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We are happy to announce the release of SolarWinds® Traceroute NG, a standalone free tool that finds network paths and measures their performance.

The original traceroute is one of the world’s most popular network troubleshooting tools but it works poorly in today’s networks. You can read about its shortfalls in this whitepaper.

SolarWinds® fixed these shortfalls with NetPath, a feature of NPM.  People love NetPath but there are two problems.  First, NetPath takes a couple minutes to find all possible paths in complex networks, much longer than a quick tool like traditional traceroute. Second, most people don’t own SolarWinds® NPM and so don’t have access to NetPath.

Traceroute is too important of a tool to allow it to languish.  That’s why we’ve taken what we’ve learned with NetPath and fixed traceroute.  We call it Traceroute NG.

Traceroute NG is a super fast way to get accurate performance results for a network path in a text format that’s easy to share.

Compared to traceroute, TracerouteNG is:

  • Super-fast
  • Rarely blocked by firewalls
  • More accurate, thanks to path control
  • Updates latency/loss continuously
  • Detects path changes
  • TCP or ICMP

 

You can download Traceroute NG here and launch the tool by double-clicking the traceng.exe.

You’ll be presented with a help screen and the application will wait for your input. Type the domain name to start a trace.

 

You can also launch the free tool from Windows command prompt:

traceng www.google.com

Let’s look at some results.

 

Scenario 1: Endpoint is blocking TCP port

We all know that HTTP uses TCP 80 by default. What would traceroute show you if someone blocks that port on a firewall or webserver?

All good, it’s not the network. You know it’s not your issue. But what is the issue?  That’s where Traceroute NG will help:

Traceroute NG can mimic TCP application traffic, so packets are treated as the application traffic is. In this case it detected that port TCP 80 on the destination webserver is closed. You know, it’s not the network. But you can be more precise and tell your sysadmin to enable this port on his webserver.

 

Scenario #2: Network path change

To illustrate this scenario, I have created a simple network using GNS3.

 

I also have a loopback adapter configured, to point all IPv6 traffic to this lab:

 

I’d like to trace from my machine in Cloud1 to the PC (fc90::3). If the OSPF routing works, I should go through routers R1, R7 and R3. Traceroute confirms:

 

Traceroute NG as well:

 

What if I do maintenance on router R7? Will traceroute tell me, when router R7 becomes unavailable and detect the new path? No. It runs once and then you need to run it again. Manually.

With Traceroute NG, detecting a change is simple. You can tell Traceroute NG to warn you if the path changes and optionally log the output. An example command would be: -a warn -l -p 23 fc90::3

And this is the result:

 

So you know that your router is down and once you hit enter, Traceroute NG will show you the new path. In the GNS3 lab we expect the new path will go through R1, R5, R2 and R3. Traceroute NG confirms:

 

And the log file as well, showing you original path and the new path:

In this use case, we have leveraged several features of Traceroute NG. First, it runs continuously. Second, it detects, when a path is no longer available. Third, it can log results in a text format, that’s easy to share.

Now, enough boring reading, it’s time to try it out! You can download Traceroute NG here: https://www.solarwinds.com/free-tools/traceroute-ng/

 

We’re super excited to share this tool with the world and hope you find it useful.  Let us know your thoughts!

INTRODUCING SOLARWINDS BACKUP

February 6, 2018 is a historic day. 

After months of planning, collaboration, and late night efforts, the journey of SolarWinds Backup is ready for primetime!  We are pleased to announce that SolarWinds Backup is officially launching and Generally Available today to our core market of IT professionals.  This launch is one more way we’re driving even more innovation in our Orion portfolio of products, and backup is a natural fit with our existing systems management capabilities.  You rely on SolarWinds for comprehensive monitoring of your servers and applications, for remote control and administration of these assets, and now, we can help you solve your backup and recovery challenges as well.

 

While most in-house IT departments have some type of backup solution, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the options they currently use.  In November, we conducted a survey on THWACK, and heard from our customer base that:

  • Backups are too expensive, and managing them is too complex
  • Reliability of backups is an issue, requiring time-consuming manual checking
  • Managing and forecasting local storage requirements for backups is painful

 

You can read more on the full survey results here: Is Unnecessary Complexity Making Backups a Headache For You?

 

SolarWinds Backup changes the game by bringing a simple, powerful, and affordable alternative to the market.  It’s a modern, fully managed, cloud-first backup service, already chosen by thousands of managed service providers, now packaged for the enterprise and direct use by IT professionals.

 

It's tough to consume an entire product in a single blog post, so this inaugural posting will provide the highlights of our new hotness!  In future posts, we'll follow up with more "How-To" guidance on specific topics and get you rapidly backing up your IT environment in minutes.  If you are chomping at the bit, feel free to browse our new SolarWinds Backup forum on THWACK with the latest in release notes, documentation and step-by-step training videos.

 

THE ARCHITECTURE

There are two primary interfaces you'll find when you start your journey with SolarWinds Backup, and generally you should be able to use them without training or instruction.  As you move into more advanced topics, we will provide you with the resources you need.   On day 1, two parts are all you need to know to get started.

Part 1: The Console: http://backup.management

Deploy, monitor, report, manage users, create profiles, and remotely control all your backups from this unified, self-service console.

the best console in backup

Part 2: Backup Manager (the agent)

The Backup Manager agent does all the heavy lifting on protected end-points (i.e., devices, servers, instances).  The key functions of the agent are to scan data, find block level changes, deduplicate, compress, encrypt, optimize data file size for speed, and much more all behind the scenes.

 

 

UNDER THE HOOD

TrueDelta technology

SolarWinds Backup includes a unique TrueDelta technology that tracks block-level changes between backups, so you only back up (or restore) what has changed – not the entire file. This keeps backup windows short, only transmits the minimal amount of changed data to be backed up over the network, and improves performance overall.

 

Direct-to-cloud backup

The SolarWinds Backup services were designed from the ground up for fast, efficient, remote backups. You can skip the hassles of configuring local and remote backups, storage provisioning, and storage capacity planning. Instead, your backups go safely to our global purpose-built private cloud, with backup windows measured typically in minutes, not hours.  Manage your storage pool and capacity intuitively from the Console.

 

End-to-end security

Encryption is built into our backup process. Backup data is encrypted at the source, stays encrypted while in transit, and while at rest.

 

Single, unified management console

Protect physical, virtual, and cloud servers, including all major operating systems and hypervisors, with a single product. One unified web-based dashboard shows you backup status at a glance, and frees you to check systems, and even do restores, from any location – even from your mobile device.  Do you have the need for backing up workstations, laptops or just certain documents?  Not a problem, as our solution covers these capabilities also!

 

Recovery options

Whether you need to recover an entire server or VM, an application, or just a portion of a file, SolarWinds Backup handles it.

  • Recover at WAN speed or LAN speed, using the optional Local SpeedVault™ 
  • Physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual recovery automates a full system restore to VMware vSphere® or Microsoft® Hyper-V®

  • Bare-metal recovery simplifies and reduces recovery time for Windows® servers, and can be used for migration to new hardware
  • Cloud recovery targets provide even more flexibility by allowing recovery to Microsoft® Azure®, or to any other virtual environment of your choice

 

Secure remote storage for your backup data, worldwide

SolarWinds Backup provides world-class storage for your backup data with around-the-clock security in our data centers located on four continents. For the Backup Services, our data centers’ certifications meet requirements for HIPAA compliance and similar legal and regulatory standards. The Backup Services are scalable and can grow with your business.

 

LICENSING AND ROI

Pricing for SolarWinds Backup is straightforward and based on an annual subscription with tiers based on the number of operating system instances (servers) being protected. Each tier includes a block of cloud storage, so there are no extra charges or hidden costs.

SolarWinds Backup is the simple, powerful, affordable option.  The product’s simplicity and ease of management translate to even greater savings, as personnel do not need extensive training or certification. There is no need to buy expensive local storage to support backups, or even to pay for a separate contract for cloud provided storage.  It’s all included.

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

BACKUP

 

File System / System State (Microsoft)

Windows Server® 2008/ 2008 R2/ 2012/ 2012 R2 & Windows SBS 2011, Windows Server 2016.  Windows Vista/ 7/ 8.x/ 10

File System (GNU/Linux)

CentOS® 5/ 6/ 7, Debian® 5/6/ 7, OpenSUSE® 11/ 12

File System (Apple)

Mac® OS X® 10.9 Mavericks/ 10.10 Yosemite®/ 10.11 EL Capitan

Network Shares

Remotely protect network shares and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices

Application Protection

Microsoft Exchange 2007/ 2010/ 2013/ 2016, MS SharePoint® 2007/ 2010/ 2013

Database Protection

Microsoft SQL Server® 2005/ 2008/ 2012/ 2014/ 2016, MySQL 5.0/ 5.1/ 5.5/ 5.6, Oracle® Database Standard Edition 11g for Windows

Open File Protection

Leverage Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Services (VSS) for open file and application aware backups

Pre/ Post Backup Scripts

Back up third-party application and databases through custom scripting

Backup Filters & Exclusions

Exclude specific extensions, files, paths, or volumes from File System and Network Share backups

Backup Scheduling

Automate protection with multiple recurring backup schedules

 

 

RECOVERY

 

Search and Restore

Individual files across all recovery points from Backup Manager (excluding VSS plugin)

Self Service Restores

Use Virtual Drive technology to present historic backup sessions as a browseable file system

Application Restores

Full application- and database-level restores

Continuous Restore

Use the Recovery Console to automatically create / update standby images or remote recovery copies of selected data

Physical to Virtual (Source)

Windows Vista®/ 7/ 8.x/ 10, Windows Server 2008/ 2008 R2/ 2012/ 2012 R2/ 2016 & Windows SBS 2011

Physical to Virtual (Virtual Disk Target)

Create (.VHD/X or .VMDK) files for use in the virtual environment of your choice

Physical to Virtual (Hypervisor Target)

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2/ 2012/ 2012 R2 (Hyper-V 2.0 and 3.0) VMware vSphere (ESXi) versions: 4.1, 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0.

