Product Blog

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Create Post

Product Blog

Level 17

As a production database administrator for many years, I was tasked with security requests. These requests ranged from “who changed what” to detection of SQL injection attacks. The role taught me how proper data security is a never-ending job, requiring the right tools and knowledge.

This is one reason I advocate the use of Security Event Manager (SEM) to help with database security requirements. With SEM you can use the SQL Audit Events connector to monitor for security events. The previous version of the connector required a server-side trace to capture events related to schema changes, user changes, and failures for any query activity.

The latest version of SQL Audit Events connector allows for using SQL Server Audit instead of a trace. SQL Server Audit is a great feature, but a bit cumbersome to work with if you haven’t before.

The first step is to create a Server Audit. This is the “kitchen sink” for SQL Server Audit, as it catches events and determines where to send the event output. The SQL Audit Events connector requires the SQL Server Audit output to the security or application event log on the server. One thing to note here - the Windows event log can fill up and be overwritten. Make sure you have modified the retention policy accordingly before you flood the event logs with audit events from SQL Server. It’s also worth noting that the Windows Application event log is less secure than the Windows Security event log - any authenticated user is allowed to read and write from the Windows Application event log.

After you have created the Server Audit, the next step is to create either a Server Audit Specification or a Database Audit Specification. The Server Audit Specification is for events affecting the instance of SQL Server, and you can only have one Server Audit Specification output to one Server Audit object. The Database Audit Specification is for events affecting a specific database, and you can have multiple Database Audit Specifications output to a Server Audit object. Here’s what it all looks like:

pastedImage_0.png

The full list of SQL Server Audit action groups and actions can be found here. It is difficult to list out the specific groups and actions, as each company will have different requirements. But there’s a few I would suggest you consider.

First, start by auditing the audit. You will want to know if the audit has been turned on or off, or if it has been altered in any way. You will use the AUDIT_CHANGE_GROUP for this task.

Next, you should set up a Server Audit Specification for events that affect the entire instance. I recommend the following:

FAILED_DATABASE_AUTHENTICATION_GROUP

LOGIN_CHANGE_PASSWORD_GROUP

SERVER_PRINCIPAL_CHANGE_GROUP

SERVER_ROLE_MEMBER_CHANGE_GROUP

USER_CHANGE_PASSWORD_GROUP

Be mindful that a busy server will flood your event log. Be precise with what data you want to collect. While it is possible to collect events at a server instance level for all database activity, doing so will flood the event log. That’s why I recommend using Database Audit Specifications inside of the databases you want to audit. These are the groups you should consider at a minimum:

DATABASE_OBJECT_CHANGE_GROUP

DATABASE_PERMISSION_CHANGE_GROUP

DATABASE_PRINCIPAL_CHANGE_GROUP

DATABASE_PRINCIPAL_IMPERSONATION_GROUP

DATABASE_ROLE_MEMBER_CHANGE_GROUP

You must review the groups and actions to decide if they meet your auditing requirements. The ones I have listed here are meant as a guide, a starting foundation upon which to build.

You will notice I didn’t include any groups or actions regarding query activity, such as a SELECT statement. I don’t like the idea of capturing that anything that has query data, especially update or insert data, and allowing that text stored in an event log or inside the SEM database.

SQL Server Audit is a great tool that doesn’t get enough love and attention, in my opinion. To me, the strength of this feature is how you can extend it to do things like auditing SQL Agent jobs. I’ve written an example here: https://thomaslarock.com/2017/10/audit-sql-server-jobs/

The downside to SQL Audit is the reporting and viewing of the audit event data. SQL Server Management Studio has a log viewer, but the user experience can be frustrating at times. By using SEM we create a better user experience. Not just for viewing event data, either. SEM allows for the creation of Correlation Rules, allowing us to automate actions to take if a specific event occurs. Here’s an example:

pastedImage_1.png

I can create a custom rule that would trigger an action, in this case I will have an email sent should a database object change event is found. You can’t do that out of the box with SQL Server Management Studio.

If you are using SQL Audit, you should give SEM a trial and discover what is possible. If you are using SEM, you should consider leveraging SQL Audit to enhance your security. Together, SQL Audit and SEM offer you the opportunity to lower your risk of loss due to a data breach.

