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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

After releasing NTA 4.0, we have been working on the next release.  Here is our "hot list" of things we are currently working on.  Your comments, feedback and especially participation in Beta releases are more than welcome. 


  • The ability to configure devices directly from the NTA web console - NTA 4.1 Beta
  • Improved application and web URL classification leveraging DPI type technologies
  • Additional Flexible NetFlow Field support (IPFIX)
  • Improved workflows by expanding on the integration between existing Orion Modules and NTA
  • Increased sampled support for - J-Flow, S-Flow, IPFIX, & Netstream - NTA 4.1 Beta
  • Improved Alerting capabilities
  • Improved Web-based Reporting
  • Improved handling of backup jobs
  • Additional Flow Navigator capability: filter by source to destination IP Group pairing
  • Support for MS SQL 2014.



End of Support for 32-Bit Operating Systems

SolarWinds is considering to end supporting NTA on 32-bit operating systems soon. Starting from one of the future versions, NTA will run only on 64-bit operating systems.


PLEASE NOTE: 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 based on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.

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


After release of Web Help Desk v12.1, we are now busily working on some new features and enhancements to the product. Here is a preview:


  • Asset Reporting
    • Including Reservations and Purchase Orders
  • DameWare integration
    • Some options are chat, screenshot capability or easier configuration for remote connections
  • Revamp of setup section
    • Make settings easier to find when returning to configuration options
  • More comprehensive documentation for different areas of Web Help Desk
    • Possible candidates for detailed documentation are SSO, Database migration, sizing and so on
  • Settings export for easier migration
  • Java 7 support
  • NPM integration improvements
  • Ability to export reports to Excel
  • Ticket Approvals from Tech interface
  • iOS Application improvements


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

Many of you are patiently waiting for new version of VNQM and hope to see support for Avaya call quality monitoring. Well, now is a good chance how to help us recognize technical differences and challenges our engineering needs to solve before GA. We are here with first beta that supports Avaya call managers (have S7x series in our lab). We would highly appreciate if you can try to install this version on your test environment (could be VM) and let us know how it works on your end.


This is currently supported functionality:

  • Avaya support
    • Storing CDRs in Orion internal DB
    • VoIP search for Avaya calls (search with time and CM only)
    • VoIP Call details view (without CQR and Call Signaling)


If you want to participate in beta, you should own VNQM and be under active maintenance. Then you need to simply agree with this beta agreement: SolarWinds VoIP & Network Quality Manager 4.2 Beta Participation Survey and I'll send you download link.


How to add Avaya call manager? Click on "Add new call manager" button on IPSLA Summary page and our wizard will take you through the process.


I'd also welcome any feedback on wizard UI and improvement points.


Here are few screenshots:


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With NTM 2.1 out the door we're now focusing on the features and functionality for the next release.  The team is currently working on the following:


  • Import User Defined Graphics

Users will be able to bring into the application their own custom graphics.

  • Do Not Scan List/ Scan Exclusions option into the Discovery Settings page

Users will be able to configure scan exclusion to increase the scanning performance and skip scanning nodes which causes false alarms

Not all vendor devices serial numbers will be polled in one release, due to the introduction of performance issues while scanning. We would encourage you to comment on which vendor devices we need to focus on. We will priorities accordingly depending on the response we get.

  • Creating a new map from selected Node objects

This function will help in better representation & creating specific maps

Questions? Comments? If you've got questions or ideas about a particular feature that might be most useful to you or your organization, or want to take part in a release candidate or beta, feel free to comment. Make sure to file a feature request over in our Network Topology Mapper Feature Requests forum if you don't see your request. If someone else already posted it, please add your comments so we know there's interest in a particular feature or issue.

To receive updates on the NTM roadmap, join thwack and bookmark this page.


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

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