphics to the Clipboard
  • Right-click on your Atlas design canvas and select the paste option
  • Choose "Paste the image from the Clipboard as a new object"
  • Give this new object a unique name
  • Right-Click this new object and select Properties option
  • Under the Status tab, drag and drop your desired Orion node object (in this case, I drag Orion node 172.25.113.250 and dropped it into assignment field)
  • You now have Orion node 172.25.113.250, assigned to the imported object.



 

HP1.JPGHP2.JPG


QUICK ACCESS TOOLBAR (QAT)

 

QAT.JPG

Brandon Shopp, has written a great blog on this subject. You can find how to use this tool bar to your advantage here


MAP RESTRICTIONS


As an Orion Admin there might be a need, not to visibly display map objects to all users in your organization. For Security reasons, you may want to restrict the display of objects in your DMZ to your NOC users.To enable and set up these restrictions, follow the below laid out steps

map properties.JPG

  • Log into your Orion Console as Admin.
  • Go into the Orion Website Administration page (Top right corner and click on Settings)
  • Click on Manage Accounts under User Accounts resource.
  • Select the User account you want to add map restrictions to
  • Find "Add Limitation" Button and click on it
  • Select the appropriate Limitation type from the available list ( in my case, I choose the Radio button "Group of Nodes")
  • Select the list of nodes you want to limit viewing and hit on submit
  • Next, Launch and Log into Orion Network Atlas
  • Bring up the saved map or the map being designed and right-click the map and select Map Properties
  • Select the radio button "Remove nodes that users do not have permission to View"

 

I hope you have learned some powerful features Orion Network Atlas brings and that you will try out these functions to help you in creating better network diagrams which suits your environment. We are actively working on improving our software, this is evident with the improvements we are bringing into Network Atlas with NPM 10.7. In case you missed what's coming in with NPM 10.7, check out Rob Hock's blog post

 

 

Survey: To bring further improvements into the product, we need to understand how you use Orion Network Atlas in your organization and what are the features you hope to see in future releases. For this reason, we would appreciate your time in taking the survey (Button below) and making a difference.

 

Take-Survey-Button-updated.png

With NTM 2.1 out the door we're now focusing on the features and functionality for the next release.  The team is currently working on the following:

 

  • Import User Defined Graphics

Users will be able to bring into the application their own custom graphics.

  • Do Not Scan List/ Scan Exclusions option into the Discovery Settings page

Users will be able to configure scan exclusion to increase the scanning performance and skip scanning nodes which causes false alarms

Not all vendor devices serial numbers will be polled in one release, due to the introduction of performance issues while scanning. We would encourage you to comment on which vendor devices we need to focus on. We will priorities accordingly depending on the response we get.

  • Creating a new map from selected Node objects

This function will help in better representation & creating specific maps


Questions? Comments? If you've got questions or ideas about a particular feature that might be most useful to you or your organization, or want to take part in a release candidate or beta, feel free to comment. Make sure to file a feature request over in our Network Topology Mapper Feature Requests forum if you don't see your request. If someone else already posted it, please add your comments so we know there's interest in a particular feature or issue.


To receive updates on the NTM roadmap, join thwack and bookmark this page.

 

PLEASE NOTE:  While we are working on these items, 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!

New Engineer's Toolset 10.9.1 has just arrived. The upgrade is available for free for all Toolset customers under active maintenance and can be downloaded from the SolarWinds customer portal.

 

The 10.9.1 comes with following list of improvements:

 

•  TraceRoute tool Changes.

    • Added SNMP Support
      • Additional columns can be displayed for devices which support SNMP
      • User can enable/disable SNMP Discovery
      • SNMP credentials are provided by common Credential Managment
    • Context menus over columns were enhanced
      • Right-click over IP Address column allows user to run some tools.
      • Right-click over other columns allows user to choose displayed columns
    • 0.0.0.0 addresses are not displayed in results

• WorkSpace Studio

    • Export is now possible from IP Network Browser (WSS)

• Neighbor Map

    • Export Neighbor Map to Visio

• Proxy Ping

    • Deprecated the old version and implemented a new one.
    • New version adds support for IPv6
    • Supports Cisco, Juniper, Mikrotik and Extreme Networks

• SCP Server changes

    • Existing files of the same name are renamed during an upload
    • Is now FIPS supported
    • Support for DSA Keys

• Licensing upgraded to GEN3

 

Notable Bug Fixes in 10.9.1

 

• Issues with Neighbor Map (250173, 186932)

• Port Mapper - In correct VLAN ID displayed (156029)

• Port Scanner - Maxes out on 65,000 port scan (218038)

