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Level 18

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

*sigh* Just as I feared none of the major shortcomings are being addressed, just a bunch of low hanging fruit that leave glaring fundamental capability holes intact. Just out of curiosity, why did you come into a thread called "Multiple pollers - one graph" and get everyone's hopes up when that's not at all part of this announcement?

I definitely hear your frustration and respect your opinion, but I don't think your tone is representative of the broader Orion user base.  There are numerous top feature requests (e.g., AD integration, dependencies, service level groups, etc.) listed in the post that have gotten a lot of folks excited.  Believe me, there were threads equal in length or in many times much longer (and spirited) than this one to include those features. 

My goal for including the link was to ensure that folks on this thread understood that many of their other top feature requests ARE currently being worked on and that we're listening even if they aren't getting everything they want.

For you and others watching this thread, please do keep it alive and kicking with requests around this subject (include detailed use-cases) as this helps us raise the priority.

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Highlighted
Level 12

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Right, here's the problem with the SW product development approach.

The things we're asking to get fixed mostly aren't big feature requests, but very obvious core functionality issues that anything calling itself an SNMP correlation engine should have pretty well nailed.  Most of the smaller customers simply don't have any idea what they are missing, and most larger customers are so sick of hearing the "we hear you" treatment and no action to back it up.  It's a level of frustration that is generally high enough to warrant loss of pleasantries.  I have other things I love about the product.

The low-hanging fruit approach is great on paper, people asked, we delivered, etc.  Auth even if it's AD based is a great step in the right direction for larger shops.  Huge.  It means I'll have to continue to support an AD infrastructure for very little good reason (time for ADAM, perhaps), but it's a great move.  The problem is, 500 people might really want pretty maps on the home page, when 2 people want custom table correlation, joining and graphing, but the second feature is more intrinsic.  500 people might want the ability to email out PDF's, which are a gigantic waste of bandwidth, and I just want to be able to have scheduled CSV exports of custom reports I created in NPM and NCM.  I want to be able to alert on data that's being shown in reports, but I can't figure out where to get it from.

I certainly don't expect SW to completely ignore the voices of the masses, the newer, smaller customers that want the bling, and don't notice the lack of substance, but it bothers me to no end to hear these features getting ignored release after release, all lip service and no action, for 3 years is ridonkulous.  

Another critical feature that's been whispered about and no mention:  The ability to compile our own MIB database.  Every other SNMP collection product in the world provides this feature.  It's nothing that needs to be re-invented.  Destiny does it weekly, but then decides to "clean up" and strip out critical yet obscure enterprises without notification.  How about those custom poller and trap alerts I had for my telephone switches that tell me if an trunk group carrying 3m minutes a day is down?  Egregiously unacceptable.  How about the ability to have custom pollers auto-assign based on multiple criteria during node addition?  I need to be able to configure standing orders and minimize the care and feeding of the product.  How about interfaces that randomly go into unknown status all the time?

How about the ability to graph interfaces in aggregate?  A bunch of good work has been done on traps and syslog, but it needs to go further.

How about granular user authorization/authentication and a full-passthrough of credentials from NPM to NCM?

How about node import templates, user creation templates, and the ability to import csv files in through those templates to provision nodes, users, and even alerts.  There are a bunch of alerts that due to limitations in the product, are painful to create for different events (traps, syslog, and custom pollers), I'd like to be able to create templates and import the variables in CSV format instead of all the point and click BS.  Even copying alerts, exporting / importing actions, etc, it's painful as hell to manage and add to weekly.  Now along with that, I'd like reports that both summarize and detail both my alert definitions, but also alerts on a per-node basis, counts, counts of traps/syslog, etc.  

I'm sure there is more, but that's as big of a chunk as I feel like regurgitating at the moment.

Peter

Highlighted
Level 18

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

With every release, we do our best to include as many features as we can and to ensure that they represent what most customers are asking for.  Unfortunately, no matter what we pick to include, we're inevitably going to disappoint some people.  We think our approach works for most, but we can definitely understand why folks whose top features aren't included are upset.

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Highlighted
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph


Chris,




Overall, in my short time as a SolarWinds customer, I've seen a lot of good things.  You guys seem genuinely interested in your customers.




As for the what's on tap posting, there are a few things on that list we wanted, which is really great news.  But I do agree with the majority here who think a tool like NCM that is version 10 and does not have what we see as basic capabilities is slightly insane.  And I'm going to try to keep this focused on the forum topic, although there are other areas we'd like to see addressed as well.




Putting multiple pollers on a graph or "easily" putting multiple graphs on one page to create dashboards or having graphs in reports (trending,etc) is what we would consider network monitoring 101.




