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We are pleased to announce the general availability of SolarWinds Web Help Desk 12.0.1. This is a service release, which contains number of improvements and fixes. Namely,

 

  • Installation issues with non-standard installations
  • Friendlier and more informative messages during installation and upgrade
  • Certificate issues on Exchange when running SSL.
  • Upgrade and migration issues.
  • PostgreSQL service does not start on Win2003.
  • E-Mail account type label includes Exchange 2013.
  • Exception when deleting an attachment.
  • Upgrade fails when IP Address is bound in WHD.conf.
  • Unable to create ticket notes using API.
  • Escalate privileges to admin when running WHD scripts in Windows.
  • WHD discovery Engine (WMI) ignores XP machines.
  • Escalate privileges to admin when running WHD installer.
  • Performance issues with SAVE operation on notes.
  • Installer blocks on maintenance expired.
  • Discovery engine not collecting HDD info.
  • Additional logging during migration.
  • Call uninstallation of whd from installer.
  • Update installation script to be HDD independent.
  • Verify previous installation of WHD.
  • Windows installation on different HDD.

 

You can view the full set of release notes here.

 

Download Web Help Desk now and have fun!




We have a new "What We're Working On" post. Click here for the new post.








We shipped v10 mid year, added mobile access for your iOS devices and last month we added support for Android OS based devices.  We're now working on the next release. 


Here is a list of what we're working on:

 

  • Remote control 'over-the-internet' to support remote control scenarios outside the LAN.
  • Centralized Server for both DRS.  This will provide the following benefits:
    • Central console to setup and manage centralized functionality
    • Centralized and easily accessible host lists
    • Drastic simplification of SolarWinds offline license activation and license management
    • Ability to search host lists
  • Native OSX agent
  • Native Web Help Desk integration
  • Ability to reboot a system into safe-mode and connect with MRC
  • More granular connection and client agent security
  • Session recording either ad-hoc or forced to a central location
  • Reverse screen sharing
  • Advanced Centralized Functionality
    • Ability to restrict / grant access to various DRS functions via user profile / policy
    • Ability to push MRC agents and agent updates
    • Ability to push DRS consoles
    • Leverage Active Directory/LDAP for authentication as well as access control based on groups
    • Centralized MRC agent configuration management
    • Centralized access logs for auditing



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?) or would like to be included in a preview demo, please let us know!

We have been keeping an eye on the discussions here asking for improvement in terms of network traffic analysis, beyond what MIB 2 (Interface traffic) and Flow technology (NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow...) have to offer.

And we recently saw that NBAR support was voted #1 enhancement request for NTA - the Network Traffic Analyzer (see more about SolarWinds Network Traffic Analyzer here)
As we were thinking about this, we wondered whether the requirement was basically for NBAR - period - or if this was the sign of a larger requirement for better tools to ananalyze your traffic.
For example, we did a Traffic Analysis survey, asking if you used DPI-type solutions and we discovered that a large proportion was using Wireshark (not really a surprise, but was a good confirmation) or any other form of DPI product
DPI solutions used by SolarWinds customers.PNG
Also, I recently talked to some of you and confirmed that a significant proportion (actually higher than what the above chart suggests) either had a Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) solution in place (Riverbed Cascade/Opnet, LanCope, ...) or had this in their budget for this year.
So all this fueled a lot of thoughts and raised some questions on our side, on which we'd really appreciate your comments and answers:
  • Does Wireshark meet most of your needs?
  • Do you need Advanced Traffic Analysis for environments other than Cisco, where solutions like NBAR may not be available? In other words, do you need a vendor-agnostic solution?
  • All of you who own a DPI-type solution, mentioned their (prohibitive) cost as an issue. We are convinced that you don't need to be an Enterprise, able to spend $200K or more on these solutions, to really need them. Small and medium-size businesses also encounter challenges with their traffic which require deep analysis.
    Is it time for SolarWinds to commoditize that market and offer 80% of those features for 20% of the cost?

Before I'll let you go and express your thoughts and describe your experience, here is a bit more on how we think about this problem.

What are the needs for Advanced Traffic Analysis?