Physical to Virtual (Cloud Target)

Microsoft Azure is supported

Recovery Testing

Automated recovery with email confirmation and screenshots (VMware and Hyper-V)

 

Bare Metal Recovery (BMR)

Create bootable CD or USB media to recover systems without a reliable OS. Supports dissimilar hardware, dissimilar drives, single pass application recovery (VSS) and granular file / volume selections

 

 

MANAGEMENT

 

Web-based Management Console

Single view to monitor and manage all resources from anywhere

User Defined Roles

Multiple roles with defined permissions

Reports / Alerts

Custom views, Daily dashboards, consolidated backup reports, real-time alerts, and disaster recovery

testing

Audit Logs

User-accessible log of changes made on protected device

Remote Management & Control

Remotely launch the Backup Manager directly from the management console

Automated Deployment

Silent install, command-line options, and/or use your favorite software deployment tool.  A single command is good for the unlimited number of installations.

Remote Commands

Allows for remote operating commands for a device or a group of devices

API / Command Line

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

Automatic Updates

Monthly scheduled updates with version control

File Versioning & Retention

Three (3) versions minimum; 90-day retention.

Data Archiving

Extend beyond the standard retention model and help ensure compliance with multiple data archiving policies

Password Protection

Password protection for backup data to restrict changes or limit functions to restore only

Industry Compliance

Helps you meet compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, SOX, PCI-DSS and others, in regard to encryption  through our SSL for backup data - in-motion and at-rest

Encryption Key Length

AES 256-bit encryption 

Data Center Security

Backup data stored in one of (7) SSAE16 SOC-1 Type II and ISO-27001 certified private data centers worldwide

Data Center Locations

USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, France, Spain, Australia, and South Africa.

 

 

WHAT ELSE?

Don't see what you are looking for here?

 

Visit the SolarWinds Backup Forum

Check out the What We're Working On for SolarWinds Backup post for what our dedicated team of backup developers and code jockeys are already looking at. 

If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the SolarWinds Backup Feature Requests.

Greetings! And welcome to the second in our series of primers on customising the Orion® Platform. Today’s post will focus on first installing and then navigating through SWQL Studio. This free utility is simple to use, but can drastically lower the barrier to creating and editing SWQL queries.

Help Resources

Before we go any further, it’s worth highlighting two key resources for using the SDK.

  • The GitHub®
  • And the THWACK®

 

The GitHub site is the main resource, where you can download the installer, browse code samples, and review the schema and wiki for the SDK itself. It’s also where issues are tracked, so if you do find a bug you can flag it as an issue there.

The other main resource is the Orion SDK forum here on THWACK. SolarWinds does not provide pre- or post-sales support on any customisations, including code using the Orion SDK. However, that does not mean you are alone. You can often find code samples that may address your use case by simply searching the forum. And the site is also frequented by not just SolarWinds staff and THWACK MVPs, but other users who can also provide feedback and guidance on code that you may be working on.

Installing SWQL Studio

SWQL Studio is a Windows®-based utility, and is included with the Orion SDK. The installation is simple. Just navigate to the “releases” area of the GitHub site (https://github.com/solarwinds/OrionSDK/releases) and download and install “OrionSDK.msi” on your Windows workstation.

Once installed, connect it to your Orion server (of course, you will be working on your special dev server).

 

   SWQL Studio

 

Navigating through SWQL Studio

The connection itself is made to SWIS on the server (the same Information Service covered in the previous post). By accessing via SWIS, instead of SWQL itself:

  • Separate logins to the actual SQL database itself are not needed
  • Account limitations are still applied
  • Any changes to the database schema are abstracted from the user

Once connected, you will see the server you connected to, as well the credentials you used, and if you expand on this connection icon, you will see the various data sources represented. Note, the list of objects will vary depending on the modules installed and the versions of those modules.

 

 

To the right of the object list you will see an editor screen. From here, you can type in SWQL, and execute the query to see the results. Running the query is very simple:

  • You can click Query-> Execute in the menu
  • Or simply hit F5 or Ctrl-E

In the below example, I typed out a simple query. We will talk more in the next post about how to write queries. I just want to draw your attention to the fact that in this latest version of SWQL Studio (2.3.0.123), autocompletion is also possible.

 

A lot of the power of SWQL Studio however, lies in the fact that the necessary data can be viewed graphically.

Let’s expand on the Orion item in the list:

 

 

Then scroll down to Orion.Nodes, where we will see the resource referenced in the hand-written SWQL statement I used previously. If I expand this resources I will then see all of the properties of this Orion.Nodes object, two of which I had referenced in the aforementioned SWQL statement (caption, and IP_Address).

 

 

A key difference between SQL and SWQL is that there is no equivalent to select* in SWQL. However, just by right-clicking on the entity within SWQL studio, you can “Generate Select Statement,” which will populate the editor window, with all the fields populated.

 

 

Another useful aspect is the ability to identify the property type by its icon. To explain a bit further, let’s refer to Orion.Syslog as an example.

 

 

 

First up, we have the keys, which are indicated by the golden key icon. These are essentially the unique IDs used to reference each individual record in the data source.

 

 

The most common properties are the standard fields, indicated as blue rectangular prisms:

 

 

 

Whereas properties that are inherited are display as green cubes:

 

 

 

A very interesting aspect here is that related entities (depicted with the chain icon below) are also shown here. That means you can see which of these can be used to implicitly join data, without having to write an explicit join.

 

 

And as a final point, verbs (represented as pink prisms) that can be used in scripts are listed here, as well the parameters needed for each verb. We will cover this very cool feature in a future post.

 

 

 

Wrap Up

  Now that we have taken a solid look at SWQL studio, you should be in an excellent position to dive in and look at the data available within Orion, for use in reports and scripts. Not only does it allow you to easily create SWQL that you can use for various purposes, it also allows you to parse the entities within the database, including related objects.  With the next post, we will actually work with SWQL queries, and some of the constructs that differentiate SWQL from SQL. And in follow-up posts, we will see how the verbs can be used to provide management capabilities from

If you haven't enabled NBAR2 in your routers, you're not getting all that Netflow offers.  You're missing the Application data that's passing through your L3 interfaces.

 

And you're probably getting Alerts from NTA, telling you that it's receiving Netflow data that's missing NBAR2 information from an NBAR2-compatible device.

 

There are at least four places you'll see that Alert.  One is at the top of your Main NPM page, with the white alarm bell and a red instance counter.  Click on it and you can see the alerts:

 

 

A second place you'll see these errors is in the Events page:

 

 

A third place you'll find it is on the NetFlow Traffic Analyzer Summary page, if you have added in the "Last XX Traffic Analyzer Events" Resource

 

A fourth place it appears is in the main NPM page for an L3 device's Node Details / Summary:

 

Obviously, Solarwinds thinks not getting your full NBAR2 information is pretty important.  Nobody needs unnecessary alerts, and it's easy to change a router to use NBAR2.  Just do it.

 

 

While I was cleaning up configurations on routers or L3 switches that originally had "plain" NetFlow, and that needed NBAR2 settings added.  I thought "Maybe someone on Thwack could benefit from this information."  I built this "before & after" comparison of their configs so you can see the extra commands needed:

Items in yellow are not part of the original Netflow "non-NBAR2" config on the left.  Don't be thrown off by different Flow Names--they're just names, and can be whatever you want, as long as you follow the right syntax.  Solarwinds puts some GREAT technical support links into their product that bring you right to the information you need to build Netflow properly.  Use them and you'll be happy.

 

If you have a router or L3 switch that's missing NBAR2 info, you won't be able to edit the existing Netflow settings until you remove the "ip flow monitor" statements (left column, bottom section) from every interface on which they are installed.  But once you take them out, it's easy to just remove all the old flow settings completely using the "no" command, and then you're starting with a clean slate.

 

After the old Netflow commands are removed, I can  edit the right column's "destination x.x.x.x" to point at the APE I want receiving the Netflow NBAR 2 data, and then paste the entire column into the router--EXCEPT for the bottom two lines:  "ip flow monitor NTAmon input" and "ip flow monitor NTAmon output".  Those lines must be inserted into the L3 interface(s) on the router or L3 switch.

 

You might want to only monitor Netflow NBAR2 data on the North-South interfaces going upstream to a Distribution or Core switch.  Or you might want to catch North-South AND East-West Netflow NBAR2 data by putting flow monitor statements on all sub-interfaces or VLAN interfaces (SVI's).

 

Once you've completed your work, instead of seeing nothing in the "Top 5 Applications" area on any L3 device's NPM Device Summary page, you'll start seeing data being added every ten minutes.  Data that tells you what applications are using that interface's bandwidth.  And that can be the secret ingredient to finding a bandwidth hog and correcting it!

 

Greetings All!

 

On the SolarWinds Sales Engineering team, my colleagues and I often get requests from customers regarding how to do something custom, whether it is simply viewing certain data about a node on its node details page, or perhaps it is something more complex, such as automating putting devices into maintenance mode, as part of a workflow, or used to create runbooks.

 

Over the coming weeks we will have a series of “primers”, to equip you with the skills needed to create and adapt scripts & queries, within the Orion® Platform.  If you need to address any of these use cases, or similar, then this is the series for you!