That AD integration and dependencies are finally arriving is great news, it will ease some of the Orion management pain.  But we need to have these other basic issues addressed in the very short term.  The look on my associates and managements faces when I show them an Orion report that it just a bunch of numbers says it all.  We've got vendors beating down the door that can demo their bling bling interfaces and we've got to justify over and over why Orion is a good and the right investment.    Just give us a little bling, please.




For what it is worth, I absolutely hate posting comments like this on forums, because our overall impression of SW and the tools you provide is positive.  But it seems like this is the ordained method for feedback.


John


Highlighted
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph



Chris,

Overall, in my short time as a SolarWinds customer, I've seen a lot of good things.  You guys seem genuinely interested in your customers.

As for the what's on tap posting, there are a few things on that list we wanted, which is really great news.  But I do agree with the majority here who think a tool like NCM that is version 10 and does not have what we see as basic capabilities is slightly insane.  And I'm going to try to keep this focused on the forum topic, although there are other areas we'd like to see addressed as well.

Putting multiple pollers on a graph or "easily" putting multiple graphs on one page to create dashboards or having graphs in reports (trending,etc) is what we would consider network monitoring 101.



This is very well put and I agree with it 100%.  There are certain things which should just work out of the box and this is one of them.  So is a simple page with multiple interface graphs on it.  These are things that make us continue to use Cacti and MRTG, which I've been wishing to get rid of for years.  I am very excited about many of the new features you guys are working on, but Meru Wireless integration?  Really?  How many customers could possibly be using Meru Wireless devices that it's considered a "top priority" when a couple of relatively "simple" enhancements like this get overlooked. 

I know I started this thread two years ago and multiple people have tagged that they want this functionality.  It really is "network monitoring 101", considering that it's something that MRTG has done since I started working with it in 1998.  It's now 2010 and the leader of network monitoring applications doesn't have this very basic functionality?  As much as I hate to say it, I'd strongly suggest downloading a copy of Cacti and seeing why I both need to keep it around and why I need to get rid of it.  I mean, I am running a separate server *just* for multiple pollers in a single graph capability.  How insane is that?

Highlighted
Level 13

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Eric:

  Thanks for staying on this, we too would like/need to have this functionality, so add my voice to th chorus.

Orion has moved from a simple monitoring tool to a powerful diagonistics tool, we have the need to present diverse information  in consolidated ways. I have spend a large amount of time creating custom pages to do this (see Attached)

If we could have an easier way of presenting this, it would add a huge value to the Orion product but I would like to see a common graphing engine for all modules with common controls and look and feel. 

It's true Orion is superior to cacti/nagios in so many ways, I am frustrated that those zelots harp on relitivly minor issues to knock Orion down. 

Jim

Level 12

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Orion XXX is not superior to Cacti in Cacti's areas of core competency.  If it was, nobody'd be bitching.  Try out Cacti's graphing sometime.

And which Orion are you talking about?  NPM?  APM?  NCM?  All 3 products have some excellent functionality and some glaring holes in functionality that have been known for years and ignored.  SW needs to be a little bit less reactive and a little bit more proactive about dealing with these ancient, well documented issues.

Zealotry is apparently not confined to us open source enthusiasts either.

Nagios would essentially correlate to APM.  It's a far more developed tool for monitoring applications, although Nagios administration and config file structure is completely focacta.

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Highlighted
Level 13

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Peter:

  I agree with you, SW should be addressing these issues if it is going to effectively compete.  Also the zealotry comment wasn't aimed externally or personally at you,  I have internal factions who completely refuse to acknowledge any value in commercially developed software at all  and will implement open source to the detrement of the business systems with the justification that it's "free".

As for superiority, we have a dynamic infrastructure, if a system is technically superior but is more difficult to implement, maintain, manage, and scale, to the point that it is not kept current,  then its value is diminished.

So if I'm a Certified MVP, then I'm a zealot; but our Solarwind system is monitoring ten times the systems with ten times the data and requires ten times less resource to do it.

Jim

 

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Level 12

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

And while I have a definite love of open source, I don't think it's the only valid tool in the toolbox, nor do I believe the world would be better if commercial software companies didn't exist.

Really, going commercial vs open source is about expectation.

There is a reasonable expectation that if you run open source software, that your support resources are best effort, that people who develop the product may or may not care about your specific needs, and access to them, if available at all, is usually on some sort of a pay as you go model.

