One of the many reasons that modules based on the  SolarWinds® Orion® Platform like Server & Application Monitor (SAM), Network Performance Monitor (NPM), and Network Configuration Manager (NCM) are so popular is because customers are able to see value straight out of the box. However, the power of the Orion Platform can easily be taken to the next level by customizing aspects such as reports, alerts, and views. And the cherry on top is that you can also create custom templates for what you manage and monitor! In these posts, we will look at how by not re-inventing the wheel and importing customizations created by other THWACK® members, you can quickly and easily expand your SolarWinds deployment with these best practices.

 

TL;DR:

 

Overall, the approach is fairly straightforward: on THWACK, our customers (and SolarWinds staff) can share content they have created so that others can re-use it. If you need to poll custom metrics or use existing polled data, it's always worth checking THWACK to see if there is a pre-existing poller that meets your needs rather than building one from scratch.

 

Later, we will look at how this content can be created, but once it's in THWACK, it's generally straightforward to either load the customizations either directly in Orion itself, or indirectly by downloading from THWACK and then importing them into Orion. This approach can be very useful if your Orion server is not connected to the internet.

 

 

Pollers within NPM

 

 

First, we will look at how to use pollers for NPM. Essentially, they are two types: you have pollers created via the Device Studio and Universal Device Pollers (UnDPs). Device studio pollers cover technologies such vendor name, CPU, and memory, should devices not support standard polling OIDs, whereas UnDPs tend to be used for more "metric" types.

 

With Device Studio pollers, you can:

  • Poll devices that do not support any of the OIDs polled for by SolarWinds pollers
  • Poll devices that return incorrect data when polled by SolarWinds pollers
  • Override polled values to display custom static values

 

Device studio pollers can be both created and imported in the Orion console itself, and we'll see that these are fairly typical use cases. (More information on the use case is covered over in the online documentation).

The easiest way to find what's already built is to open the device studio ("Settings->"Manage Pollers") in Orion, and then select "Thwack Community Pollers".

From here you can simply select the Poller you wish to use, and then "Assign" to node. On the next screen, you can then scan the nodes for matching OIDs, and you can then enable as needed.

 

Import from Thwack Directly into Orion

 

 

The indirect approach has a few more steps. You would navigate to THWACK from an internet-connected machine, download the template you need, and then re-import to the Orion Platform.

 

Firstly, navigate to THWACK (if you are reading this, you are already there!) and browse to "Product Forums --> Network Performance Monitor." Then select "Content Exchange.”

 

Thwack Forum

 

From here, you can then navigate to the "Device Pollers" category and ensure the "Documents" filter is applied. From here, it's just a matter of selecting the poller you require and then clicking on "Download."

 

Download Content from Thwack

 

Once you download the file, you can then import it to the Orion Platform in the Device Studio, except instead of selecting the "THWACK Community Pollers," use the Local Poller Library.

 

UnDPs work slightly differently, in that they are still managed via a Win32 application on the Orion server itself, but you can still utilize the import function to benefit from UnDP templates on THWACK. The approach is virtually the same as for the device studio pollers, except instead of selecting the "device pollers" category, you select the "Universal Device Pollers" category. As before, just download the template, copy to the Orion server, and then import.

Universal Device Poller (UnDP)

<insert UnDP screenshot>

 

Stay Tuned

 

In the next posts, we will look at application templates within SAM and device templates within NCM.