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Boost your server polling capacity with Stackable Poller license

Overview

This article provides information about FAQs asked by the customer based on the environments combined.

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Environment


Orion Platform versions above NPM 10.6

Strongly recommended to have latest version of Orion

Detail

What  an Additional Polling Engine does?

All of us know SolarWinds SLX license you can monitor up to 12000 Elements and beyond this you will need an Additional Polling Engine to monitor.

Use additional polling engines for 12000 or more monitored elements if you plan to monitor 12000 or more elements, Solarwidns recommends that you install additional polling engine on separate server to help distribute the work load.

What is Stackable Additional Polling Engine idea is ?

Its another engine on the existing system hardware you have , using full  capacity of your current hardware . This engine will be stacked with your existing engine seamlessly running on the same hardware boosting the existing polling capacity of current host without any additional cost to maintain another system host.

Idea is exactly adding another stackable switch within existing chassis to add more capacity . So if your existing chassis can take it you can add more stack into .

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With the latest version of SolarWinds NPM, you can now install up to three unique polling engines on a single polling server, sharing a single IP address. Stackable polling engines enable you to effectively triple the polling capacity of a single server so you can get benefit of available server hardware within the existing installed environment

Further it will help you to monitor more Elements ( Nodes/Volumes/Interfaces/Services ) without having any dedicated servers to be confirmed and manage so its less overhead for the I.T staff to manage .

Benefits :

No overhead to manage or arrange another system hardware just using existing Server hardware capacity (Very cost effective )

No management approval process waiting time for system deployment

No infrastructure change required

No troubleshooting and I.T management resources to dedicate  for another hardware

No extra IP address needed to be allowed for the devices for the polling / Downloading the configuration with NCM - Less overhead

No downtime required during installation

No configuration wizard need to run

No services need to restart during this process on production environment

No FOE licenses per server to cover more elements for HA (Very cost effective )

Freedom to extend any Poller (Primary Polling Engine OR Existing Additional Polling Engine ) (Very cost effective )
Finally within few minutes you will be ready to  polling more elements within the existing infrastructure without making a single change and  wasting the time / resources /  money.

How can i check my Server current hardware meeting this requirments

For more informaiton MINIMUM Hardware Requirments see below.

SolarWinds Orion server hardware requirements

How many Stackable Poller license I can have on the Single Server?

Up to three total polling engines may be installed on a single server (i.e. one primary NPM
polling engine with one or two additional polling engines on Primary Server  or three additional polling engines on
the Additional polling server ).

Note: A stack requires only 1 IP address, regardless of the number of APEs

Can I install Stackable Poller on my existing Additional Polling Engine?

Yes 'Stackable Poller' extending capability on the Poller  you can have multiple Stackable poller up to 3  on your existing Additional Poller It can be update by Smart Bundler 

How can I update my  Poller for Stackable Poller?

On the  Poller it can be updated by Smart Bundler.

It means that by additional poller package downloadable from customer portal (not the Individual Downloads, but the Main Additional Poller Installer also called Smart Bundler).

How to install Stackable Poller on my Primary Polling Engine?

In this example I am assuming we are implementing Stackable Poller on the Main Poller (that has enough resources to tackle additional load)
As you are aware a single poller can tackle upto 12k elements
Also there is no special installer for Stackable Poller
You will need a license to be purchased as for Additional Polling Engine
You will go into your Customer Portal & download the Additional Poller Smart Bundler  (not the Individual Downloads, but the Main Additional Poller Installer also called Smart Bundler)
Basically when you will run Additional Poller Smart Bundler this installer will say on the main poller that everything is already installed and ask you if you want extend license.
Now simply key in the license of the Additional Poller in the wizard
It will never install anything on main poller it only just update the license and will deploy the stack Engine seamlessly
So the customer has got extra capability to fully utilize his server hardware
Also after the license has been applied you can open the License Manager and you will see another entry in the Lincense Manager as following

On Primary Polling Engine it will take up to 2 MAX Additional Polling Engine license keys

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On Additional Polling Engine it will looks like this

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You will have the message "The machine has reached to license limit" after that therefor it will only be able to take up to 3 licenses.

