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13 Posts authored by: TiffanyNels

And So, It Ends...

Posted by TiffanyNels Apr 4, 2013

Our final battle was an epic match-up of Trekker proportion.


Q vs Spock…  Honestly, I am not 100% sure that Spock “won.” We are fairly certain our community decided that Q needed to “lose.”


PotAto, PotAHto…


Spock faced down Q in an all Star Trek Final Judgment battle, using his logic to take on Q’s omnipotence. Spock and Q each had to handle a murderer’s row of resurrected challengers, before they could get to each other:

-    For Q, this line-up was comprised of Neo, the Infinite Improbability Drive, the Borg and Number 6.

-    Spock, on the other hand, had to out think Darth Vader, the 10th Doctor, Kaylee and River Tam.


In the end, Spock stands alone and will be crowned the Intergalactic Champion of the SolarWinds Sci-Fi Bracket Battle 2013.


Live long and Prosper!


All judgments aside, we wanted to extend a hearty thank you to the members of our community – both new and old – who voted, debated, tweeted, etc in the bracket battle.


We had a great time and we hope that you did as well.


And while the Bracket Battle of 2013 has come to close…  we are already thinking about options for 2014.


What say y’all?  Take to the comments and let us know!


Should we stick with the lasers and light sabres?


Or, do we take inspiration from Super Smash Brothers and send Pac-Man into the ring against Alex Mason?


Lately, we have been contemplating how Gandalf might fare against the White Walkers…

Okay, so maybe some of you saw it coming… maybe you just knew that Q was going to be in our final battle. Maybe some of you knew it would be Spock.

It was pointed out that the ears and the bowl cut was bound to rule… at least to this point, but once again, we give to you, the wrench. This time the battle commences not between the foes, but the contender’s foes. Spock and Q do not battle one another until they have summarily dismissed all their opposition’s former foes… then we’ll let them at each other.


So, how will Q handle Neo, the IID, the Borg, and Number 6?


And how will Spock handle: Vader, the 10th Doctor *grumble*, Kaylee, and River Tam?


Only you know the ways and means, give it to us. Who will be the SolarWinds Sci-Fi Bracket Battle champ?


Midnight: bring it.

Well, here we are, our final four contenders have slotted into place.


I'm sure that Q and River are not even looking at one another... disdain washing over one from the other. I have to ask, when confronted with someone minus one amygdala versus the perpetual manipulator and gamer, really who will come out trapped (or is that truly freed)? Will River read Q's mind or have her own blown in the attempt? Will Q simply underestimate River and leave himself open to harvest? Let's look at cerebral power here. Who will win the battle of the minds?


And then we have the fight to see who might mess up and emote. Spock... will you let that human side show? Number 6... did you really have a part in Caprica 6 going off to be a farmer with Baltar? When pride and love and all those other silly feelings begin their nagging itch, who will fold first?


And so, here we are, edging closer to the final battle... let the games begin.

More than 1000 votes were cast in the Fleet 16, enabling the following challengers to be named the SUPER 8 and matched accordingly.


  • Picard v River
  • Kaylee v Q
  • Borg v Spock
  • Number 6 v T-1000


At this point, I need to take a moment of silence to mourn the untimely demise of the 10th Doctor. 


You all understand what this means, right?  10th now regenerates into the 11th Doctor and we get the Ponds.  UGH. Sigh, only 10 more days until Clara.


Anyway, we are sure that you are waiting with bated breath for the rules for the Super 8 round…  We went back and forth on this one and finally decided that it was time for a good old-fashioned blood sport. 


The Super 8 round will not be fought solely with special powers and combatants must leave their weapons at the door.  We are all set for some hand-to-hand, backyard style brawling.


Brackets are updated and new polls & VOTING will launch at MIDNIGHT. 

Well, folks…  we have wrapped up round 1.  More than 3700 votes were cast over the past week, and we learned some really interesting things about y’all.


  • First, The Matrix appears to be pretty universally disliked.  None of those characters made it out of the first round.