  1. When you need to include information that’s not covered in an out of the box Orion report
  2. If you need to automate the addition of node to Orion for monitoring, as part of an onboarding process for new VMs
  3. If you require usage metrics for particular devices, so you can chargeback to other departments or customers

 

To begin with, we will introduce some of the terms and concepts involved, starting with some architecture basics, and building through to more hands on examples, looking at custom reports & scripts.

Topics will include:

  1. Intro to API, SDK, & SWQL
  2. SWQL studio
  3. SWQL Walkthrough
  4. Examples of SWQL in reports/alerts/web/ etc
  5. Automating Orion using PowerShell®
  6. Automating Orion from Linux® & some bonus tips ‘n tricks

 

The overall goal here is enable you to work through, and find solutions for your particular use cases. What this series will not be is:

  • An introduction to SQL
  • An introduction to scripting/programming
  • Pre-built solutions for every custom use case

 

We want to help you help yourself.

 

Read First!

Before we look at a single piece of code or query, let’s just take a moment to cover some important housekeeping. As with any customisation, especially when scripting there is always a possibility that things may go wrong. While automating manual processes is a most excellent endeavour, accidently deleting all your nodes is not! So before you begin working on any customisation, let’s just take a moment to cover a few simple best practices.

  • Set up a dev instance of the Orion Platform for experimentation
  • Don’t try untested scripts on production systems
  • Make a backup of your Orion database

 

So, with that, let’s get on with the show.

 

Terms and Concepts

First up we will introduce a few terms. If you are an advanced user you can probably skip ahead at this stage, but if new to writing queries and scripts, having a strong understanding of these at the very beginning can save a lot of hardship further on down the line.

 

SolarWinds Query Language (SWQL). SWQL (pronounced “swick-le”) is essentially a read-only subset of SQL with some SolarWinds conveniences added, and will be core to many of the topics that will be covered in the following posts. The third post in our series in particular will dive into SWQL in more detail, but at this stage we will look at some high-level points.

Application Programming Interface (API). In software development terms, an API is can be thought of as the access point for one piece of software to access another. In an N-tier application it allows different parts of an application to be developed independently. Orion, for example is N-tier, and web, polling, reporting, and coordination components communicate via service layers.

In the context of Orion, the API is what allows to read data using SWQL, as well as adding, deleting and updating data “invoking” commands (which we will examine in more detail in our 5th and 6th posts.)

SolarWinds Information Service (SWIS). The actual implementation of the API within the Orion Platform is embodied as SWIS, which manifests a Windows® service, the SolarWinds® Information Service.  It is via SWIS that other Orion Platform products (such as Network Atlas, Enterprise Operations Console (EOC) and Additional Web Servers) communicate. It is also via SWIS that various scripting and programming technologies can be used to access Orion.  From a technical perspective, it can be accessed over two ports:

  • 17777 – net.tcp: high performance but Microsoft® only-
  • 17778 – JSON or SOAP  over HTTPS - interoperability with other programming languages

 

Software Development Kit (SDK). An SDK is a set of tools and libraries, provided by a vendor, to allow others to more easily consume their API. In relation to Orion, the Orion SDK can be installed on Windows, and provides not only the files needed to use PowerShell scripts, but also includes SWQL Studio, which can be used to build custom SWQL queries and visually browse the available data. It is worth noting that since it’s possible to access the API using REST, you don’t need to have the Orion SDK deployed. Our next post will cover installing the SDK, and some tips for its use.

 

Intro to SWQL

SWQL can be hand-written, or more commonly, the SWQL studio can be used to generate queries. For simplicity, at this early stage, it’s worth noting that constructs from standard SQL such as

  • Select x from y
  • Where
  • Group by
  • Order by
  • Join
  • Union

 

All exist in SWQL, along with functions such as

  • SUM
  • Max
  • Min
  • Avg
  • Count
  • Isnull
  • Abs

 

A key point to note here however, is that update, insert and delete are not supported via SWQL itself. Those use cases are supported outside of SWQL and will be covered at a later point.

A major differentiator however is that SWQL automatically links many related objects without joins. This makes writing queries much simpler and more efficient.

 

For example, if we want to select the caption of the nodes in an Orion instance, and also list the interface names for each interface on those devices, using traditional SQL we would end up with something similar to

 

SELECT TOP (5)

    N.[caption]     

      ,[InterfaceName]

       FROM [Interfaces] I

       left join [Nodes] N on N.NodeID = I.NodeID

 

Running this would output

Caption                InterfaceName

ORION11            vmxnet3 Ethernet Adapter

mysql01              eno16777984

mysql01              lo

mysql01              eno16777984

bas-2851.local   VoIP-Null0

 

With SWQL, this simply becomes

SELECT TOP 5 Caption ,N.Interfaces.Name

       FROM Orion.Nodes N

 

Gives the same results! Moreover, because it’s read-only, you cannot really break anything.

 

Wrap Up

With today’s post we’ve laid the foundations of the customizing the Orion Platform. We’ve identified some use cases where the API can be used to both read information from, or make changes to your Orion Platform  And to make the series “real”, we’ve seen a short SWQL example, that gives a good introduction to the power of using SWQL over SQL within the Orion Platform.  In the next post we will begin to get hands-on, by installing and navigating through, the Orion SDK. But in the meantime, you can discover more about the topics covered in the SolarWinds Lab episode SWIS API PROGRAMMING CLASS.

Companies are moving their email to cloud in droves.

Let's face it, administering Microsoft Exchange is one of those jobs that when everything goes right, no one knows you exist.  And when things go wrong, everyone knows you exist. The good news is that many companies are offloading their Exchange to Microsoft through the use of Microsoft Office 365.  If you doubt that Office 365 is big, consider that in July of this year Office 365 online workplace tools brought in more revenue than the traditional version of Office that’s installed on people’s computers. When you think about it, e-mail server replacement is the perfect SaaS application.  It's well defined without huge deviation from one organization to the next, scales well across multiple servers, needs to be accessible from anywhere and often needs permanent retention of records.  All things that the cloud is good at.

 

Moving to the cloud means I'll never have to worry about email again, right?

It's important to remember that while moving to the cloud alleviates your responsibility for the servers that run e-mail, you still are responsible for monitoring the e-mail itself and your company's connectivity to the cloud.  Monitoring cloud-based applications is different than monitoring on-premises applications.  Where you may have been concerned with memory and disk capacity on your servers, or server-to-server communication in the past.  Those are not concerns with SaaS.  But some potential issues still exist.    Here are just a few of the metrics you may need to be concerned with in an Office 365 environment:

 

  • Portal Access - Rather than server availability, it's important to know portal availability. This includes the user portal, the administration portal and the billing portal.  These may each be used by different users in your company but are all important.
  • Forwarded Exchange Users -  Are these mailboxes really necessary?  Are they violating company or government policies? What if a healthcare worker is forwarding messages containing patient information to a personal account, for example? 
  • Inactive Exchange Users - While sometimes you may keep a user's mailbox for a period of time after they are gone, sometimes you just forget to delete them and are paying for unneeded accounts.
  • Groups Accepting External Email - Do you really want external entities to be able to bulk mail these groups?
  • Top Senders - This is a handy metric for telling if your accounts have been hacked and are being used by spammers.
  • Administrative Roles - Did the number of administrators change unexpectedly? 
  • License Usage - Get a handle on how quickly your license usage grows.  How many licenses are being used?  What percentage of my total?  You still need capacity planning for SaaS, just a different type of capacity.
  • Last Password Change - Number of users with a password that is 90 days old or more.  How many users have a password that never expires?
  • User Mailbox Security - How many users have access to a large number of mailboxes?  Should they? 

 

Earlier this year, in collaboration with Loop1 Systems, we developed a set of templates for Microsoft Office 365 to monitor these and much more.  The templates have been very popular with customers, but there are a few things you can do to improve their implementation and function. Since these templates monitor Software as a Service, they aren't exactly like other templates that we typically provide.

 

Microsoft Office 365 is Software as a Service and it doesn't run on any of your servers.  What node should you apply the template to?

Since these templates are PowerShell scripts that run against a Microsoft URL, the best solution is to create an external node and apply the templates to it.  You can use "outlook.office365.com" as the node.   This is the URL for the mail API requests.  Technically for the Portal, Subscription, Security Statistics and License Statistics templates the scripts use "api.admin.microsoftonline.com", but splitting the Office 365 templates between two nodes can be confusing and forces the SAM user to understand which components of the service reside on each node.

 

You can also use an ICMP node rather than an external node

External nodes don't report status.  By using an ICMP node, you will get a rudimentary status indication on the node icon based on a ping of the URL.  External nodes give no status and always display a purple "arrow" icon without status.  However the URL "api.admin.microsoftonline.com" doesn't seem to respond to ping requests so it will always appear to be down if you point an ICMP node there.  Here is the external icon vs. the ICMP node icon.

Get a real picture of Office 365 availability with NetPath

Another way to determine the responsiveness of the Office 365 application is to set up a NetPath service for "outlook.office365.com".  If you have NetPath, you can use it to get a detailed view of the bottlenecks between your site and the application portal.

 

Improving responsiveness to queries by polling less frequently

Depending on the number of mailboxes in your environment and the number of templates implemented, you can experience throttling of your API requests from the Office 365 API.  If you are throttled, the choices are to either run less component monitors or reduce your polling frequency on some templates.  Most users can actually reduce the polling frequency substantially on most or all Office 365 templates since the majority of the metrics don't change frequently.  One thing to keep in mind is that if you want to ensure enough data points to avoid gaps in history, you might want to use less than an hour for your polling frequency, so try setting the frequency to 1200 (20 minutes) rather than the default of 300 (5 minutes). If you want to know more about Microsoft API throttling, see Avoid getting throttled or blocked in SharePoint Online | Microsoft Docs for a description.  The article is about Sharepoint but the concept is the same for Office 365.

