As anyone who's been regularly following the thwack blogosphere might tell you, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) has an impressive track record of packing a ton of really great features into each and every release; and SAM 6.0 is no exception. In fact, some might argue that we're upping the ante with this release to a whole new level. And to any naysayers amongst you I say, you ain't seen nothing yet.
No different than in previous releases, SAM's elite army of robot zombie developers have been diligently and tirelessly working on a lengthy list of new features and improvements for this SAM 6.0 release, some of which are now ready for beta testing. If you would like to participate in the SAM 6.0 beta and begin playing with some of the new features, the process is very simple; sign-up here. The only requirement is that you must be an existing Server & Application Monitor product owner under active maintenance.
Real-Time Windows Event Log Viewer
Regardless of whether you're new to systems management, or you're a war torn veteran with the battle scars to prove it, most likely the first place you turn whenever trouble starts brewing in your Windows™ environment is the Windows Event Log. Whether it's application exceptions, user lockouts, failed backups, services stopping, or anything else that happens to go bump in the night, your first clue as to what went wrong, and when, can almost always be found in your tried and true Windows Event Log.
However, until now, your only recourse for pouring through the mountain of events in the Windows Event Log has been to either Remote Desktop (RDP) into your server to open the Windows Event Log Viewer locally, or launch the Windows Event Log Viewer on your workstation and connect to the servers Event Log remotely. Both of these options introduce needless additional steps and precious time wasted when trying to quickly troubleshoot the root cause of the issue. Neither of these options allow you to proactively monitor for these kinds of events in the future, should they occur.
In SAM 6.0 we wanted to bring the same power to your fingertips that we provide with the Real-Time Process Explorer and Windows Service Control Manager, to the Windows Event Log. To that end, the Real-Time Windows Event Log Viewer was born. Found in the Management resource on the Node Details view, the Real-Time Windows Event Log Viewer allows you to browse through all the events in your Event Log, as well as filter for specific events in a particular log. You can filter based on event severity, such as Error, Warning, Information, etc. You can also filter on Event Source to quickly isolate the specific event(s) you're looking for.
Once zeroed in on the event(s) you're interested in, you can click on the event itself to see the full details of the event, including the full message details. Want to be alerted if this event occurs again in the future? No problem. Simply click Start Monitoring and you will be walked through a wizard for creating a Windows Event Log Monitor and assigning it to a new or existing Application Template. It's just that easy.
Ok, I know what you're going to say. Inventory collection and reporting is neither cool nor exciting. I get it. However, regardless of your environment size, keeping an up-to-date inventory is a necessary evil normally required by the accounting department or upper management for asset depreciation tracking, insurance purposes, and/or lifecycle management and renewal. It's normally an arduous annual or quarterly task that involves a tremendous amount of manual labor to compile, and has questionable value beyond satisfying those higher up the ladder.
In SAM 6.0 we strived to make inventory data not only valuable to upper management, but also those responsible for managing and maintaining the infrastructure. Expanding beyond the typical fixed asset information required by the business, SAM 6.0 allows you to answer key IT questions that help drive your business decisions. Whether you're constantly running low on memory in your server and need to know if you have any free slots for additional RAM, or need to report on software installed for license compliance or security purposes, SAM has you covered. Has your vendor notified you of a major issue identified in a specific driver or version of firmware? With SAM 6.0 you can easily see which machines are affected.
You can enable Asset Inventory collection for a node by clicking List Resources from the Management resource of the Node Details view. It will also appear listed when adding the node through the Add Node Wizard. To enable collection, simply check the box next to Asset Inventory as depicted in the image on the left. Click submit to save your changes and inventory data for that node will collected.
Asset Inventory collection can be enabled for both physical and virtual assets alike, and functions independently of Hardware Health monitoring, or any other status monitoring for that matter. That means you don't need to monitor your volumes or interfaces for them to be included as part of an inventory report.
Asset Inventory collection can be enabled for any Windows host managed in SAM, including Windows servers and workstations. Stay tuned for more information on inventory collection for Linux/Unix and VMware hosts.
Once Asset Inventory has been enabled for the node, you will find a new Asset Inventory sub-view that appears on the Node Details view for that node. Clicking on the Asset Inventory sub-view tab takes you to a dedicated asset inventory view which includes all relevant inventory data collected for that node.
When you access the Asset Inventory sub-view you may at first be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information being collected. Fortunately all this information is logically categorized and grouped together into independent resources that can be moved or copied to the Node Details view, or any other node based sub-view if you desire.
Anyone who's Polling Engine capacity is teetering dangerously on the edge might be worried what kind of load all this newly collected inventory information is going to place on their poller. Fortunately inventory data doesn't need to be collected with the same degree of regularity as status information. As such, Asset inventory collection by default occurs only once a day, but can be configured to occur weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly depending on your needs.
Concerned about licensing? Don't be. Asset Inventory Collection is not licensed separately, and does not count against your SAM component monitor licenses. It's included as part of the Node License.
Below are just a few examples of some of the new Asset inventory resources contained in this view. If you'd like to check them out for yourself in your own environment I encourage you to sign-up here to download the SAM 6.0 beta. We'd love your feedback!
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