The Mobile Admin 8.1 Release Candidate is Here!

Announcing Mobile Admin 8.1 Release Candidate

It’s my pleasure to announce the Mobile Admin 8.1 Release Candidate. Mobile Admin 8.1 introduces several key improvements to Mobile Admin that were driven from feedback directly by you. If you’d like to participate in the RC, please fill out this short survey. Customers on Active Maintenance through Jan. 1st 2014 are eligible to participate in the RC. Without further ado, let’s dive into the new functions available in Mobile Admin 8.1!

Overhauled RDP - Now Supports Windows 8.x and Windows Server 2012

RDP is one of the most used services in Mobile Admin. It makes sense, given the full flexibility to address any issue you may find in your environment through the full desktop experience that RDP provides. Given the importance of this functionality, we are very happy to announce that as of Mobile Admin 8.1, we now support RDP connections to Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 machines.  You may ask why these versions of OS were different from an RDP perspective. Well essentially, Microsoft introduced a new version of the RDP API with Windows Vista and with Server 2012/Windows 8, they deprecated their old API, so our old implementation was unable to connect to those machine types. We also now allow you to connect to machines that have Network Layer Authentication enabled. The RDP Support does not just allow connection to machines with this specific configuration, but has been completely overhauled to allow for better usability and performance. These videos should give you a good overview of what you will see when using the new functionality.

Click to Play Video - New RDP OverviewClick to Play Video - New RDP Help

iOS 7 Support

iOS 7 was the first major overhaul of Apple’s mobile operating system since the very first version was introduced. (For some comic relief, you might check out the Jony Ive Designs Things Tumblr) This overhaul introduced some major changes that we’ve addressed and released already on the App Store. With the official release of Mobile Admin 8.1, we will release another version update that addresses some minor lingering issues with the new OS. For the most part, users have related little or no issues using the new iOS client currently available on the App Store.  Happy Apping!

Improved SolarWinds Orion Integration

When SolarWinds acquired Mobile Admin, one of the most exciting opportunities for the product was to build a first class mobile experience for SolarWinds Orion inside of Mobile Admin. While I’ll be the first to admit that what we have isn’t perfect, I am excited to talk about a few additions to this integration in 8.1 that should significantly improve the value to those of you using Orion and Mobile Admin together.

Support for Orion Events

First, we added support for Orion Events inside of Mobile Admin. Although we supported Orion Alerts out of the gate with Mobile Admin, feedback from customers strongly suggested that Orion Events provided “the true state” of the system because it showed all of the state changes of the system in the recent past. You should see Orion Events from the main SolarWinds Service screen and once you drill into an event, you can navigate to the Node, Component, or Application associated with that Event to get more information.


Support for Custom Orion URLs (and now with Clickable Links!!!)

Second, on Node Details pages inside of Mobile Admin, we’ve always included an “escape hatch” URL to the Orion Web Console Mobile Views. This link would allow you view any information we didn’t provide natively inside of the Mobile Admin integration. However, if you had configured a custom URL for your Orion Web console that link wouldn’t be properly formed. In MA 8.1, we now support modifying the URL that Mobile Admin uses to build that link, including whether or not to use the port in case you’ve configured Orion to use port 80 instead of 8787. An improved usability feature is this link is now an actual hypertext link instead of just text with that odd chain icon that was there before.


Support for Filtering Orion Alerts and Creating Custom Real-Time Alert Feeds

Finally, I’m very excited to announce Alert Filtering for SolarWinds Orion. One of the most powerful features of Mobile Admin is the Real-Time Notifications Dashboard. Mobile Admin can take alerts from your heterogeneous monitoring systems in your environment, like SolarWinds Orion, and you can setup those alerts as “feeds” inside of Mobile Admin. Once you’ve setup the Mobile Admin Server to send Push Notifications to your phone, Mobile Admin becomes a real time alerting system that’s with you wherever you go and allows you to get critical alerts about your environment, whether or not you’re connected to network. One problem with the current alerting is that for an environment of any size, you may receive hundreds or thousands of alerts out of your Orion installation every day. With Alert Filtering for Orion, you can now filter alerts and create custom Mobile Admin Notification feeds based upon filters we’ve built into the product. The filters work the same as the Orion Message Center filters and are all implicitly “OR”d so you can filter on a particular host/IP OR vendor name  or whatever else you might be interested in. Only want alerts when Nodes go down? Now you can, so you only get notified when something is important to you. With Mobile Admin, you can even setup multiple custom feeds from Orion to build more complex alerting setups.


Direct Connect Services - Optional Credential Saving

Mobile Admin’s “Direct Connect” services include SSH, Telnet, RDP, and VNC (Android only). These services don’t require the use of the Mobile Admin Server to connect to an endpoint and can be accessed directly from the homescreen of Mobile Admin’s mobile clients. We had some strong feedback from customers over the last year expressing concerns that there was no option to not save credentials for these connections. Customers viewed this as a potential security risk, as these services can be accessed without first logging in to the MA Server. As of Mobile Admin 8.1, for these Direct Connect services, password saving is now optional via a checkbox when you create a new connection.


FIPS 140-2 Compatibility

Some customers run MA in a secure environment where their Windows Servers are run in “FIPS Mode” which enforces use of FIPS compatible encryption algorithms. Prior to 8.1, the MA server would fail to work in these environments. The MA Server should now be able to run on a Windows Server where FIPS Compatibility mode is enabled.

Updates to other Supported Services – Exchange 2013, BackupExec 2012, and SCOM 2012 - Oh My!

As of version 8.1, Mobile Admin will now support Exchange 2013, BackupExec 2012 and SCOM 2012. All of these services were supported by Mobile Admin for earlier versions. You can read more about what you can do with these features on Mobile Admin’s features pages for each of these services.

Regarding Exchange, Mobile Admin now supports remote Exchange management. Now the Exchange Management tools can be installed locally on the Mobile Admin server machine (pre-8.1 behavior) or on the Exchange Server itself and controlled via remote PowerShell (8.1 and beyond). This aligns with the same way that customers manage Exchange today with SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor and has the added benefit that the MA Server no longer needs to be in the same domain as the Exchange Server you are managing. Mobile Admin will attempt to auto-detect where the tools are installed based upon the Exchange Server information provided. Besides enabling remote PowerShell on the Exchange Server, you will also need to add the Mobile Admin Server as a Trusted Host on the Exchange Server. To summarize Mobile Admin’s Exchange Support, I’ve included the table below:

10-15-2013 11-58-21 AM.png

We Want Your Feedback!

Be sure to check out the Mobile Admin Release Candidate Group here on Thwack. Use this forum to get your questions answered about the RC or report issues you want to bring to the attention of the larger community. The Product Team will be actively monitoring your posts and engage with you about any feedback you have. Remember Release Candidates are fully supported, so you can also file a Support ticket for any issues you encounter.

So, what are you waiting for? Fill out the survey and get started on 8.1 today!