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30 Posts authored by: Peter Krutý

I'm happy to share with you, that we reached GA milestone for Web Help Desk (WHD) 12.4. Focus of this release was mainly security and stability of the application. Namely

 

Security improvements

  • Improved security across the application for FIPS-mode SSL connections, namely
    • HTTP over SSL connections
    • Microsoft® Exchange, IMAP, POP3, and SMTP over SSL
    • WMI and other asset discovery connections over SSL
    • LDAP over SSL
    • SolarWinds® Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Systems and Applications Monitor (SAM), and Network Configuration Monitor (NCM) integration over SSL
  • User password hashes, integration password hashes, and other static data such as database custom fields and stored credentials
  • Detection and indication of system cryptography status
  • Automatic migration of all stored passwords for stronger and more secure cryptography

 

Support for FIPS 140-2 compatible cryptography

For environments where high security standards are required, you can install and configure FIPS 140-2 compatible cryptography to achieve your required level of regulation compliance. The user interface includes a password migration tool to help you migrate techs and clients to FIPS-secure passwords.

 

Additional improvements

  • Smarter backup rotations in the Virtual Appliance
  • Oracle® Java™ 8 support
  • Over 100 bug fixes that hugely improve the stability of the application

 

Now go and download web help desk from your customer portal or webhelpdesk.com.

 

PS. If you want to get excited about what is coming next (we are already busily working on new stuff) sign up for upcoming Beta here.

I’m thrilled to announce that Dameware 12.0 is now publicly available. In this release we focused all our efforts to finalise the remote support story with unattended over the internet sessions. Dameware now allows to assist remotely without presence of the end-user, who is not in the intranet but travelling. Technicians can now support end-user in company network as well as in Internet anytime.

 

This release brings several bigger and smaller improvements, so let me highlight a few of them:

 

  • Over the Internet (OTI) unattended sessions for Dameware Centralized users
    • Allows you to remotely support users on the move, and assist remotely without the presence of the end user
    • Deploy agents with OTI unattended support to end-points
    • Manage agents for OTI unattended sessions to maintain high security and control
  • Search Hosts in Mini Remote Control
  • Support for Windows 10
  • Ability to switch between the Standalone and Centralized versions without reinstallation
  • And many other improvements and bug fixes

 

Dameware 12.0 is available for download on your customer portal for those customers under current maintenance.

 

If you are not a Dameware user yet, now go and download new version from www.dameware.com now!

We have all been waiting for this, and now it's here: the Dameware 12.0 Release Candidate is now ready for you on the Customer Portal! Don’t wait, just download it while it’s still fresh and hot. However, if you want to learn a bit more about the new features, continue reading.

 

This release brings several bigger and smaller improvements, so let me highlight a few of them:

 

  • Over the Internet (OTI) unattended sessions for Dameware Centralized users
    • Allows you to remotely support users on the move, and assist remotely without the presence of the end user
    • Deploy agents with OTI unattended support to end-points
    • Manage agents for OTI unattended sessions to maintain high security and control
  • Search Hosts in Mini Remote Control
  • Support for Windows 10
  • Ability to switch between the Standalone and Centralized versions without reinstallation
  • And many other improvements and bug fixes

 

The #1 feature which I want to talk about is the ability to use unattended over the Internet sessions. You already have been able to remotely connect to a computer, but it required the assistance of the end-user, and she might not have always been available or you simply didn’t want to bother the user. Now you can connect to her computer anytime.

 

To start off, deploy a new agent with unattended OTI capabilities to the computer. The agent will register itself automatically with the proxy. The deployment is as easy as it always has been. The new version of the agent contains support for unattended OTI. It can be configured in the General tab of agent settings, where you can limit the agent only to local connections, or direct and remote connections. These settings can be found for example during agent deployment when you are prompted to confirm the deployment under Install Options… > Configure > General.

 

Screen_Shot_2015-08-31_at_11_39_32.png

 

Right after deploying the agent, it will be visible on the Admin Console for the Central Server, and will be waiting for your approval (if you have just upgraded and are not using an evaluation copy, which has auto-approvals enabled). This gives you control over who can use remote unattended sessions, but it also gives you control in case you have several thousands end-points and you don’t want to remote to them all over the internet.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-31_at_12_19_47.png

As soon as you approve the agent, it becomes available for remote sessions.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-31_at_12_20_25.png

Another option is to configure auto-approvals under Central Server > Settings by setting the value of the Remote Host Auto-approve property to true. This setting will automatically display a notification banner in the admin console.

 

Screen_Shot_2015-08-31_at_11_34_00.png

After the approval of the agent for Internet sessions, it will also appear in the new Remote Host List of the MRC console, so any technician can start to make unattended connections from this list right away.