Read more
6 5 1,868
Product Manager
Product Manager

The SolarWinds® product management team is happy to announce the general availability of all 14 products on Orion Platform 2019.4. Every product has new features available in this release. Download now through your Customer Portal and solarwinds.com. By downloading the unified SolarWinds Orion installer from any one of those download sources, you'll be able to install or upgrade your entire Orion environment in a single, streamlined, upgrade session.


What's New for Orion Platform 2019.4

Updates to the Orion® Platform will provide you with:

  • Deployment flexibility - SolarWinds and Microsoft have partnered to enable the Orion Platform and its modules, including Database Performance Analyzer (DPA), to be deployed from the Azure Marketplace, simplifying and accelerating the process to deploy the platform into an Azure subscription.
  • Support for Azure SQL Database Managed Instance - Deploy the Orion Platform database with support for the latest version of Azure SQL Database.
  • Leverage your Azure subscription to:
    • Host the Orion server
    • Host the Orion database using Azure SQL Database
    • Host the Orion database using Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.
    • Host the Orion database as an Azure VM
  • Orion Maps enhancements​ - A redesigned Entity Library for quickly identifying what you need, enhancements for bulk administration, the ability to add custom images, and enabling topology relationships to be manually defined without ever leaving the editor.
  • Integration with SolarWinds Service Desk- Improve time-to-resolution via integration with the SolarWinds ITSM solution, enabling service desk tickets to be automatically created from Orion Alerts.
  • Web performance improvements across several Orion Platform modules, including Network Performance Monitor (NPM), NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), and Network Configuration Manager (NCM).
  • Standardized release numbering for easier compatibility comparison. All products in this release will be versioned 2019.4.

What's New for Systems Management Products

This release of the systems portfolio expands our capability to monitor additional devices, many of which have been top asks from our customer base. Upgrade to enjoy enhanced Microsoft Active Directory monitoring through domain trust support, simplified REST API monitoring, Hardware Health visibility for Nutanix clusters, support for Dell EMC Data Domain devices, and much more.

pastedImage_2.png

What's New for Network Management Products

This release of the network portfolio adds Device View, Real-Time Charts, Meraki flow support, visibility for Palo Alto policies, Cisco Unified Call Manager support, and more. We've also done a great deal of work to improve overall webpage performance and produce a better user experience.

pastedImage_0.png

What's Next

The SolarWinds product team is constantly looking ahead to build world class monitoring solutions to solve your monitoring woes. Watch and subscribe to What We Are Working On to get an updated view on what's next for the Orion Platform and its modules. Let us know how we're doing and what we can be delivering to keep you ahead of the curve.

Read more
19 52 6,113
Product Manager
Product Manager

We are very pleased to announce our latest Dameware Remote Everywhere release. This release, which includes an updated Windows Agent, Windows Console & Viewer revision in addition to a variety of customer-driven improvements, also includes our latest feature: In-session video calling!

All the details…

In version 7.00.07 for Windows, after you launch a DRE session, you will now have a new option on the drop-down menu to “Start Video Call”.

New_menu_item1

Selecting this option immediately instantiates a video call request to your connected partner. That person can accept or reject your request.

Rejecting simply drops the inbound call, and in no way impacts the session itself. Accepting the call will immediately launch our video conferencing allowing a two-way exchange of voice and video stream. As with VoIP calls, your primary audio device will be enabled by default – now we’re adding in your primary camera device as well to enable video calling. This is particularly handy if the end user wants to show the technician something that will help troubleshooting on their end – a cabling configuration, port setup, etc.

Also in this release, we’re making a major enhancement to our Admin Area in the form of our new Take Control Widget:

Widget_On

This new Widget allows users to quickly see the support request queue, how licenses are being consumed at that moment, and offers simple ways for techs to  both  create and transfer sessions – and it’s all in one overlaid dialog box!

