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Product Blog

38 Posts authored by: denny.lecompte

SolarWinds acquired Web Help Desk on Wednesday July 25.  We started selling it on Thursday the 26th.  That meant that we handed a brand new product to our sales team with very little time to train them.  For the short term, we chose to reduce the variety of OS's we support for the 30-day free evaluation period.  We did that to make it easier for the sales engineers to support the new product.  Variety is great, but we thought it more important that we be able to provide downloaders a great experience.  We chose Windows to start with because it was the most popular eval download for Web Help Desk.  We expect that we'll add back OS's to the evaluation as the internal team comes up to speed on the new product.


To be clear, we have not dropped MacOS support for existing customers.  And if an evaluator or new customer wants the Mac version, we immediately provide it for them. We had a couple of Sales reps who were confused and miscommunicated that we had ended support of Mac and Linux. NOT TRUE.  Seriously.  No such decision has been made. 


We are looking at OS and DB support going forward.  If there are some combinations that are really rare, we may discontinue in favor of moving faster on more popular platforms.  We take our relationship with our customers very seriously, so we'll be listening to feedback.  We can't always make everyone happy, but we try our best.  And you'll see that the product management team for Web Help Desk will remain engaged with customers via forums, email, and phone.  We'll also send out surveys from time to time.


We ask only that existing customers don't assume that things will be worse.  So far, we've lowered the price of the Pro edition.  And we're increasing the size of the engineering team.  We plan to deliver more features than ever before without changing the fundamental nature of the product.  It's a great product.  That's why we bought it.  We look forward to working with all of the Web Help Desk customers.

As you probably already know, SolarWinds recently acquired TriGeo Security, which sold a SIEM product.  We’ve renamed is SolarWinds Log & Event Manager.  Below is a link to a recorded webinar that gives an overview of how to use the product to meet some of your compliance goals.



Logs have to be analyzed. Regulations around compliance and security such as CIP (Critical Infrastructure Protection), FISMA, and HIPAA require it. And let’s face it, log analysis is just a good practice.

During this webcast we will discuss the challenges of using log management for real-time operational performance monitoring, compliance, and security. Learn what it takes to deliver a comprehensive view of the network and correlate the massive amounts of data to proactively respond to issues at network speed with SolarWinds Log & Event Manager.



In Part 1, we discussed the different management protocols and methods that are used to manage, monitor, and measure application and system health and performance. If you missed Part 1 you can watch the recorded version here.


During part 2 we’ll dive deeper into some of these technologies and demonstrate how they are commonly used within management applications. Specifically we’ll be discussing:

  • Leveraging RPC and WMI to monitor Windows PerfMon counters & statistics
  • Using user experience monitors and synthetic transactions to validate application availability and response time
  • Integrating NetFlow statistics to enhance visibility of application usage and performance

We’ll be leveraging the SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor (APM) among other tools to demonstrate these technologies and facilitate the discussions.

Register to watch


Learn about the common pitfalls that you will encounter as you progress on your Virtualization journey towards Private Cloud computing.  Join SolarWinds Head Geek Josh Stephens as we discuss the changes that these Virtual Environments have caused and how they affect management best practices. Some of what he’ll cover will include:

  • Best practices for management as you progress on your Virtualization journey
  • Identifying and Resolving Performance and Capacity Bottlenecks
  • Conquering the inevitable VM Sprawl that will arise
  • Preparing for management of your Private Cloud

Also during this webcast we’ll demonstrate key technologies from SolarWinds that help to conquer these challenges and ensure success in these environments.

New management challenges have emerged with virtualization adoption around assuring performance, capacity, reporting and chargeback.  How do you find a powerful solution to all these new challenges without breaking the bank? Join SolarWinds for a sneak peek webcast of our upcoming Virtualization Manager 4.0 (formerly Hyper9) release where we'll show you how to take your virtualization initiative to the next level.








We’ve got a new webinar for you.  It’s on-demand, so view it as your convenience.  Details below, if you’re interested in checking it out:


The traditional application server has been deconstructed and redefined. Components of today’s applications run on distributed systems which have been virtualized across clusters of physical hosts that sharing network bandwidth to storage and other resources. Additionally, today’s hyper-dense computing environments, made possible by innovations by companies such as Cisco, EMC, and VMware, have placed more servers per square foot in our data centers than ever before.