You can also drag & drop the host from Remote Host List to your Personal Host List or Saved Host List (see below screenshot). From any of these lists you can initiate unattended OTI connections. If you already have the computer in the Personal Host List before, it will appear in the list twice and its icon will indicate direct LAN connection (red arrow in the screenshot) or unattended OTI connection (green arrow on the screenshot).

Screen_Shot_2015-09-04_at_16_49_47.png

You are probably also curious about searching for a host in MRC. Simply click on Find icon in Remote Connect menu of MRC console and type hostname or IP address.

Screen_Shot_2015-09-08_at_14_40_26.png

 

I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any feedback, please let me know in a comment or use DameWare DRS Release Candidate forum.


Now go to your customer portal and download new installer!

I'm excited to announce general availability of  Kiwi Syslog Server 9.5! The new Kiwi Syslog version is packed with great new features and improvements.

 

This release contains various improvements such as

 

  • SNMP v3 Trap support
  • SNMP Trap Forwarding (with ability to retain source address for IPv4)
  • Trap fields to VarBinds Elements in Output
  • Logging to Papertrail cloud
  • IPv6 Support
  • Statistics email reports based on different interval
  • Ability to create more than five web console users

 

Kiwi Syslog v9.5 is available for download in your customer portal for those customers under current Kiwi Syslog maintenance.

 

If you are not a Kiwi Syslog user yet, now go and download new version from www.kiwisyslog.com now!

It’s exciting to share with you, that we reached GA milestone for Web Help Desk (WHD) 12.3! Focus of this release was ability to link service requests into parent/child relationship and thus address various use-cases like

 

  • Model repetitive business processes, such as on-boarding new employees or scheduling maintenance tasks
  • Track your IT projects
  • Group service request tickets together for troubleshooting or create ad-hoc child tickets to fulfil requests

 

Additionally it helps to address various feature requests, namely

 

 

If you want to learn more about this release check out this post: Web Help Desk 12.3 Release Candidate now available!

 

Now go and download web help desk from your customer portal or webhelpdesk.com.

It is my pleasure to announce that Web Help Desk 12.3 has reached RC status and is available for download from the SolarWinds Customer Portal for customers on Active Maintenance through June 1st, 2015.

 

This release includes support for Parent/Child ticketing, allowing you to link multiple tickets to a one parent ticket. Using this feature, you can for example:

 

  • Model repetitive business processes, such as on-boarding new employees or scheduling maintenance tasks
  • Track your IT projects
  • Group service request tickets together for troubleshooting or create ad-hoc child tickets to fulfil requests

 

It also address various known feature requests, namely

 

 

Overview

The Parent/Child relationship logic incorporated within SolarWinds Help Desk is modeled after the concept of Problem/Incident management. Problem/Incident is addressing unplanned interruptions or failures (Incidents) and identifying the root cause (Problem) of one or more incidents. This process is based on ITIL best practices, but it has its limitations. Parent/Child relationships are designed to provide general links between tickets and serves many purposes. There are a few other differences, which I highlight later in this article. Fundamentally, to link a problem with an incident, you create a relationship between both entities.

 

Manually Linking Tickets Together

Using Parent/Child relationships built into SolarWinds Web Help Desk, you can manually link service request tickets together by clicking the Requests tab on the right side of the ticket screen, as shown below.

 

Link_ticket_manually.png

 

Here, you can link any existing ticket as a parent to your working ticket. Simply search for the appropriate tickets using the Search Requests function and click Link next to the targeted ticket.

Once you create a relationship between both tickets, click Save. After you save your child ticket, you can:

 

  • View the linked parent
  • View the parent ticket from the child ticket
  • Send notes to linked child tickets
  • Send notes to the linked parent ticket
  • Add attachments to the notes and propagate to parent and child tickets

 

Viewing a Linked Parent

Once you link your ticket to the parent ticket, the Linked Parent ticket tab appears within your working ticket, as shown below.

 

Linked_parent_ticket.png

 

In this embedded tab window, you can view basic ticket information such as the ticket number, status, or subject combined with the request details. You can also unlink the ticket by clicking the Trash icon on the right side of the window. The ticket screen also includes an embedded History tab that appears in the ticket. SolarWinds Web Help Desk records all ticket actions related to the Parent/Child ticket relationship, providing you with a complete record for auditing or other IT business processes.

 

Viewing a Parent Ticket from a Child Ticket

When you click on the ticket number or request details of the linked parent ticket, the parent ticket appears on your screen. In the parent ticket is an embedded Linked Child Tickets tab that lists the linked child tickets and ticket summary information, such as the ticket number, status, and request details. You can freely move between the parent and child tickets as needed by clicking each ticket.

 

You can add a parent ticket to another parent ticket as required, but every ticket can have only one parent ticket. The Parent/Child logic built into SolarWinds Help Desk incorporates a tree structure that will not allow you to create endless loops between tickets.