 

I don't like the output of the detailed data from the templates.  Can I make it more readable?

The data comes back from the API in a comma-delimited format which is great for programming but not so readable.  To make the data more readable, you can modify your own copies of the scripts as follows:

Replace:

[string]::Join( ", ", $users) 

With

[string]::Join( "< br/>", $users)

NOTE: You should be aware that this modification is injecting HTML directly into the output from the PowerShell script.  When viewed on the SAM console it will display correctly.  However, this change could create unexpected results in other areas of SAM that are not displayed on a web server, such as reports.

 

Comparing Exchange 2013/2016 templates with the Office 365 template.  They are both Exchange, why are they so different?

Since Office 365 is SaaS, many of the metrics in our previous Exchange templates is either not available or not meaningful.  Metrics like disk I/O and disk latency aren't available for a cloud service where the hardware is abstracted away from the user.  Similarly attempting to monitor processes and services on the hosts is not possible.  Primarily with Office 365 we monitor application data, which is available through the Office 365 API.

 

There was a MAPI round trip template available for Exchange.  Can I run this template against Office 365?

The MAPI round trip template was intended to check connectivity between multiple Exchange servers.  Since Office 365 is SaaS, you don't control the physical servers that are used for your accounts.  With cloud-based applications, you should check connectivity between your network and the Office 365 website.  You can get a sense of this connectivity by using the portal templates and the ICMP option discussed above.  Also as mentioned above, you can use NetPath to show the actual path your connections take to Microsoft.  Another option is to use Web Performance Monitor to record a typical mail transaction and get perspective on each part of the session.

 

A comprehensive approach to monitoring Microsoft Office 365

Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas about why and how to monitor Office 365. SolarWinds offers many tools to help you from SAM templates to network tools to user simulation.

I am excited to announce the latest release of Virtualization Manager (VMAN) 8.1 which is now available on the Customer Portal. Continuing the great work done in VMAN 8.0 to migrate VMAN functionality to a unified Orion platform, VMAN 8.1 further extends these capabilities by providing Capacity Planning natively on the Orion platform. With VMAN 8.1, the new and improved capacity planning feature provides a modeling wizard, which is more intuitive and helps the user create various configurations along with test variable growth scenarios.  Administrators are now empowered to generate reports on the fly and provide accurate growth predictions of their virtual infrastructure to the business. In addition to Capacity Planning, Azure Cloud Monitoring has been added to VMAN's capabilities to monitor hybrid infrastructure.

 

 


What's New in Virtualization Manager 8.1

 

 

Capacity Planning

 

The new and improved Capacity Planning is an Orion-based scenario wizard that helps you create and test variable configurations on the fly. You can also take a more intensive approach, accounting for your environment's historical performance, new system needs, and peak usage times.  When planning your virtual environment infrastructure, resources, and allocation, you may need help determining the best amounts and structure. How will adding a substantial amount of VMs affect your resource usage and performance? Should you add one or more new hosts to keep up with expansion? Do you need to worry about capacity right now, or will your environment be okay for the next 6 months? Capacity Planning uses historical data and trending calculations to better determine the outcome of your infrastructure needs. Run multiple types of expansion scenarios: Simulate adding VMs, adding hosts, or both. Each scenario generates a report with detailed usage statistics covering predicted CPU, memory, and disk usage.

Click here for online demo.

 

Capacity Planning Home

From the Capacity Planning home page, you may select prior capacity planning reports to review or select new to open up the capacity planning wizard to create a new report.

Three different modeling scenarios to choose from


  • Run Checkup Wizard -  A resource depletion report will be run on a cluster designated by you based on existing resource utilization.

 

  • Simulate adding extra VMs - Model a scenario of adding additional VM load infrastructure and determine the impact to your existing hosts. Model VM usage based on an existing VM or create your own configuration.

 

  • Simulate adding extra host computers - Determine the impact of adding additional hosts to an existing cluster.

 

  • Simulate adding extra VMs and host computers -  Determine if your infrastructure growth strategy will keep up with expected VM growth by simulating adding both VMs and Hosts to an existing cluster.

 

Profiles

Profiles are used to determine the impact of adding the specified number of VMs or hosts to your infrastructure.

 

  • Predefined Profiles - You can select a predefined VM profile of Small, Medium, or Large.

These profiles are static and not based on your an actual VM in your environment.

  • Custom
    • Use an existing VM/Host -  Selecting an existing VM will model a scenario of adding a number of VMs based on the resource utilization of the profile.
    • The use of custom profiles greatly improves capacity planning modeling when you can forecast an upcoming project that will increase the use of resources based on a currently used profile.
    • Build your Own - You can manually specify hardware configurations.  Useful if you do not have an existing VM or host to model configurations after.

 

The use of custom profiles greatly improves capacity planning modeling when you can forecast an upcoming project that will increase the use of resources based on a currently used profile.

Reports

 

The Capacity Planning reporting wizard culminates in an easy to review report that breaks out the current and expected state of your virtual infrastructure.

 

The report can be broken up into 3 sections.

 

Projected Growth

    • Workload - Provides an aggregated view of VM workload utilization in the selected cluster.
    • Resources - Provides an aggregated view of Host resources in the selected cluster
    • Simulated growth - The amount and configuration of VMs or Hosts added

 

 

Charting Thresholds

Provides a graphical representation of the actual vs simulated utilization of CPU, memory, & Disk. Estimations of when thresholds are reached for Warning, Critical, and Capacity are provided

 

 

Summary

  • Available Virtual Capacity - How many VMs can fit in the environment based on selected profile and all 3 default profiles (small, medium, & large) and what the initial constraint will be for growth (CPU, memory, or Storage).
  • Additional Hosts Recommended - How many more hosts are predicted to be needed in the selected cluster based on the default or custom profile used in the selected time period.
  • Advanced Statistics - These are essentially a roll-up of the resource modeling chosen, usage history that the prediction is made on and the thresholds and resources included in the report.

 

Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring for Microsoft Azure

Cloud Monitoring for Azure is now available to both VMAN & SAM customers. Similar to Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring for AWS the cloud vendor API will be used to monitor cloud instances. This basic cloud visibility doesn’t use Orion licenses for the cloud servers. For full details on performance and availability, you can optionally manage cloud servers as Orion nodes, which will consume licenses.  Additionally, if you add SAM application component monitors to your cloud instance this would obviously require SAM licenses.

 

 

What is included

  • Edit AWS/Azure Account using new UI (without editing API polling options)
  • Choose Instances/VMs for AWS/Azure Accounts
  • Azure VM’s polling, including performance metrics
  • Cloud Summary page accommodating instances for both cloud providers
  • Azure Cloud VM Details page with majority of resources
  • Monitor Azure VM as Orion Node (requires Orion node license)

 



 

 

 

 

Documentation

VMAN 8.1 Release Notes - Virtualization Manager 8.1 Release Notes - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

Getting Started - Virtualization Manager (VMAN) Getting Started Guide - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

Admin Guide - VMAN 8.1 Administrator Guide - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

We’re happy to announce the release of SolarWinds® Storage Performance Monitor, a standalone free tool that provides a consolidated view of all your storage array’s performance.

Designed for storage and systems administrators in organizations of any size, Storage Performance Monitor gives your team insight into total IOPS and throughput on storage pools, LUNs, and NAS Volumes.

Arrays supported by Storage Performance Monitor Free Tool:

  • Dell EMC Isilon
  • Dell EMC Unity
  • Dell EMC VNX / CLARiiON
  • Dell EqualLogic PS Series
  • IBM DS-8000
  • IBM FlashSystem A9000
  • IBM FlashSystem V7000/v3700
  • NetApp AFF series
  • NetApp ONTAP
  • PureStorage

 

The Storage Performance Monitor free tool allows you to add as many storage arrays as you wish. Simply click the “ADD STORAGE ARRAY” button, select the appropriate array type, and provide your connection details. Once you’ve added your array to Storage Performance Monitor free tool, it will load polling interval, discovery interval, and thresholds from global settings. You can edit these thresholds locally – per entity, by clicking the vertical ellipsis button.

You can then fine-tune your thresholds for this entity. If you do not wish to monitor it, simply keep the threshold empty. You won’t then get any notifications about this entity.

What else does Storage Performance Monitor do?

  • Allows you to add as many arrays as you wish
  • Creates a notification when any of the following conditions are met:
    • a metric exceeds a threshold,
    • the tool cannot connect to the array,
    • the array topology changes.
  • Can write all notifications into Microsoft Event Log.

 

For more detailed information about the Storage Performance Monitor, please see the SolarWinds Storage Performance Monitor Quick Reference guide here on THWACK®: https://thwack.solarwinds.com/docs/DOC-192403

 

Download SolarWinds Storage Performance Monitor: https://www.solarwinds.com/free-tools/storage-performance-monitor

 

For more advanced storage monitoring, try the evaluation version of Storage Resource Monitor, which gives you these features in addition:

  • Store historical data
  • Monitor hardware health
  • Monitor additional performance metric – storage latency
  • Monitor storage capacity
  • Map storage to hosts/VMs/applications
  • Alerting
  • Reporting
  • runs as a Windows service
  • Web front end

If you're one of the many customers that tried the beta or release candidate, you've already seen many of the exciting new features in SAM 6.5. For the rest of you, here are more details about what's new:

 

Azure Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring

Just as SAM 6.4 directly accessed the world's largest cloud, SAM 6.5 expands your ability to leverage multi-cloud further by adding support for Microsoft Azure accounts in addition to Amazon AWS.  While Amazon Web Services remains the largest cloud infrastructure provider, Microsoft is growing in this market at an incredible rate.  And many customers have a footprint in both.  Now you can see Azure or AWS accounts, or a mixture of both in the same view.

