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UPDATEDx2 - SNEAK PEEK AT NPM 12

Level 15

UPDATE: NPM 12 has landed! 

It took longer than usual to build this release but I can honestly say this is our biggest release in yearsNPM 12 is almost ready.

NetPath

NetPath started as something we were fiddling with in the lab.  We came up with some really cool tech tidbits like:

  • Discovering the entire, complex path that connects users to services far, far away on the Internet.  Often dozens and sometimes hundreds of routers, links, and servers.
  • Quantifying the performance of every node and every link.
  • Correlating hop by hop performance on a node or link that is used for a portion of the traffic to the end-to-end performance experienced by users.
  • Determining what portion of latency is healthy and what portion is unhealthy.  That way, we can correctly mark a link between two routers in the same building as unhealthy when it takes 7ms and mark a transcontinental link that takes 30ms as healthy.
  • Reliably mimicking application traffic so we are allowed through firewalls and treated with QOS just like application traffic is.
Early NetPath.png

At the end of the day, tools should make problems easier to understand and solve.  As Network Engineers, we know there will never be a troubleshooting easy button, but our tools should always be aspiring to achieve that goal.Today, NetPath is our very best first attempt to reach toward that goal.  Today, NetPath looks like this:

NetPath Today.png

As NetPath strives to make network problems faster and easier to solve, we're super excited to see how it impacts your view of the network and how you solve network problems.

Network Insight for F5 BIG IP

Network Insight for F5 BIG IP provides deep, relationship aware monitoring of your F5 LTMs and GTMs (BIG-IP DNS). We get new metrics like concurrent connections by pool member and health monitor status. Most importantly, we are able to relate a single component to all of the dependent components. Or enumerate all of the components that must be working for a single service to work. www.solarwinds.com is pretty important to us. We want to know fast if there is a problem, and what it is!

Network Insight for F5 Load Balancers - Mini Stack.png

UI Refresh

The UI for NPM and all other Orion based products has been refreshed. This includes two key changes.

First, we've rebuilt the top menu bar to minimize the space it uses, make navigation easier, and surface important features that are shared across several products, for example alerts and reports.

Menu Bar - Highlight.png

Second, we've reskinned the rest of the pages. This means colors and styles have been changed, but the function of the page is the same. Your cheese hasn't moved, it's just a different color! (hopefully that's good)

New UI Skin.png

The goal here is a clean UI that makes it easy to focus on things that really need your attention. This overhaul also provides a path to our truly next generation UI, the first of which can be seen in NetPath.

Improved Cisco Switch Stack Monitoring

Cisco switch stacks have a layer of technology beyond a simple fixed switch that allows the stack to act as a single logical entity. This release makes it easy to understand, monitor, alert, and troubleshoot on that layer of technology. NPM can:

  • List the member switches, and alert you upon membership changes.
  • Identify the master and backup master switches.
  • Discover CPU, RAM, and hardware health for each individual member.
  • Visualize the stack ring and identify partial failures.

Switch Stack - Highlight.png

And More!

ServiceNow integration, stackable poller scalability improvements, installation optimization, install pre-flight checks, built in upgrade path advisor, AD integration for discovery, auto-import from discoveries, and so much more. We can't wait to show you the rest! In the mean time, what looks most interesting to you?

Check out all the goodies in the Release Notes and get upgradedAnd be sure to check out the video at the NPM 12 microsite!

192 Comments
MVP
MVP

We were able to show our customers this feature at an event a week or so ago and this was by far the most talked about feature and came well ahead in the 'most exciting new feature' poll.

IP SLA's path operation type is good, but this is IP SLA on steroids for determining site to site path quality.

You don't need a Cisco device

You can place the probe at the access layer to include all devices in the path

The level of hop by hop information available is great

Then the presentation method is easy to use and interact with (although be prepared for big vertical segments on complex multi path environments)

I am excited to get this in to customers deployments.

Mark Roberts

Prosperon - UK SolarWinds Partners

Installation | Consultancy | Training | Licenses

facebook_icon.jpglinkedin.pngblogger.pngtwitter-icon.jpg 

Level 12

It sounds very promising, but would need to know more about how it works to say whether it would be useful.  We would use something like this for custom apps all over private networks.