 

Sending Notes to Linked Child Tickets

When you are in the parent ticket, you can send a note down to all linked child tickets. Simply create a note in the ticket and select the Show in Linked Child Tickets check box, as shown below.

 

Propagate_note.png

 

Once you save the ticket, the note is visible to all linked child tickets.

 

Sending Notes to the Linked Parent Ticket

You can also send a note up to the parent ticket. When you are working in a linked child ticket, simply click the Show in Linked Parent Ticket check box. Your note is copied to the parent ticket, as shown above.

 

Adding Attachments to Notes

When you send notes to the child or parent ticket, you can also include an attachment. If you need to edit the note, open the original ticket of the note, edit the note, and then save it. The updated note including attachment will be immediately available to the parent ticket or down to the child tickets.

 

There is no limitation on ticket status for any ticket within the Parent/Child structure. You can open, close, or modify any linked ticket.

 

Automatically Linking Tickets Together

The Parent/Child ticketing structure built into SolarWinds Web Help Desk can help you automate repeated tasks, such as the New Hire process used to on-board a new employee. In this scenario, you can create a standardized set of tickets that are completed by various people within your organisation.

 

Some process tasks are dependent on others and need to be tracked separately using an action rule to trigger your New Hire process. Simply define the criteria — such as the request type or a keyword that appears in the subject — to run a task. Your defined task creates a set of tickets assigned to the appropriate department or individuals and links them to the parent ticket that initiated the action rule.

 

Action_rule.png

 

When you create a task for your automated process, select the Shared check box so you can use this task in an action rule. For every step of your process, define a task element.

 

Each task element creates one ticket. In the Task Elements tab window, you can decide if the newly- created ticket should be linked to the parent ticket, as shown below.

 

Task_element.png

 

By linking tickets together, you can:

 

  • Pass information from parent tickets to child tickets. This process allows you to distribute selective or sensitive information to all child tickets. Typically, you would create a form using custom fields and pass your information through these fields as needed.
  • Combine information between ticket types. You can combine information from a parent ticket with new information in a child ticket. For example, the subject in a child ticket could include a description with the parent subject description appended to it, separated by a space.
  • Copy ticket attachments between ticket types. You can copy ticket attachments (but not note attachments) from parent tickets to child tickets. However, be aware that this process will duplicate the attachments in your database and consume additional storage space.
  • Trigger succeeding task elements when a targeted element is completed. Using the Generate Next Element logic, you can define when the next ticket is created based on the previous ticket element status. For example, you could create tasks that generate service request tickets to create a new employee email address and user account. When those tasks are completed, you can configure these tasks to trigger another step in the new hire process, as shown below. Alternatively, you can perform the same procedure by creating several tasks and action rules that model more complex dependencies and workflows.

    Task_elements.png

 

Now that you have seen how Parent/Child relationships can benefit your organization, go to our customer portal and download the new version to get started today.

 

PS. One more thing , often you need to reference ticket from a Note, Request Details field or FAQ fields. You can do it now by simply typing "ticket <number>" or "case <number>" (it works also with keywords like request, incident or problem). WHD will automatically makes it a link.

 

Embedded links.png

To receive updates on the WHD roadmap, JOIN thwack and BOOKMARK this page

 

We are currently in the planning phases for the next release, based on user feedback we are investigating following areas. As we move forward we will update this post to reflect what we are working on short-term.  If there is anything missing or arguments to move things up, vote on product ideas or post a comment.

 

After release of Web Help Desk v12.2, we are now busily working on some new features and enhancements to the product. Here is a preview of some the features:

 

  • Parent-Child relationship
  • Change Management, for example
    • "Change request" ticket type to better distinguish between service requests and changes
    • Ability to report on changes
    • Automation of change requests
    • Note: We are still in planning phase and you can influence priorities and change management feature in WHD now! Please vote for more change management features here in this survey and comment in this forum
  • Log export for easier troubleshooting
  • Asset Reporting
    • Purchase Order reporting
    • Parts reporting
  • NPM integration improvements
  • Ability to export reports to Excel
  • Ticket Approvals from Tech interface
  • iOS Application improvements

 

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

I'm very happy to share with you, that we reached GA milestone for Web Help Desk (WHD) 12.2 and Dameware (DW) 11.1 with many new exciting features! Focus of these releases was mostly new reporting for Assets and Integration, but we were also working on other features, namely

 

  • Dameware Integration
    • Seamless start of remote session from WHD
    • Recording of session data (including chat and screenshots) back to WHD ticket
  • Asset Reporting in WHD
    • Asset statistics reporting
    • Asset reservations reporting
  • New WHD FAQ UI rewritten to a new framework with various improvements
  • Many Documentation improvements, new APIs and many bug fixes and more..

 

If you want to learn more about these releases check out following links:

 

 

How does integration looks like? It's slick and seamless as you can see on this video:

 

 

Web Help Desk 12.2 and Dameware 11.1 are now available on your customer portal.

