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


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

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


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


NTA 4.0 Storage Bug

Posted by mebway Mar 28, 2014


We have identified a bug in NTA 4.0 related to storage issues for the new Flow Storage Database.  In cases where NTA FSBD reaches 1TB of data stored, NTA will not process any new data and flow collection is stopped.  While we have seen a small percentage of customers with the affected versions installed, we would encourage customers to install the applicable hotfix.  Install this hotfix on your NTA Flow Storage Database, primary Orion poller, any additional Orion poller(s), and any additional Orion website(s) in this order.

Hotfix Link:






We have identified a bug in NPM 10.7 and SAM 6.1, which under specific conditions may result in the poller stopping when a Daylight Savings Time change occurs. While this bug only impacts a very small percentage of customers with the affected versions installed, we would encourage customers to install the applicable hotfix. If you have more than one affected product installed, only one hotfix application is required. In an environment with multiple pollers, the hotfix will need to be applied on the main poller plus each additional poller. Detailed installation instructions are included in the hotfix archive. We realize as busy IT professionals, you have far better things to do with your time than apply application patches, and apologize for the inconvenience. Most notably, our European customers would be at risk of encountering this issue when DST reverts this Sunday. Please let us know if there are any questions, or if we may of assistance.



HotFix1 Link:


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

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



Synchronization Wizard


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



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


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


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


  • CPU Load
  • Memory Load
  • Network Utilization
  • Memory Load
  • CPU Load
  • Memory Load
  • CPU Load
  • CPU Ready
  • IOPS Total
  • IOPS Read
  • IOPS Write
  • Latency Total
  • Latency Read
  • Latency Write
  • Network Usage Rate
  • IOPS Total
  • IOPS Read
  • IOPS Write
  • Latency Total
  • Latency Read
  • Latency Write


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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


Advanced Alerting - Now with a Virtual Twist!


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


ClusterHostVMDatastore/Cluster Shared Volume


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


    • Host CPU utilization
    • Host memory utilization
    • Host rebooted


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Account Limitations - Role-based Access Control, Orion Style


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

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


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


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

We have completed another bulk of the development effort and are now focused on testing the latest release of Network Configuration Manager (NCM); We have Beta2 for NCM v7.3 available. This is your chance to install the latest version and provide feedback on the new features and fixes. Providing feedback during the beta is the best way to ensure that your feedback will be incorporated in to the release. To participate, simply fill out this survey and you will be sent the download links for the Beta. Remember, Betas cannot be installed in production and you cannot upgrade the Beta to any other future versions.


The following enhancement have been added to NCM so far:

  • NCM and NPM databases merged
    • Optimized DB schema
    • Account limitations are applied to NCM jobs.
    • Core node management page is used to add/remove devices from NCM.
    • In the discovery wizard, users can choose whether to import newly discovered nodes into NCM.
    • Node Sync is gone!
    • Subviews are fully supported.
  • A completely new version of the Configuration Management page
  • EoL/EoS info on (NCM) node details page
  • Admins can now clear all transfers for all users from the Transfer Status page in the Web UI.
  • Limit policy reports for individual accounts
  • Jobs Summary table can be sorted according to any column.
  • NCM supports SWISv3 now.


Volunteers Wanted!

Before I describe all the great new improvements in details, I would like to ask you to help us with the database migration tuning. We would like to test the database merge procedure and collect statistics from as many real environments as possible. We can offer the following:

  • Detailed instructions on the procedure (Database Migration Assistance).
  • Assistance from NCM engineering team.
  • Extra portion of thwack points (on top of the usual amount + badge for Beta testers).
  • Good feeling that you helped improve the product .


Benefits of the Merged Databases

The merge of NCM and NPM databases enable NCM users to take advantage of certain features of the Orion Platform (Core) that were not possible to use before.


Improved Node Management

As there is no concept of "NCM Node" anymore, "Licensed by NCM" has become just a flag for Orion nodes. What does it mean? You can manage all NCM properties using the Core none management infrastructure:






Improved Node Details

The merged DB made it possible to use sub-views -- you can easily review NCM node details next to information from other Orion modules.




New Configuration Management UI

This is a great improvement in usability of the NCM Web UI in this release. Unlike the old UI, the new one is much more node-centric to make the workflows much smoother: First you select the devices and then perform an action. The new UI enables you to accomplish a chain of tasks efficiently as you can work with the same set of nodes repeatedly.