Looking forward to the upgraded features. 

Level 13

i've been dying to know the expected release date for NPM 12! it looks so much better and I can't tell you how excited i was to hear about global search

I'd love NetPath to work natively with Cisco boxes or AP's or Windows clients--without having to add anything more to my network.  From Dobbs' first comment, it seems apparent a probe/client is required.  Oh well.

I, too, am eager to deploy & learn this part of new NPM 12.

Level 11

I am starting to use NPM 12.0 RC1. It takes a little getting used to because of the differences from the last version. I haven't been able to have everything show up in my network, probably because of the legacy configurations that I still use. NetPath services so far shows me what is in between when I go point to point however, I am trying to figure out how to show me everything on my LAN before it gets out to the WAN.
Lots of information to read about setting it up and then integrating it with the other SolarWinds products that we have.

Level 11

New question: I have been have not been able to get information on the equipment that is located in Japan because the ping and snmp trap ports were shut on the firewall. Until I can get the snmp trap ports open again, I have been stuck without any status on the network devices. Here is the good news... 12.0 RC1 is able to give me some information. By using the Netpath service, and running a probe from our SolarWinds server to the switch in Japan, I am able to see that the switch is up. Much like ICMP gives me data.

Level 15

It sounds like you're expecting to have to deploy more agents than I would expect.  A software probe must be installed only on the source machine, which must be a Windows machine.  The nodes you transit and the destination service do not require any software.  So, for example, in the screenshot in my post, the source is off screen on the left and no software is deployed on any of the nodes or networks shown.  Does that help?

Level 12

wow, this looks really good. well done guys

one example of how it might help us here is sometimes we've had issues where our regional offices have had problems with the dslam at the local exchange but getting the evidence to prove it can quiet difficult if the teleco isn't forthcoming. seeing and measuring the response times at their hops would help.

Level 8

Definitely looking forward to seeing it in action.

Well done guys!

Level 16

I just installed this on my secondary system.  Its only running NPM and SAM.

Install was very easy.  .NET 4.5 took the longest and the wizard was same as usual.

The new UI is terrific!  Love the menu system.  Lots of new small features that will make our lives MUCH better.

So happy to see that yellow notification bar go away!!!!!

Netpath is awesome!  I havnt had time to really test it out, but tomorrow I'll set some things up and post back here.  They have a create a netpath to google wizard that gives you a quick idea of what lies ahead.  The detail is great.

I'll post more as I can play with it and add new items.

Its like being a kid in the candy store!

MVP
MVP

I'm going to get this in to my customers as soon as I can looks like a great advancement.

Level 13

Useful to know that installation is relatively pain free. Im hoping this will be the answer to a lot of issues that have plagued me in 11.5.3

Let me know as you delve deeper

Level 14

I love this feature.  From what I can see after the initial RC install is that it works great.  Went right through our firewalls with no issues.  Now I am just waiting for there to be a problem, so I can see how it works and alerts with it.  I also like the new user interface with the new menu layout.  It is a lot easier and cleaner looking.

Level 16

the things that will help to make this a good tool

1.Share the knowledge "Do you see that problem from your network?"

2.The agent must be small and open so it can run from Usb stick

Probes - RIPE Atlas — RIPE Network Coordination Centre

Something like that but better ....

MVP
MVP

Hope the existing 11.x to 12.x upgrade is also smooth .. anybody who can comment on this

Level 21

I really hope this just works and is as easy as it looks!

I sent a link to this to my network team and one of my engineers responded with "I would personally sacrifice a hobo for this product".  I would like to thank SolarWinds for providing this as part of a product we already have, you just saved a hobo!

P.S.  I would like to apologize to any hobo's that may be reading this.

Level 15

I don't think PR is going to let us use that one, but I like it!

Level 14

mine was pretty smooth.  I ran into a couple little issues that were flagged during the install. 

