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THWACK Monthly Mission - July 2018

Level 15

Your mission: achieve the highest levels of performance for your systems (and make sure your SysAdmin is celebrated this SysAdmin Day).

THWACKsters, before we can launch this mission, we need to go through a launch status check. We’ve never lost a THWACKster on a mission, and we’re sure not going to lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.

When I call out the system you give me a go/no go, got it?

Applications? Go! Everything has been checked with cross-stack data correlation.

Servers? Go! We’re seeing all green on our AppStack™ Dashboard!

Virtual machines? Go! VMAN shows that we resolved the sprawl issues we were seeing during testing. 

Storage? Go! Storage Resource Monitor shows we have plenty of capacity for this mission.

All systems go!

Catch you on the flip side.


Use the mission’s resources to complete the tasks and answer the questions for a chance to win!

Correctly answer each question during the week and you'll be entered for a chance to win the weekly prize.

Correctly answer all 20 questions over the course of the month and you'll be entered for a chance to win the grand prize:

Want to join the mission, but not a member? Sign up FREE now!


Weekly Prizes & Drawing Dates:

July 9: Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

July 16: Vankyo LEISURE 3 LED Portable Projector

July 23: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM Charcoal Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker

July 30: 6 month gaming loot crate subscription

Grand Prize

July 30: sysadMANIA, SolarWinds' Original Board Game!

150 points are being awarded for each correctly answered question. There are 20 questions, which means you can earn a maximum of 3,000 points for this mission.


Complete the mission shortcut to earn an additional 1,000 THWACK® points & enter to win a sysadMANIA Board Game​!
The shortcut is simple:
  1. Download Server & Application Monitor
  2. Take a screenshot of the Orion Maps feature showing 2+ nodes mapped with ADM data (example)
  3. Submit your screenshot below


A new question will open every day (Monday - Friday) starting on July 2, 2018. Once a question has opened, it will remain open until July 29, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Check the schedule below for exact open/close times.

Weekly PrizesMonTueWedThuFriWinners
Week 1: Complete questions 1-5 by July 8 to be entered to win: Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones
Week 2: Complete questions 6-10 by July 15 to be entered to win: Vankyo LEISURE 3 LED Portable Projector
Week 3: Complete questions 11-15 by July 22 to be entered to win: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM Charcoal Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker
Week 4: Complete questions 16-20 by July 29 to be entered to win: 6 month gaming loot crate subscription

Correctly answer all 20 questions by July 29 and get entered to win the Grand Prize! A sysadMANIA Board Game!

Monthly Mission Terms and Conditions: US, UK, and Canada | Germany | Australia

Mission Shortcut Terms and Conditions: US, UK, and Canada | Germany | Australia

Level 11



As much as it pains me to say it, the answer is clear, I just made a mistake and clicked too quickly without checking my answers.

Level 12

Yup, it's a simple matter of reading the text and only selecting what's there.

Level 9

I think there are a few of us that now know this

Personally i think it should have been a completely wrong option rather than a closely sounding option

Level 9

At least you've now given the answer to everyone else


Here like everywhere else you have to read.

Level 14

Unfortunately, given the number of problems with questions over the last few months,  we are now in the position of not knowing if it is another problem or if it is deliberate.  Ordinarily I would have answered the question using the wording in the hint but was cautious because of the recent issues.  At least now I know that if I had answered it as I was going to I would have been correct.  I waited to see if there would be any clarification so haven't answered yet.

Be very very careful....  Read.......

Level 9

iHate it when I read too much into the question and then tread carefully when I read, but I try not to hesitate.


For Question 7 on July 10, I was frustrated that there's (apparently?) no "key" that shows what an icon represents.  Sadly (?) I'm no VM administrator, and I don't know the difference between a Host, a Guest, and a Server--a key on the same page (or accessable from the Help for the page) would show the differences between the icons:

Can one of you offer a friendly explanation between the icons seen when clicking on the server referenced in this question, or even better--tell me where the key can be found which explains what each icon represents??


I was lucky and stopped drilling down into the node to find the answer, and drilled UP instead to find the correct solution.  But that answer still isn't immediately obvious to me. 

I spoke with one my company's VM System Admins about the topic.  He kindly explained the physical blade in one of our UCS chassis is the "host", and servers and Guests are equivalent--they are instances created within that physical blade.

I think the icons might be contain the info one needs, if only I knew how to interpret them.

One would expect that by clicking on the node, the list of devices showing would ALL be servers.  But perhaps I can equate the node to one of our UCS chassis, and see from the list of things discovered on the right side of the node's view as Hosts and Guests--or "physical blades and virtual servers."