Note:  Introduced with this new Widget is the ability to administratively disable your local license consumption.  It’s as easy as switching the toggle to “Off”; you will terminate your use of license BUT you will be able to continue to perform other administrative functions, such as running reports, designing surveys, and so on:

Widget_Off

Summary of release:

Windows Agent, Viewer & Console 7.00.07
FEATURE: Added Video calling Agent based (Unattended) sessions
FEATURE: Added Session Widget to Administration Area
FEATURE: Added ability to disable license consumption on the Admin Area
FEATURE: Ensure TCP 3377 is configurable as a backup connectivity port
FEATURE: Update the PowerShell interaction to advise on <V5 interactions
UPDATE: Revision on the “Blank Screen” option
UPDATE: Added greater detail to Admin area audit notifications
UDPATE: Updated Calendar interactions on Admin area
BUGFIX: resolve the application estimation size of 0KB

Mac Agent, Applet and Console 6.00.05
FEATURE: Allows users to see administrative functions
BUGFIX: Resolve issue where session could lose connection following a restart command

Read more
1 2 853
Level 9

Not to be overshadowed by the excitement around the introduction of SolarWinds® Service Desk earlier this summer, we’re excited to introduce you to SolarWinds® Discovery. This technology provides your organization the ability to discover, map, and manage your software and hardware assets directly in your service desk.

SolarWinds Discovery utilizes cloud-based technology to make it easier to implement, manage, and scale throughout your organization, helping you discover your IP connected devices with just a small footprint.




Now you may be thinking, “Discovery? Don’t I already have this functionality with other SolarWinds products I use?” Depending on the products, the answer is most likely yes. Many SolarWinds solutions have discovery components included, like Network Performance Monitor or Service & Application Manager on the SolarWinds Orion® Platform. However, they are helping your organization solve a different set of problems.

The discovery mechanisms used by Orion help you monitor asset performance, generate system alerts, or pinpointing vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure.

On the other hand, SolarWinds Discovery helps you leverage your asset data to support your IT service management (ITSM) and IT asset management (ITAM) processes.

Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits SolarWinds Discovery can bring to the ITSM and ITAM capabilities provided by your SolarWinds Service Desk.

Improving Service Management Processes

SolarWinds Discovery populates asset information directly into your service desk, giving your technicians visibility into data that can help them diagnose issues quicker. Let’s say you have an employee (end user) who is having an issue accessing a particular software.

Because SolarWinds Discovery collects all the software titles installed on your computing device, you can then quickly looking up the employee’s devices and see what version of the software they are currently running. Within a matter of seconds you have the information you need to effectively troubleshoot and quickly resolve the issue.

The data that SolarWinds Discovery finds can also be used to help your service desk mitigate risks. SolarWinds Service Desk allows you to designate software titles as Greynet, meaning they are either illegal, not approved by your organization, or even a potential virus.

When SolarWinds Discovery finds a software title labeled Greynet, a notification is generated to give your agents visibility into the potential issue. Check out how FirstHealth of the Carolinas was able to utilize SolarWinds Discovery to pinpoint devices that were infected with a ransom virus, which ultimately helped them remove it without paying the demanded dollar amount.

Aligning your Assets with your Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

When SolarWinds Discovery finds assets throughout your infrastructure, they are automatically converted to Configuration Items (CIs) and populated into the CMDB that is included with your SolarWinds Service Desk. This allows you to create relationships between CIs, giving you a better picture of how the components of your infrastructure interact with each other and support IT services you deliver.

In turn, this can help your agents evaluate the root cause of a larger issue impacting your organizations, so they can work on resolving it quickly. Also, by understanding the relationships between your CIs, you can better evaluate impacts associated with changes you are making to your infrastructure, which helps your team understand and mitigate potential change related risks.



Your CMDB can provide a lot of value to your organization, but it is imperative that it remains complete and up-to-date in order to take advantage of its full capabilities. By combining your CMDB with SolarWinds Discovery, additions and changes to your IT infrastructure will continually be reflected in your service desk.

Leveraging Discovery for IT Asset Management Use Cases

SolarWinds Service Desk comes with an IT asset management module, helping you manage the capital expenditures (CAPEX) and lifecycle of the devices in your infrastructure. SolarWinds Discovery is a critical aspect to these capabilities as it helps you locate all your assets and collects additional information necessary for lifecycle analysis, such as installed software titles and warranty information.

SolarWinds Discovery also helps you lower your CAPEX by giving you greater visibility into the assets you own. For example, many organizations spend money on assets they do not need, specifically on assets like computers and printers. This is often a result of a lack of visibility into what assets they already have, so they end up purchasing instead of utilizing what is already in their inventory.