We see mainly 4:

Breakdown my traffic by application and user, like Netflow does ... but better

As convenient as Netflow technology is, it actually does a pretty average job at identifying your applications (unless you deploy Flexible Netflow):
    • Limited to static ports. Any app using dynamic ports will be invisible to (Net)flow technology
    • Ignores that many application use port 80 to go through firewalls and are actually NOT HTTP / Web applications
    • Is unable to identify reliably true Web applications: either because (Net)flow does not inspect the HTTP header and does not do URL extraction. Also, content networks such as YouTube.com (owned by Google) are identified by the Content Distribution Network they use as opposed to the Web site they really have (e.g. 1e100.net for YouTube.com...).
      See this typical question we have, pointing to this great post explaining why (Net)flow is really not the ultimate weapon and why Flexible Netflow is not the panacea either.

 

I need an aggregated view of the Quality of Experience rendered by my applications to my users

In a perfect world, users experiencing slowness in their application will open a ticket or send an email, and IT will know about it. But the world is not perfect and how many IT engineers discovered the hard way, as they were thrown under the bus by an email from a user to the CIO, that the QoE offered by IT is actually not that great, despite what they thought?

Of course there are solutions to simulate users connecting across the network (E.g. SolarWinds VNQM, based on Cisco's Ip SLA technology) as well as simulate the details of their transactions on their mission critical applications (e.g. SolarWinds WPM), but those are based on simulations and do not reflect the true experience of users.

Wouldn't it be great to have a dashboard looking at the traffic of all your users connecting to their applications and calculate the latency they REALLY experience and reporting this in near real-time, or on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis?

 

I need help troubleshooting slow access to applications

Your users are complaining about slowness when accessing some application? (or a QoE dashboard, as presented above, is keeping you informed about that)

The first things people do is use the basic tools they have, to try to troubleshoot:

    • Look at saturated interfaces that can explain slowness. Then go to  (Net)flow information to understand the nature of this traffic and see what non mission-critical traffic could be removed to avoid the saturation moving forward. The problem with this, is that a) it's not always easy to identify all interfaces on the path from the impacted user(s) to the application and b) excess of traffic is not always the cause of the slowness
    • Look at the devices along the path - from the switch the user(s) is(are) connected to, up to the server this application resides one, via all WAN routers - and see if any experience poor health explaining the slowness (CPU, memory, IO...)

Decent start, but what if this does not answer the question?

What if it's a mis-configuration? What if it's one particular transaction of this application, out of dozen, that is slow, how do you figure which one? What if the slow application is actually spread across multiple-tiers (application server, database, storage...) and what you thought was a "simple" analysis of the path between the user and the application server, happens to be more complicated and involve several back-end servers?

All these more complex but unfortunately real-life examples, are almost impossible to troubleshoot with the basic tools.

 

Security is key for us and I need to know exactly what peole do on my network

Who is accessing internal file shares? From the outside of my network, really?

How about browser-based file shares (e.g. dropbox)? Is last amount of internal material being copied over to those?

Are your users downloading copyrighted content from P2P media and storing it on company-owned asset, e.g. their workstation?

Do you have unusual traffic from unexpected countries? What is this traffic about?

You already have an Advanced Traffic Analysis (e.g. DPI-based solution)? Tell us what you think about it...

  • What use case(s) does it meet for you (from list above or other)?
  • Do you consider it cost effective?
  • How important is it to have these products integrated to platform such as an NMS / IT infrastructure management platform such as Orion?
  • Would you consider a solution integrated to Orion that would address your most important need at a fraction of the cost? Or do you need the full power of those expensive solutions? Tell us what the minimum bar is!

 

How does encrypted traffic impact the effectiveness of your Advanced Traffic Analysis (e.g. DPI-based solution)?

 

If you currently run some form of Advanced Traffic Analysis product (e.g. DPI-based solution), how does encrypted traffic impacts it.

Did encrypted traffic dictated where you deployed your packet capture probes? Are there areas of your network that carry encrypted traffic that you are blind on due to that?

 

Sniffing traffic, ok, but which one?


Let us know about your most important traffic types, on which to perform Advanced Traffic Analysis:

  • A) LAN traffic on corporate / Data Center (internal)
  • B) LAN traffic on remote site
  • C) WAN traffic (general)
  • D) WAN optimized traffic (e.g. Cisco WAAS, Riverbed, Bluecoat)
  • E) VM to VM traffic
  • F) Load balanced traffic (e,g, Cisco ACE, F5)
  • G) Virtualized traffic (e.g. analyse traffic in/out of an application hosted by a Cloud SP)
  • H) DMZ traffic

 

Sniffing traffic, ok, but how?

 

Agents, span or Tap or RITE?

