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Introducing SolarWinds Mobile Admin

Product Manager

A few months back we acquired a new product that is going to change the way you manage your IT infrastructure.  For years SolarWinds customers have asked for a mobile solution for monitoring and managing your infrastructure, something better than our attempt at a 'mobile view.'  Given the line of work you're in, how much time and heartache could you have saved if you had just been able to resolve a certain issue from your Android phone or iPad?  How many times have you upset your wife or disappointed your kiddos because you had to promptly leave dinner or the t-ball game to reset a password for an executive who had somehow managed to lock himself out of his laptop?  Those days are now a thing of the past; hello Mobile AdminMobile Admin does so much, there's simply no way I could cover its benefits in a single blog post (it supports over 40 IT management and monitoring tools, and you can find a complete list of features here).  Instead I'll briefly discuss some of the more common use cases it supports, as well as a brief overview of the architecture and how it works.  Let's start with SolarWinds NPM (clearly my selection is objective and free of any bias).

For those of you who don't spend the majority of your day staring at the Orion web console waiting for lights to turn red, you probably rely pretty heavily on alerts.  An issue occurs, you're alerted on it via the rules you've configured, you log into the Orion web console to see what the issue is, then you try to fix it or escalate to the group that can.  Now you can do all of that on your smart phone or tablet from anywhere using Mobile Admin.  I can hear the sighs of disbelief already, but I promise you, it's true, and I'll show you how.


From this screen you can drill down on things like Active Alerts, or Nodes With Problems.  Let's look at the alerts...


From here you can drill down to the details of the alert and the node that generated it...


This view will give you all of the information you're accustomed to seeing on a Node Details view in the Orion web console.  So far Mobile Admin has told us there is a problem on a managed node in Orion, now what?  Mobile Admin actually gives you a number of tools at your disposal to troubleshoot and even correct the problem, all from your mobile device.  You simply open the node in Mobile Admin which will scan the node through a number of different APIs and expose certain troubleshooting features based on the results of the scan.


Here you can see a sample of the tools available.  For this particular problem you may need to run a batch file or execute a script from the command prompt, both of which are possible on your mobile device through Mobile Admin.

So, how does it work?  Mobile Admin functions through a client/server architecture.  The client runs on your mobile device (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Blackberry), and it talks to a Mobile Admin server that typically sits behind your firewall along with the rest of your IT infrastructure.  You simply add the components of your infrastructure you want to monitor or manage as a 'service' in Mobile Admin, all of which can be done from the mobile client once you've got the Mobile Admin server up and running.  Resetting passwords in Active Directory, bouncing virtual machines connected to a vCenter, and moving Exchange mailboxes are all possible through Mobile Admin.  All of the mobile clients are free; you can download the server here and evaluate it for free for 14 days.

In the next blog post I'll cover how to reset passwords through Active Directory.  Until then, download Mobile Admin and check it out for yourselves (you may need it over the long Labor Day weekend)!  Also, enter a chance to win a $250 iTunes gift card by taking our survey here.

Level 9

Reading the blog, it seems as if the Mobile Admin server is inside the firewall, is that how it works?

Is there a two factor authentication support to gain access or is it simply an opened up web server with user/pass authentication?

Product Manager
Product Manager

Sorry for the delayed reply; I missed this one.  Yes, the MA server typically sits behind the firewall.  We actually have a white paper that specifically discusses security around the MA server and client interaction here.

Level 12

Would I be right in saying that this would never be considered a replacement for PageGate/Notepage as it uses existing infrastructure to send alerts/provide logins or is this functionality on the roadmap for the product?

Product Manager
Product Manager

Different solution altogether, although there is some overlap.  PageGate is more of an ad-hoc notification system.  Mobile Admin is a mobile management and monitoring solution.  For example, let's say AD administration falls under your purview.  Mobile Admin can alert you on your mobile device when a user is locked out of their account, and lets you reset their password from your mobile device from anywhere.  Or, let's say you're using SolarWinds NPM.  Mobile Admin can alert you if a node is down and allows you to take certain actions on that node to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

About the Author
Let me introduce myself.  My name is Craig McDonald, and I come from the land of video games and stock trading, sprinkled with identity management, and, by the way, I like to write.  Checkered past, you say?  How did you end up in network management, you ask?  Perfectly valid questions; I will connect the dots for you and it will all make sense shortly. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin where I had the opportunity to write for The Daily Texan and Texas Monthly.  Upon graduation I was faced with two options: move to a small town and start my career at an even smaller newspaper, or make a home in Austin and see where this crazy tech town would take me.  I chose the latter, and ended up working in support and managing QA for a popular MMORPG called Ultima Online (this was before WoW was a sparkle in Blizzard's eye). After a few years of policing the haXXorZ, overseeing a few in-game weddings, and shipping several expansion skus, I decided it was time for a change.  I remember the advice from one of my journalism professors when I asked about pursuing a graduate degree; his suggestion, "Go to business school!"  I heeded his advice, got accepted to the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and started working on my MBA. While finishing my MBA at McCombs, I was presented with an opportunity to work for a company that developed online trading software (Charles Schwab, formerly CyberTrader).  This may seem a stretch from video games, but the client/server infrastructure and the uptime requirements for an MMORPG and a securities trading engine are quite similar.  Although the content and use cases are obviously very different, both require fast connections and the ability to allow users to log into the service at any time.  My next career move was into the enterprise software arena where I worked as a product manager for Sun Microsystems in the Identity Management space. Fast forward to today, I'm your newest product manager at SolarWinds.  I will be managing Toolset, VoiP, and eventually the Kiwi products.  Outside of the SolarWinds 'Borg' (assimilation is swift and definitive), I keep busy with my lovely wife, two beautiful kiddos, and a pug named Marley.  When they go to bed, I'm either watching a movie, reading a book (working on Atlas Shrugged, and it is work, indeed), or staring at the red circle of death on my XBOX 360.