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WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON FOR NTM (UPDATED NOV 27, 2019)

Product Manager

We are currently in the planning phase for the next release, we are investigating following areas. As we move forward we will update this post to reflect what we are working on short-term.


Some of these items include:

  • Support for new VMware versions
  • Support for usage of TLS 1.2 only (after 1.1 disabling)
  • Bug fixes

PLEASE NOTE:  We are working on these items based on this priority order, but this is NOT a commitment that all of these enhancements will make the next release.  We are working on a number of other smaller features in parallel.   If you have comments or questions on any of these items (e.g. how would it work?) or would like to be included in a preview demo, please let us know!

53 Comments
MVP
MVP

Sounds good so far. Can not wait.

Level 9

So Few items I see as a Limitation to NTM as a whole:

#1 - IF I already invested Time/Money into Network Discoveries with Orion/NPM... why is NTM doing a Brute Force Rescan of network ranges, multiple SNMP etc...

      Recommendation: a Very Simple Query to have NTM support a SQL Credential box (SQLor Windows) to query Nodes table and obtain alllll the IPs and SNMP settings for all the Nodes i am already Monitoring.

      Save significant Time on the NTM process, especially when large number of Network and End-Devices are present.

#2 - This is Heavily dependent on Cisco Discovery Protocol / Link Layer Discover Protocol to obtain layer 2 links between devices and infrastructure. for Non-Cisco Environments, Cisco ASAs, Wireless Controllers/APs, Windows OSes... this will end up causing significant orphan objects.   Note Cisco ASA do NOT support CDP, Cisco APs support CDP but not SNMP so they are Unknown devices..

      Recommendation: Expand NTM to also use Spanning Tree Protocol to help define Layer 2 Links for Non-CDP/LLDP Devices. its seems to work today based on my scans, so improve upon this discovery option.

      Recommendation: This one is bit tougher, Add in an option for Username/Password credential (OR grab from NPM database in Orion hint) Log into each appliance and preform a MAC Address table (show mac-address,  show cam dynamic, show mac address etc....) Parse for Client MAC and Interface, exclude VLANs and Static (key)... now when Windows, Printers, who know what... is polled NPM and do a MAC Address (Device) to MAC Address Table to Interface (Appliance) mapping.  this will solve a lot of the Layer 2 Network/Layer3 network issues as devices are mapped to a Port not the VLAN or ARP Table.

      Solves the issue of all Layer 3 Devices being linked to a single "Core" Switch or Device where in reality they are on a up-link layer 2 devices.

#3 - Define L2L/VPN/MPLS Gateway IPs as Part of the Discovery scope.

       This is a annoying and on-going issue with Network Mappers, since Carrier and Tunnel Ingress/Egress devices rarely allow any type of "Discovery" traffic (CDP, LLDP, STP, PING, SNMP, yada) they mapping tools simply skip over the Gateway IPs as "unknown" or "not found"... since these are always going to be know by the network Admin, lets us define them as part of the scan so the tool goes "AHHH its the Gateway from Verzion, i will not be able to do anything with this, BUT its significant and I have a Interface with a /30 assigned to it which matches so its important, lets add it as a "Cloud".  Same Goes with the Tunneled Traffic ... hey the route table seems to point to this IP, i know this IP is a Tunnel Device and I can see the same Routes on an Appliance some where else so lets make a "Spring looking link" between these Nodes.

#4 - Graphical - Why are all the Link Lines Always so damn "Spread out", make an option to allow the user to define how far aware each connecting device is by pixel or distance.

More to Come.

Level 15

#1 - Totally agree but easier said than done.  We're thinking about how to improve NTM/NPM integration and unifying the discovery is certainly a component of that.

#2 - We use many different methods to discover what NTM calls L2 links between devices.  CDP/LLDP are the most accurate and clear so it's great when they're available but in many cases they're simply not.  We actually poll MAC and ARP tables now and use home-grown algorithms to determine how this maps to topology.  This is definitely an area we continue to focus on for improvement.  We've discussed what we can learn from STP and other protocols (routing protocols, for example).