 

If you are a new user Download Web Help Desk or Dameware now!

It is always exciting to present what is new in our products, and this time I have something I'm particularly happy about: Web Help Desk (WHD) 12.2 and Dameware (DW) 11.1 integration. This Beta starts today and it also includes features mentioned in Web Help Desk 12.2.0: Looking behind the curtain. If you are interested in participation, please go ahead and sign up here:

 

button-2.png

 

Note: You have to own at least one of those products to be able to participate in this Beta. Also this Beta is not suitable for production environment and you need a separate test system.

 

Before we talk about the details, let's quickly introduce both products.

 

Web Help Desk is a powerful and easy-to-use help desk solution. It does not overload you with tons of configuration settings, but it's still enormously flexible, and for many use-cases it works out of the box. You can integrate it with Active Directory, turn Orion alerts into tickets automatically, use it for Asset Management, or use the powerful Knowledge Base to divert new service requests by proactively displaying possible service fulfillment articles.

 

Dameware on the other hand is an efficient remote support and administration tool, with support for multiple platforms (native MRC, RDP or VNC protocols) and the ability to connect to remote machines on LAN as well as over the Internet.

 

Help desk and remote support tools are natural complements and part of every technician's workflow. You have to track incidents and service requests, and in many cases you need to connect remotely to fix an issue or to collect more information as part of the investigation. It is a no-brainer that this workflow should be smooth, without unnecessary steps and clumsy moving around between systems. Therefore we work hard to integrate WHD and DW to create such workflows, and I want to share some initial results with you.

 

Seamless Start of a Remote Session

It was possible to integrate WHD and DW even before by using the "Other Tool Links" feature of WHD (read more about this integration in Dameware / Web Help Desk Integration article). This integration helps you to start remote sessions directly from WHD

and it requires little configuration. However, it also requires the installation of a 3rd party tool - CustomURL on every Technician's computer. To avoid this hassle, Dameware can register itself as a protocol handler in this Beta version for custom Dameware links. This works for all major browsers (specifically IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera).

 

The links have the format of a normal URL with the schema part of the URL changed to "dwrcc". The browser will recognize such a URL and pass it to Dameware. Here is an example of the URL:

 

dwrcc://10.140.47.98?assetID=14&whdEndPoint=https://10.140.2.79/helpdesk/WebObjects/Helpdesk.woa/ra

 

Dameware takes this URL, extracts information such as the IP address (10.140.47.98 in this example) or the host name if used, the WHD URL (https://10.140.2.79/helpdesk/WebObjects/Helpdesk.woa/ra in the example above) and so on, and tries to locate the remote machine in the Save Host list. If the IP address or the host name is found, Dameware will use the saved credentials and other information such as protocol to start a remote session. If no information is present in the Saved Host list, then you will see a connection dialog and you can enter the credentials. Yes, they will be saved for later re-use. :). In the following screenshot you can notice that Dameware runs in Web Help Desk integration mode. This is indicated by the yellow bar on the top of the window.

 

Yellow_Banner_annotated.png

 

The MRC application will exit after the sessions ends, which is different from the normal behavior when you start a session manually.

 

We also added a new configuration option to WHD to display Dameware links. You can enable displaying links by selecting the check box under Setup -> Assets -> Options -> DameWare Integration Links Enabled (this is actually everything needed to configure the integration):

 

WHD_DW_Configuration_annotated.png

 

Notice that there is also a possibility to define the Request Type. This is related to the second part of integration which is available in this Beta: the ability to save session data to WHD.

 

Saving Session Data into Tickets

When the remote session ends, you have the opportunity to save some session data to WHD. Specifically this means session meta-data, chat history and any screenshot made from Dameware. Meta-data which will be saved includes the following:

 

  • Technican's host name or IP address
  • End user's host name or IP address
  • Session start time
  • Session end time
  • Duration
  • Session termination reason (e.g. "The session was closed by technician")

 

Apart from meta-data, Dameware will also pass the chat history to WHD in the form of an RTF document. This document includes all formatting, and is easier to transfer for later use. The RTF document will be attached to a newly created ticket note, which will also include the aforementioned meta-data. Any screenshot you make will also be saved to WHD as an attachment. (Just be aware of the size limit of WHD attachments and make sure it is sufficient for screenshots). DW uses WHD API to pass the information and inform you about the progress. If anything goes wrong (for example the attachment too big), it will be displayed in a dialog. You will have the opportunity to save the session data locally, so no information is lost. All data is saved into a Note of the given Ticket. Any attachment will be the attachment of the Note, rather than a Ticket attachment to make is easier to identify attachments related to a given session. This information will not only provide customer evidence for remote sessions, but it also saves important information for troubleshooting during investigation and make it possible to track work time and report on it.