  • The agent-based technique is about running agents on the OS - virtual or not - that hosts your mission critical applications. If your focus is the traffic that goes to your applications (as opposed to look at all traffic including the fully meshed opne that goes across all your sites sites), then agents are a good solution because they make the 3 techiques below unnecessary, but they require an invasive action on your OS by adding a component to it: what CPU/memory do they consume on the OS? Are they really only looking at the traffic? How do we upgrade 100's of them that are deployed on yuour server farm...
  • The Port Spanning / Mirroring technique is basically about high-jacking one port from your switch and dedicate it for mirroring all or part of the entire traffic of the switch. Then the management product listens to packets from this port and performs analysis, storage...

Pretty simple, because most switches support this now, just a commend top issue and a cable to connect and you can start drinking from the fire hose; but may have an impact on the switch and can't guarantee 100% packet captured on very heavily loaded switches.
Note that spanning a port is possible on a HW switch but also on a vSwitch within a virtual environment

  • Network Taps are basically pieces of hardware that you buy to replace the switch for this function (capturing packets). They are placed inline and have no influence on the switch and pretty much capture 100% of the traffic.
  • RITE - Router IP Traffic Export, is a Cisco technology like spanning a port on a switch, except that it's done on a router. Again, easy to deploy since it leverages an existing device, but it impacts it and won't work great at high speed. See this nice and short blog post

 

Tell us about your experience, your preferences, what's allowed and not allowed on your networks, as far as capturing packets for Advanced Traffic Analysis.

 

 

 

We have officially reached Release Candidate (RC) status for Network Configuration Manager 7.2. 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.

 

Here is the content of this RC version:

  • Continue moving functionality from Win32 client to Web UI
    • Job management (Windows Task Scheduler not used anymore)
    • Config management (edit, delete, set baseline)
    • Possibility to test device login credentials
    • Import config from file
  • Provide End-of-Life information for managed devices.
  • Multiple global connection profiles
    • Define multiple connection profiles (device credentials, protocol, port etc.)
    • NCM will try which of the predefined connection profiles works for a device (configurable per device)
  • The execution of Config Change Templates can be scheduled.
  • Change Approval System enhancements
    • Approved requests to be executed at specified date/time
    • Approved requests to be returned to requestor for execution
    • Requesters can see a history of what they requested and was approved
    • Approvers can see a history of what they approved
  • SNMPv3 -- Support of AES-256 encryption
  • Inventory for Brocade devices
  • More devices supported natively (Palo Alto)
  • Config Change Template Extensions: 'delay' command, string <-> number conversion
  • Make downloaded configurations searchable for IP addresses with FTS enabled.

More details and screenshots can be found in the NCM 7.2 Beta blog post and in Manage End-of-Life Information for Your Devices with NCM!

 

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. If you have any questions, I encourage you to leverage the NCM RC forum.


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

SolarWinds has prepared a new on-line sessions for all of you who are interested what's coming in our product series. This sessions will be presented by Product Managers and we believe that it will give you an interesting look into product's future.

If you would like to attend, simply make your registration at GoTo meeting web site: New Series: PM-Hosted Monthly Product Roadmap Updates

 

The upcoming Wednesday 17th July's session will be focused at Network Performance Monitor 10.5 and beyond. In this episode, we will review the new features in SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor v10.5 and additionally, we will discuss what we are working on for the future. Feel free to bring your comments and questions.

 

See you there.

We have completed the bulk of the development effort and are now focused on testing the latest release of Kiwi Syslog Server (KSS). KSS v9.4 has reached Beta status. 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 KSS:

  • Moving to a new web server
    This change brings a lot of new functionality "for free". Examples:
  • Active Directory authentication for web access
  • Alerting for Message Queue Monitor
    Be notified when the number of messages in the message queue crosses certain threshold. This indicates there might be performance problems and gives you chance to take an action before messages get dropped.

FreeDNS.png

Today we made it official - our library of handy DNS and email troubleshooting tools on DNSstuff.com are now free! You can use the tools a few times before being prompted to create an account, with an account you can create your own favorites and arrange the tools as you see fit. The DNSstuff Toolbox ("Professional Toolset") has dozens of tools for testing/retrieving DNS records and troubleshooting configuration issues that might affect network connectivity, routing, DNS and email; the Mail Server Test Center consolidates a few critical tests that might affect email into one place.

 

Questions DNSstuff Tools can Help you Answer

 

Is it down for everyone or just me? Can people reach my site? Is my site slower from different parts of the internet?

