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14 Posts authored by: dsbalcau

Storage Manager (STM) and Storage Resource Monitor (SRM) v6.0 Release Candidates are now available in the SolarWinds Customer Portal for customers on Active Maintenance through April 1st, 2015. Release Candidates can be installed on your production systems and are fully supported. The Product Team is eagerly awaiting your feedback in the Storage RC Forum. The Product Team would also love your feedback about your storage environment on our short survey so we know how to plan our future releases. Before I go on, I want to take this space to thank all of our early UX feedback participants and all of our Beta participants for helping us to build the product you wanted! We couldn't have done it without you!

 

On to the meat!

 

 

What is Storage Resource Monitor?

 

In short, Storage Resource Monitor (or SRM for short) is SolarWinds storage monitoring product.

 

 

The details that matter for you probably depend on whether or not you are an existing Storage Manager (STM)/Storage Profiler (PL) customer or looking at a storage monitoring tool from SolarWinds for the first time.


For Folks Looking at a Storage Monitoring Tool from SolarWinds for the First Time


When you purchase SRM, you will get two modules - the SRM Orion Module and the SRM Profiler Module (formerly Storage Profiler). This will allow you to get the full breadth of monitoring of SAN and NAS devices that SolarWinds supports in one product offering. As we improve our offerings, you won't have to worry that you "chose the wrong platform" as you get them both! SolarWinds - keeping it simple. For the astute Product Blog reader, you may notice that this is very similar to how we are delivering Virtualization Manager as described in this post: VIRTUALIZATION MANAGER (VMAN) 6.2 RC IS NOW AVAILABLE!


For Existing Storage Manager and Storage Profiler Customers


As I hinted at in my original Beta blog post, if you are an existing Storage Manager (STM) and Storage Profiler (PL) customer, you are coming along for the ride. If you are on Active Maintenance through GA you will get the new SRM Orion Module as part of their Active Maintenace on STM and PL. The one change you will notice is that the STM/PL bits have been lightly rebranded as the Storage Resource Monitor Profiler Module. When you install the SRM Profiler Module v6 (or upgrade your existing STM or PL system) and apply your new v6 key, this will work the same as your previous STM/PL install albeit some improvements we made for v6.0. Note that nothing is being taken away from you with this release, you can keep running your STM/PL server as you do today and you will retain that functionality on upgrade to v6.0.

 

SRM Orion Module vs. SRM Profiler Module - What's the difference?

 

There are extensive differences in the core platforms of each module, which I'm not going to enumerate here. For the most part, they both contain features you would expect out of a monitoring tool - alerting, reporting, device collection - most done in different ways. However, I will call out two of the key differences worth noting:

 

Device Support

 

The SRM Profiler Module has about a 10+ year head start on the Orion Module in device support although the team is planning on closing that gap quickly (keep your eyes on the Storage Manager - What We Are Working On post for updates coming soon!). Right now, the SRM Orion Module supports the following devices:

  • EMC VNX / CLARiiON family
  • EMC VNX NAS Stand-alone Gateway / Celerra
  • Dell EqualLogic PS Series
  • NetApp E-Series (LSI)
  • IBM DS 3xxx / 4xxx / 5xxx
  • Dell MD3xxx
  • NetApp Filers running Data OnTAP 8 in:
    • 7-mode
    • Cluster-mode (aka Clustered Data OnTAP)

 

The SRM Profiler module device support is approximately 25 device families at last count and can be seen on SolarWinds website for more detail.

 

SolarWinds AppStack Integration

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It's hard to say more than has already been said in aLTeReGo great AppStack post All New AppStack Environment View and an Opportunity to Earn $100.00 Plus 2000 Thwack Points. With the AppStack Environment View, you can now see infrastructure performance and availability at every level in relation to the application and other supporting infrastructure. If our early feedback on this is any indication, this should greatly help reduce mean time to resolution for any IT Pro. Note that in order to use the SRM Orion Module with other AppStack enabled products, you will need the latest versions of those modules, notably SAM 6.2, VMAN 6.2, and WPM 2.2. As I mentioned in the Beta blog post, we really believe in a vision of Application-centric IT infrastructure management and the AppStack Environment view is the most tangible outcome of that vision. In the picture to the right, you can see SAN and NAS device information in the AppStack - brought to you by the SRM Orion Module.

 

Upgrade and Licensing Scenarios


So if you are a STM/PL customer today, you have a few options for upgrading

  • If:
    • You have device support or functional needs that span both modules
    • You have processes, reports, etc that depend on the old system and want to use that until you get used to the new platform.
  • Then:
    • Upgrade your STM/PL bits to v6.0, Deploy the SRM Orion Module standalone or on top your other Orion modules (e.g. NPM, SAM), integrate the two together
      • In this case, upgrade of STM/PL 6.0 and integration is required in order to share the one license key.
  • If:
    • You are a heavy "Orion shop" and all of your arrays are now supported by the new Orion module.
  • Then:
    • Deactivate your license key on your STM/PL Server. Decomission your STM/PL server. Deploy the SRM Orion Module standalone or on top your other Orion modules (e.g. NPM, SAM). Apply your v6 STM/SRM key on SRM Orion.
  • If:
    • You want to adopt the cumulative features we've added to the product (for example in 5.7 or HotFixes) or adopt the refactored virtualization support
  • Then:
    • Upgrade your STM/PL bits to v6.0. Ignore the SRM Orion Module. Apply your v6 STM/SRM key on SRM Profiler.


If you are installing the SRM Orion Module with the following Orion Modules, you will need to also upgrade those modules:

 

What About the Previous Storage Manager-Orion Integration Module?

 

One note for existing customers that had Storage Manager's previous lightweight integration module installed on Orion, the new SRM Orion Module consumes all of the previous functionality of that lightweight module and effectively replaces that module. It is recommended that you uninstall that module before proceeding with install of the SRM Orion Module.

 

Licensing

 

The shared SRM licensing is important and deserves some clarification. We strove to make the licensing flexible for existing and new customers. The first thing to understand is that both modules collect data independently. That said, if you are monitoring the same device from both modules, and you've enabled integration between them, the device will only be counted once against your license. An example should help:

 

2-3-2015 8-57-04 PM.pngIn the picture to the right, we have both the SRM Orion Module and the SRM Profiler Module deployed. Together they are monitoring 3 arrays: a Hitachi Data Systems device, a Dell MD3xxx device, and a NetApp Cluster-Mode device. In this case, the Dell MD3xxx is being monitored independently as far as data collection by both systems, but the integration and exchange of licensing information ensures that you are only charged for the MD3xxx's 100 disks one time. Therefore, for this system the license count math is:

  • HDS - 150 disks
  • MD3xxx - 100 disks
  • NetApp - 300 disks
  • Total - 550 disks

 

Finally, in this integration scenario, the single key needs to reside on the Profiler Module. For existing customers, it should be no muss, no fuss, as your key is already there an if you're online, your new version 6 key should update automatically at the next license sync. Alternatively, if you wanted to run either module stand-alone, you would activate the key directly on that module's server - both modules are not required to run if you only want to use one or the other.

 

There's obviously a bunch here that I haven't talked about, but that should address most of the frequently asked questions I've received so far. The team is eagerly awaiting your feedback in the RC Forum!


Over the last 10 years, enterprise storage has been one of the most active areas of innovation and change in the IT environment. Storage forms the foundation of critical IT Server and Application infrastructure and IT Pros who are responsible for managing enterprise storage have had to learn and adapt as the demands of ever increasing business-critical applications push existing SAN and NAS architectures to their limits.  Most critically, virtualization of the server infrastructure has turned the end-to-end support of these applications into a rat's nest. This means that as end users clamor for better application performance and storage capacity, the Storage Pro is often left troubleshooting the environment with a collection of isolated tools to help him monitor, troubleshoot and maintain peak performance and availability. We've heard this loud and clear from the IT community and we believe there is a better way. With that I introduce you to SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor (SRM), our new native Orion module to monitor and manage your storage environment. Best of all, we already have a Beta available and we are excited to get your direct feedback so we can make even more improvements before release. Since we are delivering this functionality as part of Storage Manager (STM) and Storage Profiler (PL) (more details below), the Beta is open to STM and PL customers currently on Active Maintenance. If you are not a Storage Manager customer, but are still interested in participating, go ahead and sign-up as well, and I'll see if there is a way I can at least get you on a feedback call to interact with a SolarWinds-local install.

 

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Why SRM?

 

In 2010, SolarWinds acquired TekTools, which became our venerated Storage Manager product. Storage Manager is a very broad and deep product and has served to save the hides of many a Storage Admin from over-provisioned storage pools and LUN's behaving badly. However, we have heard consistently from you that when it comes to IT Operations Monitoring, you want a Single Pane of Glass view across the entire Application Stack (internally affectionately called "the AppStack"). Well, you'll be happy to know that we agree with that end-to-end vision of your IT environment - and we just can't pay that off by simply extending Storage Manager functionality on its current platform. SRM is the piece of the puzzle that along with our networking tools, Server and Application Monitor (SAM), Web Performance Monitor (WPM), and the recently integrated Virtualization Manager (VMAN) allows us to deliver to you a truly Application-centric view of your IT systems infrastructure performance and availability.

 

The AppStack

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Given your direct feedback, it's become clear that the performance of an individual piece of the IT infrastructure - a LUN, an Array, a VM, an ESXi Host - is only as important as it serves the overall health and availability of the business critical application it supports. To that end, SRM is built to finally give you a NOC view of your storage environment side-by-side with it's related physical and virtual servers and the applications running on them. Furthermore, the Orion platform was built from the ground-up to be a NOC platform and trying to make the current STM platform fit that model would be a extremely difficult feat at best. What do I mean by a NOC platform? Very simply all of the goodness you've come to expect from the Orion platform: Status, customizable UI dashboards, custom properties, a rotating NOC view, extremely flexible alerting and reporting, customizable UI widgets (e.g. custom Top 10's), the Network Atlas.....the list goes on. By bringing your storage data onto the Orion platform, we can enable you to see and interact with your data in the way you want and we're very excited to make this happen for you and your organizations.

 

Your New Storage Home

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Wait, but I own Storage Manager! What happens to me?