 

Connection from existing Ticket

The common scenario is that a user creates a new ticket reporting an issue on this desktop. You open the ticket details and there is information missing. Therefore you decide to connect remotely. You open the Asset Info tab and click the Dameware connection icon.

 

DW_link_annotated.png

 

If you have previously connected to this machine and the credentials are saved in the Save Host list, you are seamlessly connected to the desktop of the user. Again, notice the yellow WHD integration banner.

 

Yellow Banner.png

 

While you troubleshoot, you make several screenshots, ask user for additional details over chat and investigate. When you are finished you close the session, and since the remote session was created from a WHD ticket, the integration dialog is displayed immediately (in some cases the workflow is different, but we will discuss this in a minute).

 

Ticket update dialog - CHAT.png

 

In the window title you can see the ticket number. The session meta-data section is displayed and you can describe what happened during the session in the text field below. This text will be saved into the ticket note. The duration of the session will be saved as work time in the same note. You can also decide to attach the chat history or any screenshot you made. Finally you can also decide whether to make this note visible to the client or not. Then you click on "Save".

 

In the next dialog window you can observe the progress of communication between Dameware and WHD. If anything goes wrong, you can see it here. If the session data was saved sucessfully you will see a confirmation dialog.

 

Upload progress.png

 

Following video demonstrates the workflow

 

 

Incident reported over phone

There are cases when the user will call you directly. In such a case, there is no ticket. If the user is however reporting an issue on this laptop, you can still connect remotely and troubleshoot the issue.

 

You can first search for the user's assets and connect directly from the resulting list.

 

Connection_from_Asset_annotated.png

 

In this case the session is initiated from the asset, not from the ticket. You are remotely connected and do whatever you need to do on the remote machine. When you are done, you close the session normally, but this time there is no ticket to be updated. Dameware will therefore display the list of existing tickets linked to the given asset. Only tickets which are not closed will be displayed, and you can update the ticket if the remote session was a follow-up on an existing incident.

 

Existing tickets list.png

 

If this is a completely new incident, you have the opportunity to create a new ticket. Click "Create new ticket" and the simplified new ticket form is displayed. Only the subject and the request details are available, and in the next step you can define more details of the newly created ticket (again, notice the ticket number in the window title).

 

New ticket.png

 

The rest of the workflow is the same as in the previous case. You can add a note and save and screenshots or char into a ticket and newly created ticket is updated.

 

Over the Internet session

Sometimes you have mobile users and you need to connect to them over the internet. The workflow is similar: you click the Dameware connection icon, and Dameware tries to connect. If it doesn't work, you will get back to the connection dialog and you can click on "Internet connection" and establish an OTI session. Once you connect sucesfully, the workflow is the same as in the previous cases. You are asked to update a ticket, or you are offered a list of existing tickets and you can update the ticket as before.

 

This integration works with all supported protocols: MRC, RDP and VNC. The only difference is that with RDP we do not support screenshots and chat, and with VNC only screenshots are supported.

 

Conclusion

This integration aims to streamline incident resolution and make the workflow smoother. I'm looking forward to hearing from you, if you have any feedback, questions, comments or ideas, please let us know in comments.

 

Also do not forget to sign-up for Beta here!

I'm very pleased to announce General Availability of Web Performance Monitor 2.1. This release is full of great new features and improvements. Namely,


  • Tighter integration with Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and Network Performance Monitor (NPM) to help you identify problems in your Web Application infrastructure faster
  • Ability to create dependencies between Transactions and other Orion objects like Groups or Interfaces and also between Locations and other Orion objects
  • Recorder usability improvements include:
    • Positive and negative text and image match
    • Simple conditionals to handle web application variance
    • Ability to multi-select steps for easier editing in Recorder
    • Multi-variant text inputs
    • Logically group transactions and recordings with custom properties
  • Support for web-based reporting
  • and many other

 

You can find more details in Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 Beta is available blog post and Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 - What's Coming in Recorder. Detailed description of this release is also available in Release Notes.

 

WPM 2.1 is available in your customer portal today or you can download evaluation version from WPM product page.

 

Please let us know if there are any questions. Comments welcomed below.

With Web Performance Monitor (WPM) 2.1.0 just around the corner I'm happy to announce WPM 2.1.0 has entered Release Candidate phase. There are many improvements coming with this version, notably

 

  • Tighter integration with Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and Network Performance Monitor (NPM) to help you identify problems in your Web Application infrastructure faster
  • New integration allows you to
    • Create dependencies between Transactions and Applications and dependencies between Transactions and Nodes
    • Visualize the relationship and status of infrastructure components that can impact Web transactions
    • Visualize the relationship and status of Web transactions alongside node and application performance (New Transactions subview in Node Details page and New Transactions subview in Application Details page)
  • Ability to create dependencies between Transactions and other Orion objects like Groups or Interfaces and also between Locations and other Orion objects
  • Recorder usability improvements include:
    • Positive and negative text and image match
    • Simple conditionals to handle web application variance
    • Ability to multi-select steps for easier editing in Recorder
    • Multi-variant text inputs
    • Logically group transactions and recordings with custom properties
  • Support for web-based reporting

 

You can find more details in Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 Beta is available blog post and Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 - What's Coming in Recorder.

