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Level 10

Upgrading Solarwinds

What an absolute ball ache !!, been at this over 2 hours now and getting nowhere, If SW wish to keep customers they need to sort this out ASAP .  

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RichardLetts​ has the measure of this: Never update more than one module at a time, and if you have to, follow the general guidance below:

  1. Backup all your databases, lest you always be left in shadow and darkness!
  2. Upgrade NPM first on your Primary Polling Engine, and then on any Additional Polling Engines, lest you end with a horrible mess at the end.
  3. Once successful, backup your database again.
  4. Work through each additional module upgrade, first on the PPE and then on any APEs, going back to step 3 after each successful upgrade.
  5. By the time you reach this point, you should have a successful upgrade

One thing I tend to do is consult the SolarWinds Product Upgrade Advisor (ignoring SQL service packs, as in my experience it tends to tell porkies and say things are not supported when they work just fine). Whilst I know the process, it's good to see the steps involved (although I don't believe it allows for APEs, so you'd need to refer to support for guidance for the time being). It's always best to get the steps confirmed with support, if you have any doubts, as not only is it a great exercise in CYA (SolarWinds said to do it this way, boss, look!), it's also an eye opener when something has changed in a new version, and OS prep needs to be done beforehand.

Finally, feel free to add me as a Thwack contact, sdawson35​, and PM me if you have any queries. If I can help, I will.

- Jez Marsh
Level 16

This is an almost content free post; it takes me 2 hours to upgrade ten servers, but that's not bad (12 minutes/server).

If you've got a problem with an upgrade what's the problem? What are you starting from, What are you trying to get to? What error messages?

[I'm sure the solarwinds staff would ask for ticket numbers to see what cases you have open]

We have one main poller, 1 additional poller , separate SQL servers for NTA and NPM.

With the exception of the NPM SQL server all others are virtual's and snapshots taken before any upgrade

On upgrading the main poller all went fine until NTA (going from 411 to 412) , went into a loop and would error out stating that a newer version was already installed   - We aborted the install and left 411 in place.

On upgrading the additional poller we initially tried the all in one upgrade this failed with a not compatible message , so we went with individual components , until we got to NTA and hit the same error as above.

At this point the NTA server had upgraded successfully.

We had now burnt over 2 hours at this point and as this is our only management platform the maintenance window is very tight.

So we decided to revert the snapshots.

On powering backup Solarwinds would not start and the event logs displayed a version mismatch with NTA on both main and additional poller , stating 4.1.1 installed but expecting 4.1.2 (How this can be after reverting a snap shot only VMware can answer )

So we had to do an on the fly install of NTA which worked (very bizarre behaviour given the above)

All in all nearly 6 hours burnt doing a .1 upgrade , given the cost of this product and its supposed worldwide acclaim I do not expect to have these issues, especially as this is not the first issues we have had upgrading. It puts the product into a bad light and casts a shadow over its sustainability within our organisation.

I would add the caveat that I have not had any official training the product of any description.

I'm not running a later version of NTA -- we're looking at alternative netflow products so it does not make sense to install a new server to support the 4.x release

OK, in my experience I (now) never upgrade more than one product at a time.

I've done more than one at a time in the past, and that always seemed to lead to trouble, and during the upgrade window I do not really have time to do more than gather diagnostics and try and work around the issue

The product upgrade advisor tells me which products are compatible with each other and the order to perform upgrades; I only do one step per maintenance window

I can then  ensure that we have monitoring back up and working in the time window.

It can be a month or two if we have to upgrade several products, but at least if one of them dies in the upgrade I only have one product install to troubleshoot.

This is definitely the way to do it. The first time I ever did a Solarwinds upgrade we scheduled NPM, SAM, NCM, WPM all to be upgraded on a Friday.  Well, the NPM upgrade broke and we spent from 9AM that morning to 5PM troubleshooting.  We finally got NPM up and working on the new version at that time and spent the next hour going through and making sure everything was running as expected.  Never again!

The last upgrade cycle, we were able to dedicate a whole week for the upgrade and broke the upgrades into one or two a day depending on the size of the module.  This time the upgrades went smoothly and we finished ahead of schedule.

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It never takes me that long either, nowhere near it actually!  The only part of the process that usually takes awhile is the "Optimizing website" portion, but you can skip that if you want...

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