 

You'll be happy to know that you're coming along with us on this ride. Hopefully, you're as excited as we are. SRM will be delivered very similarly to how we've delivered the Virtualization Manager integration with NPM and SAM. Storage Manager and Storage Profiler customers on Active Maintenance at the time of GA will be entitled to SRM as part of their Maintenance.

 

Does this mean that I need to own another Orion module product (e.g. NPM, SAM) in order to deploy SRM?

 

Absolutely not. SRM can be stood up on it's own, the same as any stand-alone Orion module. However, the team is working extremely hard to ensure that there is seamless integration across our primary "Systems Management" products so you can get full end-to-end visibility when you deploy SRM with SAM or VMAN. As I stated above, the end goal is to give you full Application to Array visibility of your IT environment whether your applications are running on physical or virtual servers and integration with SAM and VMAN are key to fulfilling that vision. Continue watching the Product Forums and Product Blog for updates about upcoming SAM Betas and VMAN Betas to test this out in your own environment.

 

Furthermore, you can continue to run Storage Manager in your environment and we're working hard on making sure our licensing allows you the flexibility to deploy the way you need to in order to meet your business requirements.

 

Do I need to be running STM in order to run SRM?

 

No. Unlike the current VMAN integration where the VMAN Virtual Appliance is feeding data collected from your VMware and Hyper-V environment to the Orion database, SRM has been developed to collect data directly from your arrays (or their data providers like SMI-S). SRM is a native Orion module and does not collect or share data with Storage Manager beyond that required to enforce licensing.

 

OK, but will you support MY device?

 

The Enterprise Storage market could be an academic case study in long-tail markets. Furthermore, each of the vendors have made data collection and device modeling completely different across every array family - even array families ostensibly under the same brand name or corporate umbrella. Long story short, we have to make choices on where to start and matching all of STM's incredibly deep array support in v1 simply wasn't feasible. So where did we start? Our current Beta has support for:

 

  • The EMC VNX Family - This includes EMC's VNX (formerly CLARiiON) and VNX2 architectures as well as the VNX NAS Gateway devices (formerly Celerra). VNX enthusiasts I have good news - We will now have full block and file (Unified) support under a single device type.
  • The Dell EqualLogic PS Series (SAN)

 

In short order, we should have a Beta available for:

 

 

I promise you that's not where our vision ends. Stay tuned for more info. Either way, I encourage everyone interested to sign-up for the Beta - the survey will ask what devices you have in your environment and I'll be proactive in reaching out to folks when your device is ready for Beta testing.

 

So What's Next?

 

You can be assured that this will not be the last post on this topic before the product is released. I'm sure you have outstanding questions I have not addressed, so please don't hesitate to ask and I'll address them directly and/or roll them up into follow-on posts! Furthermore - go sign-up for the Beta and try SRM today!

It is my sincere privilege to announce General Availability (GA) of Virtualization Manager (VMAN) 6.1. This release of VMAN significantly extends the capabilities of the integration that was delivered with SolarWinds NPM and SAM in VMAN 6.0. One thing that we've consistently heard from customers is that you want to see end-to-end in your environment, from Applications to VM's and through the rest of the virtual infrastructure, in a single pane of glass. 6.1 is one more step in pursuit of that goal. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the new features available in this release (links take you to information covered in the Beta blog posts):

 

  • New Synchronization Wizard to help you get up and running with the integration
    • The team wanted to make sure you could get up and running with the integration as quickly and painlessly as possible. This Wizard is the culmination of all the experience we've gained of how synchronization between these two products can go awry. With the new release, you can stop worrying about troubleshooting the integration and focus on troubleshooting problems in your IT environment.
  • vNodes
    • The features we're delivering in the integration are built around this concept of the "vNode." More than a cute name, it represents a significant departure from how the integration was delivered in VMAN 6.0. In 6.0, in order to see data for VM's you had to manage all of your VM's as Orion Nodes, which basically incurred a "double-licensing tax." Well, no more. With 6.1, you can see the VMAN data in the integration without also managing your VM's as Nodes. These VM's can also be managed as Nodes if you need NPM or SAM specific features, like Asset Inventory or Hardware Health, but it's no longer necessary in order to realize the benefits of the integration. With 6.1, only the top-level datasource (the entity we poll data from), need to be managed as Nodes (e.g. vCenter for VMware or a Hyper-V Host for Hyper-V). vNodes have their own resources and also allow us to deliver features like Hyper-V Clusters, Account View Limitations, and Alerting and Reporting on VMAN entities in Orion.
  • Account View Limitations (Role-based Access Control) on Virtualization Manager data presented in the integration
    • The integration now allows using Orion's Account View Limitations, a feature required in order for Virt Admins to complete the delivery of the private cloud to their internal customers. Limit at the vCenter level, the VM level or anywhere in between to limit views to only what consumers of the private cloud need to see.
  • Baselines (aka Dynamic Thresholds) for VMs, Hosts, Clusters, and Datastores
    • Following in the footsteps of SAM 6.0 and NPM 10.7, VMAN 6.1 has extended the baseline threshold capability to the virtual environment. No more need to play psychic in setting static thresholds across your virtual environment - let VMAN do the hard work for you. 
  • Use Orion's Advanced Alerting Engine and New Web-based Reporting on data presented in the integration
    • Now you can build reports on your applications and Guest OS status information right along side reports on your virtual infrastructure, all from the same interface.
  • Significant improvements to data collection and processing on the VMAN virtual appliance (vApp)
    • The engineering team has done a fantastic job in making the necessary changes to make VMAN truly an Enterprise-class monitoring system. With a properly sized server and a tuned appliance, VMAN is now ready to monitor even the largest VMware and Hyper-V environments.
  • Gen3 Licensing
    • No more applying new keys when you renew your Maintenance!
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements


Get Started with 6.1 Today

 

  1. Download 6.1 - For existing VMAN customers, you can download directly from your Customer Portal.If you're interesting in learning more about VMAN or downloading an evaluation copy of 6.1, I recommend going to the Virtualization Manager product page.
  2. Install the VMAN 6.1 vApp
  3. Run the IVIM 1.10 (included in the vApp download) installer on top of SAM 6.1 or NPM 10.7
  4. In SAM/NPM, go to Settings > Settings section > Virtualization Settings.
  5. Go to Setup Virtualization Manager integration
  6. Enter the required information, press Submit. This will launch the new Synchronization Wizard and off you go!

 

or Check out the Live Demo!

I'm pleased to announce that the Storage Manager (STM) 5.7 Release Candidate (RC) is now available in your SolarWinds Customer Portal. I look forward to your feedback on the Release Candidate in the STM RC Forum! For information on STM 5.7, reference this Product Blog post and this Product Blog post!

 

Storage Manager 5.7 is cumulative with STM 5.6.2 and all of the STM 5.6.2 HotFixes. The Release Candidate is a fully tested and supported release and you can upgrade the RC from your previous version of STM, although we do recommend backing up your database first. If you have any problems with the Release Candidate, you can file a ticket with Support just as you would for any GA version of the product.

 

New Features in Storage Manager 5.7

  • Improved performance graphs
  • STM Health and Status Overview
  • User-defined LUN Grouping
  • New visibility into EMC VMAX FAST VP objects
  • Gen3 licensing
  • New default collection frequencies
  • Deprecated “Storage Array” reports
  • Significant bug fixes and stability improvements

 

I look forward to your feedback in the RC Forum! Also, if you'd like to give us feedback about Storage Manager and/or features you'd like to see in a future release, we'd love to get your feedback through this RC survey as well!

SolarWinds® Virtualization Manager 6.1 Release Candidate (RC) is now available and we are seeking input on this version from interested customers.

 

Some of the great features you will be able to try in the RC:

  • Significant extension of the integration with Orion including:
    • Addition of Hyper-V clusters
    • Ability to use Orion Web-based Reporting Engine to report on Virtualization Manager data in the integration
    • Ability to use Orion’s Advanced Alert Engine to alert on Virtualization Manager data in the integration
    • Account view limitation (role-based access control)
    • Dynamic Thresholds – Also known as Performance Baselining for dynamic objects
    • A new synchronization wizard to enhance ease of setup of integration
    • Bug fixes and stability improvements

 

If you are interested in joining this Release Candidate program, please fill out our survey. Once you sign-up, the Product Team will notify you when the RC is available in your Customer Portal.

As bmrad pointed out in the Beta 1 Post, we've been working really hard to extend the integration with NPM and SAM introduced  in Virtualization Manager 6.0.  The team has been hyper-focused on simplifying configuration of the integration in order to bring you App-aware infrastructure monitoring, while preserving your flexibility to start with the tool you want (e.g. SAM or VMAN) and leverage the integration in the places which make the most sense. The features I'm going to outline here come directly from you and what you've told us matter most to detecting and remediating problems quickly in your virtualized environment.

3-11-2014 2-59-31 PM.png

 

 

Synchronization Wizard

 

I'm not going to go into elaborate detail here about the Sync Wizard, as bmrad did an excellent job of that in the Beta 1 Post. However, I did want to thank all of our Beta participants for giving us great feedback on the usability of the Wizard workflow. The Product Team completely understands that it doesn't matter how great the integration is, if you can't get the integration setup in the first place, none of the rest matters. With the feedback from Beta 1, we were able to streamline the messaging and workflow in the Wizard to get you up and running with the integration in minutes. We're not saying it's perfect (and definitely let us know where things don't make sense still!), but it should go a long way to making sure you never see broken integration resources ever again.

 

 

Baselines (Dynamic Thresholds) on Clusters, Hosts, VM's, and Datastores

 

As we discussed in the Beta 1 Post, the VMAN integration is now taking advantage of Dynamic Threshold, or Baselines, for thresholds and alerting purposes. An IT environment is a dynamic place, and when you add virtualized infrastructure to the mix, complexity leaps an order of magnitude. Isn't it about time that your alerting system recognized that fact? Well now it can!

