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6 Posts authored by: Steven Hunt Employee

AppStack is a very useful feature for troubleshooting application issues, which you can find when you click on Environment under the Home menu in the Orion® Web Console. The feature allows you to understand your application environment, through exposing the relationships between the applications and the related infrastructure that supports those applications. The more SolarWinds System Management products you have installed, the more information you are provided in the AppStack UI. From applications to databases, virtual hosts to storage arrays, you can get a complete picture of the entire “application stack”. You can learn more about the basics of using AppStack by watching this video.

A common question I hear is, “How does AppStack know what is related to what?” Well, AppStack uses concepts like automatic end-to-end mapping to automatically determine relationships between things like datastores and LUNs. But, AppStack also utilizes user-defined dependencies to allow you to specify relationships between particular monitored entities. For example, you can create a user-defined dependency between the Microsoft IIS application you are monitoring, and the Microsoft SQL Server that it relies on for business critical functionality. To configure the user-defined dependencies, click on Manage Dependencies on the Main Settings & Administration page.

When you select the Microsoft IIS application, you created the dependency for, in the AppStack UI, you are able to not only see the infrastructure stack that supports that particular web server, but you can also quickly see the other applications or servers that it depends on.

You can use the Spotlight function in AppStack to quickly narrow down the visibility to only the object you select and the objects that are related to it, including the user-defined dependencies. In this case, you can see the IIS server and the SQL server and the related infrastructure stack. Both the objects related to the IIS application and the SQL Server application will be shown.

Once you build out your dependencies, you will be able to quickly traverse from one monitored application to another, and gain a complete understanding of your complex application environment. In the example of the IIS application and SQL server, you can select the SQL server and see what other applications are dependent on it.

As you continue to build out your user-defined dependencies, you will be able to quickly traverse all of the relationships between the applications you monitor and the other monitored objects in your environment, like web transactions. This will, in turn, allow you to determine root cause of application issues faster, by giving you have better visibility into the entire application and infrastructure landscape.

Since we launched the PerfStack™ feature in the beginning of 2017, we have seen a lot of interesting use cases from our customers. If you are unfamiliar with PerfStack, you can check out Drag & Drop Answers to Your Toughest IT Questions, where aLTeReGo outlines the basic functions of the feature. Those that are familiar have come to realize just how powerful the feature is for troubleshooting issues within their environment. Whether you're a system, network, virtualization, storage, or other IT administrator, being able to see metric data across the entire infrastructure stack is very valuable.

 

One of the common use cases I hear about lately, is visualizing synthetic web transaction metrics in the context of application performance metrics. For instance, lets say you have an intranet site and you need to monitor it for performance issues, including end users access and performance from multiple locations. With WPM and SAM, this is a reality. However, before PerfStack, you needed to browse multiple pages to compare metric data against each other.

 

In PerfStack, you can easily add all of the response times for WPM transactions, from multiple locations, to a single metric palette, and quickly visualize those metrics together. In the scenario of the intranet site mentioned above, you can see the response time average duration, from each of the four locations that are monitoring this particular transaction.

You can also easily add all of the transaction steps, for a particular transaction, to provide a more granular view of the response time of your web applications. All you have to do is click on the related entities icon for a given transaction. Then, add the related transaction step entities and subsequent response time metrics. This will allow you to quickly see which steps are contributing to the elevated response time for the related transaction.

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But what about the performance metrics of the application itself, and the infrastructure that hosts it? Those metrics are crucial to determining root cause of application issues. With Perfstack, it is easy to quickly add those metrics to the metric palette when using the related entities function. This does require a pre-requisite to be configured. When configuring your WPM transaction you will need to define related applications and nodes as shown below.

Once that is done, Orion does the rest. As you can see in AppStack, the relationship from the transaction to the application and the rest of the infrastructure stack is fully visible.

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This will allow you to add and remove all of the necessary entities and metrics to a PerfStack project, to complete your troubleshooting efforts. The more Orion Platform products you have, the more entities you will be able to collect metrics from and be able to visualize in PerfStack. Below you can see the multitude of data available through the relationships in Orion. When all of the needed metrics are added, you can save the PerfStack project to recall for future troubleshooting efforts.

