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Upgrading SolarWinds Orion Platform Products is Amazing

Product Manager
Product Manager

Upgrading SolarWinds Orion Platform Products is Amazing

By Destiny Bertucci

          I know what you’re thinking right now, “She's out of her darn MIND!” Bear with me for a moment here. I’ve seen a lot of failed upgrades and pushback on upgrading systems to newer OS and application versions. However, I’ve seen more, even smoother upgrades in the past few years that have allowed me to want to make sure everyone has the best experience possible when upgrading.This means I’ve gathered information that can help you be more knowledgeable about why you should upgrade and to get the best features available all while achieving more secure options for your environment. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

          I’d like to start with some necessary information to help you prepare for upgrading, no matter what level you are currently on. I can help guide you to a better environment with the SolarWinds® Orion® Platform while maintaining proper control on how it should be done to help sidestep some “gotcha” moments.

  1. You must know what version you are on, period. When I say that, I mean I’d like for you to have a notepad or an Excel® sheet that allows you to have all the info on your environment readily available. I’ve attached the one I currently use while managing my environments.
  2. You’ll need to know where to find your version and upgrade path:
  3. If you are on 12.0 or above, use this: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Orion_Documentation/SolarWinds_Orion_In...
  4. If you are below 12.0, please use the following: https://customerportal.solarwinds.com/support/product-upgrade-advisor
  5. Check out Windows® version support for each level of SolarWinds Orion Platform products:  https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Knowledgebase_Articles/Windows_Server_2...
  6. My favorite information is the migration guide. Because sometimes when you’re behind in the upgrade cycles, you realize you need a complete overhaul of your environment. Again, perfectly fine! Sometimes it’s even best to migrate when upgrading because you can stay up to date more easily on a new platform. So, this guide is one I keep near and dear to my heart: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Network_Performance_Monitor_(NPM)/NPM_Documentation/Mi...
  7. DBAs love information about the types of databases needed and/or used. Here’s a link to help everyone on your environment team be aware of the end game with databases: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Knowledgebase_Articles/Databases_used_b...
  8. SQL Server® requirements: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Orion_Platform/Knowledgebase_Articles/Databases_used_b...
  9. Port requirements: https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Network_Automation_Manager/NAM_Install_Guide/030/020
  10. Look up each module’s requirements, so you’re creating an environment that lasts and is a pleasant environment for users to use. There is nothing worse than waiting for the page to load because the database is underpowered OR the NetFlow database is underpowered for the number of flows you are using. Please acquaint yourself with the SolarWinds Customer Success Center and use it to find the system requirements you need. 
  11. Here is an excellent link from our awesome community members on in-place upgrades for SQL: https://thwack.solarwinds.com/message/398951#398951

        

           Now that you have gathered the information that you need, let’s talk about why you would want to upgrade. With the ability to use configurations within your network devices to visualize data, it’s vital to bring in these devices and use them to stay ahead of issues better and even solve some issues you may not have seen before.

         

          What in the world is she talking about now? Well, how about being able to see interface config snippets for your Cisco® devices on the interface details page? Or visualizing a switch stack for full redundancy, and using NetPath network path analysis  to break through your firewall to show you connection points from end to end? One major reason you may want to upgrade is to simplify your environment’s “break-down” moments. 

        

           SolarWinds has been working one-on-one with IT groups in all departments to understand and work to solve for their frustrations. Being able to visualize those virtual port channel bundles, for instance. Instead of waiting for an alert, it would be nice to shake out your monitoring and management environment to allow yourself to see clearly and make decisions based on your baselines that match your unique setup.

         

          Security-wise, let’s be honest… if you’re on an unsupported version of Windows or SQL Server, that’s a security issue, big time. If they’re not patchable, they are NOT on my environment. Security should be a focus for you, especially for older versions of .NET. Let’s get our heads in the game and start visualizing these upgrades and making them happen, you know, for security’s sake and all.

          All the data I provided here SHOULD allow you to have a successful upgrade in your future. If you have any suggestions for upgrading, please drop me a line!

~Dez~
11 Comments
Level 8

Just FYI -- Even if you have older versions that can't be upgraded directly with the Orion Installer, you can still use the installer to build your upgrade path. The Orion Installer provides links for you to download the installers that you will need.