  • You can group your devices by up to three parameters.
  • The node selection is persistant; even if you switch to another group of nodes or another page, your selection is preserved.



Since SolarWinds acquisition of Confio back in October 2013, customers have asked about the differences between Server & Application Monitor AppInsight for SQL and Database Performance Analyzer (formerly Confio Ignite).  Although both products monitor SQL Servers, their purposes are unique and different, two sides of the same coin.

Many of you are already enjoying AppInsight for SQL in SAM 6.0 with its awesome systems-focused views into SQL Server, you're finding out whose connected and how long, being notified before your database runs out of space, digging into to the error logs, and seeing a plethora of performance statistics.  AppInsight for SQL surpasses pure systems monitoring by answering the next question - what queries are slow.  But what if you need a deeper dive into to your queries to answer the next set of questions - is this query behaving abnormally?  Why is it running slow?  Is the user, application or client experiencing poor performance elsewhere?.. or causing it!?  You need Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) for this!


DPA pinpoints the most significant database performance issues by using response time analysis - analyzing the time applications, and ultimately end-users, wait for data from the database.  DPA decomposes responses time into distinct wait types and allows you to identify the exact cause of the slowness - down to a specific query from a specific source for a specific slice of time (down to the second if you want it). This provides you actionable insight into why your queries are slow and how to best resolve the them.

Thinking in network terms, it's similar to the difference between network performance monitoring (like NPM) and flow analysis (like NTA) - NPM tells you which ports/interfaces are slow, NTA tells you who and why.  Without NTA, you're left either guessing or pulling up desktop tools to diagnose the packets manually.  Without DPA, you are lacking the same visibility into your queries - so break out a cup of coffee for a late night of one-off query analysis.

So you may be asking yourself, which side of the coin do I need?    Databases are the backbone of modern applications and slow performance affects your business and costs you money.  In a converging infrastructure, slowness can come in many forms:  under-allocated resources, misconfiguration, resource contention, poorly constructed queries, untested code, to name a few.  Without visibility to both sides, you won't have the complete analysis of the problems you are working every day:


ProblemAppInsight for SQLDatabase Performance Analyzer
Urgent: The application is slow right nowUse performance thresholds and baselines to identify the current problem and isolate it to an infrastructure, application or database issue.  Leverage real time capabilities (process, events) for further diagnosis.Follow the histograms analysis (aka "the big bars") and quickly find the offending query, dissect it with response time analysis to discover why it is slow.
Planning: Growth of data and transaction loadReview performance and capacity trends of applications and databases on current resources and extrapolate if the they can handle the expected increase in load.Identify queries consuming the most time and explore possible solutions including query optimization, configuration tweaks and scaling hardware.
Development: Building, Testing and Releasing During development, monitor for changes in resource consumption and query times, drill down to real time information (processes, events) to investigate.Developers can analyze changes through the development life-cycle and use the same tool as the DBA to make sure that changes don't have hidden consequences in Production.
Herding Cats: Intermittent slow downsReview history of hosts, servers, applications and database and isolate the time frame and source of the problem.Quickly identify and drill down to the time of the problem by following the histogram analysis, dissect offending queries to find its source and why the query is slow.

AppInsight for SQL and DPA compliment each other by providing two views of the the database - one for System Administrators and one for DBA's and Developers. 


AppInsight for SQL

  • SQL Server infrastructure monitoring
  • Quickly visualize database status, capacity, logs and job status
  • Monitor the entire application stack  from virtualization to storage
  • Correlate between virtualization (VMware and HyperV) and server resource provisioning
  • Identify top slow SQL queries

AppInsight for SQL Video


Database Performance Analyzer

  • Database response time analysis for SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 & Sybase
  • Identifies top issues causing slow response times in just 4 clicks
  • Detailed wait type analysis of SQL queries
  • Correlates physical and VMware resources with database response time
  • Analyze performance from the perspective of programs, sessions, databases,...
Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server Video

Putting AppInsight for SQL and Database Performance Analyzer together, you'll see both sides of the SQL Server coin... and this will only get better as DPA moves forward.

Orion Network Atlas, is a great utility for creating custom network diagrams. The tool is considered “Semi-Automated” Network Mapping Software. It uses the discovered network data in Orion and allows users to design physical and logical topology diagrams by dragging and dropping of nodes in to the design canvas. It automatically builds connections between nodes, using the Connect Now functionality and has the ability to bring up the designed map onto the Orion Web Console.