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We have tried to make it easy to access the data needed to quickly troubleshoot any issues that arise in your environment. With the data at your finger tips you can drastically reduce the mean time to resolution for many issues. We all know that shorter mean time to resolution is important, because performance problems equate to unhappy end user. And when end users aren't happy...

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I have been bursting at the seams to write about this topic. Now that the Server & Application Monitor (SAM) Release Candidate is available, I can tell you all about it. As many of you may know, SAM already has an ability to monitor workloads that are running in the cloud. The Orion® agent and agentless based technology allows SAM the flexibility to monitor all of your workloads on-premises as well as in the public cloud.

 

Now with SAM 6.4 or VMAN 7.1, you can collect configuration and metric data directly from Amazon Web Services® (AWS), and have that data visualized along with the rest of the environment you are already monitoring. All you need are your AWS account credentials.

 

Once you have your account configured in the Orion console, you will then be able to see all of your EC2™ instances and EBS volumes within one summary screen.

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If you have multiple AWS accounts, no problem. Add each one, so the Orion platform can discover all of the associated cloud instances and know which AWS region they are running in.

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Just like the detail that is available with existing Orion Nodes, you can drill down and see more information about individual cloud instances, including attached EBS volumes, default CloudWatch™ metrics, and configuration settings like Auto Scaling Group membership.

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Now, if you want to go deeper into monitoring your workloads running in the cloud, beyond what AWS provides, all you have to do is manage the cloud instance as an Orion Node. We even created a handy mechanism for you to do so, directly from the Cloud Instance Details page.

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This will give you the ability to monitor what’s running on the OS, directly from the cloud instances. At that point, all you have to do is switch between the Orion Node Details view and the Cloud Instance Details view to have complete visibility.

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As an added benefit, you can apply your existing SAM Application Templates and visualize the end to end infrastructure relationships with AppStack™.

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Our goal with introducing this feature was to ensure that no matter where your workloads are running, you will have the information you need to ensure their health and availability. We know that the landscape of IT is changing, and as increasing public cloud adoption transforms traditional IT environments into hybrid ones, we need to deliver the tools necessary for adapting to this new complexity.

 

But wait, there’s more!

Since you made it to the bottom of this post, I thought I would share something extra with you. If you have read the recent post, Drag & Drop Answers to Your Toughest IT Questions, you will be aware of the new PerfStack feature that is also available. What you may not have known is that the cloud instance data, mentioned above, is also available in PerfStack, allowing hybrid environment comparisons and correlations with on-premises workloads.

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So, what are you waiting for? Log into the Customer Portal and download SAM 6.4. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to post them in the Server & Applications Monitor Release Candidate group as well.

Christmas has come early, and Santa has brought everyone a present. No, its not a football.

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Actually, the SAM Engineering team is responsible for this holiday joy. I will not spoil the surprise but you can get a hint of what's inside the beta by checking out the What We're Working On Beyond SAM 6.4 (Updated March 17, 2017) post. What are you waiting for?! Click the button below to sign up and download.

 

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Must be under active maintenance for SAM

 

And as an added bonus, anyone who participates in the beta and provides feedback, will be awarded 3000 THWACK points!

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Server & Application Monitor 6.3.

 

This version includes the following new features and enhancements:

 

You can view the full set of release notes, including problems that were resolved here.

 

Server & Application Monitor 6.3 is available for download in your customer portal for those customers under active Server & Application Monitor maintenance.

Now that Virtualization Manager (VMAN) 6.3 includes new management actions, alert remediation, and more, we’ve moved full steam ahead on the next release. We are continuing the evolution into a complete monitoring and management tool for virtualization environment. Here are the highlights of what we have we are currently working on:

 

  • Continued integration into the SolarWinds Orion platform
  • Orion Global Search
  • Recommendations - Recommended actions to take to ensure performance, optimal capacity, avoid potential issues, and improve uptime.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (KVM) support
  • Citrix XenServer Support
  • Cloud Monitoring and Management
  • VMware vCenter and Microsoft Hyper-V Events

 

Disclaimer:  Comments given in this forum should not be interpreted as a commitment that SolarWinds will deliver any specific feature in any particular time frame. All discussions of future plans or product roadmaps are base on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.

 

If you don't see what you are looking for here, you can always add your idea(s) and vote on features in our Virtualization Manager Feature Requests forum.

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