1. It said VM was not up to date, so I verified and ignored this.  There was no issue after with the VM integration

2. It notified me of issues with SSLv2 and gave the fix action.  I followed this and had no issues

3.  I use https.  I had issue after install with SOAP connection being made using using the default website/port 80.  I had to rerun the config wizard and selected configure bindings.  The after I fixed the bindings to the way I wanted.

After all this (which really wasn't much), it was good.  The upgrade wizard itself was pretty quick and the whole upgrade actually didn't take me that long.  In this suite, I am using NPM, SAM, VM, DPA, UDT, and IPAM.  No issues with any of the integration.  It did add back some of the default menu stuff that I had removed.  No biggie as I have to change a lot (view stuff) due to the new features.

MVP
MVP

I can see a disclaimer being required here "no hobos were harmed in the making of this product.".

Level 21

You could go as far as to say "a hobo was saved due to the making of this product"!

Level 13

NPM 12 saving Hobo's one download at a time

Level 12

Is this the product you cruelly teased us with at thwakCamp last year?

Level 8

Is Solarwinds NetPath direct competition for products like AppNeta's Pathview [link] and ThousandEyes [link]? If so, can you explain some of the differences? Also, Solarwinds invested money in AppNeta back in the day how does that investment play into this feature? Thanks.

Level 9

....I am far too excited about this...I literally started bouncing up and down in my seat...especially since I just had some users come to be claiming that their applications failure is due to the network...which it was not.....this will provide proof that the internet is, in fact, not broken.

Looks nice, but definitely need more details before I'd form a solid opinion.

It looks pretty awesome.  Will provide simplified views of the network that would make higher level management very pleased.  Also, would help decrease MTTR metrics by providing a much more solid view in regards to troubleshooting.

A concern I have regards the backend.  Will the current NPM database be valid to use for this new feature or would a new database need to be created?

Level 15

smoked_angus, this is the NPM feature that evolved from the lab prototype I presented at ThwackCamp last year, yes!

Level 14

michael malendoski It does use the current NPM database.  It just adds new table data.

goodzhere  Perfect!  I'm looking forward to installing the new version next month.

Level 15

I wouldn't say either of those are direct competitors, but they are related because they do some stuff with path.  AppNeta's Pathview seems to focus on available bandwidth, with fairly simplistic path visualization and minimal data about gear in the path that you manage.  It also requires inline deployment or a SPAN port where NetPath is a software agent at the source.  SolarWinds invested in AppNeta as a company, but none of the AppNeta technology was used or reviewed in building NetPath.  ThousandEyes is doing some really interesting stuff with path, but they're focused on providing visibility for SaaS providers.  As a result, they don't have much of any data about gear in the path that you manage either and present a complex data set that requires quite a bit of expertise to analyze.  In contrast, NetPath is geared toward IT shops who need to monitor their own network and how they connect to SaaS or cloud services and does a lot of the analysis itself.  In either case, those tools would need to be augmented with a full monitoring platform like NPM or one of NPM's direct competitors to get broad coverage of your infrastructure.  Hope that helps.

Level 10

SW, I am right in the middle of a conversion from old equipment in a legacy domain to an all new deployment in a new AD hosting Domain.  Right now, this week.  Is release close enough for me to considering deplaning my new deployment so I do not have two major builds in a short time frame?  Or, build what I got and come back later?  It just seems, with the RC out there, things are getting very imminent.

Level 15

I'm afraid we're not prepared to announce timing for the Generally Available release, however I think we can help.  I'll shoot you a PM.

Level 12

This is awesome, I had hoped this would come to fruition, great work!

MVP
MVP

I ran the Beta of SAM and SRM and love the new interface, look and feel and the installer is great. I can't wait to try this out NetPath looks to be a real "stop the finger pointing" tool.

If it's still in Beta I'd love to put it to the test.

Level 9

Ah...It says "Source: Chris' MacBook" in the image...which does not normally indicate a Windows machine.

?

Level 15

MacBook was the hardware, but it was Windows 2012 on a Parallels VM.