Also, SolarWinds Service Desk comes with software compliance capabilities, which help organizations avoid costly true-up expenses incurred when over-using software titles based on licensing contracts.

SolarWinds Discovery finds your installed software titles, giving you a clear picture of what is being utilized. These installs can then be vetted against your software licensing contracts, allowing you to build compliance reports to show both overutilization and underutilization.

How does SolarWinds Discovery work?

SolarWInds Discovery provides a suite of technologies to give you a flexible approach to discover your IT assets no matter how your IT infrastructure is configured. Let’s take a look into the three discovery options available:

  • Agent-based
  • Agentless
  • Integrations



Agent-based Discovery


The SolarWinds Discovery Agent is a lightweight software that can be installed on your Windows® and Apple® computing devices as well as Android® and iOS® mobile devices. Light and mighty, the agent can collect over 200 data points and the installed software titles from each device.
The agent takes a snapshot of the device every 24 hours of run-time (roughly every three days for standard users or every day and a half for IT pros). Built for easy deployment, organizations can use Group Policy or Domain Logon method to quickly install the agent throughout all their computing devices.
The agent enables software compliance and Greynet notification capabilities discussed above. It also highlights computers that have not reported back in the last seven days, helping you visualize devices that are potentially being misused or underused. This is an ideal discovery option for computing devices issued to remote workers who may not be frequently on company networks where other discovery technologies may be in use.

Agentless Discovery


The SolarWinds Discovery Scanner provides you an agentless way to find the IP-connected devices throughout your infrastructure. The Linux-based technology is installed on an individual subnet, and it can be extended to other subnets using multiple methods, for example, giving the scanner visibility to an ARP table located on a router. The system allows you to set the scanning frequency so it is active at optimal times. It also allows you to import SNMP and SSH credential to collect additional information on each device.
Compared to the agent, the scanner does not collect the same breadth of data points on computing devices However, the scanner will find all of the non-computing devices that an agent cannot be installed on. For many organizations, non-computing assets make up a majority of your total asset inventory. The scanner helps you get a fuller picture of your infrastructure. This is a critical component in keeping the SolarWinds Service Desk CMDB populated so you can map your devices’ relationships and dependencies.

Discovery Integrations

SolarWinds Discovery offers several out-of-the-box integrations with some of the industry leading configuration management tools, helping you bring device information from those systems directly into your service desk.
Available integrations:

  • Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
  • VMware vCenter®
  • Google Chrome® OS

Implementing Multiple Discovery Methods

By leveraging multiple discovery methods, you can be better equipped to collect the asset data to meet your organization's needs.

A good principle  to follow when implementing multiple discovery methods is to use the scanner to get a broad picture of your IP connected devices, then add the agent and/or integrations to get deeper information into the applicable devices. 

For example, you may support Windows, Apple, and Chrome computing devices that you would like to increase your visibility on. You may also have a heavy VMware footprint and hundreds of IP connected devices you would like to track.

In this scenario, you can install the agent on your Windows and Apple devices, activate the ChromeOS and vCenter integrations to collect data these assets, and install the scanner to collect data on everything else.

By combining the different discovery technology you will get a broad and balanced view of your IT infrastructure.  

Get more details on the SolarWinds Discovery technical specifications.

What’s Next for SolarWinds Discovery

We are currently working on deepening the SolarWinds Discovery Scanner capabilities to better support organizations that are predominantly Windows shops. This will include a Windows Installer, allowing customers to install the scanner on either Linux or Windows-based servers. Additionally, this will include the ability to add WMI credentials when scanning devices, greatly increasing the amount of data points you can discover on Windows devices.


SolarWinds Discovery can help you maximize the value of SolarWinds Service Desk for both your IT pros and your organization. If you have any questions, feedback, or ideas around SolarWinds Discovery, please comment below or visit the SolarWinds Product Blog Forum.

Read more
2 3 1,993
Product Manager
Product Manager

SolarWinds has a long history of being easy to try and easy to buy. Those of you who own two or more Orion Platform product modules may have realized, usually when planning your next upgrade, it's not necessarily easy to know which product module versions are compatible with others. While figuring this out may not be too terribly difficult when you own only two Orion product modules, the complexity rises significantly with each additional product module you purchase thereafter. Imagine you need to figure out which versions of your other 13 Orion Platform product and integration modules are compatible with Server & Application Monitor 6.7? Suddenly, what was previously a rather trivial task has become a daunting, and sometimes overwhelming, challenge.