 

So what can you set baseline threshold on? Our conversations with you determined the most important attributes across Datastores, VM's, Hosts, and Clusters for us to add to this release.. Obviously, we couldn't talk to everyone, and therefore are very interested in your feedback if there are other key metrics that would be valuable to baseline for your environment! In 6.1, you can set dynamic thresholds against the following virtual objects:

 

Clusters
  • CPU Load
  • Memory Load
Hosts
  • Network Utilization
  • Memory Load
  • CPU Load
VirtualMachines
  • Memory Load
  • CPU Load
  • CPU Ready
  • IOPS Total
  • IOPS Read
  • IOPS Write
  • Latency Total
  • Latency Read
  • Latency Write
  • Network Usage Rate
Datastore
  • IOPS Total
  • IOPS Read
  • IOPS Write
  • Latency Total
  • Latency Read
  • Latency Write

 

Given that, let's see what it might look like if I want to go set a CPU Load baseline threshold against Virtual Hosts in my environment. CPU Load is an important metric to measure on Hosts with Baselines. I may have Hosts that run heavily loaded all of the time and the VM's perform acceptably on those. Therefore, I may not care to use a static threshold like 80% Warning / 90% Critical, but instead just want my alerting system to tell me "when this host is under abnormally high load." So let's get started....

 

What You'll DoWhat You'll See
First step, of course, is to make sure that you've got the integration enabled. Simply go to Settings->Virtualization Settings->Enable Virtualization Manager Integration and enter the IP and credentials for your VMAN appliance. This will launch you directly into our new (VMAN 6.1) Synchronization Wizard. For more information on the Sync Wizard, reference the Beta 1 Blog Post.

3-11-2014 9-06-55 PM.png

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Once the wizard is done syncing your environment, the integration is now setup and ready to go. You now will have access to all of the additional baseline goodness I mentioned above. So the first place to head to is back to the Settings page. On the main Settings page, you'll see a new sub-heading - Manage Virtual Devices. This was formerly the "Virtualization Polling Settings" menu option for VIM, but we've now extended it for setting Thresholds on your Virtual Devices and thus the name change.3-11-2014 9-31-11 PM.png
Once you get to the Manage Virtual Devices page, select the Thresholds tab. This will reveal a dropdown menu where you can select virtual object types - VC's, Clusters, Hosts, VM's, Datastores - to view in the selection box below. You can also search here to further refine your selection. Given our example use case, I'm going to select Hosts here to view all the Virtual Hosts in my environment. This will show both VMware and Hyper-V hosts that are enabled by the integration (i.e. visible to VMAN and Orion).3-11-2014 9-36-03 PM.png
Now that I've filtered the view to see all the Virtual Hosts in my environment, I can now multi-select the Hosts on which I want to set a Threshold. This might be useful if I want to set Static Threshold on some subset of my hosts and use automatic Dynamic Threshold for others. With multi-select I can do either quickly. Once I've selected all the Hosts I need, I click Edit Thresholds.3-11-2014 9-53-50 PM.png

Now we're into the heart of the matter. The "Edit Properties" screen presents me with several key pieces of information:

  • The Hosts I'm editing properties for
  • The properties that are available to edit. For those of you playing along at home, you'll see the 3 baseline metrics I listed for hosts in the table at the beginning of this section - CPU Load, Memory Usage, and Network Utilization.

 

Our example use case involves setting CPU Load on these Hosts, so I'll select the CPU Load checkbox. This will reveal the current settings for that metric. In order to override the "Global Orion Threshold" with a custom value or baseline, select the checkbox next to "Override Global Orion Threshold or Set Dynamic Threshold."

 

As you can, see in the screenshot to the right, the current CPU Load thresholds are static thresholds:

  • Greater than 80% for Warning
  • Greater than 90% for Critical.

 

We want to use Dyanmic Baselines for this metric. All I have to do in this case is select the Use Dynamic Baseline Threshold button and it will automatically set these Hosts to use Dynamic Thresholds for this metric.

 

Voila! We won't show an explicit value for these baseline thresholds, because they will be different for each node. If you want to see the baseline history (statistical data over time), you'll need to edit a single node at a time.

3-11-2014 10-01-33 PM.png

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So let's go check out one of the ESX Hosts we set the threshold on. If you look at the Host Details page, you can see that the Resource Utilization graph is showing Yellow and Red bars for the warning and critical thresholds we've now set. Oh BTW - that Resource Utilization sparkline chart? Also new in VMAN 6.1 for all vNodes!3-11-2014 10-18-18 PM.png

 

Advanced Alerting - Now with a Virtual Twist!

 

OK, so now that I've set my dynamic threshold, how do I actually get alerted? Well, with VMAN 6.1, you can now alert on the VMAN data presented in the integration. So I can use Orion's Advanced Alert Manager to set alerts just as I would any other Orion object. We've even included a subset of the standard VMAN alerts out-of-the-box. These alerts include:

 

ClusterHostVMDatastore/Cluster Shared Volume

 

    • Cluster CPU utilization
    • Cluster memory utilization
    • Cluster storage utilization

 

    • Host CPU utilization
    • Host memory utilization
    • Host rebooted

 

    • VM CPU Ready
    • VM CPU Load
    • High VM CPU Utilization
    • VM memory swap
    • VM memory ballooning
    • VM Memory Underallocated
    • High VM Memory Utilization
    • Guest storage space utilization
    • VM Rebooted
    • VM Disk Latency

 

    • Datastore Low Free Space
    • Datastore Overallocation
    • Datastore High Latency

 

So continuing our example for above, let's take a dive in the Orion Advanced Alert Manager and setup an alert on our threshold:

 

What To DoWhat You'll See
First, go ahead and RDP to the Orion Server to access the Orion Advanced Alert Manager. Go ahead and click on "Configure Alerts" which will launch the Alert Manager application.3-20-2014 7-52-18 PM.png
In the picture to the right, I've highlighted one of the new out-of-the-box integrated alerts "Host CPU Utilization." Let's take a look at what this alerts trigger conditions are.3-20-2014 7-53-00 PM.png
You can see that this alert is set to fire whenever any Virtual Host's CPU Utilization is greater than or equal to 70%. This is a static trigger level. You'll also notice that the alert is set to trigger after 15 minutes sustained. This is to ensure that at least 2 polling intervals have occurred before firing this alert as default performance collection is in 10 minute intervals. If you set this alert sustain condition for less than 10 minutes you will get noisy alerts that probably won't serve your intentions.3-20-2014 7-53-49 PM.png
I'd like to take a second to point out that you can setup alerts on not only Virtual Hosts, but also Clusters, VM's and Datastores. Available alert-able metrics for each can be determined by selecting an object type, selecting the metric field, and then navigating through the hover menus.3-20-2014 7-54-33 PM.png3-20-2014 8-08-19 PM.png

Now, back to setting up our dynamic alert. It's easiest to just copy an existing alert if you're a beginner, so that's what I've done. I can then hit "Edit" and change the name of the alert. More interesting is the alert condition. I use the same "CPU Utlization" metric, but instead of "Greater than or Equal to" I set it to be a Threshold alert. I want to alert if either a Warning or Critical Threshold is triggered, so I set the alert to trigger if either condition is reached. And that's pretty much it! Hit OK and off you go.

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Web-Based Reporting - Leverage the Newest Orion Core Feature on Your Virtual Data

 

So now you've seen how to set a dynamic threshold and alert on that, all in Orion, all on data collected by VMAN. Pretty cool, huh? Well the last piece is Orion Reporting. Orion has recently introduced Web-based Reporting, and I'm happy to say that the Web-based Reporting system can also now be used to report on the data presented in the VMAN integration. As a quick example, let's go ahead and quickly show you a report I created to show me all of the VM's in my environment with High CPU Load.

 

What To DoWhat You'll See
First step - Go ahead and navigate to the Orion Reports view on the Home tab. Once you're there, click on Manage Reports, then "Create New Report."3-20-2014 8-35-48 PM.png3-20-2014 8-36-17 PM.png
My report is just going to be a simple table, so I'll choose "Custom Table" on the next screen.3-20-2014 8-36-44 PM.png

I'm going to create a table that relies on a Dynamic Query. This way, as VM's get added and removed from my virtual infrastructure, my reports do not have to be updated to include/exclude them specifically. I can do that if the need arises, but not for this example.

 

I'm going to report on "Virtual Machines." However, I don't want a list of all VM's, because that's not really interesting. I'm only interested in VM's that have high CPU Load. Therefore, I'll add a conditional to the report to only report on VM's where CPU Load is greater than or equal to 50%. From here, you can name your datasource something meaningful, or just hit "Add to Layout."

3-20-2014 8-39-07 PM.png
I'll now add Columns to my table. Since this is a simple report, I'll just add the VM's "Name" and "CPU Load." Since I'm specifically trying to identify problems with CPU Load, I'll also have my report sort the results by CPU Load in Descending order. I don't need to add any filtering conditions here in the "Filter results" section, because my datasource I configured for the whole report is already doing that.3-20-2014 8-41-42 PM.png

I can now generate a preview of my report to see the data.Note that none of these VM's are Orion "Nodes" - these are all VMAN objects - vNodes - presented in Orion.   From here, I can add properties, like adding it to Favorite Reports, or create report schedules. For our purposes, this is where we'll end, since this is not meant to be a full tutorial on the Orion Report Writer.

3-20-2014 8-42-24 PM.png

 

Account Limitations - Role-based Access Control, Orion Style

 

I'll wrap up by briefly discussing Account Limitations, also known as Role-based Access Control. This has been a longstanding requests from VMAN customers and we're very happy we are able to deliver it through the integration in this release by leveraging Orion's Account Limitations feature. This functionality has become more critical as folks use VMware and Hyper-V estates as Private Cloud infrastructure. User access can now be restricted under different level of the virtual "hierarchy." For example, if I have a large environment with multiple vCenters, I can limit users to see only the virtual objects - hosts, vm's, clusters, datacenters, - under a single vCenter. These limitations can now be applied in the following ways:

  • View everything under a Single or Group of:
    • vCenters
    • Datacenters
    • Clusters
    • Hosts
  • View a single or group of VM's
  • Datastores don't fit neatly in the above hierarchy, so they have their own control.

 

Note that the embedded Flex (Flash) views from VMAN shown in the Orion interface (e.g. the Map view) is all or nothing since the limitations are applied on the Orion side, not on the VMAN side. There's not much to show here, as Account Limitations just limit your view of the infrastructure, so it doesn't really make for interesting screenshots. Nonetheless, this should be a useful feature for our customers running these products in a private cloud deployment.

 

That's all folks! Don't forget to sign-up for the Beta and give us some feedback!


Storage Manager 5.7 Beta 2 Now Available


Thanks for everyone who gave us feedback on Beta 1. It's my pleasure to announce that Beta 2 is now available and the team would love your feedback. Fill out this short survey to participate in the STM 5.7 Beta!