  • Next on the “we just don’t care for it” list…  Star Wars.  Apparently, almost as much as you dislike Abrams, which doesn’t bode well for the future of the franchise. Han Solo is the only one to make it through, but he was pitted against a Matrix character (see above).


  • Likewise for the Original Star Trek crew…  Despite the back and forth between Kaylee and Scotty  (who would have predicted that match up as our closest in Round 1?), the only one to survive was Spock against Neo (and, we agree the logic there in unassailable… see above).


As we move into the Fleet 16, we have some pretty impressive match ups.  So, what now?


The commenters over at Fark had some questions about how we would run the second round.  Would we continue with the themes we established for Sector 1 or just let everything hang out?  Well, we are here with the answer.


In addition to being big Sci-Fi fans, we also hold a special place in one of our two hearts for reality TV (that is one of the benefits of having two hearts, more room for love…). And like any good reality competition, it is time to change up the rules a bit for this next round.


For the Fleet 16 match ups, we are giving each character an iconic trait, prop or tool that they will take into battle with them.  It is up to you to determine who then is best prepared to eliminate, neutralize or otherwise render irrelevant their foe.


Now, before everyone gets their exoskeletons in a twist…  a few caveats:


  • Yes. Some of these match ups are decidedly unbalanced.  That happens in brackets.  There is always some Cinderella team that wins the first round game only to face a #2 seed in the next.  Such is life.
  • Maybe.  Could the character use their tool in an unconventional way to manipulate their opponent into defeat?  Sure… that is really up to your interpretation.  That is what makes this fun.  We LOVED all the debate in the first round and obviously want to keep that going.
  • No. We have no expectation that you will be pleased with all of our selections. In fact, we anticipate many of you will be quite put out. But, hey…  passion (in situations like these, at least) begets frustration begets crazy debates (see above).  There might be a little method to this madness.



Voting opens Monday, March 18 at MIDNIGHT, that's 0:00 CDT on the 18th not the 19th.

But you can head over to the bracket now to see the upcoming match ups and what each victor will carry into the next round.

We are deep in the middle of Sector 1 voting (this round closes March 15, noon CT), and already there have been some interesting developments.


You Trekkies are a dedicated lot. We apologize for making you choose between your precious captains so early in the round.  It simply could not be avoided.


If you haven’t voted and are still trying to determine which engineer you would rather have with you deep in the middle of space, or whether Ripley’s history of coming back form the dead gives her an advantage over Hiro, there are some really excellent discussions going on outside of thwack you might want to check out.


One of our favorite IT bloggers, Lone Sysadmin, has his take on the state of five match-ups in particular.  Check it out here.


And, if you feel the need to go deep into the wormhole, head over to Fark and check out the discussion around the Ender v Paul and Vader v Q match ups, among others.


And Richard Hay (@winobs), gave us a shout out earlier today…  We previewed the bracket with a few lucky bloggers at Gestalt IT’s NFD #5 last week.


And, our apologies to the Stargate contingent…  if Q makes it to the second round, perhaps we will bend all the rules in his honor and drop a write-in candidate in the middle of the field just to shake everything up.

                                                       ...Okay, probably not, but we felt we had to throw you some kind of bone.


Speaking of “Fleet 16,” are you curious about the rules of engagement for Round 2… will we continue the themes or, just settle for an all out battle royale? Will we restrain/constrain the competitors to try and even the playing fields…


Let’s just say that it all depends on how you vote. You probably want to stay “plugged in” to see where we go from here.


Oh, and here is MY prediction for the final four:




The Doctor, and

River Tam…

The time has come to pick the one true champion of the Multiverse.


The official SolarWinds Sci-Fi Bracket Battle is now available!  See the match ups and start predicting their fates; head over to the space in thwack to see who is taking on Spock, Hiro, River Tam and T-1000 for the ultimate crown


For those that may have missed it, here are our Rules of Engagement.