While Orion Network Atlas has been around for some years now, there are some areas in the product which you may not know existed. This blog aims to expose those features, and help you in creating informative network diagrams and at the same time help you with better presentation.




As an Orion Admin, you may want to display added information (like Device type or IP Address) of your important nodes being represented on your Orion Web Console. This helps in faster troubleshooting of an issue, if something goes wrong. With Orion Network Atlas you have the ability to add variables as labels on to your Atlas Maps. These variables parse real values automatically once displayed on your Orion Console.

Custom Properties values can also be represented on the map.


In the side example, I displayed Node name, Machine Type, IP Address for all my objects and for my Dell SonicWall firewalls displayed my Custom Property – Asset ID on the Orion Console. Below, how I achieved it

  • I drag and drop the nodes (interesting) on to the drawing canvas, changed my default Label to the following variables
  • ${caption} – Returns the node name
  • ${machinetype} – Returns the node manufacturer
  • ${ip_address} – Returns the IP Address of the node
  • Asset ID ${Assettag} – This is a custom property field, created in Orion and returns the entered data on the console.                                                                                                                  







TIP: The best way of replicating the same variables across other node objects, is by copying the assigned variables from one node object label and pasting it to the others. Another way, for applying variables to other nodes is by pasting the copied variables to other label objects Label Properties page (Right-Click – Properties).






Ever wondered how to display UnDP statistics value on your Orion Map console? For example, in the past you may have had performance issues with a particular device and now you want to actively monitor the temperature of this router on your Orion map console.

The first step to achieve this is by defining and creating an UnDP for monitoring temperature for the device. To know how to create a custom UnDP, please follow this video

Once you have created your UnDP (in my case, ciscoEnvMonTemperatureStatusValueFahrenheit), you will see it automatically visible under Custom Node Pollers section of your Node(s). Simply drag this UnDP variable on to your map and change the label to the following macro ${CurrentValue}. The result is illustrated in the screenshot below

P.S: This capability was introduced in NPM version 10.6.

   UnDP3.JPG       UnDP5.JPG



For a large map, displaying additional information using labels may not be ideal and could make your maps looks clumsy. For this reason, you may want to display additional information for your map objects as Tool tip. To achieve this, first

  • Log into your Orion Console
  • On your Map resource select "Edit".
  • On the  right side of the page click on "Customize Map Tool tip"
  • Enter appropriate variables (Custom Properties & UnDP variables can also be added) into the laid empty boxes
  • Click submit and hover over your nodes on the map.

TIP: In order to view the available variables you can use in Orion, Check out the Appendix A section of  SolarWinds Orion Network Atlas Admin Guide (Page 49 onwards)


Many users bring in network diagrams designed in Microsoft Visio as background images in Orion Network Atlas. The most common way to bring background images into Atlas is by selecting the Home tab in the Toolbar and using the Background Image button.

Atlas Toolbar.JPG



Orion Atlas has another trick in its sleeves to bring in background images. Simply perform a Print Screen of your required image and paste it into your Atlas design canvas. With this flexibility you can bring images on the fly without having to save, search and upload images. Another use-case would be if there is a need to bring in specific vendor device graphics into your design and assigning the imported graphics to your particular Orion Node object. Below steps will help guide you to accomplish this task






  • Copy the desired graphics to the Clipboard
  • Right-click on your Atlas design canvas and select the paste option
  • Choose "Paste the image from the Clipboard as a new object"
  • Give this new object a unique name
  • Right-Click this new object and select Properties option
  • Under the Status tab, drag and drop your desired Orion node object (in this case, I drag Orion node and dropped it into assignment field)
  • You now have Orion node, assigned to the imported object.






Brandon Shopp, has written a great blog on this subject. You can find how to use this tool bar to your advantage here


As an Orion Admin there might be a need, not to visibly display map objects to all users in your organization. For Security reasons, you may want to restrict the display of objects in your DMZ to your NOC users.To enable and set up these restrictions, follow the below laid out steps

map properties.JPG

  • Log into your Orion Console as Admin.
  • Go into the Orion Website Administration page (Top right corner and click on Settings)
  • Click on Manage Accounts under User Accounts resource.
  • Select the User account you want to add map restrictions to
  • Find "Add Limitation" Button and click on it
  • Select the appropriate Limitation type from the available list ( in my case, I choose the Radio button "Group of Nodes")
  • Select the list of nodes you want to limit viewing and hit on submit
  • Next, Launch and Log into Orion Network Atlas
  • Bring up the saved map or the map being designed and right-click the map and select Map Properties
  • Select the radio button "Remove nodes that users do not have permission to View"


