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Level 12

A Sweetheart Deal - 1000 Thwack Points!

If you use NCM and NPM, then earn a quick 1000 thwack points by telling me how you use them in your organization.  I am especially interested in hearing stories on how you might be using NCM and NPM together.  Post a comment or reply to my email (mark.ungerman@solarwinds.com) and we'll find a convenient time to talk.

(Thank you! Closed - but be sure to look for other ways to participate and earn thwack points!)

118 Replies
Level 9

Good Afternoon,

           I talked my company into purchasing Solar Winds NPM and NTA back in March of 2014. So I am still a newbie but, this application has helped us out so much in the past two years. With in a month of having NTA one of our users got a virus and was spamming out emails outside our network. I was able to use NTA to drill down to the snmp protocal and find the system that was spamming out these emails. That was great time for that to happen as It would have taking a lot longer to figure out which one out of 90 nodes was causing this problem without Solar Winds.

         First thing I do every morning is login in NPM and look around for 45 mins or so every morning. I have found, dead hard drives, dead power supplies, and even dead raid controller battery two weeks ago in our web server. I know it seems that a lot of IT departments have lower personnel now days. So I believe this saves me days out of a work year, its amazing at all the information you can get from one application. I love it, keep up the good work you guys rock!!!

Level 9

We use NPM/NCM for Network Refresh Reports (WAN utilization, number of active LAN interfaces, EOL, IOS versions (feature set).

0 Kudos
Level 13

NCM started in our environment as simply a way to backup configs.  However it has become invaluable in keeping configs standardized.  For example I can ensure that unneeded services are disabled, AAA configurations consistent, logging is configured at the correct levels with traps to the correct destinations, and updating SNMP/VTY ACLs is a non-issue.

Redundant systems are great, but how do you know when a component has failed?  NPM allows me to know when any of my active/firewall pairs are having issues because I see the standby device go down, or when a power breaker has tripped because I lost one of the power supplies in some switches.

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Hi

Every morning when I login to NPM, I check the Home Top 10 and the Network Top 10

I get an idea of which are of the network is being heavily utilised.

I monitor switches (core, distribution, edge), routers, infrastructure (power, cooling).

I also monitor a few servers and check their memory, disk and cpu usages.

I also check the discard rates, syslogs and snmp traps

I have not much time with the NCM yet but getting there 🙂

All I do is check the changes made to my devices with it.

I also have to master the network atlas which is going to be a very useful feature for me.

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Level 11

I can't speak to how the Network Team uses NCM/NPM (they actually bought the systems and we piggyback), but in the Data Center, I use it to let me know when a system has stopped communicating and to help determine if the issue is device related or a network switch that may have dropped out. It also is tied into a few UPS systems so we can see if there are power outages that would affect critical systems. Often times, just keeping a basic dashboard open, I can see a system went down long before an alert from that system hits (HP and Dell alerts, GFI Monitor, etc.) and respond to it quickly.  I also use it to drill down on a specific node to see its OS, temps, humidity, and find out if the whole system is down or just one of the NICs. We created special dashboards for the Help Desk to troubleshoot the same issues and to have a constant feed of temps and humidity in two separate DC's (they are good at letting us know things are maligned before other notices make it our way).

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mungerman​, I would like to know when points will be awarded for participation on this.  Thank you!

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Hi unwiredmedic, point are awarded for a min 30 minute follow up call. I know we have traded emails – but I was left with the impression you felt you did not have much to discuss. I have time Friday is you want to try and connect. Do you have a couple of times that work for you?

Best,

Mark

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Sorry, mungerman, I guess I misunderstood that.  Here is your opening descriptor for this thread:

If you use NCM and NPM, then earn a quick 1000 thwack points by telling me how you use them in your organization.

The condition for the points does not appear to require a phone conversation, only that we tell you how we use NPM and NCM.  We chatted about it further in direct messages.  In your last message on Feb 22nd, you also said you'd get some thwack points for my participation.  Thank you.

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Thanks for working it out for me!

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Level 9

We use NPM to monitor a great deal of locations, find various problems in the network, and hold all the data in order to do our job.  We use NPM for config changes and backup, the ability to mass send out commands such as boot statement changes, and other mass changes.

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Level 10

We also use NPM and NCM together all the time. For example, NPM tells us that an interface has high utilization or discard packets. I usually go to NCM to check what were the last changes made to the device. We backup the running config daily and startup weekly but we only save configs if changes are detected. We have NCM send us emails on the status of backup jobs so we know which devices have issues with config downloads. When a device dies at a remote site we use the last config from NCM for replacement device. When our security team learns about new vulnerabilities we can quickly identify which devices on the network are vulnerable to which exploit. Also EoL table is useful for budgeting device replacements and planning ahead.