So if I have have mutiple modules installed on the Primary Poller (do I have to install all the other modules as well , because Smart bundler will download say APE SAM , APE UDT , APE NPM)
When I will run the Smart Bundler on the Primary poller (it will not say that Primary Poller is already installed on this machine)

Yes, it will say on main that everything is installed and ask you if you want extend license so it will never install anything on main (as the required services are already installed and doesn't required any extra service to be installed  ) , Just update license and deploy the stack Engine seamlessly the main propose and stack functionality .So it does make necessary changes required without installing any service or software that's how its by design to work .

If I will install Stackable Poller on my primary server it will increase the capacity to 24K elements to tackle?

It will ask you on main to add license key for additional poller (means 24k elements). Once you run it again, you can add another AP license (means 36k elements) and if you run it third time,

it will say  This machine has reached its license limit .  The same functionality is for Additional Poller installation  and yes, Stackable poller

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I have SLX Licenses why i still need the Additional Polling Engine license ?

The SLX license is based on throughput, not elements. This is a completely different type of license than our element tiers.

The NPM SL100 license is based on elements. The NPM SL100 is a hard limit of nodes, interfaces, and volumes. You can modify the polling intervals, but you cannot exceed 100 nodes, interfaces, and volumes.

With an NPM SLX most customers can manage about 12,000 elements at default polling intervals today. Many customers modify polling intervals and can manage many more elements because we do not cap the number of elements.

Our development team made multiple performance improvements and increased the throughput a SLX license and APE can poll. Over the last 5 years we’ve increased the throughput so that at default polling intervals a customer could go from monitoring 8,000 elements to 10,000 and now to around 12,000 elements. While I can’t commit to increasing this again in the future, we have a consistent track record of doing so.

Why this often gets over simplified to “SLX == unlimited”. For the vast  majority of customers who purchase an SLX, the difference  doesn’t matter because they are happy with the default polling intervals and don’t have near enough elements to run in to the throughput restriction.

Installing  Stackable Poller  Orion NPM 12.x and above

In order to stack license there's no need to run installer anymore. It's enough to use License Manager on main server.

Please follow instructions from that page:

Activate stackable poller licenses - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

All you have to go to your license Manager and use the license key .

Steps#

Settings > All Settings > (Scroll Down) > License Manager > Top left side (Add / Upgrade license ) >

Add your APE license there .

For more details, please see the post below:

http://thwack.solarwinds.com/community/solarwinds-community/geek-speak_tht/blog/2013/06/19/not-so-st...

http://www.solarwinds.com/documentat...Guidelines.pdf

Activate stackable poller licenses - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

Comments

Lol, nah. Hardware stats on the server are well below 50% utilization even at peak load.  The polling engine is in a very beefy virtual environment in Cisco UCS. I couldn't tell you specifcs as I'm just a simple network engineer, my server engineers/DBAs tell me the servers are healthy.

Also, our environment's polling completion rate has never dropped below 100 nor have I noticed the polling rates change for any of the nodes/interfaces.

Ok, so I have been thinking about this and here is what I have come to:

What we know is that when a polling engine polling rate reaches 85% of it's maximum polling capacity it starts throttling the polling; that is documented HERE.  Based on this one of the two following things must be true...

If that polling rate is based only on the capabilities of the underlying system then using a stack-able APE is a gimmick and provides no real value.

If adding a stack-able APE (without changing the underlying system) decreases your polling rate and thus allowing the system to poll more, then the Unlimited license is not truly unlimited and has a artificial limitation built into the code.

Unfortunately both of these options stink.  Please let me know if I am missing anything.

I agree with your assessment and would really like to hear a definitive response from SolarWinds on this...

