My name is Will, and I hide in the shadows of the NOC. I’ve worked for an ISP/Telco for the past several years (13?) and spent nearly all that time in the NOC. I’m tasked with finding ways to keep our folks informed of the various events occurring throughout our environment.
When I started working in our NOC, this is what they had been running:
While I'm not 100% on my timeline, I'm pretty sure I took over our SolarWinds® environment somewhere around version 9 or version 10 of NPM. Previous management had gotten rid of it, having replaced it with an overly complicated product, which ultimately failed a couple years later. Shortly thereafter, said management was replaced. Afterwards, we were asked what product we wanted, to which we replied, "SOLARWINDS!!!" When asked why, it was a unanimous response. "Because it's easy to use, and is a very flexible product." Since I have been in charge of our SolarWinds environment, starting only with NPM, we have added many additional SolarWinds products, such as NCM, NTA, SAM, DPA, Kiwi Syslog®, Web Help Desk®, a couple of Engineer's Toolsets, a couple of additional polling engines, a couple of additional web servers, and most recently, VMAN.
THWACK® has become part of my everyday routine, though it did not start as such. In the beginning, I mainly had a bunch of complaints, as well as a few specific questions about how to resolve various problems in our network. From there, I found THWACK points, and FREE shirts. As time passed and new issues appeared at work, each requiring a different solution, I started to really get into this community. After asking several questions, and receiving numerous answers, it started to click with my brain. I became more and more interested and curious about the product(s). I thought well, if it can do this, I wonder if it can also do that, and more. Eventually, returning to the here and now, THWACK became an extremely important resource, not only for me to get answers, but also for me to help answer the questions of other THWACK users, as was done for me. It's seems amazing to me, looking back at the how and why of joining and using THWACK, and seeing myself go from one end of the spectrum to the other.
I’m looking forward to this year's THWACKcamp™, as I have every year. I have attended THWACKcamp every year it has existed, both virtually, as well as the in-person invites too. The 2017 THWACKcamp was my favorite, as SolarWinds hosted several other THWACK MVPs in person, at their headquarters in Austin, Texas. Getting to meet everyone was great, but getting to talk shop with other folks using SolarWinds products, and seeing solutions through their points of view, was easily the best part.
One of the best aspects of the SolarWinds products is the flexibility. You can open the box and use the modules as is, likely covering the needs of most. Or, you can customize your environment in countless ways. Maybe just start with a simple SQL query. Then evolve and convert that SQL query into a SWQL query. Well, don't stop there; you can use that SWQL query to automate some (all?) of your daily tasks. Over the past couple of years, I have been doing more and more work with the SDK/API side of the products. Ironically, my adventures into the Orion SDK/API world have some connections to some of the first questions I asked on THWACK. While I wasn't quite ready to take the leap back then, many of the questions I have asked on THWACK can easily be answered using the API to build the solution. Now, when I say "easily", I mean you don't need to be a master programmer coder extraordinaire. You simply need to be willing to take the time to think and ask questions. I think it's one of those "experience is something you get just after you need it" type of things.
Graphs have been a big thing for us for a long time. We need to graph way too many things to be building pages manually. And, while we're at it, we need a better way to manage all of our pages/views. Luckily, we have the Orion SDK/API to help. Each time I revisit these projects, we make a little more progress, and somehow find a way to evolve them to the next level. Here are a few links to some of the different ways we have used the SDK/API to bridge the gap. After THWACKcamp 2018, I'm expecting to have learned even more new ways to improve my projects.
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