For that reason and many more, we have some significant changes coming your way to end the madness. First though, here’s a brief history of where we've been, how we got here, and where the future will take us.

The Matrix

For many years, we attempted to make the process of deciphering compatibility between Orion Platform product modules easier through a compatibility matrix maintained within our documentation. The matrix itself was a fairly complex Excel spreadsheet that oftentimes felt like you needed a secret decoder ring to help interpret the results. For what you might imagine should be a relatively simple task, the compatibility matrix was anything but.

Upgrade Advisor

As the number of available Orion Platform product modules increased, we eventually realized the Compatibility Matrix had become too complex for customers to interpret, and too unwieldy for us to maintain. Thus came our next valiant attempt at improving the situation for determining multi-product compatibility, the Upgrade Advisor. The Upgrade Advisor represented a monumental leap forward compared to the Compatibility Matrix. In fact, many still rely upon it today.

The process is relatively straightforward. Enter in the Orion Platform product modules you currently have installed and their respective version numbers. Next, enter the version number of the product module to which you'd like to upgrade. The Upgrade Advisor will then map out the rest of the product module version numbers compatible with the newer version.

While fraught with good intentions, the Upgrade Advisor still suffered from the same fundamental flaw which led to the demise of the Compatibility Matrix. It still required users to be both aware of its existence and proactive about their upgrade planning. When the recommendations outlined in the Compatibility Matrix or Upgrade Advisor weren't followed, bizarre and unexplainable issues would occur due to incompatible module behavior.

Next Generation Installer

The latest attempt at unraveling this quagmire has been to place the information available in the Upgrade Advisor into the installer itself. Anytime before or at the time of upgrade, simply running the installer provides a list of all Orion Platform product modules currently installed and their respective versions. Next to it is the list of versions for other product modules compatible with the module version downloaded.

Image result for solarwinds installer upgrade

This method is vastly superior to both the Compatibility Matrix and Upgrade Advisor, as it requires no prior knowledge of the existence of either, nor does it require any manual steps to determine module compatibility. The installer simply handles it all for you. No muss, no fuss.

While the next-generation installer took all the complexity out of the equation, it introduced a fair amount of confusion. For the planners among you, it seemed counterintuitive to run an installer, days, weeks, or even months ahead of a scheduled upgrade to determine the upgrade path. For others, executing the installer on a production environment prior to the scheduled change window sounded like a dangerous proposition, assuming the mere fact of running the installer might start the upgrade process or shut down Orion services without consent or confirmation. As a result, some still found greater comfort utilizing the Upgrade Advisor this new installer was intent on replacing.

Does this really need to be so complicated?

A lot of time, effort, and different technologies have been used throughout the years in what seems to have been a vain attempt to reduce confusion and make it easier for users to identify compatibility between different product module versions. The problem, however, was never how we attempted to address the issue (though admittedly, some methods worked better than others). The ultimate solution is to change how we think about the problem in the first place: the version number itself.

Ushering in a new tomorrow

It's rather arbitrary that 6.9 is the Server & Application Monitor (SAM) version compatible with Network Performance Monitor (NPM) 12.5. Rather than require users have a Ph.D. in SolarWinds Orion Platform product module versioning, wouldn't it be easier if those product modules compatible with each other all shared the same version number? Then it would be downright simple to identify IP Address Manager vX.XX wasn't compatible with User Device Tracker vY.YY or Network Configuration Manager vZ.ZZ.

Simplifying and consolidating our product module versioning is precisely what we aim to do in our next Orion Platform module releases. As you can imagine, this might come as a big surprise to many, which is why we've decided to notify the community in advance.

New releases for every Orion Platform product module going forward will now use the same versioning as the Orion Platform itself. This means the next release of Network Performance Monitor will not be v12.6 or v13.0, nor will any of the other Orion Platform product modules bear a resemblance to their current versioning. Instead, Orion Platform product module versions will be the four-digit year in which they were released, followed by the quarter of release. If there is a Service Release for a given module, it will appear in the third position following the quarter.