 

Sign-Up Button.png

Without further ado, let’s jump into what is available in Beta 2.

  • Storage Manager Health Status Overview
  • User Defined LUN Grouping
  • EMC FAST VP Support


Storage Manager Health Status Overview Page

 

Storage Manager is responsible for monitoring a large slice of your IT environment. Whether it's just used for SAN monitoring, or you're leveraging VMware, Physical Server, and Fibre Channel switch monitoring as well, the server is handling many tasks in order to pull together the data for your monitoring, reporting, and alerting needs. One thing that has been challenging is getting a handle on the state of the product itself to answer questions such as:

  • What all is the product monitoring?
  • How is the server it's installed on handling the load from a CPU and memory perspective?
  • Do I need to add Proxy Agents?
  • Are my agents and proxy agents performing as expected under their monitoring load?
  • Are my devices data collections happening within their expected collection intervals?


I'm happy to announce that Storage Manager 5.7 is introducing a web console consisting of a central place to view the overall health and status of the Storage Manager software to answer these questions and more regarding the state of the Storage Manager Server, Storage Manager Database, and Storage Manger Proxy Agents. The Health and Status page is accessible directly from the left-hand navigation pane for Admin users only. Once you click on it, you will be shown the full page which I'll breakdown in the table.


 

STM Health Status Section and DecriptionScreenshot (may differ from final product)

Storage Manager Server Performance Metrics

 

The Storage Manager Server Performance Metrics resource displays the health status of the Storage Manager Server. The following information is provided:

  • CPU utilization
  • Physical Memory (RAM) consumption
  • Disk Usage
  • Clicking on any of the above metrics - CPU/RAM/Disk - takes you to the STM Server's Console view where you can get a full picture of the overall health of the server.
  • Collection List – Shows all agents that are schedule for collection. You can click on the Collection List which drills down to the Collection List report to see all agents waiting for collection.
  • An explanation of warnings that are generated.

 

When a threshold reaches 70%, the indicator bar will turn yellow meaning warning. When a threshold reaches 90%, the indicator bar will turn red meaning critical.

Server Metrics.png

Services

 

The Services resource shows memory consumption and Java Heap memory allocation of the Storage Manager Services. When a threshold reaches 70%, the indicator bar will turn yellow meaning warning. When a threshold reaches 90%, the indicator bar will turn red meaning critical. If a service is stopped, it will be labeled as offline. Users can learn more about allocating physical memory to the Storage Manager services by clicking the Learn how to allocate physical memory for services link.

Services.png

Database Status

 

The Database Status resource provides the current state of the Storage Manager Database. The user will be provided the following information:

  • Displays the size of the database.
  • Displays the largest table and the size.
  • Displays the date of the last dbutil/index rebuild.

Database Status also provides the following information and help links:

 

Note: If there are any crashed table in the database, a display message will appear notifying the user. The user can then click the Show Crashed Tables link and view which tables are reporting as crashed.

Database.png

Device Types

 

The Device Types resource provides the status and type of devices being monitored by Storage Manager. This view provides the following:

  • View Device Collection Status – Shows device collection status values.
  • View All Devices - List all devices being monitored by Storage Manager.
  • Devices – The type of device being monitored.
  • Total – Total number of devices being monitored by Storage Manager. This is a clickable link that allows you to see a filtered view of that device type and it's collection status across your environment.
  • Up – The number of devices responding to polling.
  • Down – The number of devices up at one time yet are not currently responding to polling.
  • Offline – The devices that have never been up and are not responding to polling.
Device Types.png

Storage Manager (STM) Proxy Agents

 

Storage Manager has the concept of Proxy Agents. These are STM Agents that are also responsible for monitoring devices that are not on the server where the agent is installed, like a storage array. This can be thought of as akin to an Orion Additional Polling Engine that you may have deployed to monitor multiple endpoints in a remote environment. This resource displays the health status of the proxy agents that have devices assigned to them. The following information is provided:

  • View all agents – A link that displays a full list of all agents assigned to the Storage Manager Server. This includes all proxy agents as well as all agents that are just acting as stand-alone server agents.
  • Monitored Devices – The number of devices being monitored by the proxy agent. This is a clickable link that will take you to the Device-to-Agent mapping report to help you understand what that agent is monitoring and the load that is placing on the agent.
  • Device – Name of the server hosting a Storage Manager Proxy Agent and its current status.
  • CPU utilization – Amount of CPU resources being used by the proxy agent.
  • Physical Memory (RAM) consumption – Amount of RAM being used by the proxy agent.
  • Disk Usage – Amount of disk space being used by the proxy agent.
  • Forecast – Estimate of when the disk will run out of space on the server hosting the proxy agent.

 

When a threshold reaches 70%, the indicator bar will turn yellow meaning warning. When a threshold reaches 90%, the indicator bar will turn red meaning critical.

Proxy Agents.png

Collection Jobs Queue

 

The Collection Jobs Queue resource provides users with a list of the last 10 devices that were either successful or failed when data collection occurred. The users will be provided the following:

  • Device – Device name.
  • Last Run – The last time Storage Manger polled the device to retrieve information.
  • Last run duration - How long it took Storage Manager to retrieve information from the device.
  • Frequency – How often Storage Manager polls the device for information.
  • Job type – The information Storage Manager requested from the device.

 

Note: The Diagnose link within the Last 10 Failed Jobs provides users with additional information as to why data collection could be failing.

Collection Jobs Completed.png

Collection Jobs Failed.png

Help and Support

 

The Help and Support resource provides users with the following information:

 

Help and Support.png

 

User-defined LUN Grouping

 

This has been a long-standing request from customers and we are very happy we could finally deliver in 5.7. Users want to group their LUN's for many reasons to represent:

  • Applications (e.g. Exchange)
  • Geographical distribution
  • Customers (especially in MSP environments)
  • Anything really!


User-defined LUN Grouping can really be broken up into three main parts:

  • Creating the group
  • Viewing the group information in the console
  • Using the groups for reporting


 

Create the GroupScreenshot

Simply navigate to the Settings page to begin and select Device Groups.

Settings Device Groups.png
Go ahead and click "Add Group." As you can see from the screenshot on the right, I've already created a couple of LUN groups. Existing groups of all kinds can be edited or deleted from this page.2-25-2014 6-11-20 PM.png
Give your new group a name. I've chosen "MyNewLUNGroup." Once you've done that, select "Storage - LUN." For those that are familiar with STM, you may recall that there already existed a limited LUN Grouping feature, but it only applied to NetApp LUN's. "Storage - LUN" as a category is not new, but now applies to all supported STM arrays.2-25-2014 6-11-43 PM.png

Now you can build your LUN Group. There are two major ways available to create your group:

  1. Filter by regular expression. Many storage admins have predefined naming conventions in their environment for LUN's, so this provides a shorthand way of getting a list of all available LUN's that match a regular expression.
  2. Filter by the endpoint to which the LUN is attached. If you are monitoring physical or virtual servers in your environment such that Storage Manager can provide End-to-End mapping, you can use this feature to filter out LUN's by associated endpoint. This is useful for filtering out LUN's presented to certain ESX hosts or Windows Servers that might make up an application group (e.g. Exchange Servers). Endpoint filtering also allows you to filter by a particular array or array type in your environment.
2-25-2014 6-12-32 PM.png
Once I've selected all of my LUN's and added them to the "Selected" box on the previous screen, I hit "Save" and am taken back the Edit page. I now can see that 2 LUNs have been added to my LUN Group. Once I hit "Save" here, I'm done creating my group. Note that you can add other items to you group, but because of the way the product works, their will be implicit filtering applied in the product depending on what console your are viewing that will filter out these non-LUN objects.2-25-2014 6-26-34 PM.png


Now that we've created our group, let's see what it looks like. I'm not going to break down all the views available here, but this section should give you a good sense of where to look for information related to your LUN Groups.


 

Navigating LUN GroupsScreenshot
Now that you've created your LUN Group, it will appear in with all of it's LUN Group friends in a newly created LUN Groups section in the Left-hand navigation Pane (LHP). Underneath this LUN Groups category, you will see all of your created LUN Groups, as well as a default "LUN Groups Summary" item that is a roll-up summary of capacity and performance informatio of all the LUNs from all the groups you've created.2-25-2014 6-34-50 PM.png

LUN Group Main Console - This view is much like Storage Manager's Main Console giving you a high level roll-up of key performance and capacity metrics as they pertain to the LUN's in your storage environment. One user experience item that merits pointing out: Not all storage arrays support the metrics being reported on in this view. If you've created a LUN Group that is mixed and an array in that group does not support reporting a particular metric (say "Free LUN" capacity), then the bar in the capacity chart will be gray to denote "incomplete data." Basically, we wanted to avoid designing to the lowest common denominator of array data and give you all the data if arrays in your environment support it. We are very interested if this is confusing or helpful (either way!), as this is something new in the product and direct result of trying to aggregate dissimilar data across our broad array support.

2-25-2014 6-37-41 PM.png
Performance Tab - The place to go to troubleshoot performance problems in your LUN Group. There is a lot here and some of it is still a work in progrees, so I'll save elaboration for a later post. But dive in and play around and let us know what you think!2-25-2014 6-38-06 PM.png

Servers Tab - This is where you go to see associated file system information, LUN configuration details, and logical mapping information for physical and virtual servers.

2-25-2014 6-38-33 PM.png


OK, so now that you've got your LUN groups created, how do you go report on them? There is a new "category" in the STM Reporter, called Storage LUN Groups that contains all the filterable LUN Group reports:


2-25-2014 6-58-42 PM.png

We are very interested in your feedback on the LUN Grouping feature, so tell us what you think!


EMC FAST VP Support


As customer's deploy hybrid arrays in their environment to take advantage of the awesome speed of SSD, they are also leveraging incredible new features from array vendors like EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools.  (FAST VP) This technology is available on EMC VMAX/Symmetrix and EMC VNX arrays, although the theory of operation differs dramatically between the two. I'm not going to elaborate on FAST VP here, as it could be a post on it's own and I would highly recommend Vijay Swami's post on the subject for reference reading, but needless to say we've adopted supported for showing you more information about this technology and it's configuration in your environment inside of Storage Manager.