DNSstuff is a great third party external resource that lets you troubleshoot remote connectivity issues without calling all your friends to ask them to try accessing your site and tell you how slow it is. In addition to the usual traceroute, our vector trace tool lets you drop in an IP and we'll connect to it from 2 different locations to see whether there's any issues with your site that might differ based on someone's location. While you're there, dig into the details about any hop to find out more about who owns it and where it is.

 

DNSvector1.pngDNSvector2.png

 

 

Are my DNS records good? Has my DNS change propagated through the internet yet? I am setting up a new site or working with a new customer and how can I tell their DNS is configured correctly? Is there a problem with one of my listed DNS servers not responding?

 

Nothing's more fun than making changes or making a new site live and having someone ask you every 5 minutes why the traffic isn't coming yet, or why people are still seeing the old site. Okay, maybe more fun than that is when you have random reports of lookup failures or communication errors to your site and have no idea why - but all of the network connectivity itself seems good. You can use DNSstuff to do tests against your DNS records and their listed DNS servers to make sure all of the listings are correct AND help you identify common problems or pitfalls with DNS that might lead to these types of failures.

 

Our DNSreport tool will run a number of tests against your domain and subsequent listed DNS servers to tell you if there's a problem anywhere down the line. You can also use the ISP cached DNS lookup tool to see if ISPs have cached your records or are showing the new ones.

 

DNSreport.pngDNScachedISP.png

 

Where is this IP address physically located? How does traffic route through different geographic areas to get to one of my sites? Could a wonky route that sends traffic overseas be making my site particularly slow?

DNSstuff has a few IP location and visual traceroute tools that help you identify where a certain IP is located and what routes traffic might be taking to get to an IP address. The vector trace (sample above) is handy to see how different locations might be reaching you. Our standard traceroute performs the exact same lookup but from a single host. IP information will look up all of the info related to an IP (including location across several location tools) and there's always standard IPWhois to do a simple reverse ownership lookup.

DNSipinfo.pngDNSipwhois.png


Am I listed on any spam blacklists?

There's a bunch of spam blacklists out there and getting listed means email from you might not reach someone using a blacklist to prevent unwanted email. DNSstuff has a blacklist lookup tool that checks your IP address against those lists.  You can also check a domain against a URI blacklist tool in case your domain has appeared in spam and that's causing you to be blocked, too. If you are blocked, we've lined up the contact info so you can react accordingly.

 

DNSspambl.pngDNSuribl.png

 

Who owns this site and which whois service should I use to find out if I need to contact them? I changed my whois record info, but how do I know it's done?

There are several online whois tools, but usually in order to use them, you have to at least figure out which whois service to go to. We've hooked them all up to one lookup tool so you can drop in an IP or domain name and see who it belongs to (and all the other useful whois info). We also have snapshots so you can see when whois information last changed and what changed.


DNSwhois1.pngDNSwhois2.png

 

People are getting bounce messages from our email, but not all of the time, and I can't figure out what's going on - help?

If you've got multiple servers configured as your MX, mail can find its way to all of them - but only sometimes, which makes problems pretty hard to track down unless you check every server. Mail Server Test Center runs a bunch of tests that check basic connectivity, records, SPF, and other info against ALL of your MX records.

 

DNSmstc.png

 

And More!!

There's a ton of other tools on DNSstuff - everything from a Speed Test to DKIM Key/SPF record checking to a CIDR calculator and even social media search. DNSstuff is also here on Thwack, over in the DNSstuff space where our product management and sometimes even dev team checks in to see how we can help.

 

NOTE: All paying DNSstuff customers continue to have access to the same tools and information that they did before, and access to create an online case with our support team up to the expiration date of your account. As your account expires, your access to any tools won't change and you'll experience no interruption in service.

The SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset – 10.9.1 Release Candidate is now available for download in your customer portal.

This Release Candidate fixes the following issues.

 

• Issues with Neighbor Map (250173, 186932)

• Port Mapper - In correct VLAN ID displayed (156029)

• Bandwidth Gauge –Historical Statistics issue fixed (175923)

• Subnet Calculator – Resulting in wrong subnets (243226, 228460, 222771)

• Port Scanner crashes (222332, 218038)

• Switch Port Mapper does not work with Cisco Nexus 5000 (197087)

• Switch Port Mapper does not show MAC Address (204097)

• Switch Port Mapper fails to export to CSV format (250453)

• Workspace Studio Crash (236890, 236888)

TraceRoute crashes when hostname is not resolved (233322)

• Cannot add nodes to Bandwidth Gauges, with Non Admin user rights (234987)

WorkSpace Studio: Interface Chart % Utlization Rx+Tx faulty logic (245706)

• SNMP Real Time Graph displaying duplicate column names (250074)

• Watch It gives a Run-Time error after exiting the application when log in as a standard user (241675)

• Compare config Tool error out when logged in as a standard user (240296)

 

We have also included some enhancements into the tools.