Cloud-related enhancements include:

  • Add or edit your AWS/Azure Account using new UI

  • Choose Instances/VMs for AWS/Azure Accounts
  • Poll Azure VMs for performance metrics
  • A single Cloud Summary page displays data for instances/VMs for multi-cloud environments

  • Monitor Azure VMs as Orion nodes to leverage the extended features of the Orion Platform and SAM for application and OS monitoring, including expanded metrics

PerfStack 2.0 — New Features and Improvements

  • Navigate directly from Application Detail pages to predefined sets of application monitor metrics

  • Use pre-defined links from these pages or create your own custom PerfStack charts from a broad range of metrics such as these from the Azure cloud:

  • Zoom into PerfStack charts to view more details for a selected time period
  • Alert visualization improvements
    • Each individual alert start/end time is now visualized separately in PerfStack
    • Existing aggregate alert visualization against an object is retained
  • Export PerfStack data to Excel
  • Share PerfStack functionality to make it more discoverable with new Share button
  • For more on PerfStack improvments, see Orion Platform 2017.3 - PerfStack New Features & Improvements

New Orion Installer

  • Install and upgrade one or more Orion Platform products simultaneously
  • Modern interface with a simplified design and intuitive workflow
  • Download and install only what is needed
  • Reduces download size and accelerates installation
  • For more on the Installer improvements, see New Installer Upgrade Experience

Other Improvements

  • New SAM templates for Microsoft Office 365 are included out of the box.  Microsoft is the leader in Software as a Service, and Microsoft Office 365 is gaining adoption with companies of all sizes.
  • Linux Agent for ARM-based devices such as Raspberry Pi to help you manage your Internet of Things (IOT)
  • Updated SAM templates for many Microsoft products
  • Search function integrated into global navigation
  • Improved dashboard view customization and Manage Nodes page
  • Support for High Availability (HA) 2.0 including multi-subnet deployments (WAN/DR)

 

What Else?

Don't see what you are looking for here? Check out the What We're Working On Beyond SAM 6.5 post for what our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Server & Application Monitor Feature Requests

If you are using Orion, I am sure you have already heard of PerfStack (aka Performance Analysis), SolarWinds' Drag & Drop Answers to Your Toughest IT Questions.  DPA did not make the first cut of PerfStack, but I am happy to announce that with the release of DPA Integration Module 11.1, you can now see DPA goodness in PerfStack too!!! Imagine expanding Using PerfStack with WPM and SAM to Troubleshoot Web Performance Issues to include database and query wait time!  Answer the question "Is it the database or the application?" in just a few clicks, pulling in whatever data you need from both DPA and Orion!

 

 

PerfStack Support for Databases monitored by DPA

DPAIM 11.1 exposes DPA data already available in other Orion views, but also adds some new ones as well! Data includes:

  • Total Wait Time
  • Wait time by dimension (SQL, Wait Types, Programs, Users, etc.) with drill downs to SQL text and Wait Type descriptions
  • Database metrics
  • VM metrics
  • Custom metrics (yes, even the custom metrics!)

 

Data History and Granularity

PerfStack is able to show all the data available in DPA. So if you have 5 years of history in DPA, you'll see it in PerfStack. As you drill down in PerfStack, you'll get to more granular data (down to 1 second wait time). PerfStack will choose the best granularity for the time range of your current view, and then adjust accordingly as you zoom in or out.

 

Stacking Data

PerfStack allows you to stack different wait time dimensions in the same view to help you solve problems quickly. For example, do you want to know who is writing those bad queries? Just stack SQL and user dimensions into one view and look for the correlation.  You can also stack dimensions from different databases - even if they are on different DPA servers.

 

Data Explorer

Even more DPA data is available in PerfStack's Data Explorer function. The Data Explorer lets you drill down and view the details of the wait time dimension you've highlighted in PerfStack. All Wait Time dimensions will show you a list of metrics ranked by total wait time. but a couple dimensions show extra information:

  • Total Instance Wait Time (SQL) will show you the SQL text, letting you find the query causing the issue.
  • Wait Time by Wait Type will show you descriptions of the Wait Type, helping you understand why your queries are waiting.

 

Data Explorer - Query Search

When you drill into the Data Explorer for Total Instance Wait Time (SQL), you'll see the SQL text for the queries with the most Wait Time.  However, you can search the text listed in the Data Explorer - say a specific table, group by or other parameter - to further filter the result set.

 

Predefined PerfStack Views for Databases

Every database displayed in Orion via DPAIM has a predefined link to a default PerfStack view, which will include both wait time and key metrics for the specific database.

 

Adding Database Data to PerfStack

To add database data to PerfStack, click Add Entity then scroll and select Databases Instance.

PerfStack will list all databases from all integrated DPA servers.

Once you've selected an instance, you can choose multiple wait time metrics to add to PerfStack.

Once you've added wait time metrics, selecting an area will allow you to drill to additional information on some metrics: SQL text (for Total Instance Wait Time) and the wait type description (for Wait Type).

To see a fully operation PerfStack example, check out this PerfStack Application to Database Mapping in the Orion Demo Site.

 

New Resource - Blocking & Deadlocks

A new resource available for every instance monitored by DPA will show you blocking (all databases) and deadlocks (SQL Server only), to let you quickly see if the source of a database problem is blocking or deadlocks.

The resource has three tabs to show which queries are waiting the most (Top Waiters), which queries are blocking the most (Top Root Blockers) and if there are deadlocks.

Clicking on the SQL hash will get you a query detail popup, with a link to the DPA historical view for that SQL.

 

Improved Resource - All Databases Instances

When we first created the resources for the DPA Integration Module, we tried to communicate as much information as possible, combining DPA wait time and performance data as well as data in Orion.  However, with so much information, it made it too difficult for users to quickly answer the question "is the database having a performance issue".  Yes, memory may be high, but if users aren't waiting on queries any longer than normal, then there isn't really a "performance" issue.  Based on this feedback, we've made a few changes:

  • In the last release (DPA 11.0), we changed the status shown in Orion to reflect DPA's wait time status only
  • In DPA 11.1. we've simplified resources to only show wait time status and not the status of advisors or metrics (CPU, Memory, etc.)
  • Wait time status now has three states (green, yellow, red) instead of two (green, red)

Basically, we want to make it really clear if there is a problem with the database performance issue (i.e. high wait time) before you drill down to additional data.

 

Database Summary View - All Database Instances Resource

For databases monitored by DPA, the status is determined by the wait time status from DPA, regardless of other indicators in DPA or Orion. For databases monitored by Orion but not DPA, the Orion status is shown.

The new resource has simple filters at the top, allowing you to select one or more statuses.  In this case I've filtered the resource to only see database instances with a red or yellow status.

Other resources have been improved as well, see the DPAIM 11.1 Release Notes for more information.

 

Support for SQL 2017, Oracle 12.2, MariaDB and more...

As usual, all the databases that DPA supports you'll see in Orion too.  Here are the newest databases supported by DPA:

  • SQL Server 2017 on Windows
  • SQL Server 2017 on Linux
  • Oracle 12.2
  • MariaDB 10.0, 10.1 and 10.2
  • IBM DB2 11.1

See a full list of Database versions you can monitor with DPA.

 

DPAIM for ALL DPA Customers!

In the past, since DPAIM was an "integration" module, it was not available as a standalone module, meaning you needed to own another Orion product to use it.  However, with the addition of PerfStack support, we wanted to make sure all DPA customers could enjoy the benefits of DPAIM and Orion too.  So now, DPAIM is a standalone module, and doesn't require to be installed with another Orion product.   All DPA customers can now install the DPAIM module and take advantage of the great features of the Orion platform.

 

How do I get the DPA Integration Module?

If you own DPA, you can get DPAIM 11.1 multiple ways.

  • If you have a SAM installation, when you upgrade to v6.5, DPAIM 11.1 module will be installed and ready to use.
  • If you have other Orion-based products installed (NPM, VMan, SRM, etc.) but not SAM, you can download DPAIM from the Customer Portal and install it on your Orion server.
  • If you own only DPA but no other SolarWinds Orion product, you can take advantage of DPAIM too. Simply download it from the Customer Portal and install the DPA Integration Module (DPAIM) on another server.  If you are using a SQL Server for your DPA repo, you can use the same one for DPAIM.  If not, you can opt for SQL Express bundled with the DPAIM installer.

Once you have DPAIM installed, follow these instructions to integrate it with DPA.

 

But wait, there's more!

See everything else that made it into the release in the DPAIM 11.1 Release Notes, including:

  • Improved Instance View - Database Response Time Resource
  • New Query Popup, with formatted SQL
  • Compatibility Checker

 

What's Next?

Don't see what you are looking for here? Check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated August 29, 2018) post for what our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests.

Orion and the modules which run atop the platform provide a tremendous wealth of statistical information at your fingertips for spotting trends and hotspots. That data collected is also helpful for determining if what you're seeing now is anomalous, or normal consistent behavior based upon historical analysis. Unfortunately, one area where Orion hasn't been quite as strong is helping users troubleshoot active ongoing issues. Should you find yourself in the throes a major outage or performance issue, Orion does an outstanding job of ensuring you're alerted to the problem at hand. Where it falls short however, is providing tools which aid in your ability to diagnose the root cause of the issue in real-time.

