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The Magic 8 Ball in Orion

Product Manager

I walk into one of our Development Managers office on a weekly, if not daily basis, asking for a feature or bug fix and to mess with me he has a magic 8-ball on his desk he likes to shake up and make the decision.  I am sure almost everyone has either owned or played with one of these things where it gives you responses like “outlook does not look good”. 

I bet most of you have come across a situation where a manager or someone else comes up to you and ask questions like:

  • when is that disk drive going to run out of space?
  • how far out are we from maxing out the capacity in the link out to the Internet?
  • based on historical usage of the CPU on this box, when are we going to max it out?

It is a bit like pulling out the magic 8-ball and giving it an nice big shake.

Well not anymore.  There is a cool, little feature in Orion which many folks do not know about which allows you to do trending analysis, with much more accuracy than the good ole’ Magic 8-ball.

We use a method called “Least Square” to perform this analysis.  If you are interesting in reading all the geeky stuff on this algorithm, check it out here.

Let’s walk through how do do this in Orion using the disk drive example above.  Your manager comes in and is doing budget planning for the next year and need to know if this specific server is going to need a drive upgrade or not.  In the Orion web console you drill down to the server in question and select the drive and get a nice chart like you see directly below.  It looks boring and flat and only using 14gig of 39.9gig, plenty of room for the next year right? 


If you now select “Edit Chart” in the drop down you will get a new page, where under the Time Period heading, you can select custom.  Enter a date in the past and then a date in the future, say six months out and click refresh.


The result will be chart where based on the historical we have gathered and stored you can see you have plenty of room and overall is on a downward trend.


This feature work with Volumes, Interfaces, CPU, Memory, etc. 

Still keep the Magic 8-ball on your desk to mess with people, but now you can give you manager much more precise data for their budget capacity planning exercise.

About the Author
I have currently been at SolarWinds for a little over three years and have been in the IT technology field for about 10 years either as an Engineer/IT Admin or working for a software company to help makes those folks lives easier.  I graduated from Texas A&M University with an MIS degree from the Business School and have been in Austin for about 8 years.