#3 - Definitely something we're actively thinking about

#4 - See the Rendering Changes section, bullet point two here: NTM 2.2 Beta1 - Building a Better Network Diagram Tool

You have checked out NTM 2.2 Beta1 haven't you?  Based on your feedback I suspect you'd be very interested in seeing it!

Level 15

Removed the following items, because we delivered them in NTM v2.2!:

Level 13

agree with Michael Fusco 100%.

I will add this one, as I am very disappointed and frustrate I CANNOT do this.

Allow us a way to

1) Modify ANY node on the map to change polling method - I don't care if it its ICMP, WMI or SNMP - I want the ability to change it, and re-poll that SINGLE DEVICE.

2) Create/ADD a SINGLE node - after the initial scan done.  There is no freaking reason we should have to rescan the ENTIRE map just to add a single node.

3) Add a "Grid" background that can be enabled/disabled so we can align objects easier.

4) when exporting to Network Atlas, BRING THE ICONS.  You guys did good adding the icons to NTM, but when I bring it into Network Atlas to add to my webpage of maps, the icons are stripped. (There are quite a few things you guys could do here.  Like replace network atlas all together with NTM.  )


I am sure Ill have more.

Level 15

All very good suggestions.  Number 1, 2, and 4 are top of mind for me lately   Will think about the third.  If you can align and distribute icons, what do you feel the grid would help with?

Level 12

If possible i would like to see NTM be able to extract config, maps and other info and be able to synchronize it into visio maps, word doc templates etc so we can keep out documentation up to date automatically.

Level 13

Number 1 and 2 are the most glaring omissions.  NTM failed to pick up 2 nodes, now I have to spend 4 hours scanning to add them.

Level 13

by adding a grid, it will make it easer to distribute shapes in either direction.  In some cases, I might have some (necessary) white space, making distributing things along that axis just a tad more difficult.  just seems we should be able to do a grid with a 90% transparent so its just barley visible, (at least, in mind mind. )

Thanks!

Level 11

My biggest thing, mentioned above, is combining Network Atlas and NTM. You have 2 pieces of software that make maps. One of them makes gorgeous, professional looking maps, and the other, to me, serves no purpose other than being a vehicle with which to put the good maps onto my Web console. So, if we could somehow have NTM maps show up on the console without any middle man of Network Atlas, that would be awesome, especially since with 16GB of RAM and 6 server core CPUs, Network Atlas still runs like a herd of turtles through peanut butter. I just like NTM so much better and feel like having that be the only map maker tool would be a welcome change.

Level 13

I totally agree ! Would be great to have combined editing functionality from Network Atlas with live mapping of NTM.

Level 15

I agree too!

Level 14

Totally agree with dclick‌.

Especially want #1, #2 and #4.  I'd also like to expand on #2 - we'd like to be able to add a new range and scan just that range - why do I need to scan everything that already exists?

My ideas:

Mapping Layout:

We'd like to see some additional Auto Arrange capabilities.  For instance, we'd like to select a subset of nodes (one that are connected obviously) and run Auto Arrange on them.  This would allow us to leave parts of the map undisturbed and / or allow us to use different arrangements on different nodes for better layout.

Credentials:‌

I haven't confirmed this but it seems as if you enter Windows creds, it tried them on EVERY device, windows or not. At least that's the report we got back from our SOC wanting to know why a certain account was attempting to log in to all kinds of devices and failing (all non-windows devices).  So we'd like NTM to only use creds against the correct targets.  We'd also like to be able to specify which groups of targets creds will be used on.  Not the current all or nothing approach.

Level 10

‌by any chance is there any possibility for us to access NTM using web console /IIS so that larger audience can access access it for usage ?

Level 9

I would definitely like to see #2 implemented into NTM in the near future. This seems like an feature that should be standard since scanning entire networks takes time, resources, and is impractical.

Level 9

I can't strongly enough encourage combining both NTM and Network Atlas into one product.