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Level 10

We use NPM for so many things. Auditing, inventory, reports, alerting, and way more. NCM is used for compliance reports, config changes, config violations . . .We use NPM and NCM together the most on the server and switch node pages. What I do wish was integrated more into both would be pulling device firmware versions and being able to search by CIDR notation.

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We use both NPM and NCM.  NCM is setup for auto downloads of configuration changes and compliance reports.  NPM is used for current state of our devices.

We use NPM for all of our alerting on utilization, availability and compliance.

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Level 9

We use ncm for all of our config backups and compliance reports.

- config backups are daily running and a weekly startup

- compliance reports we use for best practices, we are not bound by them but it sure helps locking down the devices

- I also make sure I have a saved copy of the running every night with a copy run start job for that "Oh I just exited and not saved" slip up

- Nightly inventory of the devices

- Daily config change reports, our security guys love these

NPM is used for health monitoring mainly

- Maps with link monitoring

- Uplink monitoring

- Internet bandwidth monitoring

- memory graphs, session graphs, cpu graphs

- syslog alerts fans, cpu, port-security, bpduguard, specific port up/downs and the list goes on

There are a lot of features we are still working on exploring and making it do more for us but that is where we started and will make more changes soon

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Level 8

Actually am using NCM to apply bulk configuration for more than 50 network device network when i have a major change that is required , also i can provide my colleagues in help desk department in executing some command while using Approval process. so i can monitor which command are executed and keep track of my configuration changes and made by whom. in addition the NCM helped me in create and applying rules and procedure then i can review it in the compliance report to make sure that my network configuration up to the security standard. Finally in the Jobs side i used NCM to make a daily night backup so i can have my copy of my configuration.

In the NPM Part it helped us a lot in our department in monitoring network and servers in our environment , when can monitor the devices and act proactive before the users complain and it helps in checking the Availability , Latency , Network Issue and Helped a lot in getting the serial number for the devices.

also helped us to generate daily reports as it was an audit requirement to have some logs of the inventory and network availability.

Honestly Solarwinds products made our lifer easier and more helpful.  

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Level 7

We use both NCM and NPM daily.

Our help desks and NOC have big screens with NPM up showing status so everyone/anyone on those teams knows what's going on at any given time.

We use NCM to monitor config's on all of our network equipment.  Every day a report of changes is reviewed, and compared with Change Management.

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Level 12

We use NPM to monitor for nodes up / down (primary goal), plus monitoring disk, ram, and cpu utilization.

NCM is only used to capture backups.

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I use both NPM & NCM. We keep the hardware and circuits clean with NPM & the configs clean with NCM.

NPM does it all, tells the engineers when to replace a fan, to plug the second power cord back in, to clean up their temp folders, warn that a service has failed or that some process should be killed, etc, etc, and it sends them mails to nudge then along.

Keeping configs in one place, and not on a variety of contractors laptops, is a huge benefit. So often a client doesnt even think about where they are stored, they just want to be told "yes they are backed up" - & then the chap leaves. It blows them away to have them all in one place; to be able to do auto-download on change; to push snippets, to watching the change history, run compliance reports. And on that subject; I recently deployed NTA & needed to know whether Netflow was configured on all the required routers, so I wrote a compliance report looking for all the variants of Netflow configs and ran that across the estate. Maybe not what it was intended for, but it's a great reporting tool.

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MVP
MVP

Hi all,

We use both NPM & NCM for our customers. One large setup is highlighted below -

Key objectives of using NPM:

  • Monitor over 3000 network devices with about 16000 elements (yes, we do have APE's)
  • Use NPM in conjunction with NTA & IPAM
  • Devices are clubbed into various groups like Core LAN, Core WAN, Distribution LAN, Distribution WAN and more (about 20 groups)
  • Use of Network Atlas / Maps to showcase various network segments
  • Critical Links / Interfaces have been grouped for focused monitoring
  • NTA is used for application traffic monitoring - specifically Multicast, Web and some in-house apps
  • A multi-vendor environment - majority Cisco (Nexus 7k, 5k, 2k, Cat 6500, 4500 ..), Arista, old Nortel BayStacks, Huawei and more
  • Alert management
  • Ticket management (NPM triggers automatic tickets to WHD - a sore point with the customer)
  • Dashboards have been created to showcase Device, interface status, uptimes & more
  • Reports scheduled on a daily basis for some critical monitored elements

Key objectives of using NCM

  • Configuration management of only select devices (not of all 3000)
  • Change management
  • Audit functions

As always is the case, the NPM & NCM scope is unending - we continue to evolve the monitoring & configuration aspects. When does a customer say "All Set"

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Level 12

We use both, but not together. Our Monitoring group (me) uses !NPM, among others, and our Networking group is using !NCM. The funny/sad thing is that we only found this out during a database migration and found out that we had to SolarWinds dbases.

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We use NCM for nightly backup and controlling changes in our network. NPM monitors and alerts on all of our devices.

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