And, to get us started we have our first battle…  Between C-3PO and Infinite Improbability Drive (C-3PO v. The Infinite Improbability Drive - An exercise in helpfulness...) – which tech do you want by your side as you travel the galaxies.


Voting for the prequel will close at 12 noon CT on Monday, March 11.


You have the weekend to ponder the possibilities, consider your arguments, and develop your strategies for Sector 1. Want to share? Dare to stand by your picks in the public eye?

Fill out your bracket and post it.


May the Force be with you…


Make it so…


But above all else,


Don’t Panic!

In just a few short hours, we release the official SolarWinds Sci-Fi Battle Bracket.


I know…   we are pretty freaking excited ourselves. But, let’s all take a deep and cleansing breath and take care of a little housekeeping before we release this linguistic virus and this thing gets bigger than a supernova.


You are probably asking yourself, what should I expect from an Intergalatic Bracket Battle? Well, let us adopt the role of helpful onboard computer, providing you with the information you need to engage.


In order to make the battle accessible to Neophytes and Trekkies alike, we have selected 33 candidates from the Sci-Fi (and, technically, Space Fantasy) canon of literature, movies, and television shows.  Each pairing has been carefully matched based on some shared theme or principle (and, it is not always the most obvious basis of comparison).



  • For each combatant, we offer links to the best Wikipedia reference page by clicking on the NAME link in bracket
  • A breakdown of each match-up is available by clicking on the VOTE link.
  • Anyone can view the bracket and the match-up descriptions, but to comment and VOTE you must be a thwack member (and logged IN). It's easier to join than the Battle School... promise.



  • Again, you have to be logged in to vote and debate…
  • You may only vote ONCE for each match up
  • Once you vote on a match, click the link to return to the bracket and vote on the next match up in the series.
  • Each vote gets you 50 thwack points!  So, over the course of the entire battle you have the opportunity to rack up 1550 points. Not too shabby…



  • Please feel free to campaign for your favorites and debate the merits of our match ups to your hearts content in the comments section and via twitter/Facebook/Google+ etc. etc. etc.
  • We even have a hashtag… #SWIscifibattle… to make it a little bit easier.
  • There will be a PDF version of the bracket available to facilitate debate with your office mates or HALO crew.  (Yes, this bracket battle is a bit like Serenity… not as fancy as that Bracketology thingy that happens this month, but suits our needs and we are a bit partial to its stripped down efficiency)
  • And, if you want to post pics of your bracket predictions, we would love to see them on our Facebook page!


SCHEDULE (Full schedule will post along with the bracket on March 8)


  • Bracket Release and Prequel Battle OPENS March 8 at MIDNIGHT
  • Sector 1 Battles OPEN March 12 at MIDNIGHT
  • Fleet 16 Battles OPEN March 18 at MIDNIGHT
  • Super 8 Battles OPEN March 21 at MIDNIGHT
  • Death Quad Battles OPEN March 26 at Midnight
  • Judgment Day Battle opens March 28 at MIDNIGHT
  • Champion of the Multiverse will be announced on APRIL 1 (no foolin’)


If you have other questions… feel free to drop them below and we will get right back with you!


Otherwise, keep your eyes on this space to bear witness to our Sci-Fi Cathedral of Chaos... Doors open at midnight... Don't forget. Don't be late. Don't make Uncle Enzo apologize.


Thrusters in 5...4…3…2…


Fill out your bracket and post it, don't be shy.

Here at SolarWinds we live for an old-fashioned hypothetical grudge match, and we know we’re not alone. In fact, we’re thinking it’s time for the definitive battle of sci-fi characters! We’ve been waiting a while for this one, my friends.


Whether it’s at happy hour, in the server room, or on Reddit, we’ve been fighting over Picard v. Kirk and Wars v. Trek for more years than Worf has forehead creases. Well, we are done with all the chit chat… It’s time to put our Imperial Credits where our mouths are and crown an official king OR queen in …

The SolarWinds Sci-Fi Bracket Battle!