• Port Scanner - Crashes (222332, 218038)

• Bandwidth Gauge –Historical Statistics issue fixed (175923)

• Config Viewer –  SNMP community first character cut off (184082)

• Compare config Tool error out when logged in as a standard user (240296)

• Subnet Calculator – Resulting in wrong subnets (243226, 228460, 222771)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Does not work with Cisco Nexus 5000 (197087)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Does not show MAC Addresses  (204097)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Incorrectly displays MAC Addresses  (233180)

• Switch Port Mapper -  Fails to export to CSV format (250453)

• Workspace Studio - Crashes (236890, 236888)

• TraceRoute - Crashes when hostname is not resolved (233322)

• Cannot add nodes to Bandwidth Gauges, with Non Admin user rights (234987)

• WorkSpace Studio -  Interface Chart % Utlization Rx+Tx faulty logic (245706)

• SNMP Real Time Graph - Displaying duplicate column names (250074)

• Watch It - Gives a Run-Time error after exiting the application when log in as a standard user (241675)

• Advanced CPU Load - Not showing Call Manager 7 data  (184082)

• Netflow Real Time - Fails to launch when toolset is installed into a user defined custom folder (251815)

• After upgrade toolset takes ages to load (193803)

 


So, what are you waiting for ? go ahead and download the General Availability 10.9.1 bits from your customer portal today !

The SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset – 10.9.1 Release Candidate is now available for download in your customer portal.

This Release Candidate fixes the following issues.

 

• Issues with Neighbor Map (250173, 186932)

• Port Mapper - In correct VLAN ID displayed (156029)

• Bandwidth Gauge –Historical Statistics issue fixed (175923)

• Subnet Calculator – Resulting in wrong subnets (243226, 228460, 222771)

• Port Scanner crashes (222332, 218038)

• Switch Port Mapper does not work with Cisco Nexus 5000 (197087)

• Switch Port Mapper does not show MAC Address (204097)

• Switch Port Mapper fails to export to CSV format (250453)

• Workspace Studio Crash (236890, 236888)

TraceRoute crashes when hostname is not resolved (233322)

• Cannot add nodes to Bandwidth Gauges, with Non Admin user rights (234987)

WorkSpace Studio: Interface Chart % Utlization Rx+Tx faulty logic (245706)

• SNMP Real Time Graph displaying duplicate column names (250074)

• Watch It gives a Run-Time error after exiting the application when log in as a standard user (241675)

• Compare config Tool error out when logged in as a standard user (240296)

 

We have also included some enhancements into the tools.

 

• Enhancements into the TraceRoute tool.

WorkSpace Studio - Export function available in IP Network Browser.

• Neighbor Map can now export to Visio

• Proxy Ping supports IPV6 and SNMPv3

• SFTP functions using DSA Algorithms

• Fixed the renaming of file name in SCP Server and TFTP Server Tools.

 

The full set of release notes will be available when we have the formal release.

 

P.S: The Release Candidate (RCs) is a fully supported early release available to existing customers. If you have active maintenance and you are interested in the RC, please download the RC from your Customer Portal..

It’s been a month since the release of NTM 1.0.10., We are now working on our next version which has been guided by your valuable feedback. Below is snapshot on what we are considering.

 

  • Edit Node Properties – You will be able to Change your Nodes’ Names or Name your Unidentified nodes.
  • Ability to save credentials – NTM will give you the ability to save credentials and reuse it to perform a new scan.
  • Schedule export to Network Atlas – For our NPM users, you will be able to perform scheduled exports of NTM Maps into Network Atlas.
  • Better representation of ICMP (only) Nodes – We are working on building some intelligence in that allows for better grouping of ICMP nodes and better representation of them on the map.
  • Support Hyper V – We will extend our Virtualization mapping by supporting Hyper V

 

 

Questions? Comments? Did We Miss Something? If you've got questions or ideas about a particular feature that might be most useful to you or your organization, or want to take part in a release candidate or beta, feel free to comment. Make sure to file a feature request over in our Network Topology Mapper Feature Requests forum if you don't see your request. If someone else already posted it, please add your comments so we know there's interest in a particular feature or issue and please don’t forget to mention the use-case that particular feature will solve for you.

 

Disclaimer: 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. 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!

If you have used Network Topology Mapper, you know it’s of great use for visually seeing and tracking changes of your network, onto a map.

In past blogs we have highlighted how NTM integrates with NPM. If you missed it you can check out my blog post here.

For this blog, we will see how SolarWinds Engineers Toolset integrates with NTM and how it can make your life easier.

Before we do. Let's perform a quick recap on what these tools can help you with.