[YYYY.Q.SR]

If this all seems a bit confusing, fret not. You're probably already familiar with this versioning, as it's been the basis of the Orion Platform version for nearly a decade. This is also the same versioning used for Network Automation Manager.

pastedImage_7.png

What does this mean for my product modules?

To be completely honest, really nothing at all, aside from a departure from those products’ previous versioning schemes. It also means versioning is much more transparent and easier to relate to. For example, if you needed to know what version of Storage Resource Monitor (SRM) was released in October 2025, it’s now very easy: Storage Resource Monitor v2025.4. If you also needed to know what version of Server Configuration Manager (SCM) was compatible with SRM v2025.4, that too is now easy: SCM v2025.4, of course!

How will this affect previous releases?

In short, it doesn't. Currently released product module versioning will remain unchanged, though you can expect a fairly significant jump in version numbers the next time you upgrade.

I still have unanswered questions

You undoubtedly have a million questions related to this change racing through your brain right now. If not, perhaps later, after pondering this post for a while, a fantastic question pops to mind. In either scenario, post your questions related to this change in the comments section below.

Read more
7 28 2,920
Community Manager
Community Manager

As of Orion Core version 2019.4, SolarWinds Service Desk has native integration with the Orion Platform.

When we launched SolarWinds® Service Desk (SWSD), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I was very excited to see a new solution to handle incident management, asset management, an internal knowledge base, problem management, and an employee self-service portal. There’s so much to this new product to unpack, I needed to figure out where to start. Thankfully, there was already an excellent document introducing everyone to the solution I could read.

For the past three years, I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into leveraging various APIs to do my bidding. This lets me go nuts on my keyboard and automate out as many repeatable functions as possible. No, I’m not breaking up with my mouse. We had a healthy discussion, my mouse and I, and he’s fine with the situation. Really. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, APIs!

One of the things I absolutely love about working with APIs (and scripting languages as well) is there’s no one way to do something. If you can think it, you can probably do it. Most RESTful APIs allow you to work with whatever language you prefer. You can use the curl executable, Perl (tagging Leon here), PowerShell, or nearly anything else. PowerShell is my personal preference, so I’m doing my scripting with it. But more on those details later.

You’ve seen me write and talk about using the SolarWinds® Orion® API to help automate your monitoring infrastructure. I’ve even gotten some of my friends in on the trend. But, the launch of SWSD opened a brand-new API for me to explore. I started where I always do with something new: by reading the manual. SolarWinds Service Desk has extensive documentation about using the API. There’s so much there for me to explore, but I had to limit myself. In trying to pick a place to start, I thought about my past.

SolarWinds has always been in the business of helping IT professionals do their jobs better. Many of us technology professionals, like me, started our careers working on a help desk. Based on everything SWSD offers, I limited myself to the Incidents Management area. Then I just had to think about how I would leverage this type of solution in some of my previous roles.

As a help desk supervisor who went on to be a monitoring engineer, I thought about how great it would be to get tickets automatically created based on an alert. I could talk all day about what qualifies for an alert (I have) and what’s best to include in an alert message (that, too), but the biggest thing to strive towards is some level of tracking. The most common tracking method for alerts has been email notifications. This is the default for most people, and 90% of the time it’s fine. But what about the times when email is the problem? You need another way to get your incidents reported and tracked.

Like scripting languages, the Orion alerting engine allows for multiple ways to handle alert logic—not just for the trigger conditions, but also for the actions when the trigger occurs. One of those mechanisms is to execute a program. On the surface, this may sound boring, but not to me and other keyboard junkies. This is a great way to leverage some scripting and the SWSD API to do the work for us.

First things first, we need to decide how to handle the calls to the API. The examples provided in the API documentation use the curl program to do the work, but I’m not in love with the insanely long command lines required to get it to work. But since this is a RESTful API, I should be able to use my preferred scripting language, PowerShell. (I told you I’d get back to it, didn’t I?)

Let’s assemble what you need to get started. First you need your authentication. If you’re an administrator in SWSD, you can go to Setup, Users & Access, and then select yourself (or a service account you want to use). Inside the profile, you’ll find the JSON web token.

pastedImage_2.png

This is how you authenticate with the SWSD API. The web token is a single line of text. In the web display, it’s been wrapped for visual convenience. Copy that line of text and stash it somewhere safe. This is basically the API version of “you.” Protect it as you would any other credentials. In a production system, I’d have it set up to use the service account for my Orion installation.