Links to the system requirements for all Orion Platform products are listed in the "Review system requirements" section here. And links to port requirements for all SolarWinds products are listed here.

Online Migration Guide is not accurate.

The migration advisor told me that I would need to download a separate download file for VMAN. According to SW tech that is not the case. There is only 1 file to download (for the Orion Server) and if it is the online version it will pull all necessary updates and such automatically.

If you have an HA or APE you will navigate to your primary server and use the Install Additional Poller link at Settings>All Settings>Polling Engines.

Comment mentioned above is for systemes 12.1 and newer.

MVP
MVP

What versions are you running? Or if you have already upgraded, what versions were you running?

Product Manager
Product Manager

kernel___panic___  wrote:

Online Migration Guide is not accurate.

The migration advisor told me that I would need to download a separate download file for VMAN. According to SW tech that is not the case. There is only 1 file to download (for the Orion Server) and if it is the online version it will pull all necessary updates and such automatically.

If you have an HA or APE you will navigate to your primary server and use the Install Additional Poller link at Settings>All Settings>Polling Engines.

hello! Could you provide a link to the guide you used for this information?

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Product Manager
Product Manager

kernel___panic___  wrote:

Product Upgrade Advisor | SolarWinds Customer Portal  <https://customerportal.solarwinds.com/support/product-upgrade-advisor

That's super helpful. Looking at the versions that you sent to Steven, you can use just the latest installer to go to the latest.

Minimum versions for the new installer are listed here: Upgrade older product versions - SolarWinds ...

The online product upgrade advisor is something we're hoping to update to be more clear about this in the future, but in general from NPM 12.2 onwards, you can just use the single all in one installer. It will also give you upgrade paths in the installer.

Here's an overview of the installer workflows.

Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer to install or upgrade Orion Platform products - SolarWinds Worldw...

Level 8

Love this guide, this was very helpful

Level 9

I had a nightmare of an upgrade not too long ago. I ended up having to start over completely. I'll try and follow these guidelines next time.

Im almost at a point where I'd rather create brand new servers, do a fresh install and migrate the database over if that's possible.

Level 13

IDC how something is installed.  I care how stable the installation is, as the issues that had occurred on the last releases, one hopes that solarwinds isn't that unstable again.

About the Author
I started in networking and security around 2002 by taking Cisco Certified Network Associate and Security+ courses from Central Vo-tech. This is where I fell in love with technology in general. From there I venture out to internships and started using the Engineers Toolset from SolarWinds which made me wonder about software. The company I was with purchased Cirrus which is now Network Configuration Manager (NCM) and I was officially hooked. I searched out for SolarWinds and well you guessed it I started working for them and believe it or not in sales. That was the only position open but I knew I wanted to be here. So I quickly worked my way in to the support side and became the first Sales Engineer and then the first Applications Engineer. Since I am a very curious person I have since in my 9 years of being at SolarWinds decided to pursue more education. Security is always a fascination to me so I started taking classes on INFOSEC Assessment Methodology (IAM) and INFOSEC Evaluation Methodology (IEM) of the NSA. Then I went and took the CIW Masters for web development and ventured to databases. MCITP SQL Server and Development certifications that led me to a database development degree in college. I’m pretty much a jack of all trades and LOVE IT! This all applied to my work with SolarWinds as I wanted to be able to help customers solve their issues or needs. So knowing more information allowed me to do this successfully. I also dabbled in Cisco UCS management and currently taking classes to venture toward a CCIE (crossing fingers). NCM is a product that I have worked with since its beginning. I even had the opportunity to fly to the NSA to create templates for some of their devices. I used to be the sole MIB database controller so I’m definitely your huckleberry on MIBs and OIDs. As an Applications Engineer I focused on Network Performance Monitor, Network Configuration Manager, Web Performance Monitor, Enterprise Operations Console, Patch Manager, User Device Tracker, and the Engineers Toolset. See why I like to constantly learn new things I had a lot to be on top of! SolarWinds is a passion of mine still to this very day. My new role as a Product Manager for NCM is home to me. Funny how I circled around back to my favorite product that got me here in the first place. :) My goal is to educate and work with customers to leverage our products to their fullest degree!