 

FAST VP TechnologyScreenshots

EMC VMAX implementation of FAST VP and it's user facing theory of operation could fill a textbook. It was the subject of not one, but two full 50 minute presentations at EMCWorld last year. In simplest form, the configuration of a FAST VP system requires interactions between the following objects which are now represented inside of STM:

  1. disk groups: collection of like type disks (i.e. 200GB SSD)
  2. Virtual Pools: pooled storage capacity formed from disk groups
  3. FAST-VP Tiers: association of a tier with the previously mentioned pooled capacity; multiple pools of like drive type & RAID protection type can be associated with a single FAST-VP Tier
  4. FAST-VP Policies: auto-tiering policy specifying how much of each tier can be utilized
  5. storage groups: collection of host LUN
2-25-2014 7-13-25 PM.png

EMC VNX implementation of FAST VP is much simpler. STM had previously already provided insight into Storage Tier configurations for VNX. We've now extended some of the existing reports to reflect the simple configuration options available on VNX:

  1. the physical drives
  2. the storage pool
  3. the LUN
  4. the tiering policy of the LUN

2-25-2014 7-18-57 PM.png

2-25-2014 7-18-27 PM.png

2-25-2014 7-17-58 PM.png


That's all for now folks. Sign-up for the Beta and get us your feedback!!!

Storage Manager 5.7 Beta 1

 

The Storage Manager Team is hard at work on STM 5.7. We’ve just arrived at that crucial stage of development, Beta 1, and would love your participation. Fill out this short survey to participate in the STM 5.7 Beta! Without further ado, let’s jump into what is available in Beta 1.

 

Sign-Up Button.png

 

Improved Performance Charts

 

Users of Storage Manager have been pushing for a while to get more out the performance data in the product. Before I get into the solutions, let me outline some concerns voiced by you, the end user, about the current way performance data is displayed. Concerns with the current graphs have focused around several areas:

ConcernOld Chart
  1. The graphs provided were simple PNG image files and are not interactive. This prevents simple actions like hover-over context to get insight into exact data point values and labels.
  2. The general Look & Feel of the old charts was dated.
  3. The charts didn't have a way to easily zoom in or out on the Time x-axis. To get more data in the chart, you had to refresh the whole page by selecting a new time range.
  4. When looking at several data series simultaneously, there was no way to remove a single or multiple data series from the chart. One example where this is important is when trying to look at Top 5 LUN Performance, but one LUN is massively busier than the other 4. Removing this one LUN allows the chart to re-scale to view the relative performance of the other LUNs.
Old STM Charts.png

 

Unrelated to the charting package itself, but still valid concerns were:

  1. There were restrictions that in the product around displaying “Raw” or “Roll-Up Summary” data. Basically, in an effort to keep the product snappy and stable, STM automatically defaulted to Hourly, Daily, or Weekly Roll-up data depending time range selected. This was problematic when looking for peaks in performance data, as those peaks ended up being averaged out when looking at longer time ranges.
  2. The time selector only allowed you to see data from now with a defined “look-back” period of Last Hour, 6 Hours, 24 Hours, etc. If you wanted to look at a specific 6 hour period yesterday, you had to go to the Reporter tool, or you could look at the data from the last week, but were forced into problem #1 above and could only view roll-up data.

 

So with all that said, let’s take a look at the new and improved Storage Manager performance charts.

 

We’ve adopted the same charting package used by the SolarWinds Orion products. While some of the back-end software magic is different this enables several major improvements including:

 

New BenefitNew Chart
  1. Hover-over to inspect individual data points.
  2. Significantly improved Look & Feel
  3. Embedded horizontal zoom – This functionality is tied to our new “Between” time range selector. So as you drag the horizontal zoom bar, it keeps the Between calendar range in perfect sync, so you know exactly what timeframe you are examining.
  4. Data selectors – You can now remove charted data series with ease! With the new charts, the y-axis will automatically adjust zoom to show remaining data series.
New Charts.png

 

To address the other concerns, we also added:

New BenefitNew Chart
  1. A force “Raw” checkbox. By selecting this, you will force the product to load Raw, not summary roll-up, data for your chart. WARNING – This can load extremely large datasets depending upon the timerange being viewed. It is an Advanced feature and misuse may cause slow loading or product instability. We are working on providing warning dialogues in the product to provide guidance to this effect, but it is not yet in the Beta.
  2. As mentioned with the horizontal zoom feature in the new charts, we have also included a “Between” time range selector to view custom time ranges.
New Charts 2.png
For those of you playing along at home, you may have noticed one other UX improvement – contextual text highlighting! No more are you forced to guess what report you landed on!Contextual highlighting.png

 

We made some other minor changes to the product that aren’t really super-exciting to test from an end-user perspective, but they are changes in product behavior so we’d definitely appreciate any feedback.

 

Change to Default Collection Frequencies

 

For STM 5.7, the default data collection frequencies have changed for SMI-S devices and VMware. Note that this will NOT affect upgrades, only fresh installs. If you’ve fine-tuned your collection frequencies for your environment, STM will respect that and maintain your settings upon upgrade. So why make the change? The main reason is stability of collection and matching that stability to how customers scale their systems over time. These changes were made to ensure a seamless first time user experience and allow new customers to fine tune these settings later as they better understand their monitoring needs and the product architecture. If you'd like to get a good primer on STM Deployment, this topic is discussed at length in this ThwackCamp session.

 

As always, if you need to modify collection frequencies post-install, you can do so through configuring STM Policies in Settings->Device Management->Policies. Remember that you have to “Push” your policies to your STM Proxy Agents for those new collection frequencies to take effect. For reference, these are new default collection frequencies for STM:

 

SMI-S policy

Frequency type

Original value (prior to 5.7)

Updated value (5.7+)

Asset

12 hours

24 hours

Performance

15 minutes

No Change

Storage

1 hour

6 hours

 

 

VMware policy

Frequency type

Original value (prior to 5.7)

Updated value (5.7+)

Configuration

15 minutes

3 hours

Performance

5 minutes

30 minutes

Storage

1 hour

6 hours

 

Deprecating Generic “Storage Array” Reports


The “Storage Array” report category is a little bit of mystery to outside observers and deserves some historical discussion. While at first glance, the name might imply that this set of reports are what you use to report on your Storage Arrays from a single consolidated place, sadly that implication would be entirely off-target. Storage Manager’s location for all consolidated reports, across heterogeneous arrays, is the “Enterprise” reports. Any report in the “Enterprise” reports are tested by our Product Team to ensure that the data we are presenting is valid across every array we support, even when you report across heterogeneous array types in the same report. Such is not the case with the “Storage Array” reports.

 

So then, you might ask, “What are the purposes of the Storage Array reports?” And it is a fine question, no doubt. These reports are meant for reporting on a “Generic SMI-S Device.” “Well,” you might say, “my arrays support data collection via SMI-S, so those must be for my arrays.” Unfortunately, again, this would be off-target. The “Generic SMI-S Device” was a pie-in-the-sky dream, hatched in the early days of Storage Manager development, when there was thoughts that storage vendors might actually adopt the Storage Networking Industry Association’s (SNIA’s) Storage Management Initiative-Specification (SMI-S) standard as an actual standard. Instead, the vendors went off and implemented all of their array support via SMI-S completely differently (they are not completely at fault, of course, the standard lacked some key points mainly around how to present performance data). Thus, the “Generic SMI-S Device” in Storage Manager never really worked as anticipated and is “unsupported” as an official array type. Unfortunately, we never did as good a job as we should have to outline these restrictions thus leading to our current situation.

 

If the above is TL;DR, here is the nut: A good chunk of data presented in those reports is wrong because of how the vendors differed in their implementation of the SMI spec. If you want “Storage Array” report functionality, you need to use the array specific reports where the STM team has aligned the data provided to the vendor’s implementation of the spec. For example, if you own an EMC VNX, you should use the reports under Storage Array EMC VNX/CLARiiON. The data are correct in these reports.

 

If you are currently using these reports, we recommend you switch to the Storage Array reports for your specific devices. We have salvaged some of the reports and moved them to the “Enterprise” section, as some of the reports only needed minor modifications to report data consistently. These salvaged reports include:

  • Storage – SMI-S Storage Array-LUN Masking
  • Storage – SMI-S Storage Array-LUN Masking Summary (new report)
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-Array Performance
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-Controller Performance
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-Disk Performance
  • Performance – SMI-S Storage Array-LUN Performance

 

Note that we did not remove the reports or their templates, but merely marked them as “Deprecated” in the product. This should give you time to move to the proper reports for your reporting purposes.

 

Deprecated Reports.png

 

That's Not All Folks!

 

Note that this is only Beta 1 for STM 5.7. We have several more features we are cooking up in the lab, so watch here for future Beta announcements!

 

Sign-up for the STM 5.7 Beta today!

 

Announcing Mobile Admin 8.1 Release Candidate

 

It’s my pleasure to announce the Mobile Admin 8.1 Release Candidate. Mobile Admin 8.1 introduces several key improvements to Mobile Admin that were driven from feedback directly by you. If you’d like to participate in the RC, please fill out this short survey. Customers on Active Maintenance through Jan. 1st 2014 are eligible to participate in the RC. Without further ado, let’s dive into the new functions available in Mobile Admin 8.1!

 

 

 

Overhauled RDP - Now Supports Windows 8.x and Windows Server 2012

 

RDP is one of the most used services in Mobile Admin. It makes sense, given the full flexibility to address any issue you may find in your environment through the full desktop experience that RDP provides. Given the importance of this functionality, we are very happy to announce that as of Mobile Admin 8.1, we now support RDP connections to Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 machines.  You may ask why these versions of OS were different from an RDP perspective. Well essentially, Microsoft introduced a new version of the RDP API with Windows Vista and with Server 2012/Windows 8, they deprecated their old API, so our old implementation was unable to connect to those machine types. We also now allow you to connect to machines that have Network Layer Authentication enabled. The RDP Support does not just allow connection to machines with this specific configuration, but has been completely overhauled to allow for better usability and performance. These videos should give you a good overview of what you will see when using the new functionality.