I hope you have learned some powerful features Orion Network Atlas brings and that you will try out these functions to help you in creating better network diagrams which suits your environment. We are actively working on improving our software, this is evident with the improvements we are bringing into Network Atlas with NPM 10.7. In case you missed what's coming in with NPM 10.7, check out Rob Hock's blog post



Survey: To bring further improvements into the product, we need to understand how you use Orion Network Atlas in your organization and what are the features you hope to see in future releases. For this reason, we would appreciate your time in taking the survey (Button below) and making a difference.



It is our pleasure to announce that NPM 10.7 is now generally available!


As referenced below, many of these features were directly submitted and voted up by the community. Thanks for all of your ideas and lively discussion on how we can create a great product!

Let’s review some highlights:









10.7 is available now in your customer portal.

Release notes may be found here.

We here at SolarWinds are continuously looking to improve our products in both functionality and user experience. Failover Engine (FoE) as you can imagine, doesn't get a tremendous amount of feedback from the Thwack community. This is because FoE is akin to the spare tire sitting in the trunk of your car. You hardly ever think about it until you need it. With that in mind, I've compiled a few thought provoking questions that I hope will engage those of you in the community to think about how you use FoE. This should help to give us a better understanding how and where we can improve FoE in the future,


What has your experience been like Installing/Upgrading FoE?

In an Failover Engine LAN Configuration How do you Maintain the Standby Host?

Are your Failover Engine member servers joined to the Domain?

How do you prefer to manage administrative tasks in Failover Engine?

What is the primary reason your Orion server is down?

How much redundancy is enough for your environment?

The engineering effort on Kiwi CatTools v3.10 Release Candidate has been completed. RC is the last step before general availability and is a chance for existing customers to get the newest functionality before it is available to everyone else.

You will find the latest version on your customer portal in the Release Candidate section.


Here is the content of this RC version:

  • Support for scheduling activities on a monthly basis
  • Support Cisco® Small Business devices
  • Improved support for HP® switches
  • Enhanced possibilities for ignoring text in device configuration
  • Newest version of SolarWinds® licensing framework adopted
  • Fixed problem with Connect Via feature when both target and media devices use variations
  • Various updates of device templates
  • Bug fixes


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

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


(Updated March 2, 2015)

Following our 6.1 release of LEM (more info: Announcing General Availability of Log & Event Manager 6.1 - Better Config, and More!), we're back to work on more features and improvements. Some of these features will be included in our 6.2 release of LEM (more info: Log & Event Manager 6.2 and a Threat Intelligence Feed).


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


Here's what's on the top of our radar:


Also, the following ongoing/longer-term items:

  • Ongoing performance investments in our core data processing
    • Customers are sending more and more data to LEM, naturally, so we're investing some time in staying ahead of the curve.
  • Ongoing investments in new connector development
  • Continued customer feedback-driven fixes and updates
  • Better integration with LEM and the Orion platform products (Integration: Log & Event Manager and Orion Platform)
  • Connector building, generic connectors, and general data integration (Build Your Own Syslog Connectors, among others)


Be sure to let us know here, and in the Log & Event Feature Requests forum, if there are features you're really keen on. This list doesn't enumerate a lot of the features we're looking into for long term development and further releases, but we continually use Thwack as our biggest source of feedback.

Storage Manager 5.7 Beta 2 Now Available

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


Sign-Up Button.png

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

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

Storage Manager Health Status Overview Page


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

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

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


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

Storage Manager Server Performance Metrics


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

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


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

Server Metrics.png



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


Database Status


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

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

Database Status also provides the following information and help links:


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


Device Types


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

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

Storage Manager (STM) Proxy Agents


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

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


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

Proxy Agents.png

Collection Jobs Queue


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

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


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

Collection Jobs Completed.png

Collection Jobs Failed.png

Help and Support


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


Help and Support.png


User-defined LUN Grouping


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

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

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

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


Create the GroupScreenshot

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


FAST VP TechnologyScreenshots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SolarWinds is pleased to announce that latest and greatest version of IP Address Manager (IPAM) 4.1 has been recently released.