 

As many of you are keenly aware, default polling intervals for statistic data collection in Orion is typically somewhere between 5-10 minutes for most Orion product modules. While this normal polling interval for statistic collection is perfectly reasonable for trend analysis, alerting, and reporting, it's less than ideal when you're actively troubleshooting an ongoing issue. Ideally, you'd want the ability to make change, like restarting a Windows service or Linux daemon, change a CBQoS policy, or allocate additional resources to a virtual machine, and then see immediately the impact those changes are having to the issue you're trying to resolve. In these situations, it's simply untenable to wait 5-10 minutes for Orion's next polling cycle to determine if what changes you made resolved the issue. Doing so significantly bottlenecks the number of things you can try, and extends the duration of the outage as you wait for Orion's next scheduled polling interval to determine if the issue is resolved.

 

Sure, there are alternatives and workarounds which many people leverage in these situations. Some choose to click the 'Poll Now' button feverishly to get updated values ahead of the normal 5-10 minute polling interval, but even this takes a minute or so before data is collected and visible within the Orion web interface. While better, this is still less than optimal for troubleshooting purposes. Others instead, use different tools like command line interfaces on switches, routers and linux, or Resource Monitor and Task Manager on WIndows for their firefighting needs. These tools though, have their own drawbacks, such as requiring you leave Orion where you were initially alerted to the problem, and console into the device exhibiting the issue. If this problem potentially spans multiple devices, such as in the case of distributed application architectures, clustered or load balanced servers, HSRP, VRRP, etc. then you'll be forced to juggle multiple console sessions with no ability to compare or correlate metrics between devices.

 

 

Enter PerfStack

 

With the release of PerfStack included in Orion Platform 2017.3, these woes are a thing of the past. No more juggling between different tools as your boss watches over your shoulder, breathing down your neck as you scramble to isolate the cause of your next critical performance issue. With our new improvements to PerfStack, we introduce you to real-time polling, which provides up to one second statistic collection granularity when activated. This can be for a single entity like a node, or even multiple disparate entities simultaneously.

 

PerfStack-Real-Time-Polling.gif

 

 

Start Real-Time Polling

To begin using PerfStack's new Real-Time Polling capabilities, start a new project and add a node by clicking 'Add Entities'. Expand the 'Node' category and click on the node you just added in the previous step to select it. This will populate the metric pallet with the list of all available metrics for that entity. Within the metric palette, expand 'CPU/Memory' or 'Response Time' and you will notice a blue rocketship icon which adorns many of the available metrics listed. This icon denotes that the metric is available for Real-Time Polling. Note that not all metrics for a given entity are pollable in real-time. A full listing of all real-time pollable metrics can be found by expanding the 'Real-Time Polling' category in the metric palette of the selected entity.

 

Rocket Ship.pngReal-Time Polling Category.png

 

Once you've identified which real-time metrics you'd like to visualize within your PerfStack project, drag and drop those metric tiles into the chart area the same as you would any other metric. You can of course include both real-time and non-real-time metrics within the same project, but only those denoted with the blue rocket ship icon will be updated within the chart at one second intervals. Other metrics included within the same project will continue to update themselves based upon their normal scheduled polling intervals.

 

Now that you've added the some real-time metrics to your PerfStack project, simply click the 'Start Real-Time Polling' icon in the top action bar. This will automatically change the timeframe of the chart to the last 10 minutes. This allows you to more easily visualize variations in the charted values at high frequency polling intervals. You may also notice the rocketships blink when real-time polling is starting. This process takes just a second or two, then the charts begin to move. To stop real-time polling, simply click the 'Stop Real-Time Polling" button in the top action bar.

 

 

Start-Real-Time-Polling.gif

 

 

Real-Time Polling Limits

While real-time polling is active, you can continue to add or remove additional real-time metrics to your project. These can be from the same, or entirely different entities. Real-Time polling will continue for those existing metrics on the chart, and any newly added metrics will begin to update in real-time. There is a limit of ten unique real-time metrics per-project which can be polled. Should you exceed this limit, you will notice a toast message appears in the top right of the window when attempting to add the eleventh metric to a chart where real-time polling is enabled. This same message will appear if your project contains more than 10 real-time pollable metrics and you attempt to enable Real-Time Polling. To resume real-time polling, reduce the number of metrics which can be polled in real-time within your PerfStack project to ten or fewer.

 

Session LimitGlobal Limit
PerfStack RealTime Exceeded.pngPerfStack Real-Time Global Limit.png

 

In addition to the per-session limit of 10 real-time metrics, there is also a notification if you exceed a global limit of thirty unique metrics across all web interface sessions on the Orion server. Real-time polling uses a shared cache across all sessions, so if you and three of your colleagues are viewing the same ten metrics in real-time within PerfStack this only counts as 10 real-time metrics, not 40. This is because PerfStack is only polling the device in real-time once, and not for each unique user session. This helps reduce overhead on the Orion server, as well as any strain on the monitored device.

 

Polling Methods

In our ever enduring commitment to remain an agentless first monitoring solution, Real-Time Polling in this release is available only for nodes managed via ICMP, SNMP, or WMI. Those nodes which are managed via the Orion Agent cannot as yet utilize Real-Time Polling. Should you select an entity within PerfStack that is managed via the Agent, you will notice the absence of any blue rocket ship icons in that entities metric tiles, denoting that Real-Time Polling is not available for that entity.

 

Metrics and Entities Supported

As stated above, Real-Time Polling is not yet available for all metrics and entity types. For this release of PerfStack, we focused on what we believe to be the most vital real-time metrics users would need at hand during a firefight. This includes 34 metrics spanning across three different entity types, nodes, interfaces, and volumes; allowing you to troubleshoot the most common network, storage, and device related performance issues in real-time from a single, centralized, web based interface. If you'd like to see additional real-time metrics supported in future releases, we'd love to know which ones you would find most valuable, and how you would plan to use them.

 

NodesInterfacesVolumes
Average CPU LoadAvailabilityAverage Disk Queue Length
Average Memory UsedReceived DiscardsAverage Disk Reads
Average Percent Memory UsedReceived ErrorsAverage Disk Transfer
Peak CPU LoadTransmit DiscardsAverage Disk Writes
Peak Memory UsedTransmit ErrorsMaximum Disk Queue Length
Minimum CPU UsedAverage Receive bpsMaximum Disk Reads
Minimum Memory UsedMinimum Receive bpsMaximum Disk Transfer
Average Response TimePeak Receive bpsMinimum Disk Queue Length
Maximum Response TimeReceive Percent UtilizationMinimum Disk Reads
Minimum Response TimeAverage Transmit bpsMinimum Disk Transfer
Minimum Transmit bpsMinimum Disk Writes
Peak Transmit bps
Transmit Percent Utilization

 

 

User Restrictions

We at SolarWinds, understand that not all Orion administrators may want every user to have access to such an amazing feature. After all, they may be completely mesmerized by the screen and not get any actual work done as a result. With that in mind, you will find a new user or group level permission which controls whether the 'Real-Time Polling' button appears within PerfStack for those users. This new setting can be found under [Settings -> All Settings -> Manage Accounts]. From there, select a group or individual user account and click 'Edit'. Expand 'Performance AnalysIs Settings' at the bottom of the page and change this setting from 'Allow' to "Disallow' for any user or group. This will disable Real-Time Polling for those users. By default, all users have permission to launch Real-Time Polling within PerfStack.

 

Real-Time Polling is only one of the latest improvements we've made to PerfStack in the Orion Platform 2017.3 release. If you're interested in what other goodies we've stuffed under the hood, hop on over to my earlier post, entitled Orion Platform 2017.3 - PerfStack New Features & Improvements for the full rundown.

We are excited to share, that we've reached GA for Web Help Deskv12.5.2

 

This service release includes:

 

Clickjacking protection

This release prevents malicious code from redirecting a hyperlink in the Web Help Desk user interface to an unauthorized third-party website or resource.

 

Secure password reset logic

After you click Forgot Password on the Log In screen, Web Help Desk verifies your current email address and redirects you back to the application using a secure connection to reset your password.

 

Improved LDAP security

Web Help Desk now prevents unauthorized LDAP client account users from logging in to an LDAP tech account with an identical user name. In v12.5.1 and earlier, WHD had 2 ways to handle LDAP authentication. One for techs and one for clients. After you install this release, the tech LDAP authentication functionality is removed, and every tech, who used this functionality will have his WHD password reset, and will also receive an email with steps to log in to WHD.

See Unauthorized clients can log in to a Tech account using LDAP authentication for details.

Before you install this upgrade, ensure that all techs have client accounts (authenticated through LDAP) linked to their tech accounts. Also ensure, that the tech username is not the same as any of the client's usernames. After the upgrade, all techs must access their tech account through their client account, or using the WHD tech username and WHD password (which can be reset using the secure password reset logic).

 

Updated Apache Tomcat

This release supports Apache® Tomcat® 7.0.82 for improved security. See the Apache Tomcat website for details.

 

Notabe fixed issues

Tickets linked to a survey now close properly after you change the status to Resolved.

The Office 365 connector now supports subfolders.

Tickets restricted to a location group can no longer be accessed by users in another location group.

 

We encourage all customers to upgrade to this latest release which is available within your customer portal.

Thank you!

SolarWinds Team

To kick off the Q4 releases, I am happy to announce Generally Availability of Database Performance Analyzer 11.1.   This release continues to build momentum on previous releases by extending our support of Availability Groups, supporting the latest databases, and improving the DPA interface.  We've also added a subscription option when you deploy DPA in the Amazon cloud.