Level 9

I'm liking this a LOT.  There is a LOT of potential for this, for our environment i.e. I will be able to show latency between nodes where both are outside of our infrastructure for those "why is this web site so slow" questions.  Also our principle ISP is our county and they have a peering arrangement with just about every backbone provider so if we need to we can use NPM 12/NetPath to look at latency issues in the NW Gigapop perhaps?

Level 20

I dislike that the installer can't figure out the bindings from previous version... Most of us use https or send http to https.

Level 7

Will any of this tie into AppStack ?  PLEASE say yes

Level 20

I'm really glad it's moving forward cobrien​ since it's supported we may be ready soon.  I was a little concerned to I have to copy all of my old report writer reports over for them to still work manually?  I'm not sure if I read that right?

Level 14

Yes.  This release does, but no so much this feature that I can tell.

Level 10

I hope it will be released very soon, i saw a demo of this. This is really exciting.

Level 11

I installed it onto a test VM yesterday and so far it's looking very. We just need to add some nodes and kick the tires of the new features.

I'm curious as to if firewall rules and access-lists within the ISP network will prevent NetPath from gathering desired metrics.  I don't know if we'll see everything we want to see because of this.  Are there any other protocols at work in NetPath besides ICMP/SNMP to gather node metrics outside of our Enterprise network(s)?

MVP
MVP

We for our customer installations will manually install the .Net frameworks, as it will be far quicker than letting the wizard perform the task. Also if there are any issues with that core OS element being installed you have better visibility.

Our company has over 80 remote sites that are connected via Business Class coax internet. Outages are a daily struggle. Based on what I'm seeing here, this new feature will help us more quickly identify where the connection is dropping? If I can have another weapon against the first level of support, it sure would help.

Level 14

Hi designerfx, if you want to find out more about this you can attend the Upgrade Training: Network Performance Monitor v12.0 Upgrade Training Date: May 20, 11:AM CT Sign up: https://customerportal.solarwinds.com/VirtualClassrooms/ If you can't attend at this time, we will be providing additional dates and times (for all regions) soon.

Level 8

I upgraded our 11.5 install to 12.0 RC1 yesterday I did run into an issue: We had tried out SRM 6.0 last year & then uninstalled it. Evidently it did not cleanly uninstall. my NetPerfMon database still has tables for SRM and the installer thought it was still installed. I had to install SRM 6.2 and then uninstall it in order to allow the NPM 12.0 install to continue. After that, the upgrade went smooth.

NetPath is awesome!!! A few tips/requests from playing with it so far.

  1. The main NetPath Services page doesn't seem to refresh very often or it doesn't refresh everything. I have to do a manual refresh to make sure it is up to date.
  2. I mass-deployed agents (about 😎 throughout my environment through the Manage Agents page under settings. After doing that, the agents did not show up as available NetPath probes. I had to do an additional "Create New Probe" from the NetPath Services page to the same agent box in order for it to show up.
  3. There needs to be a back button or something to go back to the NetPath Services page from the Network Path details page.
  4. I really, really, really wish the probe could be deployed to devices other than full Windows boxes. I have no problem using Windows boxes at my major sites, but I would love to be able to monitor the path and performance of applications from some of my smaller sites, where I only have a small router and a few guys with laptops. Being able to use something like a Raspberry Pi, something already on a Cisco/Juniper/... router, or being able to deploy it in a Linux container on the newer Cisco ISR4000 routers would be awesome.
  5. NetPath/NPM doesn't seem to handle Cisco ASR9000 routers and VRFs well. I have an environment where the traffic comes in to a ASR 9001 on one interface/VRF for our MPLS, goes through a firewall, then switched on an outside VRF, and then back through the original ASR 9001 on an outside/internet VRF and interface.

     snip_20160506105932.jpg

Level 15

Where did you read that?

About the Author
Lifelong technology enthusiast. Network Engineer turned Product Manager for network products. By geeks, for geeks! I started my career as a call center agent at a wireless ISP. I moved into the Network Operations Center to operationally support their network. I moved to another company to be a Network Engineer, and fulfilled that role at several different companies in different verticals including Healthcare, Software, and Finance. Eventually, I found my calling as a PM, where I work with all of the functions of a business, and particularly Development, to determine what to build next to deliver the most value to our customers.