This new version primarily focuses on monitoring and management of high-performance DHCP service from ISC via IPAM web-console. 4.1 namely brings following new features:


  • A new re-designed DHCP management UI that helps to manage multiple methods of organizing IPs across Windows, CISCO and ISC DHCP vendors
  • Management of ISC DHCP subnet options, ranges and pools (New to ISC)
  • Monitoring of ISC shared network containers and their subnet utilization
  • Monitoring of ISC DHCP IP address static assignments within groups

But that's not all. We were listening to you, our users who requested support for more complicated configuration scenarios on DHCP servers. This advanced scenarios typically requiring setup for specific DHCP Options. IPAM v4.1 can namely do following:


  • Monitor and manage over 180 (RFC 2132) DHCP options on Cisco, Microsoft and ISC DHCP servers
  • New UI for DHCP options management with data type validator and text translation of numeric value of each option (you don't have look into RFC)
  • Automatic detection of supported/unsupported options per DHCP vendor
  • Both-way sync between IPAM and DHCP server.


For example, you may use options 66 & 67 in order to setup TFTP and VoIP config file name for your VoIP infrastructure running on DHCP server.


You may find additional information about fixed bugs and related details in IPAM V4.1 Release Notes


If you are interested in how the UI looks look like, here is a small summary:


1) ISC DHCP monitoring with shared subnets container

GA ISC.png


2) Create/Edit ISC DHCP Subnet - add pools, ranges or setup DHCP options

GA ISC Edit.png

3) DHCP options settings is the same for all vendors supported in IPAM

GA DHCP Options.png



IPAM 4.1 is available on your customer portal for a download and upgrade on production servers.

At first glance, Server & Application Monitor (SAM) 6.1 might sound like it's a "minor" release. However, with the mountain of new features we've managed to cram in, 6.1 is anything but minor. In previous blog posts I discussed Windows Scheduled Tasks and JSON/XML monitoring, as well as Sustained Threshold Conditions that can be used to squelch nuisance alerts. Despite more than half a dozen additional new features in this release I haven't even talked about yet, such as new SOAP Monitor, Drag & Drop resources (that's right, I said drag and drop), and a new Web-Based Report Scheduler, much of the buzz surrounding SAM 6.1 has centered around AppInsight for Exchange. This is likely due to the success of AppInsight for SQL in the SAM 6.0 release, coupled by the tease that was my previous blog posting entitled "Introducing AppInsight for Exchange - Server & Application Monitor 6.1 Beta 2 Sneak Peek". In that post I gave readers a very early glimpse into AppInsight for Exchange, that barely scraped the surface of what this new application monitoring capability provides. So today I'll attempt to satisfy some of that curiosity by showcasing some of the other functionality included in AppInsight for Exchange.


I first cut my teeth back in the day of Exchange 5.5. Since that time I've seen tremendous improvements in Exchange scalability, reliability, and performance. As a consequence of these improvements however, Exchange has become significantly more complex to manage, monitor, and maintain. Simply isolating a performance bottleneck in your Exchange environment can be akin to playing a bad game of "Where's Waldo".


AppInsight for Exchange ends the madness by centrally consolidating all information about each mailbox database and its copies across all mailbox servers in the Database Availability Group, into a single Mailbox Database Details view. It is within this Mailbox Database Details view where you will find all relevant information pertaining to that specific individual mailbox database on the server, as well as all other servers where a copy of that database resides.


Information including last full and incremental backup, number of mailboxes in the database, average mailbox size, and default storage quotas applied at the mailbox database are all easily at hand.

Database Details.png
Database size and disk io.png

The Database Details view also contains multi-server performance, health, and availability information that should make troubleshooting common mailbox database issues a breeze.


For example, in the screenshot to the left you can easily identify where the mailbox database resides on each servers file system, the size of that mailbox database, and how it relates to the amount of free space on each servers volume. You can also identify disk I/O performance issues across servers by seeing the Disk Queue Length, Latency, and total IOPS for the volumes on each server where a copy of that database resides.


Similar resources also appear in this view for Transaction Logs, showing additional detail such as the total number of transaction log files, as well as their cumilitive total size on disk.


All this information allows you to easily spot problems before they start. There's nothing worse, or more preventable than a database dismounting because the volume it's located on has run out of space. With AppInsight for Exchange, now you can be proactively alerted and take corrective action before it impacts your users.

Now let's say your mailbox database was running out of space. Where do you go, and what do you do now? You could move the mailbox database to a different volume that has more space. If you have more unallocated storage you could even extend the volume. Both of those options require heavy lifting, and likely some downtime.