After that is done, it would be very helpful to be able to right click on an element on the map and have a customized list of options that you could select from.  For example, run a custom script; or create a hyperlink that would link to the user manual (we have some very unusual devices on our network) or in the case of a WAN link, our in-house application that details our telco specifics (contact info, outage history, etc).

It would also be great if I could create an object that represented a third party and then draw a link to that object from one of my devices since I can't (shouldn't) discover the other party's devices.  It would make it a lot easier for my NOC to figure out the impact of a connection down.

Level 11

bump!

Level 15

I owe you folks an update here.  As has been painfully obvious, the roadmap for NTM does not include a lot.  It's tiny.  Infinitesimal?

Here's the skinny: there is a lot more NTM could do and that I want it to do.  If we go and build those things we have to raise the price though.  I don't want to raise the price.  There are already options for people that want to do very careful, very manual map creation at a cost of free or effectively free.  There are also options for people that want very advanced automated map creation at a premium price, something like 10x to 30x more expensive than NTM.  I believe NTM is unique in offering a mostly automated solution at a super affordable price and I believe that's the best fit for most of our customers.

We will continue to build features as we see the need, but I want to set correct expectations that we do not expect frequent major updates.  We will continue to provide 24/7 support, hot fixes, and so on as we have always done for NTM.

At this point the "What We're Working On" page creates more false expectations than it actually fulfills so it's adding to the problem.  I will be removing the sticky from this page and removing other links to the page to accurately reflect that we don't have a list of stuff we're working on delivering soonish.

I hope that, while this information does not match your ideal choice, it does provide clarity about what we're doing with NTM.

Level 13

bit of a rant here - if you are offended, sorry.  I have been a customer of Solar-winds well over 10 years. I have seen you guys do alot of growth. Some good, some not.

Here is what I read from your last post, Cobrien - SolarWinds does not care enough about this product to continue imporovements and development, unless you need to  "fix" a bug. Maybe add a feature 'sometime in the future", probably one we didn't request.

Sounds a lot like how you guys deal with SNMP with NPM -took you YEARS to get around to looking at it - though we had been screaming for changes/updates.  Customers STILL cannot import our own SNMP MIBS - damn near ever OTHER SNMP capable monitoring tool allows for that!

I am extremely disappointed I budgeted to renew this license. It wont make my 2019 budget. As a government entity, this is a major commitment, it takes a lot to get funding for network tools.  I am better off just using network atlas and doing it all by hand. or better yet, investing in one of those "other" vendors.

Level 8

Its funny you say you will only "fix" bugs this product has never worked with my switches and I was told it was going to be fixed in future release I guess that was a lie. When it come time to renew support I think I need to re-evaluate  Solarwinds all together...

Level 13

Yet another Solarwinds discovery and mapping product that is abandoned.  I really wish you guys could get your act together on this.

Level 9

Does this mean that next year my support renewal will reflect that there's really nothing happening here?  Not sure why I'd get billed for a maintenance agreement when it sounds like there's no maintenance.

Level 15

>Does this mean that next year my support renewal will reflect that there's really nothing happening here?  Not sure why I'd get billed for a maintenance agreement when it sounds like there's no maintenance.

No, because that would not be accurate.  We will continue to provide 24/7 support, hot fixes, and so on as we have always done for NTM.  We're considering feature requests but do not expect to deliver major features.  This is the set of content that NTM maintenance buys you.

Level 15

I do not agree with your assessment but I do appreciate the feedback and will consider it.  One of the challenges at SolarWinds is that we always want to do more than we're actually capable of doing.  We'll keep trying to do better.

Level 15

Could you provide the case number for your issue?  We sometimes make mistakes but I personally have never seen SolarWinds lie to a customer.  I'd like to track this down.

Level 13

That was a perfect assessment from my view.  Solarwinds cannot seem to make a decent discovery and mapping product like many of your competitors do.  You said it best "One of the challenges at SolarWinds is that we always want to do more than we're actually capable of doing"

Do you guys actually use these products on real world networks over a couple of months?  If you did, you would find that they are poorly designed from the start, and almost unusable.

I will not be renewing support on this product.