I can't truly tell if people are more concerned about money or performance?

You're going to pay for it either way, don't the APEs just provide more scalability in smaller cost increments?

It is because the stacked APE is a gimmick.  It has nothing at all to do with the capabilities of the system so it doesn't provide more scalability, especially if you have a lot of modules. 3 stacked APE's and my servers are still under utilized.

Let us just pay per node or elements.

In most every "What we are working on" they say they are going to increase polling efficiency, now we find out it is actually there, but artificially limited.

Furthermore, please trial some of Solarwinds competitors software.  It takes far less hardware to poll about the same number of elements.  Paying for pollers makes Solarwinds costs go up dramatically compared to other vendors.  Nearly all do not charge extra for pollers!

Please just license us by node or element so we know for sure what we are paying for.

GoldTipujeff.stewartDanielleHmrs.alteregoaLTeReGocobrien

It may be a minor point relative to the overarching question about stacked polling engines, but the KB you reference actually says that the adjustment of polling intervals does not occur until 100% rate is reached. You only get a warning at 85%.

So do you want everything for the same price you are paying now?  You have avoided the cost question this entire thread

My point being, they charge you for "unlimited" and you get everything you want but you have to pay 300,000...or you can go in smaller chunks for 100K base then into 10K chunks as you need...that is scalability regardless of functionality

You can only choose 1, which do you want?

That's what we're trying to understand and want a definitive answer to.  Do they truly provide more scalability at a lower cost or is this a sales gimmick increasing costs where they aren't needed?  If adding more stacked APEs on hardware for an application that was licensed as "Unlimited" does truly allow me to scale due to an artificial limitation in the code of the application, one could question that unlimited license we already purchased under the premise that it was unlimited.  Especially since in the installation instructions, it's not actually installing anything additional, it's just applying licenses.  That to me doesn't really speak to increased performance, but rather removed artificial limitations.  So the question really is whether there is truly an limitation there or if it's just a gimmick to get those not paying attention enough to purchase another APE to stack.  If there is no true limitation, one could continue to increase resources on the underlying server to continue to increase polling capacity.  Which in today's infrastructure world would provide a lot of scalability as-is.

Not trying to avoid the cost question at all.  The cost is hard to estimate with this model.  That's one of the many things wrong with paying per node, and then pay extra for elements.

I would even pay more per node, if there was a true node based license with the unlimited eliminated  so I could get the most out of my poller hardware.

Another point.  If it is just a license, why won't some modules stack?  The Stacked APE cost the same as the non-stacked.  If you have several modules, Stacking will not save you money.

dfairles, for many customers they don't require additional NCM/IPAM/VNQM 'capacity' and are only approaching the upper bounds what NPM or SAM can poll using a single poller. If you're nowhere close to approaching the scalability limit for those other products, then the hardware, OS licensing, VM licensing, and other software costs (backup/antivirus/etc. may make stacking licenses on the same server a worthwhile endeavor. Provided of course you have adequate hardware resources on your existing Orion server to accommodate the additional polling overhead.

  1. Solarwinds licenses its product by number of elements polled.  SLn
  2. Solarwinds charges extra if you poll more than 12,000 elements per server.  Why?
  3. Stacked APE's do not increase the polling capacity for many of Solarwinds modules.  Why?
  4. Solarwinds should drop the SLX license, since it really does not exist.

GoldTipujeff.stewartDanielleHmrs.alteregoaLTeReGocobrien

aLTeReGo​  Solarwinds licenses its products on the number of elements polled.  Why do you charge extra if you go above 12,000 elements on a single server?

Drop the SLX and just charge us per elements polled.

dfairles, what then would happen to those customers who are polling 20k or more elements without an additional polling engine if we limited the SLX to 12,000 elements?

The 'X' license is not in any way limited in the number of elements/components/etc. which can be polled. These number of 'things' are truly unlimited. Unlike limited licenses like an SL100, which enforces a hard limit on the number of 'things' which can be polled, these 'X' licenses impose no such limit.