What if you could easily identify the offending user mailboxes that are taking up a large percentage of space in the database? You could then either hunt those users down and ask them them to clean up their mailbox, or move them to another mailbox database that has more available space.


The "Users By Mailbox Quota Used" and "Users By Mailbox Size" resources allow you to view each and every user mailbox, its total size, amount of space all attachments in the mailbox are consuming, total number of attachments, and percentage of quota used. This information is available in each mailbox database view, as well as across the entire Exchange environment.


You can even spot dormant mailboxes easily within the same resource by viewing the "Last Accessed" date.

Users By Mailbox Quota Used.png

From this resource you can drill down even further into the User Mailbox Details view. Here you can see the quota limits applied to the individual users' mailbox, the Active Directory Organizational Unit where this user resides, and can even click their Primary SMTP Address to notify them that some mailbox cleanup is required.


Before you do that though, you might want to get a better understanding of how this user is using their mailbox. Perhaps they recently received several very large email attachments that they could move off onto the file server. Maybe this user regularly receives a large volume of incoming email. This could be normal given their job function, or indicative of ineffective SPAM filtering.


With AppInsight for Exchange you can easily visualize each users historical mailbox usage, identify trends such as the growth of a user's mailbox over time, and the total size of all attachments within the users mailbox over the same period. You can also gain insight into the volume of mail sent and received by the user each day, both internally and externally.

This information allows you to make informed decisions before extending users mailbox quotas or adding additional storage to the Exchange server. This information can also be included in alerts that give helpdesk staff a heads up as users approach their quota limit.

Mailbox Details.png
Total Mailox and Attachments Sizes.pngReceived Mail.png

What if the problem you're facing was the other direction? Instead of a massive influx email or attachments driving the users mailbox size, it was malicious activity the end user wasn't even aware of? The Users By Messages Sent resource helps identify mailbox abuse caused by potential trojans, botnets, or otherwise unscrupulous activity. Should your users mailbox be taken over by such mass mailing marauders, AppInsight for Exchange makes identifying this unusual traffic a trivial affair.


AppInsight for Exchange also allows you to report on the mobile devices being used in your environment, the operating system version running on those devices, as well as the last time any device was used to connect to Exchange via ActiveSync.


This information is available on any individuals Mailbox User Details view. It is also available as an out of the box report that lists all mobile devices in use in your organization and their respective owner.


Until now, SAM 6.1 has been available only to a select number of beta participants, but that's no longer the case. As of today, all current SAM customers under active maintenance can download and install the official SAM 6.1 Release Candidate simply by signing up here. Upgrading of your existing production Server & Application Monitor installation is also fully supported. So give AppInsight for Exchange, or any of the over a dozen other improvements in this release a go, and tell us what you think!

Users By Messages Sent.png

Synced Devices.png


SAM 6.1 RC button.png

Even with all of the new and exciting product updates, our development team somehow finds the time to outdo themselves. I'm pleased to be able to share with you an early beta of one of our most exciting projects to date: code-named "DPI."

With the ability to sniff the wire and analyze packet-traffic, DPI provides real observed network response time (NRT) and application response time (ART.) In addition, DPI has the ability to classify and categorize ~1300 different applications by associated purpose and risk-level.

Let's take a look at a few of the data points we will start to capture:


Network Response Time (NRT)

Is the problem the application or the network? Now you'll be able to prove your pipes are pristine and start to focus on the troublesome app server:


Application Response Time (ART)

The opposite end of the network problem- how long did it take to receive the first byte for a response? Good insight into the Quality of Experience that your users perceive...



Data Classification

Sure, with NPM interface statistics or Netflow, you can determine how much of your pipe is being filled, and potentially by whom. However, unless you are able to stay on top of the latest in social apps and malware, who may not realize what you should be looking for.

Our list of ~1300 pre-defined applications makes this easy- whether you are looking for Exchange traffic, or Torrent:





Very likely this technology would begin to surface in a NPM release in the near future- so stay tuned.

For beta purposes, we're limited to just gathering data from a packet filter driver on the Orion server itself, but we have a few ideas on how we can scale that out.

Bear in mind, we're not yet storing any captured data, but rather just analyzing and discarding. Storage would potentially come later.


Interested? Sign up here: DPI Beta Survey

Already signed up, or want to learn more? Join our DPI Beta forum


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

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