 

Click to Play Video - New RDP OverviewClick to Play Video - New RDP Help
RDP-10-14.gifRDP-10-14-Help_Play.gif

 

 


iOS 7 Support

 

iOS 7 was the first major overhaul of Apple’s mobile operating system since the very first version was introduced. (For some comic relief, you might check out the Jony Ive Designs Things Tumblr) This overhaul introduced some major changes that we’ve addressed and released already on the App Store. With the official release of Mobile Admin 8.1, we will release another version update that addresses some minor lingering issues with the new OS. For the most part, users have related little or no issues using the new iOS client currently available on the App Store.  Happy Apping!

 

 

Improved SolarWinds Orion Integration

 

When SolarWinds acquired Mobile Admin, one of the most exciting opportunities for the product was to build a first class mobile experience for SolarWinds Orion inside of Mobile Admin. While I’ll be the first to admit that what we have isn’t perfect, I am excited to talk about a few additions to this integration in 8.1 that should significantly improve the value to those of you using Orion and Mobile Admin together.

 

Support for Orion Events

 

First, we added support for Orion Events inside of Mobile Admin. Although we supported Orion Alerts out of the gate with Mobile Admin, feedback from customers strongly suggested that Orion Events provided “the true state” of the system because it showed all of the state changes of the system in the recent past. You should see Orion Events from the main SolarWinds Service screen and once you drill into an event, you can navigate to the Node, Component, or Application associated with that Event to get more information.

 

OrionEvents_Play.gif

 

 

Second, on Node Details pages inside of Mobile Admin, we’ve always included an “escape hatch” URL to the Orion Web Console Mobile Views. This link would allow you view any information we didn’t provide natively inside of the Mobile Admin integration. However, if you had configured a custom URL for your Orion Web console that link wouldn’t be properly formed. In MA 8.1, we now support modifying the URL that Mobile Admin uses to build that link, including whether or not to use the port in case you’ve configured Orion to use port 80 instead of 8787. An improved usability feature is this link is now an actual hypertext link instead of just text with that odd chain icon that was there before.

 

CustomURL_Play.gif

 

Support for Filtering Orion Alerts and Creating Custom Real-Time Alert Feeds

 

Finally, I’m very excited to announce Alert Filtering for SolarWinds Orion. One of the most powerful features of Mobile Admin is the Real-Time Notifications Dashboard. Mobile Admin can take alerts from your heterogeneous monitoring systems in your environment, like SolarWinds Orion, and you can setup those alerts as “feeds” inside of Mobile Admin. Once you’ve setup the Mobile Admin Server to send Push Notifications to your phone, Mobile Admin becomes a real time alerting system that’s with you wherever you go and allows you to get critical alerts about your environment, whether or not you’re connected to network. One problem with the current alerting is that for an environment of any size, you may receive hundreds or thousands of alerts out of your Orion installation every day. With Alert Filtering for Orion, you can now filter alerts and create custom Mobile Admin Notification feeds based upon filters we’ve built into the product. The filters work the same as the Orion Message Center filters and are all implicitly “OR”d so you can filter on a particular host/IP OR vendor name  or whatever else you might be interested in. Only want alerts when Nodes go down? Now you can, so you only get notified when something is important to you. With Mobile Admin, you can even setup multiple custom feeds from Orion to build more complex alerting setups.

 

AlertFiltering_Play.gif

 

Direct Connect Services - Optional Credential Saving

 

Mobile Admin’s “Direct Connect” services include SSH, Telnet, RDP, and VNC (Android only). These services don’t require the use of the Mobile Admin Server to connect to an endpoint and can be accessed directly from the homescreen of Mobile Admin’s mobile clients. We had some strong feedback from customers over the last year expressing concerns that there was no option to not save credentials for these connections. Customers viewed this as a potential security risk, as these services can be accessed without first logging in to the MA Server. As of Mobile Admin 8.1, for these Direct Connect services, password saving is now optional via a checkbox when you create a new connection.

 

DCPwdSaving_Play.gif

 

FIPS 140-2 Compatibility

 

Some customers run MA in a secure environment where their Windows Servers are run in “FIPS Mode” which enforces use of FIPS compatible encryption algorithms. Prior to 8.1, the MA server would fail to work in these environments. The MA Server should now be able to run on a Windows Server where FIPS Compatibility mode is enabled.

 

Updates to other Supported Services – Exchange 2013, BackupExec 2012, and SCOM 2012 - Oh My!

 

As of version 8.1, Mobile Admin will now support Exchange 2013, BackupExec 2012 and SCOM 2012. All of these services were supported by Mobile Admin for earlier versions. You can read more about what you can do with these features on Mobile Admin’s features pages for each of these services.

 

Regarding Exchange, Mobile Admin now supports remote Exchange management. Now the Exchange Management tools can be installed locally on the Mobile Admin server machine (pre-8.1 behavior) or on the Exchange Server itself and controlled via remote PowerShell (8.1 and beyond). This aligns with the same way that customers manage Exchange today with SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor and has the added benefit that the MA Server no longer needs to be in the same domain as the Exchange Server you are managing. Mobile Admin will attempt to auto-detect where the tools are installed based upon the Exchange Server information provided. Besides enabling remote PowerShell on the Exchange Server, you will also need to add the Mobile Admin Server as a Trusted Host on the Exchange Server. To summarize Mobile Admin’s Exchange Support, I’ve included the table below:

 

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We Want Your Feedback!

 

Be sure to check out the Mobile Admin Release Candidate Group here on Thwack. Use this forum to get your questions answered about the RC or report issues you want to bring to the attention of the larger community. The Product Team will be actively monitoring your posts and engage with you about any feedback you have. Remember Release Candidates are fully supported, so you can also file a Support ticket for any issues you encounter.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Fill out the survey and get started on 8.1 today!

Wow, 2013 is flying by. It's already March, which means that SxSW is in full swing here in Austin, TX. The SxSW Interactive conference has grown into quite the major tech event and you can't swing a dead cat around here without hitting a budding entrepreneur trying to get you to download their super-cool new consumer mobile app in order to get into their party with free beer, food, and prizes (tough life, I know). Well, who says that the consumer market gets to have all the fun?!? SolarWinds has one of the best enterprise mobile apps around in Mobile Admin and I'm here to give you the low-down on some nifty features that you might not know about otherwise. (Sorry, no free beer in this article.)

 

Free Mobile Monitor for NPM or SAM

 

While I did just say no free beer, that doesn't mean that I would leave you without something fantastic to brag about to your friends. Just over a month ago, we launched Free Mobile Monitor for NPM or SAM which is a slimmed down version of Mobile Admin just for our SolarWinds NPM and SAM customers. The NPM integration and SAM integration with Mobile Admin have been covered in previous Product Blogs, so I won't go into detail here. However, from Mobile Admin, for both NPM and SAM, you can see Top 10 lists, receive and acknowledge alerts, manage and unmanage nodes, and more. This free product has been downloaded thousands of times already and is available in the Customer Portal, so get in on the action! Did I mention it's Free?!?

 

 

Mobile Admin Deployment and You

 

Mobile Admin has a Mobile Client, which you install on your smartphone or tablet, and a Mobile Admin Server, setup behind your firewall or in your network's DMZ so it has access your back-end IT infrastructure. To illustrate the point, here is a basic diagram of how a standard Mobile Admin deployment looks (Note: your deployment may differ, for example, a BlackBerry Enterprise Server is not required):

 

Deployment.PNG

 

With this deployment architecture, Mobile Admin allows you to carry your IT infrastructure with you in your pocket, allowing you to resolve problems on-the-go, wherever you may be. Whether you have to reset an Active Directory password for a locked out VP at 3AM or SSH into your Cisco router to troubleshoot from the road (as a passenger!) or much more, Mobile Admin can help. But getting it setup for you and your team is the first step.

 

Users, Hosts, and Global Folders - Oh My!

 

Say your the lucky devil who gets to setup and deploy Mobile Admin for the rest of your on-call rotation team. We've given you some tools to help make this easy to setup and deploy as possible. First, you have to know about the three main concepts in Mobile Admin.

 

  1. Users - The folks on your team. The guys doing the dirty work. The heros of the day, resetting passwords from the mobile phones without batting an eye (or leaving the dinner table).
  2. Hosts - Your servers, routers, switches. Things with an IP address and a power cable.
  3. Global Folders - You guessed it - Folders. But important for helping you to manage items #1 and #2.

 

Global Folders are very useful as you add users and servers to Mobile Admin. In your IT environment, you have tens, hundreds, or thousands of servers and other nodes in your environment you'd like to manage. Without some way to sort those, a flat list could get unwieldy pretty quickly. Folders not only let you sort your servers and nodes (e.g. Exchange Servers, Oracle DB Servers), but it also lets you assign users to these folders so that other users of Mobile Admin only have access to what they need or are authorized for.

 

Global Folders can be accessed from the Mobile Admin Configuration page. Once on the Configuration page, just select Global Folders, which will then display a list of all Global Folders you have currently defined on the Mobile Admin Server. As you can see in the screenshot below, I only have one folder, MyGlobalFolder, defined. I can add another folder by clicking on Add Folder, inputting a new folder name and voila!

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Now that my new Global Folder is created, it's simple to add hosts to the folder. Just click "Add Servers," multi-select which servers you'd like to add and your done.

 

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Now that I have my servers added to my Global Folder, I can select which users I want to have access to that Folder by clicking "Users" (which shows me there are currently no users assigned to this folder) and then "Add User." Select your users, like you did servers above and your done!

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Mobile Admin Database Administration....with cheat codes

 

"Well, Balki, that's all well and good, but my environment has hundreds of nodes and tens of users, and there is no way I'm walking through that process hundreds of times" I can hear you say. Yep. Totally agree. If you've read this far, congratulations, you're about to get the prize. The Mobile Admin Dev team is all over it and Mobile Admin currently ships with a data import tool for exactly this process. What, you haven't seen it? Well, that's because it's buried in one of your install folders. <Program Files>\SolarWinds\Mobile Admin\bin\MAdbLoad to be exact. With this script you can automate all of the above steps en masse. How does it work, you say? Glad you asked:

 

Usage: MAdbLoad.exe [-clear] [-servers file] [-si n] [-sharedFolder name] [-users file] [-ui n] [-ubi n] [-uei n] [-udomain domain]

where file is the name of a comma separated file. Each line of the file represents a row of data for one server or user. Each row of data contains one or more comma separated fields, with the server or user name appearing in the same field on each row. If a value contains commas then it must be quoted. The command line specifies which field to get the server or user name from.

 

Explanation of options:

-clear Clears the current list of servers in mobile admin.  With no -clear specified, then servers are appended.

