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Orion MIB Database – What Is It Good For?

Level 19

Most Orion users are aware that we ship a large MIB database (approaching a million OIDS) as part of Network Performance Monitor, but in conversations with users, we’ve noticed that some users are unclear on exactly what the MIB database is and is not used for.

So what is it used for? One of its core uses is to support the Orion SNMP Trap Server that ships as part of NPM. The Trap Server is a “listener” service, which means it waits on the specified port and when a trap is sent on that port, it processes the message. That processing involves looking up the trap in the MIB database to determine how to handle it. Furthermore, if you want to create an SNMP Trap Rule to take some action based on the specific trap, the creation of that rule may involve a lookup in the MIB database, as in the screenshot below.

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What else is the MIB database used for? If you try to create a Universal Device Poller (UnDP), you will typically use the MIB database. As part of the UnDP creation process, you must provide the target OID to be polled. Sometimes, you know the OID already. If so, you can type or paste the OID into the UnDP window. When you do so, it will immediately check the MIB database for that OID. If the OID is in the MIB database, it will automatically fill in the name, description, MIB value type, etc., based on the information in the relevant MIB.

One common misconception about the UnDP is that the OID you want to poll must be in the MIB database. Not true. If you have an OID, the UnDP will try to poll it if assigned to a device, regardless of whether it’s in the MIB database or not. What you lose if it isn’t in the MIB database is that you have to fill in the name, description, and other details yourself. That’s it. You can get by without it.

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But what if you don’t know the OID you need? For instance, you might know that you want to measure something like temperature on a Cisco router, but you don’t know exact MIB. In this case, you can click “Browse MIB Tree” in the UnDP and you’ll be able to browse Cisco section of the MIB tree. The data for that browsing session is pulled from the MIB database. And if you are really unsure about what you’re looking for, you can click “Search MIBs”, type in a search term, and you’ll get a list of related OIDs to check out, and those OIDs are pulled from the MIB database. If you’re in more of an exploratory mode regarding what to poll about a particular device, this search functionality is a good way to go.

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What, then, is the MIB database not used for, even though most people think it is? The most common belief is that the MIB database is used to identify devices. Orion NPM automatically recognizes a very large number of devices automatically, with no configuration. When a new device is added via discovery or via the add-a-node wizard, Orion does an SNMP query, pulls back an OID called the sysobjectID. A reasonable assumption would be that Orion is checking this OID against the MIB database. Reasonable, yet wrong. Orion compares this value with a completely different database to identify the vendor, machine type, etc. Therefore, when you add a device that Orion doesn’t recognize, updating the MIB database won’t help. It’s the sysobjectID database that needs to be updated and that only happens with releases and service packs. It’s not part of the weekly MIB database update.

You might ask why we have two databases. Are we trying to be difficult? Nope. This situation is an accident of product evolution. The sysobjectid database came first, long before Orion had a trap server or a universal device poller. SNMP traps were added in 8.0, and the Universal Device Poller was added in 9.0, and both of these features needed a robust MIB database and the older sysobjectid store wasn’t appropriate. Instead, Orion inherited the existing MIB database from our Engineer’s Toolset. We may well consolidate these two databases at some point, but until then, this post explains the way things work today.

12 Comments
Level 7

If the OID is not in the MIB database UnDP will not allow you to poll the MIB.  Would it not be easier to allow users to update the MIB database based on the devices they have in their networks which are not in the default DB.  Most monitoring software allows the users to update their MIB database if the MIB for their device they want to monitor or walk is not in the DB.

Why can not SW allow users to update the MIB DB?

Level 13

You can poll an OID not in the MIB DB with UnDP.  You just won't get all the fields populated with information from the MIB DB you just have to fill it out yourself.

There has been discussion on the forum from the users about having access to the DB to manipulate and update as we see fit.  Theres also a feature request on this that you can vote on.

Level 7

I see the thread is dated 2009.

I wonder if the assertion "MIB database is not used to identify devices" is still true in the current NPM release.

Is still sysobjectID database used?

Level 13

The sysobjectID database is still used for identifying devices polled in NPM.  As far as I know this has not changed yet.

Level 7

What is the reason behind an issue we are having. Orion does not list all the resources, particularly the interfaces on a device, it identifies a subset, but majority of the ports are not listed to be managed. Is this something we should ask the manufacturer to address in their OS of the device or the MIB database? Doesn't seem like an Orion issue to me.