On March 8th, here at, it’s about to get REAL. We will launch a bracket-based, “March Madness”-style competition that will feature 33 science-fiction titans from our favorite TV shows, books, and movies. Competitors will pit their champion against another, and all of us will vote to determine each round’s winner. Using only the power of our minds, we’ll carry our heroes to victory! We’re ready to flaunt our sci-fi knowledge … are you?


Do NOT miss the chance to …


Set up a cage fight with Darth Maul 
Show that limey chrome dome who’s … got … whatittakes …

Tell the world that Number Six is more than just a pretty face…

Give The Doctor his due…


Soon, a dark horse of fandom will rise and blow our minds with an impassioned defense of one hero’s obvious superiority. The whole Internet is waiting with bated breath!


The official bracket and rules of engagement will be released on March 8th.  And, as a bonus we have a prequel round of voting, leading into the official first round next week.


Trust us, go ahead and set your galactic alarm clock for March 8th.


You wouldn’t want to miss your opportunity to, oh, you know, dominate the competition world, now would you?


We didn’t think so.


...more rumblings of the rumble... and a few rules...


Oh, and fill out your bracket and post it, don't be shy.

[ED. NOTE:  This post is written by Christine Bentsen, SolarWinds' Director of Product Marketing.]

At SolarWinds, we differentiate between single URL monitoring and  comprehensive end-user experience monitoring. The URL monitor indicates  the ability for the application to get to a URL and load a page or do  some other simple task from the perspective of the application itself.  It primarily addresses the health and availability of a given  application. However, the end-user experience monitor provides the  ability to mimic the experience of an end user navigating an  application, which consists of multiple URLs or steps. With an end-user  experience monitor, you can understand the performance delivered by an application to the end-user.

System administrators have multiple needs. Some worry  about reporting on the availability of an application through URL  monitoring. Some worry about providing the needed service levels for the  end-users of the application. Some worry about both. SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor (APM) and SolarWinds Synthetic End User Monitor (SEUM)together satisfies all of their application performance needs.

“I need to monitor the ability of a remote user to reach a URL. What type of product do I need to do that?”

This is a common question, and one we hear a lot from our  customers. We will need to dig deeper into the use cases in order to  answer this question.

So let’s say you just want to monitor the availability of one URL. In that case, SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor (APM) can  do what you need. It will load a page for you, and can even verify if a  certain string of text does or does not appear on that page.

APM’s User Experience Monitors

That may be all you need to ensure your “user experience.” But, if you are truly running a mission critical application, where the end-user experience entails navigating through a website and performing a series of actions, you’re going to want more from your end-user-experience monitor. You’ll want to monitor the systems and applications themselves, and also get the end-user perspective. 

That’s where SolarWinds Synthetic end-user Monitor helps. You’ll need to create a number of transactions (or recorded mission-critical actions) and play them back at planned intervals from multiple locations to ensure that everything is up and running from the end-user’s perspective. And this is really key... your end users will likely be sitting outside your firewall, perhaps even around the globe. SEUM can playback recordings of multistep interactions with a website from all the locations you desire—inside or outside the firewall. You could test the recording from your offices in Austin, Dallas, China, and Australia. With APM, you can only test the page (one single page) from wherever the APM application is installed. And APM’s user experience monitor is very “pass/fail” – the page either loads in the allotted timeframe or it doesn’t. You don’t get much in the way of diagnostics other than that. 

SEUM Provides the End-User Perspective from Multiple Locations

So, in short: APM monitors your servers and applications, and SEUM proactively monitors the experience users are having when they access them. You will need both products for monitoring an application from all perspectives.

[ED. NOTE:  This post is written by Sanjay Castelino, SolarWinds' VP of Product Marketing.  He has this to say about himself... "I'm a long time technologist and a geek at heart. My path to SolarWinds has taken me through hardware design, software engineering, and finally product marketing."]