And now that I've entered the correct answer I cannot open the question back up and check the terminology . . .    But I THOUGHT it asked how many servers were present in the node, not how many Hosts or Guests.  And if it was asking about servers, then my answer (marked correct) should be wrong.


Question 7 asked: pastedImage_0.png.  Trying not to give away the answer, here, but the "servers" in that list you posted are virtual machines...with exceptions.  There are a number (can't say how many) of ESX Servers, which is what they're looking for, that are associated with the cluster.  All other "servers" listed anywhere in the drilldowns are Windows or Linux-based VMs.  Mayhaps the question should have been worded "[...] how many VIRTUAL HOSTS are in the EASTESXCL01?"...that might have served to minimize confusion.

Level 9

the questions this month are terrible and misleading, especially when the server names or thing you're being asked to compare have almost identical names or appear to be highlighted when opening the demo, insinuating that it's the one you should be looking at. I also would like an explanation of why one answer is correct over one that was chosen, not simply, "WRONG!!!" It's maddening to be told you got the answer wrong without knowing why.

Level 20

I suppose that's all part of the learning process for all of us.  I do share your frustration sometimes though.  A perfect example is here on this thread with Rick aka rschroeder​ he wasn't sure about all the virtual machines, hosts, and servers but by looking into it now has a better understanding of how it all fits together.  I too have UCS blades that are the ESXi hosts... on them run VM's with different host operating systems.

Certainly I get a lot more learning out of these kinds of questions that require a person to interpret the Test environment.  And there's no one to blame but myself, since I ALWAYS try to include a request for these kinds of questions in every monthly Mission review.

I much prefer real-world examples for my Hints pages.  Plus I like a bit of digging required, instead of simply clicking the link and hitting Ctrl+F and searching for a key term.  There's no thinking involved there.

Level 12

I think this: pastedImage_0.pngwas the key to Q7.  Of course, it does assume you know what a host is.  But the answer is easily found when you drill and filter properly. 

I, too, am far happier with this months questions.  I got really tired of Ctrl+f answers and even more tired of the Dr Who trivia stuff.  Like, super tired of it.  This is more challenging and therefore, for me, more fun.  This being slightly more difficult means I can't log in all groggy and just get the answer in 2 seconds but so what.  It also means I may miss one and be out of the running for a prize ... also, so what?  It's not like the odds of winning are all that great anyway.   Plus it shouldn't be just about the prizes, IMO.  If it is just about the prizes to some, however, I can totally see why this month may be aggravating.

That sound like better terminology to me.  I guess this particular Mission's questions lean towards those with more recent System Administration than I've had (I moved from SysAdmin to Network Analyst in 2003 and haven't looked back).

My misinterpretation was looking for servers instead of ESX servers, and the naming used in the example page doesn't necessarily help the cause of intuitive identification.

Thanks for sharing!

Level 11

I got today's question, July 11, correct but I'm really growing weary of these tedious and trickily worded questions. I think I'm the only one at my place (9 of us thwackers total) that is still doing these.

It's about to stop being fun and turn into work. I get paid to work and 150 points a day is below my hourly rate.

Or... get other people to guess for you and use process of elimination!

"clicking the link and hitting Ctrl+F"......Do you have a camera in my cubicle? 

rschroeder , I'm with you.  I learn more from the type of questions used this month.  I missed one question in the first week...oh well.  For me the best part of a Mission is the journey, not the points and prizes. 

These missions are a small subset of the onslaught of questions I receive every month at work. 

Over the past few years I have taken, passed and earned a CSA CCSK v3.0 certificate, and the (ISC)2 CISSP and CCSP accreditations.  I attribute some of my success testing by taking almost every monthly mission since I joined Thwack.  Those tests and missions all had at least one question that make me wonder, "What is going on here!"

So when a question is challenging, frustrating or odd, I take it as a moment to try to figure it out.  But I see where many would be frustrated. 

So listen to The Blues...because you do not have problems....the person singing has problems....real problems.


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  First miss in months.    At least I already have the board game, Really wanted that projector.... 

Level 10

Anyone else waiting for the comments to start before answering Q9?

Level 10

I was thinking the same thing. However, Q9 is probably the most straightforward this week.

Expand the strategies and take a look at the categories, it is plain as day.

Level 14

It seems like they're playing word games this month.  I got Q6 incorrect but got Q9 correct.

Level 8

It almost got me this morning. Read the text carefully and its very clear.

Amen to "the blues", brother.  Or, as I like to call "most" of them, "First World Problems".  Which helps me understand I have it a lot better than many people, and that I should appreciate my "problems" are miniscule, and that I should work to ensure those third-world folks have a better tomorrow.