 

Network Topology Mapper (NTM)

Network Topology Mapper automatically discovers and produces a comprehensive network diagram of your network. Some other features that will make your life easier are:

1. Builds comprehensive Layer 2, Layer 3, Layer 2/3, VLAN ID specific and Virtual environments network maps

2. Tracks changes in your network environment

3. Export to Microsoft Office® Visio®, PDF, Network Atlas and PNG formats

4. Visually track changes in the network, with the help of the schedule discovery.

5. Fulfillment of information security requirements of PCI/DSS, HIPAA, or other regulatory standard

 

Engineers Toolset (ETS)

Engineers Toolset is composed of over 50 network tools ranging from network diagnostic, discovery, monitoring, configuration management, security etc. These tools are easy to use and effective to troubleshoot your network.

 

Engineers Toolset Integrates with Network Topology Mapper.

If you have ETS and NTM on the same system, you can take advantage of the integration of ETS into NTM. Below are the six tools that will work out-of-the-box with just a right-click.

  • TraceRoute
  • Enhanced Ping
  • Lookup IP Address
  • Lookup Hostname
  • CPU Gauge
  • Switchport Mapper

Untitled1.png

Are these the only tools which are integrated ? What about the rest ?


Fear not, we have added a function called Custom Tools, which gives you the ability to add specific tools depending on your needs and requirement.

My personal favorite is the Neighbor Map tool, I have heard users who have asked for, the ability to perform crawl discovery of a specific node in NTM. Neighbor Map integration from Toolset addresses this request.

  • Right click the selected node. Integration with Custom Tools - Add Custom Tools
  • Give a name for the custom tool (in this case Neighbor Map). Provide the path to the NeighborMap.exe file, which is found in your Toolset installation folder.
  • Under Command line arguments, enter the following arguments /host: (to enter the selected node into the Neighbor Map tool) and click on ${IP} under TIP: Command line Macro Commands (which will pull the IP address of the selected node).
  • Click on Save Changes and the OK button and you are good to go.

Capturenow7.JPG

 

Capturenow4.JPG


Other interesting tools like Bandwidth Gauges (provides real time traffic and bandwidth utilization monitoring), Real Time Interface Monitor (to display interface statistics from routers and switches ) and more can be called from NTM.

 

If you're an Engineer's Toolset customer and you haven't tried the NTM, you can learn more about it here.

 

 

Last updated on 2/20/2014, by Cliton Godinho

If you own SolarWinds Engineers Toolset (ETS), and any SolarWinds products shipped with Orion platform you can leverage the functionality of Toolset directly from Orion platform based products. For more on Orion Integration with Engineer’s Toolset refer to Craig’s blog.

 

You may have ETS installed on a laptop, helpdesk agent system or any system on your network and happen to use the integration functionality to Orion. If that's so, then you are familiar with the tool you call by right clicking on a node. The tool runs on the local machine therefore the traffic is sourced from your local machine and not the server. The below diagram gives a visual representation of the deployment where Engineers Toolset resides outside of the Orion server. Using the Engineers Toolset - Orion integration function by right clicked a node (switch-32-01), the source traffic originates from the system running Engineers Toolset (10.140.26.198) and the reply is send to the same system, while the local machine displays the output.

 

ddd.png

Why do I, need to source the tool from my Orion server and How do I achieve it?

 

You may have restrictions with in your organization, that does not allow your ETS machine to access some of your network and want to call simple tools from your Orion server without buying another ETS license. In this case, you would want some mechanism to perform this functionality. Lets see, how to achieve calling PING tool from an Orion server.

  1. Download and install PsTools from Microsoft, specifically you will need PsExec. Install this on your Orion server. PsExec allows you to run commands on your remote machine.
  2. Create a batch script (*bat) and save it into the same local folder where PsTools was installed. Batch files are useful for storing set of DOS commands that are executed by calling its name.

Here's a sample batch script.

------------------------------------------

echo off

cmd /K <path>\psexec.exe \\%1 <remote cmd> %2
------------------------------------------

To break down the batch script parameters,

- echo off:  Will turn off the command you put in a batch file from showing itself,

- /K: Carries out the command specified by string and continues (in my case carries out cmd.exe and continues to the installation folder of psexec.exe),

- <path>: Is the local (Orion server) folder where psexec.exe is installed, %1 carries out the first command line argument (IP Address of the Orion server),

- <remote cmd>: Is any DOS commands which will be executed from the source machine/Orion server, and

- %2:  carries out the second command line argument (which is the IP Address of the remote device, you PING)

Example:

This script executes PING on the Orion server and displays the resulting output locally (in this case Orion server)