 

• Enhancements into the TraceRoute tool.

WorkSpace Studio - Export function available in IP Network Browser.

• Neighbor Map can now export to Visio

• Proxy Ping supports IPV6 and SNMPv3

• SFTP functions using DSA Algorithms

• Fixed the renaming of file name in SCP Server and TFTP Server Tools.

 

The full set of release notes will be available when we have the formal release.

 

P.S: The Release Candidate (RCs) is a fully supported early release available to existing customers. If you have active maintenance and you are interested in the RC, please download the RC from your Customer Portal..

For those of you not familiar with Google Fusion, it's the latest (beta) data visualization tool to come out of the Mountain View Chocolate Factory. Among other things, it can make some pretty awesome charts and maps.

Since we here at SolarWinds subscribe to all sorts of geekery, we thought it only fitting to pump our topology and dependency data into it and see what came out. As you can see from the video below, the results are pretty awesome.

 

So how does one go about creating such a cool map and putting it in NPM?

 

First, you'll need the SolarWinds SDK installed (http://thwack.solarwinds.com/thread/39001)

 

Then open SWQL Studio and attach to SWISv3 with your Orion Credentials.

For topology data, use the below query:

 

 

SELECT d.Caption AS DestCaption, s.Caption AS SrcCaption FROM Orion.TopologyData t

JOIN Orion.Nodes s ON s.NodeID = t.SrcNodeID

JOIN Orion.Nodes d ON d.NodeID = t.DestNodeID

 

 

 


For Dependencies, you would use the below query:

 

 

SELECT dp.ParentDisplayName, dc.ChildDisplayName

FROM

(

SELECT d.DependencyID, d.ParentUri, p.DisplayName AS ParentDisplayName

FROM Orion.Dependencies d

JOIN System.ManagedEntity p ON p.Uri = d.ParentUri

) dp

JOIN

(

SELECT d.DependencyID, d.ChildUri, c.DisplayName AS ChildDisplayName

FROM Orion.Dependencies d

JOIN System.ManagedEntity c ON c.Uri = d.ChildUri

) dc ON dp.DependencyID = dc.DependencyID

 

 

 

 

Right click on the results and save as a CSV file to your local hard drive.

FusionTables.png

Now let's go over to Google and search for "Fusion Table"

 

Select "Create" (you may need to login with your Google account credentials)

Select "Choose File" and select the file you have saved from SWQL Studio and click Next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table_data.png

 

 

Take a moment to admire your data, and click Next then Finish.

See your data in the Fusion Table?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Network_Graph.pngOn the "Help" Menu  Select "Switch to Classic View".  You should now see the "Labs" menu option

From the "Labs" menu, select "Network graph", and you should now see your beautiful map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

publish.png

Click on the "Get embeddable code" button and select the "Change Visibility" link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select "Anyone with the link". Click "Save"

Change the Height and Width to your desired size.  This size will need to be smaller than your column width in your Orion Page you will be putting the resource on minus about 50 pixels.  So if my Orion page column in 850, then I set 800 Width here.

Copy the "Paste HTML to embed in website" text.  Keep in your clip board for future use

Go to NPM, navigate to the page you want to place your Fusion Graph Map on.

From here it's a simple process of creating a Custom HTML resource. This has been covered previously here: http://thwack.solarwinds.com/community/solarwinds-community/product-blog/blog/2010/08/05/hidden-gem-the-custom-html-resource

Once complete, get ready to impress your friends, family, and co-workers. Well, perhaps not, but you likely won't be able to stop playing with the new map.

SolarWinds is hosting a Customer Event at Cisco Live Orlando! Sign up to join us for one or more sessions. Sessions will be held Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 & 27, over lunch. The Customer Event will be held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, directly across the street from the hotel. Each session is limited to 30 people, and a catered lunch will be provided. We hope to see you there.

 

Sessions Include:

 

Wednesday June 26, 11:30-12:30

Don’t Forget the Superglue

 

This session covers three critical areas that can be overlooked until you’re in a pinch: config backup and policy scanning, network discovery and diagramming, and maintaining a clutter-free helpdesk queue.