On a humorous note, might you be familiar with the works of Jim Stafford?  He has a silly parody of a blues called "Sixteen Little Red Noses and a Horse That Sweats."  It embodies the spirit of a seriously hurting heart, with ridiculous lyrics.  Jim Stafford 16 Little Red Noses - YouTube

I can't say I support the over-the-top reaction of the singer/writer, but his efforts to channel a blues singer and their woes are well done.

Level 9

I saw 0 problems with today's question/answer.

Level 20

Yep just had to slow down and actually read the strategies.  At first I tried to overthink it.

Level 12

Dammit, jumped the gun and missed it.  I guess it's my turn to complain ... but I won't.  Cuz there's no need. 

EDIT: ... and I just looked at it again.  Whooo boy, do I feel like a not so smarty pants right now, lol.

Something told me to read the comments on Question 8 before answering, I guess I should have.

Over thinking the answer rather than going with whats clearly there bit me.

Sometimes it's good to overthink, like the decision of whether or not to get married or buy a house.  But, overthinking can lead to the dreaded "Analysis Paralysis" that we've all (I'm sure) expreienced at one time or another.  On several occasions so far this month, I have seen where the THWACK Geeks have made it so you don't have to think too much, but you do still need to work for the answer.  This, to me, is the best way of learning.  You can see the brass ring; it's JUST out of reach and you have to stretch out of your comfort zone to grasp it.  Remember, you can't steal second with your foot planted firmly on first!

Level 11

I missed today, #9. It apparently isn't 5 though when I clicked on policies it lists 5 of them. If I don't have the product and don't use it every day, I'm certainly not learning how it works and how to love it with this dastardly trickery of words and esoteric nonsense. When doing a search, workload does not appear any where in the text.

See my comment above, too much like work.

Level 12

It certainly does:

Again, you've got to use the demo to find the answers and that's the teaching moment.  And, in case you missed it, I bricked this question due to haste.  Upon more careful examination (as in I took 30 more seconds to look at it) I was able to see the correct answer.

EDIT: Edited to remove image by, well, me. 

Level 12

I'm on a role.  So far getting every Wednesday question incorrect.  Always because of either rushing to answer or overthinking.  I just held out my left hand and slapped it with my right.  Let's see if that teaches me a lesson.  


July 12, Question 9--I LOVE it!  There's nothing like this kind of question and answer to make a person stop being an automaton and start thinking, understanding, and comprehending.  Reading isn't enough.  Reading without assumptions is required.  SEEING what's there is required. 

You almost had me, wabbott​, with this one!

But I got lucky, saw through to the subtle and the obvious, and am joyful I got this answer correct!

Thank you for making the points worth something by making the questions and answers ones that require thought!

Level 12

One time this month I just went for it without thinking and one time this month I got the red X.  Good mission so far, really enjoying it. 

Level 11

thats exactly what i did yesterday, and its my only wrong answer so far

I enjoy questions from this month, i never saw this interfaces... but i like it.

I don't understand people saying it feel like they're working, i'm discovering a lot of new things that i might start using

Level 12

Exactly!  I'm actually engaged this month after a couple months of "oh well, I guess I'll look at the mission".  It's a refreshing change.

Level 10

please  refrain from giving away the answer.

Love the challenge wished i never rush the questions

Level 12

Unfortunately when we get to demo questions we sometimes have to post more information in order to help our friends at the DoD participate.  That said, I can see how my last image could have absolutely been seen as giving too much away due to pointer placement.  I have therefore removed it.  My apologies.

Speaking of our DoD peeps...question 10:


That "being engaged as a result of the Mission Questions requiring thought" is the best response!  And it might be the best incentive for SW to continue on the path of creating questions that can't be solved with a CTRL+F.

Level 12

Thanks!  I figured plenty of folks would relate.    Here's hoping SW keeps up the great work with these questions! 

Level 9

I love this months mission...with all the demo questions and being able to actually delve into the actual product...My only issue is I have not been able to consistently be able to get to the mission on the date it opens so some of my answers are more guess work...I just need to work harder at getting to the mission on time....

Roll on next week want to see if i can beat my record, yeah cathsheh1 the demo questions are actually brilliant giving you the oppotunity to delve in and analyse scenario

Level 9


Oh, that brings up a great EARWORM ALERT!!!

Stevie Wonder Superstition - YouTube

Level 11

The reason for the block is not the URL but the traffic inside.  The IAP has installed a Web Content Filter that see this as something other than strictly HTTPS traffic and blocking access to it.

Level 10

paging wabbott

Question 11 AKA the July 16th question does not appear to have a hyperlink for the hint.

for those that can't wait for it to get fixed, I have a link to the release notes right here.