 

Support for New Database Versions

We'd like to announce official support for the following databases:

  • SQL Server 2017 on Windows
  • SQL Server 2017 on Linux
  • Oracle 12.2
  • MariaDB 10.0, 10.1 and 10.2
  • IBM DB2 11.1

When integrated with Orion, these databases will appear in DPAIM.

 

Availability Groups:  Status, Alerts and Annotations!

New in version 11.1, DPA regularly polls the status of all SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs) contained in the monitored instance. The DPA Home page displays a new status icon which tells you that AGs are present in a monitored instance.

 

DPA’s new AG monitoring gives you the ability to:

  • See the status of all your AGs on the home page, including a new filter widget.
  • When you drill down, see the status of AGs, databases, and replicas. This includes synchronization and failover status information.
  • See annotations on trend charts that show when AG failovers have occurred. The annotations show you the previous and current replica (from/to), and allows you to correlate failovers to changes in load.
  • Send an alert email when:
    • An AG failover occurs.
    • An AG status becomes Partially Healthy and Not Healthy.

For a detail view of new AG features, see this feature post:  DPA 11.1: Improved monitoring of SQL Server Availability Groups

HomePageAGInfo.png

AG_summary.png

 

Amazon Subscription

Have a lot of databases in the Amazon cloud?  You can now monitor them via your Amazon subscription, simply start up DPA from the AWS Marketplace, connect up a repository and start monitoring your databases. All currently supported databases can be monitored, and you can integrate DPA with your Orion server and see the data in Orion.

 

Improved Wait Time Status Indicator

The wait time indicator on the home page has been improved in two ways.

  • There are 3 status (Green, Yellow, Red) instead of 2 (Blue, Red).  Default thresholds are now 1.3x and 1.6x the historical wait time for Yellow and Red, respectively.
  • We evaluate every 10 minutes, instead of once an hour.

This increased frequency and new thresholds allow DPA to show you wait time pressure much quicker than previous versions.

This new status is propagated to Orion via the integration module.

 

And a whole lot more!

  • When you search for a SQL statement while creating an alert or a report, the search results include each SQL statement's total wait time for the last 7 days
    SQLSearchResults.png
  • Improved instance filter includes if instance monitor is on/off.
    status indicator.png
  • New icons and images that align better with Orion
  • See the DPA 11.1 Release Notes for the rest!

 

What's Next?

Don't see what you are looking for here? Check out the What We Are Working On for DPA (Updated August 29, 2018) post for what our dedicated team of database nerds and code jockeys are already looking at.  If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests.

 

 

Syslog

When PerfStack was initially released, a surprising few key metrics were noticeably absent. Chief among those, was the surprising lack of Syslog data. In the Network Performance Monitor 12.2 release, and all Orion product modules which include Orion Platform 2017.3, we rectified this injustice, bringing Syslog into the PerfStack fold. For any node sending Syslog data to Orion you will find a new 'Syslog' metric tile under the 'Status, Events, Alerts' category. Simply drag that tile to the chart area, and voila! Syslog data charted over time broken down by severity level.  As with all metric tiles within PerfStack this metric tile is dynamic and will only appear Nodes which have been configured to send Syslog data to the Orion server. If this tile does not appear for nodes you believe should, verify that Orion has received Syslog data from the device using the web based syslog viewer within the Orion web interface.

 

 

Hovering your mouse over the charted area will show the total number of syslog messages received at the top of the legend for the time shown below the vertical marker, as well as a breakdown of each severity type contributing to that total beneath it.

 

 

SNMP Traps

Not to be outdone, the inclusion of SNMP Trap data has also been added. Much like Syslog, SNMP Trap data is broken out by severity and is available as a dynamic metric tile for any node which is configured to send SNMP Trap data to Orion. The SNMP Trap metric tile can be found under the same 'Status, Events, Alerts' category as Syslog, when a node is selected from within the metric palette.  If this tile does not appear for nodes you have configured to send SNMP Trap data to Orion, verify that Orion is receiving those SNMP Traps from the device using the web based SNMP Trap viewer, accessible from within the Orion web interface.

 

 

 

Zoom

When hovering your mouse over the charted area you may notice your mouse cursor has learned a new trick, changing to crosshairs. Holding down your mouse button while dragging across the charted area allows you to lasso a specific time period of interest, such as a sudden spike in resource usage. The selected area is then the focal point of your project, while the rest of the chart area surrounding this time period becomes visually de-emphasized through color desaturation. while the colors remain bright and vibrant within the selected area.  This easily allows you to focus your attention on the area selected area without visual distraction from the surrounding area. This selection process occurs across all charts within the PerfStack, making it easier to visually correlate what else occurred during the same time period.

 

 

Once a time period has been selected, new options appear next to the selected area. Clicking the [+] icon highlighted above, zooms into the selected time range where you can view high fidelity detailed data collected during that time period. Similarly, clicking the [-] icon allows you to zoom further out to spot trends, or return to your previous perspective after having zoomed in. Any time after having made a selection, clicking the [X] icon will cancel the selection and return focus to the entire viewable chart area.

 

 

Data Explorer

Great! So now you know how many Syslog messages and SNMP Traps were received from any of your devices, along with their respective severity. You can even zoom into a specific time frame and cross correlate this data against other metrics from the same or different entities monitored by Orion. That's some super powerful stuff! But you know what would make this data even more powerful?

 

What if you could actually view the full details of those Syslog or SNMP-Traps from within PerfStack itself? That would assuredly accelerate the troubleshooting process and aid in reducing time-to-resolution; both of which are key tenets of PerfStack. Well that's exactly what we've done!

 

To get started, select a time period in the chart area, the same as described above to zoom in or out of the chart. Next, click the top paper & magnifying glass icon from the options displayed to the right of the selected area. This action will cause the Data Explorer tab to be shown in the left pane, where the Metric Palette normally appears. Switching between the Data Explorer and the Metric Palette is simply a matter of clicking on the appropriate tab.

 

Within the Data Explorer, all Syslog or SNMP Trap data is listed in the chronological order it was received. Each line represents a single message, beginning with its severity and ending with the date and time the message was received. In between is a brief preview of the message body. To view the full message text, simply expand the row.

 

 

If your devices are sending a lot of Syslog or SNMP Traps to Orion, it may be difficult to sift through all the noise and focus on what's truly important, even if you select the tiniest window of time. Since this just so happens to be another key tenet of PerfStack, we added filtering and search to the Data Explorer. This allows you to do things, such as show only Warning or Critical messages that were received during the selected time period, while filtering out the excessive noise generated by Informational and Debug messages.

 

And BOOM! Just like that, the problem is found. If SolarWinds was a leading US based office supply company, right now you'd probably feel compelled to blurt out 'That was easy". The magic doesn't end there either. This same functionality that's available for both Syslog and SNMP Traps can also be used to view the details of Orion Events. So if you aren't afforded the opportunity to configure devices to send Syslog or SNMP Traps to your Orion server, you can still give this new feature a whirl by adding Orion Events to your PerfStack and following the instructions outlined above.

 

 

Additional Metrics Support

In addition to Syslog & Traps, PerfStack in Orion Platform 2017.3 includes support for a variety of additional Orion product module metrics in this release. Given the feedback we have received since the initial release PerfStack, we know these will all be extremely welcomed additions.

 

Universal Device Pollers

That's right, I said Universal Device Pollers! Unquestionably the single most often requested feature request I receive for PerfStack has been adding support for Universal Device Pollers. With the release, I'm proud to announce you can now add Universal Device Pollers to your PerfStack projects no differently than any other metric. Universal Device Pollers for both Nodes and Interfaces are supported, and appear under their respective entity type. When you select an interface for example, which has Universal Device Pollers assigned, the 'Group' names as defined within the Universal Device Poller Windows application will appear within PerfStack as new metric categories. In the example below I have a Universal Device Poller Group I've defined in the Win32 application called 'Cisco Switch', which I've assigned to interface 'Fa0/1' on 'lab-transi-sw1'. Similarly, I have a Node based Universal Device Poller called 'sonic Current CPU Util' which is assigned to 'stp-nsa2400'. Please note that for Universal Device Pollers to appear in PerfStack, they must be of type 'Rate' or 'Counter' and that 'Keep Historical Data' must be enabled.

 

PerfStack Universal Device Pollers.png

Network Insight for F5 & ASA

This release of PerfStack also includes support for NPM's Network Insight for F5, and all new Network Insight for ASA. These metrics appear under their own distinct categories or node entities and are treated no differently than any other metric within PerfStack.

 

F5 ASA.png

 

Voice & Network Quality Manager

A party just isn't a party unless you invite your friends, so in this release we invited VNQM to join the fun by bring metrics for IPSLA operations into PerfStack. IPSLA Operations appear as their own separate entity type within PerfStack. If however, you find it easier to search by source router instead you can select that node entity and click the add related items button and all IPSLA operations running on that router will appear listed in the entities list. Select the IPSLA operation you'd like to see more information about and the list of all available metrics for that operation appear listed in the metric pallet. From there you know the drill; just drag and drop them onto the chart area and voila!

 

Network Configuration Manager

Also joining the party is NCM, allowing Orion users for the first time ever to visually cross correlate configuration changes to the impact they have on the network. When combined with NTA you can easily see the effect your recent CBQoS policy change is having on the flow of traffic from the moment the change was made. PerfStack also makes it easy for you to not only determine exactly when a change was made, but by whom. Similar to Syslog, Traps, and Events, selecting a time period from the charted area and clicking the Data Explorer button reveals detailed information about the configuration change that occurred, such as the username of the individual who logged into the device and their IP address.