By now, you’ve all heard about vSphere5, and if the anecdotal survey during one of the massive sessions at VMworld Las Vegas is any indicator, many of you are thinking about upgrading soon. So I thought it would be interesting to put some of my thoughts out there on the opportunities and challenges that you may encounter during and after your upgrade (or new purchase if you’re just getting started). 

First, kudos to VMware for diving into the world of storage. Any of us who’ve looked at or tried to virtualize know that storage has been a major headache in the process. As I listened to the new features in v5, the biggest ones were clearly Storage DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler), Storage Profiles, and the virtual storage appliance. While I could go on about each of these for some time, let me stick with the first one.

DRS is a great feature. It is a linchpin in fulfilling the promise of virtualization because it helps to ensure that you don’t starve your workloads in the effort to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of your hardware. With v5, DRS now accounts for storage capacity and latency at the datastore level – those last two words are important – let me explain. 

The hypervisor still can’t see past the datastore, but datastores are made up of LUNs, and LUNs are going to belong to specific RAID groups, and ultimately disks that are connected to your network via controllers. You can still set up your storage such that multiple datastores are connected to the same RAID group, or so that all your datastores in a datastore cluster use disks that flow through a single controller. However, if you don’t manage this setup well, you will end up with DRS recommending vMotions that won’t improve performance because two datastores on a cluster may still be going through the same physical bottleneck. One tool that VMware is providing to ensure that your vMotion workloads to the right type of storage is profiles. Profiles allow you to categorize your storage with what amounts to metadata, and once you have your storage in a profile you simply make sure that your workloads stay in the right profiles. But you still have to do the work to figure out what storage gets mapped to what profile.

So what’s a VM admin to do? Well, two things.

1.       Make sure you know how your storage is set up today. If you’re already using vSphere,how do you have datastores set up and how are they mapped to your workloads? 

2.       Once you think you’ve got things set up right and DRS is making recommendations on workload movement, you can use a product like SolarWinds Storage Manager, Powered by Profiler, to verify that the workload vMotions would in fact be beneficial.

There’s a lot more to explore on vSphere5 storage features, so expect to see more written on this topic in the near future.

Yes, it has been a while since we have offered some perspective here, but rest assured we've been busy behind the scenes.  And now, it's time for us to knock the dust off of this corner of our Website... 

There have been a few changes here at SolarWinds, which means that there will be a whole new set of voices contributing to the Whiteboard in the coming weeks and months. 

One of those folks is Suku Krishnaraj, our new Senior Vice President of Product Strategy, who is leading the product team and helping  us shape our product strategy as we continue to move into the broader IT performance management market. Suku signed on back in October and you can read more about him here.  We are pretty excited about what he brings to the organization.  Here's what Kevin Thompson (our President and CEO) had to say at the time:

“When we look at the current landscape of challenges facing IT teams – from virtualization, to cloud and next generation data centers – and the offerings from today’s ‘market leaders,’ we continue to see a great deal of unmet needs around the world. We believe that this creates an opportunity with almost any IT organization for SolarWinds’ brand of value and solutions...  Suku’s deep experience in a wide range of IT management disciplines, including application performance management (APM) and business service management (BSM), can help us develop the right mix of products to respond to IT professionals’ needs both in the near-term and moving forward."

He has been spending the last few weeks getting up to speed on SolarWinds...  and now, he's ready to start offering his take on SolarWinds news, industry happenings and technology trends right here on the Whiteboard. 

So, stay tuned...  There's more to come!



Posted by TiffanyNels Oct 13, 2009

Welcome to the new SolarWinds corporate blog.  We've wanted to launch this for a long time, and are really happy to finally be in a position to offer our thoughts on a range of topics.  We'll focus primarily on the evolving IT systems management landscape, and along the way share our beliefs on why we are building a strong and sustainable software company to serve the IT pros in the industry.  There will be a range of bloggers from SolarWinds here, offering different points of view, and we hope you mix it up with us in the comments section.   So, without further ado... let's get it on.

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