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What We Are Working On for NCM after v8.0 (Updated on June 21, 2019)

NCM 8.0 is now Generally Available and we are now hard at work on the next one!

NCM

  • UI Performance Optimizations - In coordination with the Orion Platform Team, we're finally addressing our largest complaint in the last 10 years: user interface performance. A large portion of the development efforts for this release are devoted to improving page load performance on the Orion web interface! This effort is platform-wide, and NCM is making some specific contributions.

Orion Platform

  • UI Performance Optimizations - Faster and more responsive web UI.
  • Orion Maps Improvements - Faster and easier to build large maps.
  • Support for Azure SQL Managed Instance – Using Azure SQL Managed Instance as the repository for Orion’s SQL database, extending work done in the previous release.
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Comments

cvachovecj,

Could you expand upon the Bulk Firmware Updates? Is this going to pre-checking and or any validations prior to pushing out firmware?

Derik Pfeffer

Loop1 Systems: SolarWinds Training and Professional Services

Derik,

Yes, NCM will definitely perform various checks before the actual upgrade.

Once we have a Beta, we will be happy to discuss the flow with you in detail.

Regards,

Jiri

Jiri,

I have had several requests to be able to take data from external or internal location to use as input data to Config Change Templates.

Example. I need to update all Interfaces across the enterprise that has an AP connected then execute number or set of commands. I was thinking we could use the CDP command to get up to date CDP data or the CDP Inventory report stored in Orion to find the AP's then execute script command.

We looked at using change templates, but the Client wanted to understand the language used as they are familiar with scripting in Perl. I look forward to your ideas and the script language details.

Derik Pfeffer

Loop1 Systems: SolarWinds Training and Professional Services

I hear you, but can't promise anything .

Jiri

Hi Jiri,

It would be immensely helpful if there was a way to get sub-strings and or parse a variable with the Config Change Templates.  I know there is a way to concatenate strings use a '+' operator however I see no way based on the documentation for me to return only part of a variable value based on index, length, octect (if IP addr), etc...  In my particular situation a few lines of code would save me from having to run a script 120+ times v.s. only 1 time.

Thanks,

glink‌,

Have you taken a look at section "Manipulating Strings" of Chapter 8: Working with Config Change Templates in the admin guide for NCM 7.4?

I believe this is what you need.

Jiri

Yep, that is exactly what I was looking for.  Thanks!

Jiri,

Do you have an expect time for the Beta? I have several Clients that are begging for this feature or the ability to execute external scripts as a pre-check to the IOS download.

Best Regards,

Derik Pfeffer

Loop1 Systems: SolarWinds Training and Professional Services

Derik,

We should have a Beta at the beginning of 2016, but I can't tell you when exactly.

Jiri

Why would you need that action here?

You can back up the running config on other places. What use case would this cover?

Thanks in advance.

Jiri

I'm still not sure why you want to take the backup from here and not e.g. from the Config management tab. Could you please describe the other actions you take on this page?

Okay yes you can do what I where looking for from Config management tab.

I just don't get some why there are some NCM action in the other tab.

But it's  more matter of taste..

These actions are for adding and removing nodes to/from NCM, so it's related to node management.

But I agree that every user has slightly different opinion about ideal UI.

Jiri - I have a use case for this.

I would like the ability to select a number of nodes in bulk and start a config backup of all those nodes.  For now I have the ability to do so in the Win32 client.  This is acceptable provided all the nodes I want to backup are on the same polling engine.

Having to start a backup from within the Config tab of each individual node is very time consuming.

I didn't mean the Config tabs of each individual node, but the "Configuration Management" tab -- http://oriondemo.solarwinds.com/Orion/NCM/ConfigurationManagement.aspx​.

Ah, I didn't notice that before as I don't often look at that tab.  Good to know.

Thanks.

Thanks.

I'm very much looking forward to the ASA compatibility/feature enhancements!

I remember something about better automation

I know juniper and Cisco are going to give better support for NETCONF

what the PM think about that?