-servers Specifies a file of server names that will be loaded. If the servers file is a - character then standard input is read. The same CSV rules apply to standard input supplied data. Server names are stripped of all preceding and trailing white space.

-si Specifies the field number of the server name in the csv file with the first field being field 1. Defaults to 1.

-sharedFolder Specifies a name of a shared folder that the servers will assigned to.

    1. If the shared folder does not exist then it is created. Use double quotes if the shared folder name contains a space.

-users Specifies a file of users account names that will be either assigned to the shared folder if a share folder is specified or assigned to the servers in the server file. If a user is not a Mobile Admin user then it is added. If no users file is specified then the default is all users. The user Windows account name must be prepended with domain name that contains the Windows account name or the -udomain option must be used to specify the Windows account name domain.

-udomain Specifies a domain to prepend to all user Windows account names in the users file.

-ui Specifies the field number of the users name in the CSV file with the first field being field 1. Defaults to 1.

-ubi Specifies the number of lines to ignore at the beginning of the users file. Defaults to 0.

-uei Specifies the number of lines to ignore at the of the users file. Defaults to 0.

-v Prints the version. An attempt to log into the database is also performed, useful for checking database credentials.

 

Here are several examples of using the script to demonstrate:

 

madbload.exe -clear - Wipes out the current server list.

madbload.exe -servers fileName -clear - Load a list of servers with all users assigned to manage. Useful for a bulk load of servers for all users.

madbload.exe -servers fileName -users fileName - Append a list of servers and assign a list of users to manage those servers. Useful for when a new server is to be added for a list of users.

madbload.exe -servers fileName -sharedFolder someName -clear - Load a list of servers into a shared folder with all users assigned to manage. Useful to wipe out current server list, load new list in a Global Folder and assign all users to the Global Folder.

madbload.exe -servers fileName -sharedFolder someName -users fileName - Append a list of servers into a Global Folder and assign a list of users to manage the Global Folder. Useful if a new user is to be added to Mobile Admin to manage a new Global Folder.

 

And that's pretty much all folks. Hope that makes your life a bit easier...and a little more mobile.

Storage Manager relies on querying the array vendor's SMI-S providers for any and all data pertaining to the array. The Storage Manager development team researches new metrics that are added by the vendors in the new versions of their providers in order to expose these to our end-users through the Storage Manager GUI. As I mentioned in the release blog post about Storage Manager 5.3.1, we added a ton of new metrics for IBM SVC, EMC VMAX (including Latency!), and EMC VNX. I'd like to take a little time in this post to outline these new metrics.

 

IBM SVC

 

The IBM SVC architecture presents a front-end interface to virtualize the storage arrays that are sitting behind the SVC. Key to making this architecture work is the ability to efficiently manage the cache, especially the write cache. This enables hosts to get acknowledgement that a write has completed without needing to wait for that write to be destaged to back-end storage. Monitoring the efficiency of the cache is therefore important to managing the overall responsiveness of the entire SVC storage system.

 

Cache Performance Metrics

 

These cache metrics can all be found in the Node Performance report under the Performance tab

SVC1.PNG

 

The following statistics are collected for the overall cache on a per node basis:

 

  • Cache CDCB's - Demote Ready List - Current count of the number of cache directory control blocks (CDCB’s) on the demote ready list
  • Cache CDCB's - Global Copies List - Current count of the number of CDCB’s on the global copies list
  • Cache CDCB's - Modified List - Current count of the number of CDCB’s on the modified list including cache partitions
  • Average Write Cache Destage Latency - Write cache destage latency average in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Lowest Write Cache Destage Latency -  Lowest write cache destage latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Highest Write Cache Destage Latency - Highest write cache destage latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Average Prestage/Readahead Latency - Prestage/read-ahead latency average in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Lowest Prestage/Readahead Latency - Lowest prestage/read-ahead latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Highest Prestage/Readahead Latency - Highest prestage/read-ahead latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Average Read Cache Stage Latency - Read cache stage latency for read miss IO’s average in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Lowest Read Cache Stage - Lowest read cache stage latency for read miss IO’s in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Highest Read Cache Stage - Highest read cache stage latency for read miss IO’s in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Average Cache Fullness - Average cache fullness in percent for the statistics collection period
  • Lowest Cache Fullness - Lowest cache fullness in percent for the statistics collection period
  • Highest Cache Fullness - Highest cache fullness in percent for the statistics collection period
  • Average Write Cache Fullness - Average write cache fullness in percent for the statistics collection period
  • Lowest Write Cache Fullness -  Lowest write cache fullness in percent for the statistics collection period
  • Highest Write Cache Fullness - Highest write cache fullness in percent for the statistics collection period
  • Average Data Transfer Latency - Data transfer average latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Lowest Data Transfer Latency - Data transfer lowest latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Highest Data Transfer Latency - Data transfer highest latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Average Track Access Latency - Begin track access average latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Lowest Track Access Latency - Begin track access lowest latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Highest Track Access Latency - Begin track access highest latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period
  • Average Track Lock Latency -  Track lock average latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Lowest Track Lock Latency - Track lock lowest latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.
  • Highest Track Lock Latency - Track lock highest latency in milliseconds for the statistics collection period.

 

CPU

 

Monitoring the CPU on any array can be important to understand if the array itself can manage the load it is being put under by the hosts. The CPU on the IBM SVC will always read 100% if monitored from the OS because it spends its spare cycles scanning the Fibre Channel fabric. IBM has presented the following counter that allow you see how much time the CPU is actually spending servicing IO requests.

 

CPU Utilization - This statistic reports the pseudo-CPU utilization. It can also be found under Node Performance with the Cache Performance statistics.

 

Port Performance

 

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The following stats are reported per nodes for each of the 4 ports of an SVC node and can be found under the Port Performance report under the Performance tab:

 

Commands Initiated to Controllers - Commands initiated to controllers (targets) [always zero but provided for completeness]

Commands Initiated to Hosts - Commands initiated to hosts (initiators)

Commands Received from Controllers - Commands received from controllers (targets) [probably always zero but provided for completeness]

 

The following stats are provided primarily for debug of suspected fabric issues. Each of the statistics below (except for Zero Buffer-Buffer Credit Timer) are the cumulative number of occurrences since last node reset.

 

Link Failure Count

Loss-of-synchronization Count

Loss-of-signal Count

Primitive Sequence Protocol Error Count

Invalid Transmission Word Count

Invalid CRC Count

Zero Buffer-Buffer Credit Timer - This is reset after each collection interval. This should be shown as a percentage of the interval time, so (bbcz/(interval in microseconds))*100

 

MDisk Group Performance and Utilization

 

 

IBM SVC MDisk groups are a collection of MDisks that are all tied to a set of associated VDisks. They are much like Storage Pools in other array architectures. Understanding the load on the entire MDisk group can be incredibly important when tracking down issues in your storage environment. This is because although one VDisk may not be busy, it can easily be starved by a "noisy neighbor." Without a full understanding of what MDisks (and VDisks) are sitting on shared resources, it can be nearly impossible to make those connections.

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In Storage Manager 5.3.1, we created new performance reports specifically for reporting on the MDisk Group. Within the MDisk Group Performance chart you can report on all of the standard performance metrics for that group including:

  • Overall Response Time
  • Read Block
  • Read Blocks/Sec
  • Read IOs
  • Read IOs/Sec
  • Read Response Time
  • Total IOs
  • Total IOs/Sec
  • Worst Read Response Time
  • Worst Write Response Time
  • Write Blocks
  • Write Blocks/Sec
  • Write IOs
  • Write IOs/Sec
  • Write Response Time

 

We also added a specific report and charts for MDisk Group Utilization to track capacity information for the MDisk Group.

 

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The MDisk Group Utilization reports allow you to track the following key capacity metrics:

  • % Free
  • % Used
  • Free (GB)
  • Total (GB)
  • Used (GB)

 

For a detailed overview of all the performance statistics provided by the IBM SVC SMI-S Provider, please see this document provided by IBM.

 

EMC Symmetrix VMAX

 

For VMAX, we added metrics for Device Performance and for Disk Performance.

 

Device Performance

 

One concern we've received from customers in the past was the inability to get latency metrics from VMAX LUNs. As of Storage Manager 5.3.1, we now incorporate read and write latency metrics for LUNs. These do not yet roll up into a top-level metric in the Top 10 LUNs report on the Main Console, but we will be looking at addressing that in future releases.

 

1-29-2013 12-37-42 PM.png

The two latency metrics we've added for read and write latency are:

  • Samples Average Writes Time (ms) and
  • Samples Average Reads Time (ms)

 

Hopefully, customers will find this information extremely valuable as they troubleshoot latency problems on their VMAX arrays.

 

Disk Performance

 

1-29-2013 12-30-12 PM.png

In addition to the existing I/O metrics, we added these metrics:

  • MB Read
  • MB Read/sec
  • MB Written
  • MB Written/sec
  • MB Transferred
  • MB Transferred/sec

 

EMC VNX

 

We actually did quite a bit of work to add new metrics for VNX FAST Cache in Storage Manager 5.2.4. However, because 5.2.4 was a service release, we didn't make a lot of noise about the new metrics. This doesn't mean that they are unimportant though! VNX Fast Cache is an incredibly useful technology for helping to improve the overall responsiveness of your storage subsystem and therefore it's important to know how your cache is performing. FAST Cache metrics added in Storage Manager 5.2.4 include:

 

FAST Cache Metrics

 

Asset Info Report - Cache High/Low Water Mark

 

1-29-2013 1-22-13 PM.png

Asset - FAST Cache (new report)

 

1-29-2013 1-27-25 PM.png

 

Cache Enabled (Shows on 2 reports)

 

Storage - LUN's Report

 

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Storage - Storage Pool/RAID Group Utilization

 

1-29-2013 1-25-48 PM.png

Also, we added performance metrics for Cache to multiple Performance charts in the product including:

 

Array Performance

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Here we added support for these metrics:

  • FAST cache MB Flushed SPA
  • FAST cache MB Flushed SPA/sec
  • FAST cache MB Flushed SPB
  • FAST cache MB Flushed SPB/sec
  • %Dirty FAST Cache SPA
  • %Dirty FAST Cache SPB

 

LUN Performance

 