There is also a reasonable expectation that if you pay a hefty amount of money for a commercial product, that the company you're paying the money to, is responsible for a number of things to varying degrees of accountability:

1.  Continue to enhance and develop the product - this is the #1 justification for software "maintenance" costs, to keep development afloat.  I would rate SW at about 3 out of 10 on this point.  Yes, there's a lot of activity, but it seems that most of it isn't aimed at fixing any critical core functionality issues, as far as I can tell, if there's a pile of trash taking up the slot in the feature chart that works for 1/10th of the more advanced use cases, then SW considers the issue closed.  Scheduling PDF reports makes it in, but scheduling CSV reports doesn't.  That blows me away, when the process should be, there's a scheduler, and SW ties in the same export formats available in the application.  

2.  Develop solutions to workflow issues, fix glaring deficiencies in functionality, and listen to qualified customer feedback.  I rate SW at about 2 of 10 in this department.

3.  Provide support in the event of issues, conduct Q/A and interoperability testing, and deliver (mostly) unbroken software.  10 has gone a lot better than 9.5 did, so I'll give SW a 7 out of 10 on that one.

4.  Take one of your best dev guys, put him to work on these features, give him enough time/additional resources to attack even *one* of these issues every release. Considering the amount of money that the larger customers represent, while it may not compare to the amount of smaller customers, I'm absolutely certain that the software maintenance renewals every year would easily pay for a team of 3 developers to focus on these kinds of features.  One guy if he's really good could nail one, and sometimes two on every release, including digesting all of the comprehensive use case scenarios, figuring out how to implement them, doing the implementation, and sending it off to QA for the next release.  Sometimes, stuff won't make it in, sometimes 2-5 things will.  Get out of tunnel-vision mode and step back for the 50000' view.

5.  Take Orion suite integration more seriously.  Cirrus/NCM/whatever - where's the pass-through authentication?  Either make NCM able to look at two different databases so it can figure out auth from NCM, or build the new version of NCM as both a standalone product using it's own broken auth, with a configuration option to tell it to use NPM's, which with the AD integration, has just gotten a lot more robust.

6.  My biggest beef with SW's policy of listening only to the masses, is that the masses are relatively small companies.  Also, when it comes time to add a new feature, SW tends to be overly targeted.  Come on guys, this is your product.  When any customer starts talking about feature requests, and you start a dialog about it, take into consideration what they are looking for, and also look at how you can make it better/more robust.  Look at what exists in the open source and how you can tap that collective consciousness and maybe even innovate something better, so instead of being far worse or a loosely judged tie, the product you're selling actually exceeds what's available in open source.  A lot of the smaller shops probably haven't run into a use case that makes them interested in the more serious features, you don't know what you don't know.  This is your business, you're supposed to be able to see beyond that.

This is your company, and your product.  Less hype and more meat.  Less lip service, and more customer service.  I know how much you guys love all these fluff features, but alerting, more robust UnDP, including support for tables that doesn't involve picking a column, table joins, so I can pull labels from one table, and data I want to graph, monitor, and alert on from another table, keyed to a column in both.  Maintenance window blackouts, parent/child relationships, node import, validation bypass, and custom property population by API or provide some SQL import scripts that handle it.  I'm rolling my own to populate custom properties in the nodes and interfaces tables.  Alerts unfortunately aren't nearly as straightforward when you take into account the (at least 6, from what I've figured out so far) the tables and modifications necessary for  

You guys have great resources in-house for this, all over your backline support.  One guy I'd listen to more than anyone is Matt (I forget his last name).  The guy knows more about the product, and how to make the product handle different use cases than anyone I've ever talked to.  The fact is, the smallest customers would have varying degrees of benefit from most of the feature requests that the larger customers make.  Multiple Pollers on a graph.. I feel like it's beating a dead horse to even mention it again, but I am absolutely certain even the smallest customers would be grateful for that feature.  Table joining, correlation, and graphing of multiple columns in a table in one graph, would benefit absolutely everyone.  Enhanced authentication and more granular restrictions.  I'd like to be able to give someone the ability to see mostly all nodes, but only "manage" specific nodes within that larger chunk.  This has little to no benefit for a 40-station windows network with 3 switches and a router, but there are a lot of people for whom these larger customer feature requests fall into the "nice to have" category where they would find use for them, but aren't in the "need to have" category like the smaller customers.

Vision, transparency, accountability, and customer service.  That's what I, and other customers are looking for.  While there has been progress with how SW handles these things, more focus on this is still required.  I don't care what business you're in, every company that exists is a customer service organization.

Peter

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Highlighted
Level 14

Re: Multiple pollers - one graph

Very well put, Peter.  I'd add to the list of core functionality fixes the mysterious copy/paste crashing issue when using RDP to connect to the NPM server.  It's been talked about many times before and quite often replicated by customers, but somehow, it's still not fixed since I first started using Orion.

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