 

 

 

 

Alert Visualization

Visualization of alerts in the premiere release of PerfStack displayed only the total aggregate of all alerts against a given entity, as well as how long all alerts had been active against that object. While useful, you were unable to determine what those alerts were which triggered, or how long each of those alerts remained active. A lot of that important detail was obscured through aggregation, making this particular area of PerfStack ripe for improvement.

 

In this release of PerfStack we preserved the same total alert aggregate that was available in the first release, but then extended the chart to show the names of the alerts which triggered along with their individual durations. No longer are you left wondering what alert was triggered against the object, or fumbling through other areas of the Orion web interface to track down that information. You'll also know at a glance when the alert triggered and for how long, in a manner which allows you to visually recognize patterns of reoccurrence and correlate specific individual alerts against other metrics collected by Orion.

 

Export

Occasionally it's necessary to share your PerfStack findings with others who may not have access to Orion, or archive those findings in a ticketing system for historical purposes beyond your defined retention period. For some, this information needs to be imported into other systems for charge back, show back, billing, forensic analysis, or correlation with other non-Orion tools in the environment. Previously, your only recourse was to export data for each metric individually via the Custom Chart View, or write your own series of custom queries against the SQL database backend to obtain the raw values behind these charts.  In this PerfStack release however, those days are behind us.

 

After adding all metrics of interest to your PerfStack project, simply click the new 'Export' button located in the top menu. This will export your project's content to a Microsoft® Excel friendly comma separated value (CSV) formatted file,which is then downloaded to your local machine via your browser.

 

Double click the file to open in Excel, or upload the file to Google™ Docs to open in Sheets. Inside you will find all the raw data which made up the charts in PerfStack. Each series of the same chart is represented as its own set of columns, complete with the entity and metric name, date and time the data was collected, and its value. If your PerfStack project contained multiple charts, the values for each chart are grouped together in the CSV file the same as they were visually laid out within PerfStack itself. Simply put, the detailed raw data for the second PerfStack chart is directly beneath the end of the series for the first chart data contained within the CSV file.

 

 

The logical layout of the CSV file makes it easy to visually recreate similar charts to what was seen in PerfStack, using the native graphing tools included in Excel or Sheets. The format of the raw data is also well suited for import into 3rd party reporting solutions like Domo or eazyBI. With the data contained in logical layout and an open format, the possibilities are limitless.

 

 

 

Usability Improvements

 

Share

Not everyone who used PerfStack initially realized that whatever they created could be easily shared with others, simply by copying the URL and sending it to them. Since this is one of PerfStack's most powerful capabilities, we felt it needed to be promoted to the top menu, alongside other important functions like saving and loading a PerfStack.

 

Just click this 'Share' button and the dynamic PerfStack URL is automatically copied to your clipboard and ready to be pasted into an email, instant message, helpdesk ticket, etc. and shared with others.

 

Getting to PerfStack in previous releases meant leaving what you were looking at and starting the troubleshooting process over from the very beginning again in PerfStack if you needed to correlate symptoms with their root cause. For example, if users are complaining about the performance of SharePoint, a logical starting point might be to go to the Node Details view of the SharePoint server in Orion. But what if you then wanted information from the Hypervisor this virtual machine is running on, the storage array, or the SharePoint application being monitored by SAM? Well, you'd probably navigate to PerfStack, add the problem node, and then its relationships, before eventually plotting metrics in the chart area for correlation. This sounds tedious just explaining it and we knew we could do better.

 

Within the 'Management' or 'Details' resource located on the details view of virtually any entity type supported by PerfStack, you will find a new 'Performance Analysis' link. When pressed, you will be taken directly to PerfStack and the entity object you came into PerfStack will be pre-populated in the entity selector, along with any of its related items. In addition, the chart area will pre-populate with relevant metrics associated with the entity you came in from.

 

 

For example, if you were to click on the "Performance Analysis' link from the 'Node Details' view of your SharePoint server, you would be taken to PerfStack where the Node, it's volumes, interfaces, etc. are already listed in the entity list, and metrics such as Status, CPU/Memory utilization, response time, alerts, and events are all pre-populated for you. These metrics are dynamic based upon the entity type you enter from, ensuring they are always relevant to what you're investigating.

 

Links To PerfStack.png

We didn't stop simply at having links into PerfStack from other views in Orion. We knew that there were occasions when users viewing data in PerfStack needed additional information only found on entity details views, such as MAC addresses, serial/model numbers, etc.. WIth that in mind, we included direct links to the Details view of any entity shown within PerfStack's entity list. Simply hover your mouse over the entity name, the same as you would to add related items or to remove the entity from the list. There you will notice a new link icon, which when clicked will open a new browser tab that will take you to the details view for that entity.

 

Link to Details from PerfStack.png

 

Drag & Drop Entities

We all know you can drag and drop metrics onto PerfStack's chart area to visualize virtually any combination of metrics desirable, but what if I told you that you could drag and drop entire entities into the chart area? Would that blow your mind?  Well that's exactly what you can do now with PerfStack!

 

Utilizing the same logic derived from 'Links to PerfStack' referenced above, relevant and dynamic metrics associated with a given entity are pre-populated and charted when an entity is dragged into PerfStack's chart area. Simply click and hold your mouse on the drag handle which appears to the left of the entity name when hovering your mouse. Next, drag the entity into the chart area. This will then populate the charted area will the same metrics that would appear if you had entered PerfStack through the 'Performance Analysis' link on that entities Details view, saving you precious time in the throes of troubleshooting.

Drag and Drop Entities.png

Full Screen Mode

WIth the initial release of PerfStack we received a lot of feedback from customers wanting to add PerfStack to a wallboard in their NOC. The first issue these customers ran into was a bug where PerfStack did not respect session timeout values defined for the user account. I'm happy to announce that this issue has been resolved, allowing you to have PerfStack running and updating indefinitely if so desired, without ever timing out your session.

 

Next on their wish list was some ability to declutter the UI of extraneous elements which were unnecessary for a non-interactive display. This would allow them to maximize the viewable area for data being displayed in the charts and legend. Being the accommodating bunch that we are, a newly added button was added to the top right of PerfStack, just above the chart legend. When clicked, all UI elements except the chart and legend are removed, placing PerfStack into fullscreen mode. To exit full screen mode and return to normal mode, just click the button again or remove all metrics from the chart. Note that this button will only appear when one or more metrics are plotted in the chart area.

 

Maximize.png

 

Sharing is great when you're collaborating on a specific issue with a group of individuals, but what if you as the Orion Administrator want to create custom PerfStack dashboards to share with your users? This can be accomplished with other custom Orion views fairly easily, and PerfStack function no different.

 

To begin, first start by creating your custom PerfStack and including all metics you'd like represented in the chart. When complete, save your changes and click the 'Share' button. You should now have the URL to your saved PerfStack in your copy/paste buffer. Next, go to [Settings -> All Settings -> Customize Menu Bars] and edit the menu bar for the user/s you'd like to have access to your saved PerfStack. At the bottom of the page click the 'Add' button, give your link a name, and paste the saved PerfStack URL into the URL field of the 'Edit Custom menu Item' dialog windows that appears. From there, click 'ok' to save your changes and drag your newly created menu item from the 'Available Items' column to the 'Selected Items' column to add this to your menu bar.

 

When users which are assigned that Menu Bar login, they will now see a link to your custom saved PerfStack in their navigation. This allows Orion administrators to quickly share custom saved PerfStacks without emailing or instant messaging links to users. Similarly, you can now also use the 'User Links' resource in a similar fashion to provide your users links to custom saved PerfStack dashboards.

 

 

This represents an incredible amount of awesome jam packed into a single release, and I haven't even mentioned Real-Time polling yet! Let us know what your thoughts are these PerfStack improvements in the comments section below. We'd love to hear your feedback!

SRM 6.5 was made available in the Customer Portal on September 13th!  The release notes are a great place to get a broad overview of everything in this release. Exciting times since SRM also joined in other Q3 releases from SolarWinds (NPM, NTA, NCM, UDT, IPAM, DPA, & VMAN). We’ve been attending shows, monitoring customer requests and our theme for Q3 is expanding our already comprehensive list of device support! In fact, I would say that FLASH was our Primary focus, sprinkled with a bit of HYBRID Array models. We constantly measure various Storage Market Sectors, speak with analysts and rely on customer feedback with regard to Storage architecture and growth. This research has led us to recognize that Flash-Type Array solutions are a rapidly growing market sector and we want to be there when you are looking to renew your Storage environment, providing a path for you to continue using SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor! Of course, there are some other worthy reasons to upgrade to SRM 6.5 like UI, Installer, and Perfstack enhancements, along with continued additions towards monitoring Array Hardware Health!!

 

Here's a Summary of what was accomplished in 6.5

Support for arrays:

  • IBM FlashSystem A9000/A9000R
  • IBM DS 8xxx
  • NetApp EF
  • NetApp AFF
  • EMC VMAX Flash Family

Hardware health monitoring for:

  • EMC VNX CLARiiON
  • EMC VNX Celerra/VNX Gateway
  • IBM SVC/V7000/V3700

 

Installer Enhancements:

  • Use the new SolarWinds Orion Installer to install and upgrade one or more Orion Platform products simultaneously in your environment. When installing new products into an existing Orion environment, the Orion Installer verifies compatibility between the product versions and notifies you if additional steps are needed.
  • Bottom Line – The installer installs or upgrades all products from a single screen. You do not need to download files for each product.

Read More about the Orion Installer

 

UI Enhancements:

  • Start searching for widgets in two clicks from any customizable page
  • Mark favorite widgets so you can quickly add them to new dashboards or pages
  • Drag and drop widgets directly onto pages or move widgets to new locations

Read more about Dashboards

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