 

Wednesday June 26, 12:30-1:30

NPM – What’s New, What’s Coming, and Popular Extensions

 

Join us for a product update, one-on-one discussion, and live demo with SolarWinds Product Managers and Head Geeks to learn and ask questions about the brand spanking new PM 10.5 release. The Product Management team will discuss what we’re working n for future releases.

 

Thursday June 27, 11:30-12:30

Protect Your Network From Hackers

 

Join us for a power unch to swap stories from the front lines and learn what SolarWinds is bringing to the table in the security space. A SolarWinds customer will also join the presentation to share how they are using SolarWinds in their environment.

 

Thursday June 27, 12:30-1:30

NPM – What’s New, What’s Coming, and Popular Extensions

 

Join us for a product update, live demo, and one-on-one discussion with SolarWinds Product Managers and Head Geeks to learn and ask questions about the brand spanking new NPM 10.5 release. This session will also feature a long-term SolarWinds NPM customer as a special guest panelist. The Product Management team will discuss what we’re working on for future releases.

 

Sign up here!

It’s been a month since the release of NTM 1.0.10., We are now working on our next version which has been guided by your valuable feedback. Below is snapshot on what we are considering.

 

  • Edit Node Properties – You will be able to Change your Nodes’ Names or Name your Unidentified nodes.
  • Ability to save credentials – NTM will give you the ability to save credentials and reuse it to perform a new scan.
  • Schedule export to Network Atlas – For our NPM users, you will be able to perform scheduled exports of NTM Maps into Network Atlas.
  • Better representation of ICMP (only) Nodes – We are working on building some intelligence in that allows for better grouping of ICMP nodes and better representation of them on the map.
  • Support Hyper V – We will extend our Virtualization mapping by supporting Hyper V

 

 

Questions? Comments? Did We Miss Something? 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 and please don’t forget to mention the use-case that particular feature will solve for you.

 

Disclaimer: 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. 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!

Hello!

 

After the release of NTA 3.11 we here at SolarWinds turn our focus on performance and retention with in NTA. There have been several surveys that you all have been great about providing feedback on in addition to here on Thwack. Survey Says: make it run faster! Retain my data longer! You asked, we listened and now we are focused on delivering our next release with these enhancements as the primary focus.

  • Performance:
    • Decreasing Web Page Load Times
    • Decreasing Flow Processing overhead
    • Increasing Flow Processing speed and capacity
    • Decreasing SQL DB overhead
  • Retention:
    • No more data aggregation
    • Greatly increased detailed data retention

 

And for all you Juniper folks, we're also planning on supporting sampled jFlow. Stay tuned for more updates about beta builds in the near future! Can't be contained in 4.0

 

Disclaimer: This is not a commitment to a time frame or delivery of any of the features discussed below. This is also not a commitment to deliver all of these features in our next release. This post is intended to give you a rough idea of what we're doing.

DameWare 10.0 has officially been released!  This marks a milestone in DameWare history, with DameWare officially going mobile!  We listened to your feedback over the past year, and one thing we heard time and again was the ability to use DameWare on mobile devices.. With DRS 10.0, you will now be able to remotely control machines with the DameWare agent from your iPad or iPhone running iOS 6 or greater. For those of you running a different OS- <cough>Android</cough> don't flame us just yet; we're very interested in making that happen for you in the future.

 

In order to securely proxy your mobile traffic from the interwebs to your systems, we've created a new service called the DameWare Mobile Gateway (DMG for short.) DMG is installed on a Windows server installed in your DMZ (or behind your firewall if you have mobile VPN access.)

 

DameWare_Mobile_Gateway.jpg

 

Once installed, just configure your user accounts, and you are off and running:

DameWare_Mobile_Gateway_Users.jpg

 

 

 

The DameWare iOS mobile client is freely available in the AppStore, and once installed will prompt you for the IP address of your newly installed Gateway, as well as user name and password.

After sucessfull authentication, proceed to connect to any endpoint running the DameWare agent. Besides the brand new mobile app, there are several other items worthy of note in this release:

 

1. Remote mounting of ISO via Intel's vPro AMT - re-install an OS from across the globe.

2. Support for authenticated proxies during silent installation

 

Full release notes are available here

Detailed deployment guide for DMG here

 

If you're an existing customer on SolarWinds maintenance then this upgrade is absolutely free to you.  If you've yet to purchase through SolarWinds, you can download and try the new features for free for 14 days.  Purchasing 10.0 gets you a year of maintenance which entitles you to free upgrades and support. I hope you'll check out 10.0, and I'd love to hear your feedback on the new features and enhancements!