 

WPM 2.1.0 RC is available in your customer portal today. RC's are fully supported and upgradable to the final GA version (if it differs from RC.)

 

Please let us know if there are any questions. Comments welcomed below.

I'm delighted to share with you more details on what we are working on recently in Web Help Desk (WHD). Many of you are very excited about what's coming and we are listening on all channels and working hard to combine your inputs in the best possible way. Some of the features include

 


These are all great, but I'd like to also show you what we are working on, so let me elaborate on Reporting and UI changes in this post and give you a small teaser.

 

Reporting

You can create two types of reports in WHD now – Ticketing and Billing. One of the larger features we are working on is Asset reporting. If you want to see simple statistics of the devices you have deployed in different locations, or if you need to know how many new laptops you have bought since January, you need an asset report.

 

Let's say your manager asks, "How many different, new types of devices are now in use across the offices since the beginning of the year?".

 

You can easily answer this in the new Web Help Desk.

  • Open the Reports page in WHD.
  • Click on the "New" report button.
  • Select "Asset Report".
  • Don't forget to define a name and group (optional) for your new report.

 

New Asset Report.png

 

  • Next you move to the Report Details tab
  • Choose "Bar chart" to visualize your results into nice bar charts.
  • In the Bar Category, choose "Asset Type"
  • In the Bar Stack Category, choose "Location".

 

Asset Report - Details.png

 

We are almost there. Now you want only assets purchased since January, so you

  • move to Report Filters,
  • click "New", and
  • choose "Purchase Date".
  • Next you define the purchase date from January 1st 2014.
  • Now click "Save".

 

Asset Report - Filters - Purchase Date.png

 

The last filter we need is "by Status", since your manager asked for only devices in use.

 

  • Click on "New" again in the Report Filters tab.
  • Choose "Asset Status", and check the values which represent devices in use in your environment (most likely these are "Deployed", "Used", etc.).
  • Click "Save".

 

Asset Report - Filters - Asset Status.png

 

Now we are ready, to run the report, and there is it. Answer for your boss visualized in a nice bar chart.

 

Asset Report - Output.png

 

Under the hood of new Asset reports

Asset reports are not just another report type. There is much more to it. They are built on the new reporting engine, which will bring a plethora of improvements. With the new engine we get a more feature rich, performance optimized reporting infrastructure which gives us the long term flexibility to create new reports quicker going forward. Having a more flexible engine, allows you to potentially render reports into many different formats, generate reports faster and with lower memory consumption. Another benefit is easier migration of reports between systems and also easier troubleshooting in case of problems thanks to textual configuration of reports. New engine can also separate generating of reports from main WHD application and thus makes WHD much more robust. If you by mistake create a report with millions of lines, it would not affect the availability of WHD for your users even if generating of that report takes hours. We are working on Asset reports now with the goal to get them to you as soon as possible however ultimately we want to bring all this goodness also to other areas of existing reports (Ticketing and Billing) or new reports like Purchase Orders or Reservations. There is a lot to look forward to!

 

Knowledge Base UI

Another area we are working on is the UI and WHD front-end. We started with FAQs and are working on improvements in usability, adding lot of on-the-spot help in form of tooltips or making it much easier to work with large numbers of objects. As you grow and have more Clients, Techs or Offices (read Locations) we want to make it even easier for you to scale. WHD should support you and thus we are looking for ways to support your growth. Let me show you some improvements we are working on.

 

Sometimes you might find Question/Answer column in FAQ list too narrow.

Old FAQ UI - fixed width of columns.png

 

We are working on improving the UI, so that columns are both easily resizable and moveable. Thus making UI far more flexible.

 

New FAQ UI - resizable columns.png

 

If you have a large system with hundreds of Locations or Techs, the new UI we are working on can support large deployments and has UI elements to make the work with large volumes of objects much easier. Instead of checkboxes, you can add objects to the list by browsing a list or typing the names with auto-complete. For example when defining Locations for FAQ.

 

New Locations selection.png

 

Another example of improvement is a more detailed help system with new tooltips and details on individual settings. Our goal is to provide on the spot help when and where it's needed.

 

New FAQ UI - tooltips.png

 

As a part of the various improvements mentioned, you may notice that the UI is slightly different than what you are used to. I'm not talking about new UI elements, but some familiar parts are just a bit different. The reason is another big change under the hood we are working on.

 

What's new with front-end anyhow?