Level 13

Do an SNMP walk on the device and it will walk the MIB and return the values for those MIBS during the walk.  See if you are seeing all the interfaces in the walk.  This could be from an incomplete MIB in the sysobjectID DB that Orion uses for listing resources from the MIB and the Vedor Codes/IDs.  It could be that the MIB was changed after SW implemented it to the sysobjectID DB, and the MIB they use is now incomplete.

Also, do a MIB walk of the device and post it here in Thwack under the MIB thread, and let them know the issue, and you may be able to get it checked.

Also, what type of device is this and what version of SNMP and SNMP agent does it use locally on the device?

Level 13

i have received the APC MIB DB yesterday. How does one add that to the current  Orion MIB DB

when i try, it does NOT look for the .MIB extension

can anyone help?

Level 13

You can't add anything to the MIB DB yourself.  The Integration DB that controls what SolarWinds supports out of the box is locked down and only gets updated on new releases if they add device support.

The MIB DB that you can input new MIB's into is the UnDP DB (Universal Device Pollers), but this can only be done through SW.  You will need to send the MIB file to support and they will update the MIB DB and then send you a link to download the new DB and instructions on how to get it placed for use.

I believe the APC MIB file is already in that DB though, but it won't hurt to send it in to support and have it added if this is a newer MIB file.

Hope this helps.

Level 15

This post was beneficial to me giving an overview of the workings of the system.  I have some custom hardware with private OIDs and was wondering how to implement it in SW.  Looks like the UnDP will work for me.

Level 9

I realize the original post is dated 2009 but wanted to add my 2 cents.  I want a monitoring software that will query all my devices, figure out what they are and how to monitor them.  If it cannot identify newer devices, then there needs to be a mechanism to allow the customer to easily add, detect, query and monitor new devices.  Wouldn't it make sense to make use of mibs and a centralized updatable database, and be able to add them in so that you can detect new devices, be presented with a list of monitors for that device, and simply check the ones that you want as part of a discovery wizard?  Having to mib walk for a specific OID to add individual monitors should be a thing of the past.

Level 12

Original post is from 2009, but still is pointed to by Support when I ask to add some MIB to SolarWinds' MIB database so here first question to the Author, denny.lecompte​ or some one from the SolarWinds Team: can You confirm that all things are as in the post and there is no need for update?

Second question:

Is there any procedure of update of sysobjectID database?

Level 10

We need more information on MIBS/OIDs and NPM

About the Author
"I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all..." (Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan). I was accidentally born as a Cajun from a small town in south Louisiana. Really far south. In fact, if you live south of where I grew up, then we are probably blood relatives. That it was an accident is indisputable because I grew up to be a geek reading science fiction and fantasy novels in a place where most people considered those genres only marginally more acceptable than the Communist Manifesto or the Satanic Bible (no offense to communists or Satanists).   I went to college to be an English major and accidentally stumbled across a psychology text among my girlfriend’s books and immediately fell in love with the cognitive psychology chapter. I loved it so much that I stuck with it until I got a Ph.D. from Rice University studying human memory. Note that this is cognitive psychology, not therapy or abnormal psychology. This is not an invitation to tell your non-SolarWinds troubles to me on Thwack.   Although I applied to many, many different universities in the U.S. and Canada, I ended up at LSU in Baton Rouge, which was more of a cosmic joke than an accident given that I’d been trying to escape the state all my life. I taught there as a professor for about 5 years before I realized that I was deeply bored and couldn’t imagine doing the same thing for 30+ years, which is what professors do. I realized that I wanted to get into the tech world because that’s where the other geeks were. Cognitive psychologists are fine folks, but you can’t count on them to take Battlestar Galactica or Buffy the Vampire Slayer seriously or to know an MMORPG from an RTS.   So I left LSU to work as a usability engineer for Compaq, which was possible only through the accident of a former colleague for Rice already working at Compaq. From there, I bopped through a series of jobs in the tech industry (IBM, BMC Software, NetIQ). I ended up at SolarWinds because I took a job at Winternals Software in Austin, only to have it bought by Microsoft a few months later. That our CEO was looking for product managers in Austin at just the moment that Microsoft was eliminating Winternals was just the latest happy accident. And that, my friends, was how I've ended up as the SVP of Product Strategy at SolarWinds. After 7 great years, I've moved on to other pursuits, but participation on thwack was a highlight of my time with SolarWinds.