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SolarWinds and Azure – A Love Story

Level 11

Everyone’s in the cloud,” they said, “and if you’re not there, your business will die.

That was, when, 2010?

As it turned out, there are too many moving parts, too many applications weren’t ready, bandwidth was too expensive and too unreliable, and, oh, storing sensitive data elsewhere? Move along Sir, nothing to see here.

It took us ten years, which is like a century in tech-years (2010: iPhone 4, anyone?) to get to the current state.

2020 is approaching, and everyone is in the cloud.

Just in a different way than expected. And not dead, anyway.

While there are loads of businesses operating exclusively in the cloud, the majority are following the hybrid approach.

Hybrid is easier for us folks here in EMEA, where each country still follows their laws, while at the same time sitting under the GDPR umbrella.
But let’s not overcomplicate things. Hybrid is simply the best of both worlds.

There are loads of cloud providers, and according to a survey we ran recently with our THWACK® community, Microsoft® Azure® is the most popular one in our customer base. Around 53% of you are using Azure, one way or the other.

We added monitoring support for Azure into the Orion® Platform with Server & Application Monitor (SAM) version 6.5 in late 2017, and since, it’s been possible to monitor servers deployed in the cloud and to retrieve other supporting stats, for example, storage.

BTW, the iPhone 8 was the latest tech back then—to put things into perspective.

Earlier in the year, we added Azure SQL support to Database Performance Analyzer (DPA). DPA was our first product available in the Azure Marketplace—it’s been out there for a while.

The question for deploying the Orion Platform in Azure came up frequently.

We heard some interesting stories—true pioneers who run the Orion Platform in the cloud, completely unsupported and “at your own risk,” but hey, it worked.

So, the need was there, and we heard you: Azure deployment became officially supported in 2018, and in early 2019 we added some bits and pieces and created the documentation.

But we identified further room for improvement, partnered with Microsoft, and a few weeks after the iPhone 11 Pro release…I mean, since our latest 2019.4 release, the Orion Platform became available in the Azure Marketplace, and Azure SQL Managed Instances were officially supported in the Orion database.

The next step is obvious. It doesn’t matter where your workloads are located anymore, so why would you be concerned with the location of your monitoring system?

Let’s have a look at the present…

The speed and usability of your first Orion Platform deployment is improved through the marketplace, as the applications are pre-packaged and so much more than the plain executable you would run on a local server, or even an ISO file.

They’re tested and validated instances with all the necessary dependencies, offering options for customization and flexibility.

Traditionally you’d need to request host resources, clone a VM, right-size it a couple of times, make sure the OS is ready, install dependencies, and install the Orion Platform.

While none of it is rocket science, it’ll take some time, and there’s a risk in something going wrong. You know it’s going to happen.

But not anymore!

And in the future…

If one thing’s consistent, it’s change. And the change could very well mean you’re migrating the Orion Platform into Azure.
Previously, it was a semi-complex task and probably started with using our own Virtualization Manager and its sprawl-feature to make sure all machines involved are right-sized before migration to prevent costly surprises.

The next step is dealing with the infrastructure, the OS, double-clicking the executable again…I wouldn’t call it a grind, but it’s a grind.

And now?
A few clicks in the Azure Marketplace and the whole thing is deployed, and really all that’s left to do is to take care of moving the database. Alright, I agree, that’s a bit of a simplified view, but you know where I’m going with this. It’s easier. Big time.

Keyword database.
It’s my least favourite topic and I’m usually glad when Tom is around to discuss it, but from checking the current requirements, SQL 2014 is the minimum, but please consider some Orion Platform modules require 2016SP1 because of the column store feature.

Running anything older than this version doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Getting new licenses and deploying a new SQL version while at the same time paying attention to possible dependencies could be a roadblock preventing you from upgrading Orion modules, and even this is improved with Azure.

Also, it’s easier to test a new version, try a new feature, or even another module.
Why not run a permanent lab environment in the cloud? Just a thought!

Do you want to know more? Sure you do!

Here’s the next step for you, while I’m on a date with my next cup of coffee.

Level 13

Interesting. Thanks for the article.


Nice, thank you v much

Level 9

Briefly written !

Level 17

How can talking about data be anyone's least favorite topic?

Level 12

Putting almost everything in the cloud is obviously the future, but I still have concerns about putting my data into someone else's hands. In my personal life, I encrypt everything and only upload zip files to cloud storage to maintain some semblance of control over my data.

Level 9

I really like your idea about lab environment on cloud. i believe testing all monitoring features for different switches, routers, firewalls etc would be difficult to setup. 🙂

Level 11

Thanks for the article.

Ha!  Wait until the next Carrington Event.   

Level 7

Thanks for the article! saschg

Level 12

thanks for the post


Not embraced Azure yet, thanks for the info.


Level 12

thanks for the post

Level 14

I think we have a very small handful in Azure at this point.  We have quite a bit more in AWS but who knows how things will change in the future.  Thanks for the article.

Level 13

My thoughts exactly sqlrockstar​.  Not many useful applications out there that *don't* require a database of some sort.

I don't think the future is clear for all organization, cloud does some things better and cheaper, and it can fit certain business and accounting mindsets better, but while I might agreed with you a few years ago, I am seeing more and more that the hybrid model is not going anywhere for a while.

Level 9

Goo read. Thank you!

Level 14

Still not sure about running my monitoring solution in the cloud.  I prefer to host it on prem and have full control over it.  It will be interesting to see the story unfold though.