Another exciting improvement we are working on is adopting new framework for our front-end. It will bring great new features into WHD, some of which you have seen in previous sections. There are not only huge performance benefits, but more importantly various usability improvements like auto-complete or aforementioned support for very large systems (with vast numbers of objects like Locations, Companies, Techs or Models), better browser compatibility and easier maintenance. While not visible right away, they will bring lot of enhancements to future releases and might be necessary for the product to break ground for other new features in the future.


We will keep you updated on our progress and keep your eyes out for Beta signup or simply let me know if you are interested here in comments or contact me directly!

As we announced previously in Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 - What's Coming in Recorder post we have just launched Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 Beta release. This Beta has many great new features, continues to evolve WPM and integrates with other Orion-based products.

 

Note: This Beta is over.

 

What are some of the new features in this Beta?

 

  • Integration with SAM
    • Ability to create dependencies between Transactions and Applications
    • Ability to create dependencies between Transactions and Nodes
    • New Resources to display linked Applications and Nodes for easier troubleshooting
    • New Transactions subview in Node Details page
    • New Transactions subview in Application Details page
  • Custom Properties for Transactions and Recordings
  • Support for web-based Reporting

 

... and a lot more described in Web Performance Monitor 2.1.0 - What's Coming in Recorder post.

 

Integration with SAM

When the transaction is down or performing poorly, you want to know where the problem is. All of that information is present in Orion, but you must know where to look. You also need to look into many places before you identify the root cause. The problems could be located in the network, on the server where your web application is running or in any of the services which your web app is using. To help you troubleshoot the issue, you can create a link (dependency) between your transaction and applications or nodes. There are two ways of doing this. Either as part of new transaction wizard or in manage dependencies page.

 

Create a Dependency

When you are creating a transaction, there is a new step in the wizard. On the Transaction Summary page click on the "Manage Transactions" in the "All Transactions" resource. Click on the "Add Monitor" button, which will start a wizard.

 

new step in wizard.png

 

This step lets you create a new dependency on both applications and nodes. In case you selected more recordings or more locations in the previous steps of the wizard, you will create "recordings x locations" transactions (for example, 2 transactions and 3 locations will create 6 transactions). You can define dependencies individually for every transaction.

 

add nodes or applications.png

 

When you click on "Add nodes" or "Add applications" you have the ability to choose from all Orion nodes or applications.

 

select nodes.png

 

add applications.png

 

You can achieve the same result by creating a dependency using standard Manage Dependencies page in Node & Group Management under Settings.

 

manage dependencies.png

 

Displaying Dependencies

When you are done and your transactions are linked to nodes and applications, you will notice two new resources in Transaction Details page. First is "Transaction related Nodes" and second is "Transaction related Applications". They display a simple list of nodes and applications with their statuses. You can click on the node or application name to open Node Details or Application Details page.

 

new resources.png

 

Dependencies will behave as you would expect in terms of statuses. If the transaction is down and any of the nodes or any of the applications are down, transaction status will change to "Unreachable".

 

Dependencies are visible in the Node Details and Applications Details pages. There is a new subview for each with transactions linked to the respective node or application. This subview is using resources from the Transaction Summary page, but their content is filtered only to linked transactions. Thus you can easily identify transaction affected by any changes to the given node or application.

 

node details subview.png

 

Currently these new resources support only dependencies created between nodes or applications and a WPM transaction..

 

Custom Properties

Custom properties is a great way to give additional structure to your transactions, create dynamic groups, account limitations, filter resources or group by them in various resources. You can define a new custom property within the Manage Custom Properties page located under Settings. Click on the "Add custom property" button and in the first step choose Transactions or Recordings.

 

add custom property.png

 

In the next step you can define parameters of the custom property

 

define custom property.png

 

and define values for one or more transactions. From this point, you can use custom properties to filter or group transactions in resources, create dynamic groups, report on their values or limit accounts.

 

Now you know what is coming, don't forget to leave us feedback!

It is with the pride and pleasure to announce that we have reached General Availability for version 15.1 of Serv-U FTP Server and Serv-U MFT Server! This release is packed with many great new features and improvements. To mention few:

 

  • Completely Redesigned Management Console, which is now faster and with new modern fresh look
  • Domain setup wizard for File Sharing to make file sharing setup easier for new users
  • File Sharing Administration Options for granular control over file sharing on all levels
  • Automated File Management for removing and deleting old files
  • Ability to use Multiple SSH/SFTP keys per user
  • Shares for files, which are already on the server
  • Anonymous shares
  • Search in file shares
  • Custom Branding for File Sharing Guest UI
  • ... and many other bug fixes and other improvements

 

You can learn more about these features and more in previously posted SolarWinds Serv-U FTP & Serv-U MFT Server 15.1.0 Release Candidate is Available! post or in Release Notes.

 

Download Serv-U 15.1 now from your customer portal.