-------------------------------------------

echo off
cmd /K C:\Tools\psexec.exe \\%1 ping %2

-------------------------------------------

and the below for TRACEROUTE

-------------------------------------------

echo off
cmd /K C:\Tools\psexec.exe \\%1 tracert %2

--------------------------------------------

  3. Next, on your ETS system. Go to Engineer’s Toolset Integration tray icon and update the right click menu to include your remotely executed command.

a1.png

 

   4. Go to Menu Items tab and click “Create, delete and edit menu items”

a13.png

   5. Input Target path and Command-Line Arguments into Item Details page (as shown below)

a14.png

 

6. Transfer the new menu items from the Available field box into the selected Menu field.

a15.png

7. Open Orion web Console and use the Engineer’s Toolset Integration Menu. The new menu items should appear and can be used to execute the remote command to targeted nodes.

a16.png

If you're an Orion customer and you haven't tried the Engineer's Toolset, you can learn more about it here.

We have officially reached Release Candidate (RC) status for NTM 1.0.10. RC is the last step before general availability and is a chance for existing customers to get the newest functionality for NTM before it is available to everyone else.

NTM 1.0.1 includes some customer requests as well as several bug fixes. Here is a list of the features included in 1.0.10

 

  • NTM is unresponsive during discovery. (case 225201, 218320)
  • NTM returns an internal error when a Seed device is entered for scanning (case 215087)
  • SNMP Credentials test now checks for v1 and v2.
  • NTM now exports to Microsoft Visio 2013
  • Displays & searches all IP Addresses of nodes.
  • NTM now displays 10Gb Link Speed connections.
  • Improvements in reporting, order of tabular report columns adjustable & now showing enumerated values in the Switch port Report.
  • It is now possible to cancel a WMI credentials test.
  • Evaluation Map can be exported to Microsoft Visio with restrictions.

 

RC builds are made available to existing customers prior to the formal release. These are used to get customer feedback in production environments and are fully supported.

Below are some screenshots to see the new features of Network Topology Mapper. But if you really want to see more, download this latest version from your SolarWinds Customer Portal.

 

Connection Display Options – Showing 1-10 Gbps & >10 Gbps link Speed lines

 

A new 10Gbps connection line is now available on NTM maps.

new1.png

 

Display & Searches alternative IP Addresses of nodes.

 

Nodes with multiple IP Addresses can now be displayed on the map, by hovering over the node and right click node details.

One can also search multiple IP Addresses using the Search bar. (make sure IP address is ticked, under Node Display options)

Capture9999.JPG

Capture00000.JPG

 

Improvements in Reporting.

 

The order of the columns in the reports can now be moved and adjusted accordingly. In the STP report, the Spanning Tree State shows enumerated STP state and 2 new columns are added to the report. Namely, Designated Root & Bridge.

CaptureSTP.JPG

Recently, we’ve heard from Solarwinds Network Topology Mapper (NTM) users with large networks, that performance during the discovery process is a bit sluggish. How can we improve it?  To answer that question, one must understand how the NTM discovery engine works and what goes on behind the scenes before displaying the network diagram.

 

NTM includes a sophisticated multi-level discovery engine, which uses a combination of protocols and goes through 3 distinct phases in order to discover every node on a network and to produce a highly accurate map.

 

1. The Node Detection Phase: Uses a combination of ICMP, SNMP and WMI Protocols to detect devices.

2. The Polling Phase: Uses a Poller to collect connection data using CDP, LLDP, Bridge table and also STP to detect the role of each node.

3. The Calculation Phase: Uses complex algorithm to calculate connectivity between nodes.

 

The completion of these 3 phases of the discovery process can be slowed down by a number of factors. Primarily these:

 

  • The size of the network being scanned
  • The choice of node detection protocols used for the scan
  • The number of hops specified for the scan
  • Where the scan is being performed from

 

With all of that in mind, we have compiled the following recommendations to help you improve the performance of NTM as it discovers devices on your network.

1. Think small – The tendency of most users of NTM is to try discovering their entire network on the 1st scan. The drawback here is, if you have a network with 1200+ nodes you are in for a long wait and at the end of it, the map might look very cluttered. The smaller the range you define to scan, the faster you’ll receive the results and the easier it will be to interpret them. We recommend discovering Class C networks in at least 2 separate scans.

 

2. Credentials priority - The credentials most commonly used should be at the top of the list, be it SNMP, WMI or VMWare. Performing this simple activity will help enhance the discovery. Also, note that the more credentials there are the longer discovery will take so don’t use any unnecessary credentials.