Level 8

Case # 850176

Level 15

I've looked into this case.  The issue is well documented and tracked but we are not actively working on the issue.  I see where both a specific developer and a specific support agent said that we would release it in a future release.  That was definitely a mistake.  I apologize.  I've contacted both of their managers to go discuss the mistake and how to avoid it in the future.

Level 9

OK, my two cents worth.  Hopefully this will prompt some more constructive feedback.

I actually do get the logic for providing a cheap and cheerful mapping tool.  It strikes me as being in similar class as the engineers toolsets.  Even with the ability to export to Atlas, it does seem more like a standalone product.  But the need for an advanced automated mapping tool remains for large Enterprise/Government/NGO.  The two things I hear most from IT executives currently are automation and visualisation.  Both necessitate dynamic, near real-time automated mapping.

So if we accept that there is minimal plans for enhancements, perhaps we need to be asking some different questions.  What is the roadmap for Atlas?  Accepting that there are other tools out there currently that do a better job than NPM or Atlas, what are they and how can they be best integrated?

And a more general comment.  Clearly, Solarwinds user-base includes a wide range of customers.   Though some will most appreciate the cheap and cheerful nature of SolarWinds products, others will get more excited about the tight integration and extensive feature set.  Is it time to consider a split of Standard/Enterprise versions of products that doesn't just distinguish between license size and polling capacity but feature set.  More advanced features could be license enabled, hopefully keeping development costs.  I think this is an example of the "vision thing", which Solarwinds is not currently seen to have, relying instead on it's maturity and execution.  But the risk remains of a new entrant or existing visionary competitor taking market share with products that satisfy this demand for automation and visualisation.

Level 9

Rdewar,

Your two cents was very insightful. I find myself agreeing with the idea of splitting the road and taking both paths simultaneously. Having a more fleshed out mapping tool with added integration and competitive features and similarly having a competitive cost with other mapping tools would help maintain that "one pane of glass" in terms of software brands. If you are already heavily invested in SolarWinds for configurations, automation, backups, etc... Then having a full fledged mapping tool to complement the SolarWinds array seems like a good position to be in. SolarWinds already offers many free tools that can ultimately be turned into paid tools should you opt to purchase the full fledged module. As technology continues to evolve, and the IoT expands, more and more people are going to want visual insight into the network. Logical diagrams are great for administrators, but your deputies and chief level employees are going to want visually appealing dashboards that show the essentials like status, link speed, HDD space, etc... What better way to show small to geographically diverse networks then with maps, icons, and overlays?

Overall, my theory is; if you are going to discontinue feature implementation, build integration so that other software can take advantage of it. If NTM can provide a clean logical map that I can easily integrate into a GIS program or any other visual tool, then that would be better then more or less letting it fall by the wayside.

On a sidenote, there are a lot of entitled ragers on here! Some parts of this thread begin to sound like a Youtube comment section.

Level 13

Entitled ragers? Not like a youtube comment at all.  I paid for the product and kept maintenance and it is not delivering as promised and now abandoned.  I guess that makes me entitled?

If you have access to Gartner, Solarwinds gets dinged often for it's lack of vision.  Not having an adequate mapping solution is part of this issue.

Solarwinds has a lot of good things going for it, such as the integration of the products and the single pane of glass aspect, but is really falling short in mapping and dashboarding that you can provide for internal customers.

Level 9

This now gets back to the question of maintenance.  If there's a known defect, and there is no intention of fixing it, then what is the maintenance for?  If there's no clear roadmap for development, and if some bugs just aren't being fixed then where is the value?

I already have other mapping tools, so it was going to be a bit of a toss up on if we renewed NTM, but I think the decision has been made for me.

RIP NTM.

Level 13

Hi archo​, would you mind sharing what mapping tools you are using?

Level 8

I would like to know too hopefully they don't close this tread ha...

Level 8

you funny with "entitled ragers"

Level 9

Let's see how long this lasts...