These changes cause us to revisit IT management philosophies and in many cases to re-tool ourselves for this generation of data center. Join SolarWinds Head Geek Josh Stephens as we discuss the changes that these trends have caused and how they affect application management best practices. Some of what he’ll cover will include:

  • Understanding today’s application server technologies
  • Best practices for managing next-gen application servers
  • Key elements of successful monitoring in hyper-dense computing environments
  • Management system recommendations and what to watch out for

Also during this webcast we’ll demonstrate key technologies from SolarWinds that help conquer these challenges and ensure application management success in these environments.


Link:  http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/webcasts/managing-application-servers-in-todays-compute-environments.html

During this webcast we'll demonstrate best practices for network configuration management - managing the configurations of routers, switches, firewalls and other network infrastructure devices. We'll also demonstrate the top 5 network configuration management tasks using the SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM).  


Some of what we'll discuss and demo:

  • Backing up the configurations of all of your routers, switches, and firewalls
  • Setting up automated configuration management jobs
  • Configuring and using real-time config change detection
  • Managing configurations against policies for compliance

View it now:  http://www.solarwinds.com/resources/webcasts/network-configuration-management-best-practices.html

We’ve written about the Hyper9 acquisition on The WhiteBoard and on Geek Speak, but I’m going to add a couple of thoughts and try my best to indicate where Hyper9 and our other related products are headed.


First off, why did we buy Hyper9?  As we’ve said before, we listen to our customers.  What we heard them telling us is that virtualization continues to grow in importance.  Moreover, we heard that they’re facing new management challenges around capacity planning, performance optimization, and configuration tracking.  We have a great engineering team, and they could have built what our customers needed, but it’s pretty clear that the problems they face are both serious and urgent, so we looked around at other companies offering virtualization management solutions.  To be honest, it’s not easy to find companies and products to join SolarWinds because their software has to meet the same standards as our software:  Easy to install, configure, deploy.  The UI has to be simple, yet powerful.  It has to be accessible to the little shops yet scale to the really big shops.  It’s not easy to find products like that because it’s not easy to build products like that. 


I can’t speak for everyone at SolarWinds, but one of my personal tests for evaluating other people’s software is whether I’m overcome with envy that someone else built something so good and that I didn’t get to be part of it.  That’s how I felt when I saw Hyper9’s product.  It’s pretty awesome.  Why didn’t I do that?  Sigh. My personality disorders aside, the quality of the product really came as no surprise because the product team is actually here in Austin.  Consequently, many of us already knew the folks on the Hyper9 team personally or by reputation.  Awesome product, awesome product team.   We bought Hyper9 because they solved the virtualization management problem so well that seemed like a much better option to join forces on this front than to compete with them.


If you have a virtual environment, you should check out Hyper9.  It’s a virtual appliance that you can download and drop on your VMware host.  Simple config process, and you’re collecting data.  You’ll find orphaned VMs.  You’ll be able to see how to squeeze more performance and more capacity out of your infrastructure. It’s got an incredible search engine that lets you find out anything you need about your VMs and their performance.   Plus, it’s just cool to play with that much new data. 


I do want to answer one of the questions we’ve started to get on thwack and directly to PMs about how Hyper9 relate to our existing Profiler product line, which has some virtualization-related functionality.  Where does each product fit?  Here’s the deal:  The Profiler product line is focused on storage management, but it has some virtualization features around mapping VMs to storage resources, which allows troubleshooting of VM problems such as those caused by multiple VMs contending for the same storage resources.  If you have a problem managing storage or a problem managing how virtualization impacts storage (or vice versa), then Profiler is the right product.  In contrast, Hyper9 is aimed at broad and deep virtualization problems like VM sprawl, performance optimization, and capacity planning—pretty much anything that isn’t storage.  Anyone who wants to get the most out of their virtual infrastructure needs Hyper9.

  • If you have a virtualization problem that has nothing to do with storage, you need Hyper9
  • If you have storage problem, but don’t much care about virtualization, you need Profiler
  • If you have a problem with the impact of virtualization on storage, you need Profiler
  • If you have a problems with storage, virtualization, and with the impact of virtualization on storage, you need both Hyper9 and Profiler.

And that’s how we’re going to invest in these products going forward:  Profiler will continue to focus on storage management, including storage management problems arising from virtual machines.  Hyper9 will continue to focus on all other aspects of virtualization management.  Will we integrate Profiler and Hyper9?  I can’t promise anything, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if we did, would it?

Date/Time: Thursday, Feb 10, 2011 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM CST

Register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/707934872

Please join us on Thursday, February 10th at 11:00 AM CST for an exclusive training session on network configuration management.   

During this webcast we’ll demonstrate best practices for network configuration management  – managing the configurations of routers, switches, firewalls and other network infrastructure devices. We’ll also demonstrate the top 5 network configuration management tasks using the SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM).