Polling however, is made up of two parts. The number of 'things' which can be polled, and how often those 'things' are polled. The speed or frequency in which 'things' are polled is not the same as the number of 'things' polled, though they are loosely related. The more frequent you poll devices, the fewer number of 'things' you can poll. The less often you poll, the more 'things' you can poll. This is how some customers are able to monitor +20k-30k elements without purchasing any additional polling engines.

OK, so the 12,000 is not the limit, but there is some sort of artificial limit for the polling engine that gets unlocked with a key.  That is the thing that chaps a lot of people.  If I bought ALX and need to poll 20,000 elements at the standard polling rate on one server I should be able to do it if the hardware supports it, otherwise SLX is really SL12000.

Why is the polling rate artificially limited?

Are you still working on adding polling capacity?  If so, with that be locked without a key?

There is a lot of room between SL2000 and SLX that you could fill the gaps with rather than the confusing stacking of some modules.

The SLX license is based on throughput, not elements. This is a completely different type of license than our element tiers.

The NPM SL100 license is based on elements. The NPM SL100 is a hard limit of nodes, interfaces, and volumes. You can modify the polling intervals, but you cannot exceed 100 nodes, interfaces, and volumes.

With an NPM SLX most customers can manage about 12,000 elements at default polling intervals today. Many customers modify polling intervals and can manage many more elements because we do not cap the number of elements. We’ve made multiple performance improvements and increased the throughput a SLX license and APE can poll. Over the last 5 years we’ve increased the throughput so that at default polling intervals a customer could go from monitoring 8,000 elements to 10,000 and now to around 12,000 elements. While I can’t commit to increasing this again in the future, we have a consistent track record of doing so.

I agree this is complicated and is why this often gets over simplified to “SLX == unlimited”. For the vast  majority of customers who purchase an SLX, the difference  doesn’t matter because they are happy with the default polling intervals and don’t have near enough elements to run in to the throughput restriction.

If anyone has questions about this or would like to have a call to discuss, please email me directly – mav.turner@solarwinds.com I’ve reached out directly to a few people on this thread already to have a meeting.

Thank you for the great discussion and I look forward to follow-up calls with many of you.

Our polling engines are on VMware virtual servers, and our VMware hosts have Windows Datacenter licenses so I can spin up a new Windows server quickly and without paying any more to Microsoft. I could add more Orion polling engines if the cost was not $15-18K + annual maintenance. For me, the artificial 12K element limit would not be so painful if the polling engine cost was reasonable. This is the primary reason we use Nagios on our server farms (50K+ nodes, mostly Linux) along with MRTG. Unfortunately, Orion will never be fully accepted as the standard monitoring application in my workplace given the current limitations and consequential costs.

Stacked polling engines is a convoluted solution to an arbitrary limitation. If the issue is the capacity of the free MS-SQL database, then maybe the solution is to use a different database for the polling engines. Maybe it's time for a paradigm shift, to think outside the box, or <insert cliché here>.

So if I have poller rate 100%+ on my SLX, is STACKABLE POLLER LICENSE a solution?

omavel  wrote:

So if I have poller rate 100%+ on my SLX, is STACKABLE POLLER LICENSE a solution?

Yes. If you are hitting the polling limit you can stack another poller on top to double its capacity.

@aLTeReGo  I have my polling engines running at a maximum of 44% polling rate but element count is 16K. can we add more nodes to the same polling engine? what will  be the impact if we add more till the polling rate reaches somewhere around 80%.

Regards

Hitesh

Polling capacity is a combination of 'number of things polled' and 'how frequently those things are polled'. Provided your polling rates are not nearing 90ish percent and your polling completion rates remain near 99%, then you have additional capacity to monitor more things. Polling fewer things, or polling some items less often will also free up polling capacity that can be used to poll other things. 

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