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Meet the Features – Orion NPM 10.1 – Virtual Infrastructure Monitoring

Product Manager

In this blog post we highlight some more of the goods in Orion NPM 10.1: Virtual Infrastructure Monitoring.  "Wait a second," you say, "doesn’t NPM already include VMware monitoring?"  Yes, it does, but we just made it a lot better!  Previously, Orion NPM would give you performance data on your ESX hosts and any virtual machines on those hosts; however, we didn’t tell you anything about the rest of your virtual infrastructure.  That is no longer the case.  Now, Orion NPM 10.1 gives you visibility into your vCenters, Datacenters, and ESX Clusters.  Why should you care?  By providing performance monitoring information for your entire virtual infrastructure, we hope we can save you a few visits to vCenter by giving you a single pane of glass from which to monitor both your physical and virtual environments.  Let’s take a look.

VIM - tab.

The first thing you’ll notice is the new VIRTUALIZATION tab which will take you to the view in the above screenshot.  This tab is where you’ll find information about your virtualized VMware infrastructure.  Let’s take a closer look at our VMware assets.

VIM - Assets.

In this resource you’ll see your entire VMware virtual infrastructure.  Orion is able to display this data via the VMware API, which you can connect to through your vCenter server(s) or standalone ESX hosts.  With 10.1, we've moved polling for everything but interfaces, volumes, and individual VMs to the API (we're still polling these objects via SNMP).  Another thing you may notice are new status icons.  These are actually VMware statuses (not to be confused with Orion node statuses), which Orion also gets via the VMware API.  Each of the managed assets listed in the resource above are clickable which will take you to a more detailed view for that particular asset.  On this view you’ll also notice a new VMware Asset Summary resource.

VIM - Assets Summary.

This resource gives us summary information about all of the VMware assets we’re monitoring in Orion.  Next, let’s take a more detailed look at our vCenter server.

VIM - vCenter Details.

Here you see statistics on the physical server itself, node details, as well as a new resource that gives you VMware specific information about the vCenter including its VMware status, and the number of each type of VMware asset (Datacenters, clusters, hosts, and VMs) managed by the vCenter.  Let’s take a closer look at one of our clusters.

VIM - Cluster Details.

On this view you’ll notice several new resources that give you more detailed visibility into your ESX clusters.  Here we see the number of ESX hosts that are part of the cluster, as well as a new Cluster details resource that gives us summary information about the cluster.  Last, let’s take a look at the new VMware Settings page.

VIM - VMware Settings.


On this page you’ll find all of your VMware managed nodes, and several options for managing those nodes.  From this page you can assign or edit credentials, enable or disable polling, or specify whether you want to poll through vCenter or a specific ESX host.

As you can see, we’ve added quite a few new features that give you much deeper visibility into your VMware virtual infrastructure.  These features are included in the NPM 10.1 Release Candidate.  If you’re currently participating in the Release Candidate, please let us know what you think in the NPM RC forums here!

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.