The PM thinks that SNMP and CLI access to devices is no longer enough to support modern devices.  NETCONF is something my team is actively looking into and we hope that with the continuation of Network Insight for modern devices we will expand how we communicate with said devices.  That's what the PM thinks

Are there any plans for RBAC for NCM Configuration Scripts?

We need to be able to allow select users that can only select from and apply certain scripts to certain devices (or hopefully I am missing a setting somewhere that we can do this...).

Something like:

Users A, B, and C can run Scripts 4, 8, and 9 on Switches in Group B
Users D, E, and F can run any script on any device
Users G and H, can run scripts 1, 2, and 3 on any Router

Thank you!

-Shaun

I really need the Firmware/IOS upgrade feature for juniper switches, just wondering how long will it be for the next version of NCM with this feature.

Talk about usability improvements..... this one is super easy to implement......

Seriously, should take a whole 15-20 minutes   🙂 

cvachovecj​ , can you please elaborate on the following:

  • Access Control List Insight

Is this referring to the functionality that Firewall and Security Manager used to provide? What sort of insight can we expect to get? Will it highlight duplicate / unused / inactive rules?

Jenya​ We are unable to comment on the exact functionality, but what you have stated is very close to what we are thinking for this.

second that

Hi Jeff,

are you able to comment at this point now that the NCM 7.6 RC is available for download? I just can't find the release notes for it.

NCM 7.6 RC release notes can be found here; NCM 7.6 RC Release Notes - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support.  Let me know if you have additional questions.

Jeff

Hi

jeff.stewart​  and Dez

I "bugging" you 2 because I know you like to push automation forward in  NCM.

Can you "bugg" the Dev people about that FR?

That will help me consolidate many "home made" tools in my organization that aren't safe...

and save many more hours to NCM users

I run into that problem myself in that thread..

Need to be able to pull variable from a Cisco router and use that in a config change template

+

well it's not new from that poll...

https://thwack.solarwinds.com/polls/2312#comment-206117

TIA

SJA

sja​, Are you willing to have a call to discuss this further.  I would like to understand what specifically we'd need to implement to solve this problem for you.  Please DM me if you want to chat.

Jeff

Does ncm 7.6 work well with NPM 12.01 or should i use ncm7.5 and wait til i upgrade to 12.1?

I'd use the product upgrade advisor that can be found here -> Product Upgrade Advisor | SolarWinds Customer Portal to help find out the compatibility of all products

just type in what you have and what you want. It will tell you if it works

But to answer your question, it seems that they are not compatible with each other

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jeff.stewart​ Can you share any more information about the following at this point?

    • Cisco ASA Firmware Upgrade Support

What I'm trying to understand is - does having this show up in this list as a feature mean that it doesn't work in NCM 7.6? Or are referring to some additional ASA-specific checks or logic that will be included in the future release to make it easier?

We added support for firmware upgrades on Cisco IOS devices in NCM 7.6, but nothing specific for the ASA.  The firmware upgrades wizard was built in a manner that you can build templates for devices outside of what we've shipped with, but the logic might not always work for different models or vendors.  Our intentions are to continue to add support for other devices <insert winky face> and vendors as we continue to develop NCM.  Does that help?

Wie need also the same rbac possibilities, but for much more usecases

See also Better RBAC Support - Multiple Roles and Domain Restriction for User and User-Groups

I would like to see an addition to the Firmware Upgrade procedure, an addition that automates the removal of any older/unused images that may be occupying the flash and therefore hindering the automated upgrade.

Maybe I should start a poll or is there even already something doing this?

Thanks,

Kristofer

We backup and remove the current firmware as part of the upgrade procedure.  Is that different than what you're asking?

Hi Jeff,

I just tested to deploy a new image to a router with not enough space on flash and just as you say I got the option to delete the current image.

Should have tested before I spoke... thanks for a fast reply!

Thanks,

Kristofer

Hi jeff.stewart

I'm quite sure that Cisco is not the only vendor out there...