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3. Zero Hop Discovery - As you work your way through the discovery wizard, you will notice that you are prompted to provide the number of hops you wish to use during the scan.  We recommend using 0 hops unless you are not finding all of your expected devices. The more hops the scan goes through, the longer it takes and 0 usually gets them all.

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4. Scanning Location – Scanning with NTM from within the same Management VLAN of your network can improve the speed of the discovery process significantly. This will reduce polling timeouts compared to scanning over VPN, dial-up or routing through another network.

 

5. Evening/Weekend Scanning - If you manage a very large network or you see your network growing in the coming months, it would be best to run the discovery process during evening hours or on weekends and have your map ready for Monday morning.  The key to this is making sure you have entered the proper credentials into the discovery wizard.  Make sure to test your credentials before beginning the discovery process and leaving the building.

 

And that's pretty much sums it up. Hope that it makes the discovery & mapping of your network a little bit easier.

NETWORK TOPOLOGY MAPPER INTEGRATION WITH NETWORK ATLAS

 

I have had number of customer interviews lately and the most common question which arises quite often is, I have Orion Network Atlas why do I need another network mapping software?

To answer this question, we got to understand what use-cases these two applications solves.


Orion Network Atlas

Is a powerful tool built for creating custom network maps and diagram. It is a semi-manual network diagramming software which allows users to design and draw physical & logical topology diagrams by manually placing discovered nodes on to the map canvas. Using the Connect Now button the application automatically draw connections between the nodes.


SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper

Is an automated Network Mapping software. The software is built to create dynamic topology diagrams/maps by using its powerful auto-discovery engine. It can automatically discover, map, provide inventory and document your specific network environment. Network Topology Mapper is a replacement to its earlier network mapping application called LANSurveyor

 

With Network Performance Monitor (NPM) one monitors key devices, interfaces, etc. and not every single object in your environment. But, maybe you want a complete topology map of your network environment (example: Workstations, Printers, Hubs etc) for documentation purposes or to know what’s on your network and represent those devices on you Orion Web console, without actively monitoring them. With the combination of SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (NTM) and Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM), now you can have your cake and eat it too!

 

Network Topology Mapper has the capability of exporting the network diagram it has discovered and rendered to Network Atlas and Vice Versa. Once imported, the user has the choice to add the nodes identified in NTM into the Orion database or simply display the identified nodes. The application, provides two ways to export your maps/diagrams into Network Atlas

  • One-Time Export: You can easily export your discovered map to Network Atlas using the following flow File – Export – Network Atlas. Choose from
    • Open directly in Network Atlas – This function will trigger the launch of Network Atlas in the background
    • Export as a Map – Choose this option if you want to save the map and bring it up into Network Atlas at a later stage.

        Note: For both these choices there is a need to save the map first and an option to secure your map by a password.

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  • Schedule Export: Users can also schedule the export of NTM Maps into Network Atlas, there by staying ahead of network changes in your environment. In order to enable the scheduling function, setup the scheduling frequency in the Network Discovery Scan Wizard.


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Choose on how you want to save the discovered results to bring up the map in Network Atlas. The available choices are

 

  • Automatically merge results with a map – This option will always merge the new discovered data with the old.
  • Manually select results to merge with a map - Users will need to choose the required map(s) to be displayed into Network Atlas from the available completed scans.
  • Save results as a new map – There will always be a new map created and saved with time-stamps.

 

Next, make sure Keep Network Atlas updated with these discovery results is ticked ON. Enter your Orion Server log-in details (where your active Network Atlas resides), make sure to test the credentials and hit the Set button. Hit on the  discover or update button to complete the wizard.

 

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Open or Connect to Orion Network Atlas. An automatic map import window opens, choose the desired map file(s) from the list to be imported . Once completed, Network Atlas will pop up with a notification message informing you of how many objects are new to the Orion database (if any) and if you want to discover them.

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If clicked Yes, Orion discovery will run. Upon completion the gathered data will be stored into the Orion database and these new identified objects will be actively monitored. If No, is chosen the nodes will be represented as unknown nodes into the Orion database.


NETWORK TOPOLOGY MAPPER INTEGRATION WITH ENGINEERS TOOLSET & OTHER 3RD PARTY DIAGNOSTICS TOOLS

I have a written a blog post on the subject How NTM integrates with Engineers Toolset, you can find more here. One can also call 3rd Party tools into the application. This integration, brings with it the advantage of troubleshooting and diagnosing problem on your network using network diagrams.

 

NETWORK TOPOLOGY MAPPER INTEGRATION WITH MICROSOFT VISIO

With just one-click, users can export their currently displayed network diagram to Microsoft Visio. From there on, the Visio file can be exported as a publication on to the Web.

The following Microsoft Visio versions are supported 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

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