37 Replies Latest reply on Sep 27, 2010 4:21 PM by chris.lapoint

    Web Access via Blackberry

    acherman

      Hi guys, I know Blackberry and mobile device support is not native to Orion.  But I have taken the advice of others on here, built a custom login with custom views for mobile access.  I am using the Balckberry Storm 9530 so I am using a single column with a width of 480 (Storm in landscape).  On the PC these screens look good, very simplified - a summary with active alerts and down nodes, a view showing UPS voltages and battery capacities, and the last 30 events (custom report, with some bugs to work out yet).

      My problem is, I can't access the web server via the Blackberry.  I always get a "server timed out" message.  Does anyone know if I need to set up the Blackberry browser a certain way?  I am going to download the Opera mini browser and test with it.  I have tried setting the browser ID to Blackberry and IE with no change.

      Any help is appreciated as this would be a great addition to Orion's usefulness.

      Thanks in advance.

        • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
          acherman

          Okay, so as was mentioned in another thread by Denny, the BB browser sucks b*lls.  So, I downloaded Opera Mini and it works!  It's not perfect, since it's not a Storm specific version, but it works.

          • Re: Web Access via Blackberry

            Why isn't this built into Orion yet? It would be nice to use my iPhone, besides just card games. IPswitch has also been bothering me lately with their mobile access pitch: http://www.whatsupgold.com/products/mobile.aspx. I haven't tried it out yet, but would your workaround be the same thing?

              • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                denny.lecompte

                Orion already works with the iPhone because it works with Safari.  There's no workaround required.

                  • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                    kahmeelyon

                    I've tried everything to get Orion to work with the Blackberry Browser and still no joy.  I first had to disable Windows Pass Through Authentication to get it to prompt for login credentials.  Then I created a slimmed down single column summary page.  I can get to the login page.  But when I enter the credentials it looks like it's going to work but then I get spat back to the login screen.

                    This is very frustrating.  Many products out there including Microsoft System Operations Center include mobile views out of the box.  I would love to know when Solarwinds intends to provide this badly needed functionality.

                      • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                        DirtySouth

                        I would agree that the BB browser isn't the greatest, but my company has a BB Enterprise server and we don't allow any other smart-phones to connect to our internal network. Can anyone confirm whether SolarWinds is even considering making a mobile version specifically for BB?

                          • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                            denny.lecompte

                            It's not currently on the roadmap.  To get on the roadmap, I would need to have a lot of folks rate BB app as more important than other features.  I've put it out there before, and it never outranks the other features.  I'll keep it in on the list for evaluations, though.

                              • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                jbaulsir

                                We are Blackberry centric for our mobile communications, we access Orion through Blackberry MDS Connection Service.  It is functional, but certinly not optimal.  I agree with Denny, keep it on the list but there are other features I would rank higher (like display in alerts of individul UDP table values, hint hint).   :)

                                JB

                                  • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                    kahmeelyon

                                    Sorry for the double post but this thread is happening under two topics.  Here's a cut and paste from the other thread:

                                    All,

                                    Based on your feedback I decided to do a little more research into this problem and it may not be as widespread as I had thought.  If you intend to use the Blackberry browser then there are two or three issues that must be overcome:

                                    1. Disable Windows Pass Through Authentication: The Blackberry browser chokes on this.  You must use Anonymous Access in IIS.  You must also setup local accounts in Orion.  I didn't want to sacrifice Windows Pass Through from the desktop so I setup a new webserver on port 81 of the same box and pointed it at the same directory.  I just changed the Directory Security.  Works fine.  This solution should work on all Blackberry models.

                                    2. Use a "modern" Blackberry:  I tested with my Blackberry 8130 (Pearl) (version 4.5 firmware), a Curve and a Bold.  The Pearl was able to get to the authentication screen but once credentials were entered it looked like it was going to work but then just popped me back to the login screen.  Both the Curve and Bold worked great!  So now I need to try the Storm out but I'm sure it'll work.