If you have used Network Topology Mapper, you know it’s of great use for visually seeing and tracking changes of your network, onto a map.

In past blogs we have highlighted how NTM integrates with NPM. If you missed it you can check out my blog post here.

For this blog, we will see how SolarWinds Engineers Toolset integrates with NTM and how it can make your life easier.

Before we do. Let's perform a quick recap on what these tools can help you with.

 

Network Topology Mapper (NTM)

Network Topology Mapper automatically discovers and produces a comprehensive network diagram of your network. Some other features that will make your life easier are:

1. Builds comprehensive Layer 2, Layer 3, Layer 2/3, VLAN ID specific and Virtual environments network maps

2. Tracks changes in your network environment

3. Export to Microsoft Office® Visio®, PDF, Network Atlas and PNG formats

4. Visually track changes in the network, with the help of the schedule discovery.

5. Fulfillment of information security requirements of PCI/DSS, HIPAA, or other regulatory standard

 

Engineers Toolset (ETS)

Engineers Toolset is composed of over 50 network tools ranging from network diagnostic, discovery, monitoring, configuration management, security etc. These tools are easy to use and effective to troubleshoot your network.

 

Engineers Toolset Integrates with Network Topology Mapper.

If you have ETS and NTM on the same system, you can take advantage of the integration of ETS into NTM. Below are the six tools that will work out-of-the-box with just a right-click.

  • TraceRoute
  • Enhanced Ping
  • Lookup IP Address
  • Lookup Hostname
  • CPU Gauge
  • Switchport Mapper

Untitled1.png

Are these the only tools which are integrated ? What about the rest ?


Fear not, we have added a function called Custom Tools, which gives you the ability to add specific tools depending on your needs and requirement.

My personal favorite is the Neighbor Map tool, I have heard users who have asked for, the ability to perform crawl discovery of a specific node in NTM. Neighbor Map integration from Toolset addresses this request.

  • Right click the selected node. Integration with Custom Tools - Add Custom Tools
  • Give a name for the custom tool (in this case Neighbor Map). Provide the path to the NeighborMap.exe file, which is found in your Toolset installation folder.
  • Under Command line arguments, enter the following arguments /host: (to enter the selected node into the Neighbor Map tool) and click on ${IP} under TIP: Command line Macro Commands (which will pull the IP address of the selected node).
  • Click on Save Changes and the OK button and you are good to go.

Capturenow7.JPG

 

Capturenow4.JPG


Other interesting tools like Bandwidth Gauges (provides real time traffic and bandwidth utilization monitoring), Real Time Interface Monitor (to display interface statistics from routers and switches ) and more can be called from NTM.

 

If you're an Engineer's Toolset customer and you haven't tried the NTM, you can learn more about it here.

 

 

Last updated on 2/20/2014, by Cliton Godinho

It's a rare thing these days to see a product essentially reinvent itself. Most product improvements across the industry tend to be more evolutionary than revolutionary; and with Server & Application Monitor 6.0 beta 3 (sign-up here) we are definitely aiming our sights towards the latter. Since we very first sat down at the drawing board to begin design on SAM 6.0, our mantra has been "question everything". We wanted to provide a tremendous level of additional application monitoring depth, while simultaneously simplifying the entire experience of initial setup and configuration of application monitoring; we also wanted to reduce overhead associated with configuration changes made in the environment. As result of this endeavor AppInsight was born.

 

AppInsight is a new application monitoring technique we are introducing as part of the Server & Application Monitor 6.0 release. Beginning with Microsoft SQL Server, AppInsight provides a whole new level of application monitoring detail that was previously very difficult, if not impossible to achieve using Application Templates. AppInsight is not a direct replacement for Applications Templates but rather an entirely new monitoring concept within SAM. Application Templates remain the primary method for quickly monitoring virtually any commercial, open source, or home grown application imaginable. In contrast, AppInsight is more akin to an entirely new product deeply embedded within SAM; designed from the top down to solve common, yet complex problems for a specific application, rather than merely a new feature.

 

AppInsight for SQL

 

Microsoft's SQL Server is a ubiquitous beast at the very core of many organizations critical business applications, both large and small. Unfortunately, gaining the necessary visibility into various different aspects of the SQL Server instance, or worse yet, the databases themselves, that effect the performance characteristics of the applications that rely on the database server has proven challenging without the necessary tools to provide visibility.

 

With SAM 6.0 we knew we wanted to deliver comprehensive SQL database server monitoring in a simple, intuitive, easy to use manner that would aid anyone, from novice systems administrators to veteran DBAs alike, identify both common and complex SQL issues in their environment.