1-29-2013 1-43-22 PM.png

Here we added support for these metrics:

  • FAST Cache Read Hits
  • FAST Cache Read Hits/sec
  • FAST Cache Read Misses
  • FAST Cache Read Misses/sec
  • FAST Cache Write Hits
  • FAST Cache Write Hits/sec
  • FAST Cache Write Misses
  • FAST Cache Write Misses/sec
  • % FAST Cache Read Hits
  • % FAST Cache Write Hits

 

Storage Pool/RAID Group Performance

 

1-29-2013 1-46-59 PM.png

  • FAST Cache Read Hits
  • FAST Cache Read Hits/sec
  • FAST Cache Read Misses
  • FAST Cache Read Misses/sec
  • FAST Cache Write Hits
  • FAST Cache Write Hits/sec
  • FAST Cache Write Misses
  • FAST Cache Write Misses/sec

 

For a full overview of all the metrics available through the EMC SMI-S Provider, please reference these two guides provided by EMC:

EMC® SMI-S Provider Version 4.4.0 Programmer’s Guide with Additional Extensions

EMC SMI-S Provider Version 4.5 Programmer’s Guide

Users have found Mobile Adminhttp://http//www.solarwinds.com/solutions/mobile-IT-administration-app.aspxincredibly useful for managing a wide-range of IT administration functions from resetting passwords in Active Directory while out to dinner to restarting VM's from their bedsides. But many SolarWinds customers have long cried out for the ability to monitor and manage their other Orion products from a user friendly native app. Well, we've listened to your requests and are now releasing Mobile Admin 8.0 with support for SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, Server and Application Monitor, Network Configuration Manager, NetFlow Traffic Analyzer, and User Device Tracker! Now some of you may recall macnugetz great post a few months back walking you through the support for Network Performance Monitor in Mobile Admin. Well, I'm happy to let you know that we've deepened support for Network Performance Monitor while also broadening it to the other products in the Orion family.

 

Rather than describe in words all the integration that our development team has built into the product, I thought I'd demonstrate by taking a look at how integration with Server and Application Monitor can help you track down and resolve issues in your environment while on the go:

 

A Mobile Walk Through Server and Application Monitor

 

1) Once you've setup Mobile Admin to monitor your installation of SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor, go into the SolarWinds service:

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2) Dive into "Applications with Problems" to....you guessed it...see your applications with problems

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3) I see that there is a problem with the Sharepoint 2007 server LAB-SHAREPOINT.lab.tex so I dive in for more information:

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4) I get a little bit of information here, but I can dive even deeper by launching the menu and selecting Components:

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5) I see that a number of my Component Monitors are down, some of them are up and others are in an unknown state. From here I can drill down into any component monitor to get even more information. For example, if I click on the "Single-sign On" monitor:

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6) It appears that this monitor has never collected successfully. Now, here's the magic: While in the Server and Application Monitor, I am only 1-click away from fixing the issue on the actual node having problems. I simply go back to the menu and select "Open Node in Mobile Admin"

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7) When you open the node in Mobile Admin, I can launch any service available to me on that node. I can restart the server, ping it to see if it's responding, run debugging or configuration scripts or simply launch RDP, Telnet, VNC, or SSH sessions to debug the machine directly. And all of this power is in the palm of your hand, from your phone or tablet (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, iPad, Kindle Fire), wherever, whenever you are.

 

Just one more thing....

 

That's just a simple example of what's available within Mobile Admin. Obviously within this limited space, I can't go through all the cool integration we've built in detail. However, one of our intrepid developers built this handy flowchart that shows all the integration at a very high level (Thanks Vacek!):

MA-Solarwinds-Integration-Map-Color.png

 

I hope you'll explore all the new features available in Mobile Admin v8.0 for yourself! Mobile Admin 8.0 is available for download now in your Customer Portal for customers on active maintenance. I'd also love your feedback on how to improve integration with other SolarWinds services in the future!

The Storage Manager product team has been hard at work these last few months adding some killer functionality to the product. Storage Manager 5.3  includes the following improvements:

 

  • Support for EMC Isilon Arrays
  • New “Add New Device Wizard”
  • An overhaul of the Administrator's Guide (user documentation)
  • Improved support for IBM SVC Arrays
  • Improved support for EMC VMAX, DMX, and Symmetrix Arrays
  • New monitoring metrics and support for tiering data for EMC VNX / CLARiiON Arrays

 

We're most excited about our new support for EMC Isilon and for our new "Add New Device Wizard" so, without further ado, let's dive into it.

 

Storage Monitoring for your Big Data Environment

 

EMC bought Isilon Systems at the end of 2010. It is now clear that Isilon is EMC's major play in the Big Data space with the recent marketing efforts we've seen around the technology. Isilon has a very unique scale-out architecture that can be expanded to literally Petabytes of storage data in a single cluster (apparently Apple purchased a 12 Petabyte system just to store iTunes video). It appears that Isilon has a bright future in the storage marketplace and now you can use Storage Manager to help monitor this impressive storage system.

 

Main Console and other views for EMC Isilon:

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Easier Setup and Configuration with the New "Add a Device Wizard"

 

We've always tried to make it extremely easy to setup and configure Storage Manager to monitor your environment, but in v5.3 we're really proud of the work we've done to improve this flow across the different array vendors we support. Although SMI-S is a "standard," it is not a technology that is ready to use out of the box. Often you have to install and then configure an SMI-S provider to communicate with your array, which can be frustrating because depending on array type or vendor sometimes it's stand-alone software, sometimes it's embedded on the array, and sometimes it's part of the vendor's management software. Even finding where to get the provider can vary from vendor to vendor. With the new "Add a Device Wizard" combined with our streamlined documentation, we're hoping to ease that setup process dramatically.

 

But rather than talking about it. I'll walk you through an example of configuring an EMC CLARiiON array in the new version of Storage Manager. We begin on the standard Getting Started page:

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I simply select "Add More" next to Storage Arrays to add my array. For those of you familiar with previous versions of Storage Manager, you may remember that there were multiple different ways to add arrays. Well, we've eliminated the confusing variation in workflows. Now you have one place to go to add all of your arrays to Storage Manager. When I click "Add More," I'm presented with a selection box to select my array:

12-4-2012 6-36-33 PM.png

 

Once I select my array, I'm brought to a customized page for my array type. We've done the legwork for you and determined how each vendor deploys their SMI-S providers and given you guidance on how to configure the provider, the array, and Storage Manager for each array type and vendor. This should help eliminate confusion around which IP address or credentials to enter (as the Provider and Array IP and credentials tend to be different for most environments).

12-4-2012 6-36-49 PM.png

To further streamline setup, we've created custom help document links as you can see in the Yellow Text Box above. If I click on that help link, I'm brought to the page below. The help document explains what SMI-S deployment looks like for this array family. Links in the page will take you directly to guidance on how to download, install, and troubleshoot configuration of the vendor's SMI-S providers.

 

12-4-2012 6-37-38 PM.png

We've heard repeatedly from customers that the link from Storage Manager to the vendor's provider can be troublesome. Whether due to stability, problems with configuration, or just wrong credentials, we've sought to remove that issue by placing an easy "Test Connection" button right on the page. This will verify that Storage Manager can indeed communicate with the SMI-S provider with the given IP address and credentials. If for some reason Storage Manager cannot communicate with the Provider, we will give you troubleshooting steps you can take to determine the root cause of the issue and then try again.

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Storage Manager can communicate with the Provider...so all is done! Well, not so fast. Storage Manager is a very scalable architecture and while we would like to think we know what's best for everyone, only you know the exact layout of your environment. This is especially important when deciding how you are going to distribute load between the Storage Manager Server and Agents and also between the Agents and the Arrays they are going to monitor. The final step in the configuration process then is to just select which agent you'd like to communicate with this SMI-S provider. Note that a single SMI-S provider can monitor multiple arrays (although this again varies by array vendor and type) so this is not necessarily 1 Agent to 1 Array. Once you select the agent you'd like to use to monitor your arrays, select assign agent, and you're done!

 

As always, make sure that you've opened the appropriate ports (4319) in your firewall between the Storage Manager Server and Agent so the agent can send data back to the server. If your Storage Manager Server is monitoring the SMI-S provider directly, make sure that ports 5988 & 5989 are clear.

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We hope that this dramatically simplifies the configuration of Storage Manager for both new and old customers. Of course, we'd love your feedback on how we can make it even better!

 

Try out version 5.3 of Storage Manager today! It is now live in the Customer Portal for all SolarWinds customers on active maintenance. If you are not a customer, you can always download an eval or go to ourhttp://storage.demo.solarwinds.com/Live Demohttp://storage.demo.solarwinds.com/to try it out!

I'm excited to announce that we're ready for another Beta for Storage Manager. Key to this release are two great features:

 

Monitoring for EMC Isilon Arrays

 

Isilon is one of the coolest storage platforms on the market today. It's predominant use case is large file streaming, especially important when working with large media files or as a platform for Big Data projects. Because of these use cases, the Isilon has a very unique architecture that includes just a single file system spread across a single cluster composed of many nodes. We'd love your feedback on how you'd like to see the data from the cluster and the individual nodes displayed and reported on within Storage Manager!

 

Main Console view for EMC Isilon:

EMC Isilon.PNG

 

Node Info view for EMC Isilon:

EMC Isilon-Node Info.PNG

 

Targeted Discovery for SMI-S-based Arrays

 

Dealing with SMI-S providers can be a challenge for even the most adept storage administrator. This complexity is compounded when working in a heterogeneous storage environment.  Sometimes SMI-S Providers are separate pieces of software that need to be downloaded from a vendor's website (See Diagram Below: Type 1), sometimes they are installed as a component of vendor-specific storage management software (See Diagram Below: Type 2), and sometimes they are built into a storage array (See Diagram Below: Type 3). Knowing where and how these SMI-S providers are configured and installed can be a real pain. Our goal with this release is to significantly decrease the pain involved in setup and configuration of these SMI-S based arrays. That way, you can quickly get to the real work of monitoring, reporting and solving your storage problems with Storage Manager!

 

 

Deployment Types for SMI-S Providers found in Heterogeneous Environments:

SMI-S Communication pathways.png

 

To participate in the Storage Manager 5.3 Beta program you need to fill out this Beta Survey. Then, I can send you a link to the Beta bits.

 

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