NCM 7.4-7.7 Cisco got extra enhancements

How about working on the top 10 feature requests?

Hi sja​,

We're paying close attention to the top feature requests, looking to find intersections between broad portfolio initiatives (Network Insights, for example) and specific customer requests.  NCM v7.7 is a good example of this, delivering a set of ACL management capabilities although targeted initially at Cisco ASA. We're planning on expanding on this in the next release as mentioned above, focused on Nexus, and of course there are other vendors out there, for firewalls and otherwise.  As I'm sure you're aware, the SolarWinds "WWAWO" only covers what we are currently working on, hence the disclaimer below it.  That said, our UX team is actively engaged in researching some of the long-standing requests, for example "Compare Config against Master Template"- stay tuned. Is there anything specifically that you think we should dig into?

Best regards,
Tyler

PM, NCM

Hi Tyler

I i really disappointed  ..

Solarwinds PM need to take a look about what the custemers needs (Not what cisco reps ask for in cisco live)

The TOP  FR that has something with Nexus but will help any other vendor is

That Ok FR that is not only Nexus problem.

I love to see much more network automation from NCM  that FR will help

NETCONF is  other way to automation  (Not Juniper only)

non Cisco Juniper is in top 5 Before any Cisco.

Can i ask for the same level of support for Juniper Switches as your are doing for the Cisco switches please, we have over 1200 edge switches on our campus and need more support out of Solarwinds to support them.  The first thing we would like support is proper firmware update templates to support Juniper devices.

Many of these FR's are about extending the product.  I would like something thats easier for me to extend myself, then something that is just super simple.  I realize alot of customers want something simple.  And SolarWinds does a good job of making these simple, however us advanced users need to be able to extend the product to other vendors beyond Cisco.

Martin,

We've built a good framework which we believe will fit the requirements for many vendors, starting of course with Cisco IOS. In NCM v7.7, we added support for Cisco ASA, and as I mentioned in the post above, we're looking to extend this for Cisco Nexus. Yes, we're a bit Cisco-heavy, and to address that I've asked my team to let me know what it would take to extend this for other vendors as well.

Best,
Tyler

Thanks for the feedback.  It's a great point, and there are several areas in the product that we can relatively easily improve the extensibility.  Some that come to mind are CVE reporting, firmware upgrades, EOL/EOS reporting - are there other areas that you are thinking of? And, of those, which would you prioritize highest with regards to impact on your business?

tyler.peterson​ We have also been moving towards Juniper devices in our network, as well as Accedians too. I can likely find a few network engineers to fill your ears with anti-silence, if you need customer perspective... Choose wisely, though. Once you get them going... Well, it's an experience, to say the least...

Without building all-new features, I feel there is already a ton of potential in NCM, just waiting to found. I see tons of existing features/functions, that technically work, but could do so much more, if just expanded upon. For example, running config scripts is extremely useful, right now, just as it is. However, if we could borrow some of that component monitoring logic from SAM, we could store/reuse the results of the commands we ran in the script. Being able to actually see, store, and reference, individual command results, and easily manipulate them in real time, would be a great thing to have. (for me anyway... and I reckon that's what really matters...) I find the daily management of NCM tasks to be severely lacking, in regards to seeing their potential, and knowing what they actually do today. Getting new, flashy features is usually a good thing. However, enhancements for the "little" things are usually just as welcomed.

I find NCM to be one of my favorite, and most powerful, tools in the SolarWinds lineup. I look forward to getting many more useful features in this tool, whether they be new, and flashy, or old and enhanced!

Thank you,

-Will

FWIW, we've experienced some significant issues with our WAN provider's Accedians.  I'm not sure they're the future for us.

Dear Tyler and Jeff,

Nevermind that NCM is 90% Cisco oriented.

Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

BUT, could you please make it a habit to keep features in NCM moving forward, instead of removing them.

One feature that has been removed has crippled NCM entirely for us. We can't use it anymore for what it was originally intended for.

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