 

Discovery

 

The AppInsight experience, as with most things,starts at the beginning during discovery. When adding nodes individually all available SQL 2008, 2008R2, and SQL 2012 Server instances found on the host are listed. As you can see in the screenshot to the right, you can select each individual instance you'd like to monitor the same as you would for volumes or interfaces.

 

If adding nodes individually isn't your speed, AppInsight for SQL has also been tightly integrated into the Network Sonar Discovery wizard. This allows you to easily scan an entire subnet, group of subnets, IP address ranges, or a list of individual IP addresses, to quickly discover hosts on your network and any SQL Server instances installed on those hosts. Regardless of which method you choose, monitoring your SQL server instances is as easy as checking the box.

Add Node - AppInsight.png
Network+Sonar+-+AppInsight.png

Once you've enabled AppInsight for SQL monitoring for any SQL Server instance(s), you will see them listed within the same All Applications resource alongside the template based applications that you're monitoring with SAM today.

 

A new icon adorns AppInsight for SQL instances in the All Applications resource, making them easily distinguishable from traditional template based applications.

AppInsight Dashboard

 

When you click on any AppInsight for SQL listed in the All Applications tree, you will be taken to a new, radically overhauled version of the Application Details view that's been designed from the ground up to serve as the dashboard for that Microsoft SQL Server instance.

 

The very first thing you're likely to notice when accessing this new Application Details view are the the newly redesigned chart resources that combines information, such as status and current value normally found within the Components resource, with those metrics historical values charted over time. This allows you to see not only how the application is performing now, but how that performance compares to historical trends without needing to drill deeper into the Component Details view.

All Applications - AppInsight.png

There is such an enormous amount of valuable information on this view that it has been categorized and broken up logically across multiple resources; a theme carried over from the Asset Inventory subview I discussed in my previous SAM 6.0 Beta blog post. This prevents anyone from becoming too overwhelmed with all the information shown, while also making the diagnosis of root cause easier. For example, if you're troubleshooting a potential memory issue on your SQL Server, then all information related to memory is contained within the Memory resource. There are similar resources for information such as latches & locks, connections, cache, paging, buffers, and more.


Memory.png

Database Details

 

AppInsight for SQL doesn't merely gather information about the SQL Server instance itself but also individual database managed by that SQL Server as well. Contained within the Application Details view, you will find the All Databases resource that displays status and basic size information for the databases running on this SQL instance. As databases are created on the SQL server, AppInsight will automatically begin monitoring them. Conversely, when databases are deleted from the SQL server they will disappear from the All Databases resource. Click on any of the databases listed and you'll be taken to the Database Details view which contains all information specific to that database.

All databases.png

Database Index Fragmentation.png

 

The Database Details view helps to identify various database performance issues, such as those associated with poorly performing indexes through the top 10 clustered and non-clustered indexes by fragmentation resources.There's also a wealth of other valuable information contained in this view that will help you to determine which tables consume the most storage space, the number of rows in each table, white space remaining in the database, as well as resources to help isolate disk I/O contention issues for both database and transaction log files.

Database - Tables by Size.png
Expensive Queries


What do you do when "Sally" in accounting complains that the ERP system, that's critical to the business and relies on Microsoft SQL, is "slow", but you've exhausted all avenues trying to isolate the cause of the issue? SAM's AppInsight for SQL may be telling you that the issue is CPU related, but how do you determine the actual cause? This is where having insight into the most expensive queries executing on the SQL server becomes absolutely essential. Within the Application Details view you will find the Top 10 Expensive Queries resource that shows the the most expensive queries running across all databases for that SQL server instance. Additionally, you will find the same Top 10 Expensive Queries resource on the Database Details view that shows the list of most expensive queries running against that specific database. If those resources don't provide an adequate level of detail to help isolate the issue there's also a dedicated Queries subview where you can filter on a specific database, time frame, host, or user. From this view you can quickly identify that the cause of the high CPU utilization on the SQL server, and the ERP systems poor performance, are caused by "Jan" in the Finance department running her quarterly reports. That's actionable information everyone can use.

Most Expensive Queries.png

Download Details

 

There's still a ton more AppInsight for SQL goodness that I haven't yet shown. If you'd like to see it in action for yourself sign-up here to participate in the SAM 6.0 beta. Note: You must already own a license of Server & Application Monitor that's currently under active maintenance to participate in the Beta.

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