                                    3. Don't try Mini Opera: If your Orion instance is not Internet facing do not even bother with Mini Opera.  It uses an Internet based proxy.  So if your Orion box can't be access from the Internet, forget it.  I'm guess this will be the case for many Blackberry users who rely on a BES.

                                    I hope this helps others who are struggling with this.

                                      • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                        chris.schear

                                        ---

                                        I didn't want to sacrifice Windows Pass Through from the desktop so I setup a new webserver on port 81 of the same box and pointed it at the same directory.  I just changed the Directory Security.  Works fine.  This solution should work on all Blackberry models.

                                        ---

                                         

                                        Curious.  When I created an additional web site running over 81, I get the following error:

                                        "%1 is not a valid Win32 application."

                                         

                                        I've gone tab by tab on the original (running) IIS NPM site and everything is the same.

                                    • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                      msheltontx

                                      I'm a little late to this conversation but the real advantage I see with making this work for us corporate Blackberry users is the ability to have our sysadmins acknowledge alerts from their device after hours so I can actually implement the alert escalation rules when they don't respond.  Has anybody found a good way around this for those shops that aren't 24x7?  

                                    • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                      r0berth1

                                      Orion website works fine on my 8130 Curve. but you could also setup a home page that checks the browser and if it detects the BB to use an alternate page designed for the BB. Not that hard, just put the things you want on the new HTML page and size if for the bb.

                                    • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                      chris.schear

                                      I have a Blackberry Bold and have no problems accessing Orion NPM from it.

                                • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                  chris.schear

                                  I opened up a support case on my "%1 is not a valid Win32 application" error when trying to setup a second IIS web instance on a different port, this was the response:

                                   

                                  -----

                                         Our software supports one copy of the Web Console per Primary Poller or per Additional Web Server. It sounds like you'll need to contact your Sales Representative to get set up with a copy of the Additional Web Server.
                                   
                                  Is there anything else I can do for you?

                                  -----


                                  I have followed with:



                                  I would disagree with your suggestion.  Instead of contacting a Sales Representative to license another web instance just so Blackberries can view Orion easier, I would recommend forwarding a request onto engineering/product development to implement a feature that supports alternate authentication mechanisms and/or a mobile “m.<yourorionURL>.com” front-end for Blackberries, Smartphones, etc.



                                  ~and~


                                  Before we go the developer route, is SolarWinds’ official stance that a listening port on a server constitutes “more than one Web Console”?  There is only one web console installed on the server.  The fact there are two different IIS-derived ports doesn’t duplicate the web console, it just allows for more than one TCP port you can access it over.  It’s the SAME web console in both cases.  If I change the default IIS instance from port 80 to 8080, I haven’t changed the Web Console.  Also, in supporting SSL connectivity, having a single Web Console listening over TCP/80 and TCP/443 should technically be a “Second instance”, which you don’t require a sales representative to be involved with.

                                  How is an Orion front-end listening on 80/443 any different than one listening on 80/81?  It’s two listening ports on a single Web Console.

                                    • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                      bcole

                                      I just set this up on version 9.5sp2 and it appears to work ok on Curve.  My World Edition phone doesn't work (time out).

                                      I can understand Solarwinds reluctance to add functionality to phones, but it is becoming a necessity.

                                        • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                          denny.lecompte

                                          What if we were to expose certain information as an RSS feed? Such as alerts and top 10s.  Then you could get the info on any phone with an RSS reader (which is most of them). 


                                          Thoughts?

                                            • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                              r0berth1

                                              Yes, i have some thoughts on the subject. I think that SW needs to focus on fixing the problems with 9.5 SP2 first, and once all of the issures are fixed, then they can focus on adding new features. example:

                                              Maps - Network Atlas (in my opinion) is far better utility than map maker. but there are still issues with the maps, if you set the map preferences to anything above 50% before the map status shows down, the all of the maps get grayed out and show unknown. This is not major, but it is a pain in the butt.

                                              Reports - there is still an issue with Report Writer when creating reports. the issue is random, but when creating new reports, the report writer will crash (I have taken screen shots and sent them in with the diagnostic info) but have heard nothing back about it except to try installing the latest service pack and/or reinstalling Orion.