The Release Candidate for Serv-U 15.1.0 is now ready! The new Serv-U version is packed with great new features and many improvements. RC is the last step before general availability, and it is a chance for existing customers to get the newest functionality before it is available to everyone else. You can download it from the LATEST DOWNLOADS FOR YOUR PRODUCTS section of the customer portal. Change filter to "Release Candidate" and click on download button next to Serv-U RC version.

 

The following are some of the highlights of the new version.

 

Redesigned Management Console

The new UI is probably the first thing you will notice in this release – and it's a huge change. We started with the redesign of the Web Client and the File Sharing UI in the previous version, and now we've updated the Management Console too. The new look is not only modern and simpler, but also faster. When you sign in as an administrator, you may also notice the new dashboard with heaps of useful statistics, notifications about new updates, and a What's New area featuring a few highlights of the latest release of Serv-U.

 

Serv-U - Home (20140506).png

 

Automated File Management

Often you may want to move or delete files after a certain period of time to back up your data or to purge unnecessary files from your storage. In the Directories section of the global server settings or domain settings, you will find a new tab: File Management. As the following screenshot illustrates, you can simply define the file path, the action and the number of days after which you want to execute the given action.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.49.05.png

 

Support for Multiple SSH/SFTP keys per user

Up until now you could only use a single key per user. Now you can use multiple keys per account if you want to rotate them or if you want to provide shared access to an account. You can find a new button, Manage Keys, in the user properties page.

manage_Keys.png

 

After clicking Manage Keys..., you will see the UI to add, edit, delete or generate new keys.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.52.40.png

 

Ability to Share Files That are Already on the Server

With the first version of file sharing you could only share files from your computer. However, users typically already have a Serv-U account, and also some files in their home folder. Now it is possible to share these files, and even combine them with files from your computer. You can simply create a new share, and when you're uploading files, you can browse to local files on your desktop (Files on my Computer option) or remote files in your Serv-U home folder (Files on Serv-U option). This will create a combined file share.

share files from serv-u.png

 

If you choose a file stored on Serv-U, the file will not be copied – the share will reference the file instead of duplicating it. This means that if you move or delete the file, it won't be available in the file share anymore. If you update the file via the Web Client or via FTP, the very same version will be available in the file share, and you won't need to update the share manually.

 

Domain Setup Wizard for File Sharing

The new wizard will make it much easier to configure a file sharing domain or a file transfer domain. It is intended to speed up the initial configuration and help to correctly set up a domain, especially if you are new to Serv-U. Click the '+' button below the Serv-U logo to start the new domain wizard.

 

new domain button.png

 

After specifying the domain name and description, you can choose the type of domain you want to configure. You can always refine your decisions later, and further modify the configuration of the new domain.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 13.16.49.png

 

File Sharing Administration Options

The new version of Serv-U provides you with the flexibility to define who can use file sharing and how. So far file sharing could be enabled for everyone or for no one, however, now you can configure its availability per domain, per group, and even per user with many detailed options available at all levels:

 

  • Require a password for guest access
  • Insert a password  within invitation emails
  • Specify the maximum file size guests can upload (per file)
  • Specify the time period before the guest link expires
  • Duration before guest link expires
  • Notify a user after a file is downloaded
  • Notify a user after a file is uploaded
  • Send the guest access link to the recipients
  • Send the guest access link to the sender
  • Allow user-defined contact information
  • Specify the maximum number of files for "Sent" shares
  • Specify the maximum number of files for "Requested" shares

 

The following screenshot provides an example setting for a password policy for shares.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 13.49.37.png

 

Ability to Make Anonymous Shares

An anonymous share is simply a share where no recipients are defined and no emails are sent. You can share the link to the file share on forums, social networks, or instant messaging clients, or you can click Generate an email on the last screen of the file share wizard, and use your default email client to benefit from your address book and other features you are used to.

 

generate_email.png

 

Ability to Search in File Shares

If you use file sharing extensively, you probably have dozens, maybe even hundreds of shares. They will eventually expire, but if you want to find a share you created week ago, now you can do it using the free text search. Simply type the name of the file, the email address or a key word from the email message. You can also limit the search to "Send Files" shares, "Requested Files" shares, or both.

 

search in shares.png

Custom Branding for Guest UI of File Sharing

The new version makes it possible to use custom branding not only for the login page or the Web Client, but also for the file sharing guest UI. If you want to try it, you can find branding samples in C:\Program Files\Rhinosoft\Serv-U\Customer HTML Samples, and use them to change the style in Limits & Settings > Custom HTML. The following screenshot shows one of the available branding samples.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 13.26.50.png

 

Other Improvements

This version also features several other improvements such as enhanced Active Directory and LDAP support for authentication, improved Web Client performance, especially when using it over Serv-U Gateway, links to file shares in the notification emails, and many bug fixes.

 

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

 

You can download the RC from the LATEST DOWNLOADS FOR YOUR PRODUCTS section of the customer portal. Change filter to "Release Candidate" and click on download button next to Serv-U RC version.

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