The one that I'm starting to use more heavlily is LiveAction  (http://www.liveaction.com/) which, in addition to layer 2/3 mapping, it also provides netflow and QoS info.  We are a Cisco shop, and have an IWAN deployment, and LiveAction can actually show the traffic flows between the different paths.

I also have Cisco APIC-EM deployed, and that does some topology mapping, though that's been a bit more troublesome to get devices into.

Level 12

So after reading through the comments, I am presented with the questions;

  1. Is this product being closed down?
  2. Is NTM to be updated as a product or is it not. (what we have is what we get)
  3. Are there any product enhancements, fixes, or updates to come?
Level 15
  1. No.
  2. Yes.  Minor updates, not major.
  3. Nothing that we're prepared to share right now.

There is a lot of conjecture in the comments.  The original post is the most accurate.

Level 7

Lets unpack this a little further...

NTM 2.2.2 was released on January 19, 2016. According to the Solarwinds Website it offered NO additional features and was merely a maintenance release. I know there have been some bugfix releases here and there since then, but nothing important enough to cause a new full version to be released nor any mention of the bugs fixed on the customer portal.

NTM 2.2.1 was released on  May 5, 2015 and only had two very minor feature updates.

So the last release that actually offered ANY new features was 28 months ago. All marketing speak aside, this product has been effectively abandoned. I did not allocate funding to renew my maintenance on NTM, and recommended a client (who spent mid 5 digits on Solarwinds products this year) not to purchase a license.

Level 10

Wait... how is it being updated?  You said on the 11th that a well documented bug wasn't going to be addressed, so what actually WOULD be "updated" if not a "well documented and tracked" issue that "both a specific developer and a specific support agent said that we would release it in a future release"?

Level 15

Release notes are the best place to see what has been updated: NTM version 2.2.2 Release Notes - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

Sounds like what we selected did not meet your expectations.  I appreciate the feedback and will keep it in mind.

Level 10

Oh, I don't have any expectations.  I don't even use NTM, I'm honestly just curious.  What kinds of updates would you make?  Like, branding and security fixes, but no issues or bugs, or, like, what?  Obviously there's some kind of decision rubric, right, if you're not doing everything (or, it seems, most things) but what kinds of things would get an update?  What counts as a minor update?

While I don't use NTM, I do use other products, and I'm curious how these kinds of things are decided at Solarwinds.

Level 10

(those release notes also seem to be from January of 2016, is that right?  If it's still getting minor updates, I'm super curious what they are and what's been done since those 2.2.2 release notes)

Level 15

It sounds like NTM is not a good match for your needs.  I understand that, and I respect that you can make that decision better than anyone else.  I do not think it is accurate to call NTM "abandoned" because it is supported, developed albeit at a reduced rate, and has a large user base.

Level 13

Large user base or more customers like me that bought it and don't use it anymore because of all the shortcomings and lack of development?

How do you know how many people are still using it?

Level 8

after doing many maps for several customers I always get a question of why do we need to go through Atlas to import our maps and why are our icons removed when imported to Atlas.

Bumping this idea

MVP
MVP

cobrien; so what will be update in NTM if anything at all. Is there any new Major releases coming out anytime soon, or is this just going to be patched and that is basically it? At this point from everything above I am going to recommend not renewing support on NTM unless I hear there is going to be major changes on NTM within the next 6 months to a year. If there is no plans to add features to this product anymore, then there is no use keeping it the way it is currently. There is much better products out there for mapping of the network.

Level 8

I agree.

There is is a reason it sells for 1495$. There isn’t much to it. Compare it with the likes of NetBrainer and Auvik though... now those are mapping solutions.

NTM needs a serious makeover, or takeover...

what is is it going to be?

Level 20

I always thought this should have never been a separate product.  It should have been the new network atlas from the start.  Now with newer mapping in NPM it seems there should be some way to combine the best of both NTM and new NPM mapping together.

Level 9

Any updates or change of support expectations?

I am glad it is a separate product as the change to the deployment/ update tools that ties it all together gave me major headaches when we dropped one product we didn't seem to get any use/ value for money.

This way we can drop this from maintenance without issue/ imapct on other tools we are keeping until next review.