                                              Stored Procedures - the web pages along with most of the reports would probably run faster if they called a stored procedure on the db server instead of trying to run the script from the webpage. This is just a thought.

                                                • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                                  msheltontx

                                                  I certainly agree that stabilizing the code takes precedent.  However I do think adding a mobile view and not just a RSS feed would be a significant step forward - mainly to make the escalation feature useful.  Obviously we don't want to wake up at 6am to discover a major outage occurred at midnight and hasn't been addressed. 

                                                  Most small to midsize shops don't have a 24 hour monitoring NOC and many use an on call pager or Blackberry to respond to alerts after hours.  Some alerts come through in the evening hours that may or may not require immediate action.  I want the ability to have our on call admins to use the "acknowledge alerts" feature.  If the alert does not require immediate action they simply could acknowledge it with their Blackberry.  If the on call admin sleeps through a page or doesn't hear it in a noisy restaurant and the alert is not acknowledged, then the escalation feature could page a manager and the end users will likely have working systems when the workday begins.  If alerts are never acknowledged, then the escalation feature is useless.  If the on call admin responds to every alert by logging into their home computer in the middle of the night, then that admin is probably useless the next day.

                                                  We do try to tweak the alerts to avoid "chatter", particularly in the middle of the night.  Perhaps others have their Orion alerts so fine tuned that this isn't an issue for them.  I do know that while I can eventually navigate to a readable alerts page from my Blackberry bold, a mobile view would make it much easier to respond. 

                                                  • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                                    denny.lecompte

                                                    Yes, i have some thoughts on the subject. I think that SW needs to focus on fixing the problems with 9.5 SP2 first, and once all of the issures are fixed, then they can focus on adding new features. example:

                                                    Fixing bugs with the last release is obviously the top priority.  We are working on that now.  In this thread, I'm trying to explore the problem people want to solve when they ask for mobile views.  Your other issues are valid and interesting, but I don't want to take this thread off the current track.

                                                  • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                                    kahmeelyon


                                                    What if we were to expose certain information as an RSS feed? Such as alerts and top 10s.  Then you could get the info on any phone with an RSS reader (which is most of them). 

                                                     



                                                    This isn't a bad idea but I'm not sure it gives me much beyond what I get with the email alerts.  I have realized that the problem in my case is the browser on the Pearl.  But I think SW could put some time into coming up with views which are mobile optimized.  This doesn't even involve any coding.

                                                      • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                                        denny.lecompte

                                                        This isn't a bad idea but I'm not sure it gives me much beyond what I get with the email alerts

                                                        For the alert feed, it would allow you to look at the entire list of current alerts from any RSS reader.  For the Top 10 lists, you could see the same info as a Top 10 view, even if no alert has been generated.

                                                         

                                                        But I think SW could put some time into coming up with views which are mobile optimized.  This doesn't even involve any coding.

                                                        <smile> Perhaps your definition of coding is very narrow, but creating mobile views does involve coding and testing.  It's not hard, but it's not free, and it has done be done instead of something else.

                                                        So which views would you want to see on the mobile device.  What're the most important ones?

                                                • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                                  MagnAxiom

                                                  Acherman,

                                                   

                                                  You need to be clear here that by default, any browser besides your default carrier browser generally does not have access inside any corporate networks your Orion may be on, and may not be able to access it because of that.  If your Orion server is accessible via the general WWW, then disregard my statement.

                                                  There may be options to enable an alternative browser to utilize the BES connection to be able to browse to websites inside your corporate environment.

                                                    • Re: Web Access via Blackberry
                                                      acherman

                                                      Hey MagnAxiom, thanks for your input.  We do not use BES, and I have made our Orion server accessible via the Internet.  I have stopped using the BB browser almost completely in favor of Opera Mini, except when necessary.  I do not have any issues with Opera Mini from my BB Storm 9530, and have created custom views with the priority info I need when my BB is my only available access.  I use a second set of login credentials to access these "mobile" views.  Works great.

                                                      As a last resort I simply grab my laptop and use Tetherberry (now Tether) and connect via Firefox or RDP.