Some of what we’ll discuss and demonstrate will include:

·        Backing up the configurations of all of your routers, switches, and firewalls

·        Setting up automated configuration management jobs

·        Configuring and using real-time config change detection

·        Managing configurations against policies for compliance

This training session is free for all attendees.

We’re running a “Getting Started with SolarWinds NPM” training session on  Thursday Jan 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM CST.  To participate, you need to register here:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/989188488

  • During this 60 minute training session we’ll cover: 
  • Optimizing hardware configurations for Orion
  • Understanding Orion’s architecture
  • Installation, discovery, and base configuration
  • Leveraging the information that Orion provides

This class is most beneficial to current users of Orion NPM and will be hosted by Josh Stephens, our Head Geek, and Brandon Shopp, Sr. Product Manager for Orion NPM.

Hey folks,


We have a new webcast.  It’s on-demand, so no scheduled time.  Just click through and you can get a detailed walkthrough of the new features in NPM 10.1.  We jammed a lot of features into this release, so there’s lots to learn.  Check it out.




Topics include:


•         Complete Active Directory® authentication integration


•         Dynamic service groups and dependencies


•         Multi-object stacked charts


•         PDF export of reports and views


•         Mobile device aware alert management

If you’d like to get a detailed walkthrough of the new 10.1 features, register for this free training session on Thursday, December 9, 2010 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CST.


During this session we’ll discuss and demonstrate several of the most asked for new features that have been incorporated in the 10.1 release of Orion NPM. This is a major upgrade of Orion, don’t let the .1 release fool you. We have incorporated some of the most often asked for features and functionality, including:


• Complete Active Directory(AD) Authentication integration    
• Dynamic  Service Groups and Dependencies    
• Multi-Object stacked Charts    
• PDF export of Reports and Views    
• Mobile Device aware Alert Management


Please register:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/927659825

We’ve posted a new customer training video that covers topics such as tuning Orion's website, SQL database, and data collection services.  The Head Geek is joined by Dan Wendeln from Support and Chris LaPoint from product management.  Check it out.  It’s handy stuff for an any customer, whether you’re new to Orion or if you’ve been around for a while. 

From time to time, we try to highlight tips and tricks from community members.  These tips and tricks are usually posted on thwack.  In this post, we want to highlight something that was posted on on a personal blog.  In his extremely detailed and helpful blog post entitled “Automated SpiceWorks Tickets using Orion NPM and Perl”, Aaron Hebert explains how to make Orion automatically open ticket in SpiceWorks help desk.

We encourage you to read his post.  Here’s a quote from his intro:

“Customers appreciate a fast response to a network outage. After working in a NOC setting and learning many things about customer service, I’ve decided to take advantage of a few very good ideas implemented by others that could decrease response times to outages. One of these ideas includes creating tickets when a “node down” event is detected by an NNM. I’ve seen “auto-tickets” generated by integrating HP OpenView and ConnectWise, but I’ve never come across a solution for less expensive products such as SpiceWorks and Orion NPM. I hope that this post will be of some use to anyone who wishes to implement this.”

Many thanks to Aaron for his contribution to the community.  Please take a look.  He includes detailed requirements and the original script he wrote.  Enjoy.

As I mentioned in an Server Change Auditing, we’ve been thinking about new product areas, and we want your input.  We have two surveys today.  You can take both, one, or (obviously) neither.  If you give us your contact info, we’ll follow up with some of you for in-person calls, which will earn you a SolarWinds shirt or other goodies.




Take survey on Call Quality Management .  We'd really like to better understand what your needs are as it relates to IP Telephony call quality monitoring.


Call Quality means, being able to understand how a end user's experience was when they made a call. In our specific case, we want to know what the quality of the call was over an IP network.


Some examples of poor quality include:

  • Echo on the call
  • Conversation seems out of synch
  • Gaps in speech
  • Parts of the conversation are repeated
  • Improper volume
  • Unable to connect
  • Unexpected disconnect



Take survey on Device/Port Tracking


Device/Network Port Tracking solutions provide a complete, historical view of your entire switch-port inventory (wired and wireless) and connected devices to help eliminate tedious and time consuming manual processes.


To help clarify, here are some example use-cases:


* Need to trace the location of a specific IP or MAC address and see where it is now and where it's been on the network  
* Need to identify the impact of a switch being taken down for maintenance   
* Tired of tracing cables   
* Need to ensure switch capacity is really used before acquiring new switches   
* Need to verify availability of switch ports for upcoming project




If you think there are other areas where we should consider new products, please post comments, or feel free to email me directly.

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