API Test

For the API call, we need to send over some header information. Specifically, we need to send over the authorization, the version of the API we’ll be using, and the content type we’ll be sending. I found these details in the API documentation for Incidents. To start things off, I did a quick test to see if I could enumerate all the existing incidents.

I’m trying to get more comfortable with JSON, so I’m using it instead of XML. In PowerShell, the HTTP header construction looks like this:

$JsonWebToken = "Your token goes here. You don't get to see mine."

$Headers = @{ "X-Samanage-Authorization" = "Bearer $JsonWebToken";

              "Accept"                   = "application/vnd.samanage.v2.1+json"

              "Content-Type"             = "application/json" }

Basically, we’re saying (in order): this is me (auth), I’d like to use this version of the API with JSON (accept), and I’m sending over JSON as the request itself (content-type).

This block of headers is your pass to speak with the API. I’m testing this from the United States, so I’ll use the base URI via https://api.samanage.com/. There’s a separate one specifically for EU people (https://apieu.samanage.com). If you are in the EU, that’s the one you should be using.

To list out the incidents, we make an HTTP GET call to the “incidents” URI as specified in the documentation. I saved this as a variable so I wouldn’t have copy/paste failures later.

$URI = "https://api.samanage.com/incidents.json"

Then to get the list of all incidents, I can just invoke the REST method.

Invoke-RestMethod -Method Get -Headers $Headers -Uri $URI

pastedImage_3.png

Excellent! I can talk to the API and get some information back. This means I’m authenticating correctly and getting the list of incidents back. Time to move on.

Creating a Test Incident

To create an incident, I only technically need three fields: name (of the incident), the requester, and the title. I’ve seen this called the payload, the body, or the contents. To stay on the same page with the PowerShell parameters, I’ll refer to it as the body. Using it, I built a very small JSON document to see if this would work using the script I’ve started developing. The beauty of it is I can repeatedly use the header I already built. I’ve put the JSON in a string format surrounded by @” and “@. In PowerShell this is called a here-string and there are many things you can do with it.

$TestBody = @"

{

"incident": {

   "name":        "Testing Incident - Safe to Close with no notes",

   "priority":    "Critical",

   "requester":   { "email" : "kevin.sparenberg@kmsigma.com" }

}

}

"@

Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -Headers $Headers -Uri $URI -Body $TestBody

When I run it, I get back all kinds of information about the incident I just created.

pastedImage_4.png

But to be really, doubly sure, we should check the web console.

pastedImage_6.png

There it is. I can create an incident with my script.

So, let’s build this into an actual alert script to trigger.

Side note: When I “resolved” this ticket, I got an email asking if I was happy with my support. Just one more great feature of an incident management solution.

pastedImage_8.png

Building the new SolarWinds Service Desk Script

For my alert, I’m going with a scenario where email is probably not the best alert avenue: your email server is having a problem. This is a classic downstream failure. We could create an email alert, but since the email server is the source, the technician would never get the message.

pastedImage_9.png

The above logic looks for only nodes with names containing “EXMBX” (Exchange Mailbox servers) and when the status is not Up (like Down, Critical, or Warning).

Now that we have the alert trigger, we need to create the action of running a script.

For a script to be executed by the Orion alerting engine, it should “live” on the Orion server. Personally, I put them all in a “Scripts” folder in the root of the C: drive. Therefore, the full path to my script is “C:\Scripts\New-SwsdIncident.ps1”

I also need to tweak the script slightly to allow for command line parameters (how I send the node and alert details). If I don’t do this, then the exact same payload will be sent every time this alert triggers. For this example, I’m just sticking with four parameters I want to pass. If you want more, feel free to tweak them as you see fit.

Within a PowerShell file, you access command line parameters via the $args variable, with the first argument being $args[0], the next being $args[1], and so on. Using those parameters, I know I want the name of the alert, the details on the alert, the IP of the node, and the name of the node. Here’s what my script looks like:

pastedImage_10.png

You can see I added a few more fields to my JSON body so a case like this could be routed easier. What did I forget? Whoops, this should have said this was a test incident. Not quite ready for production, but let’s move on.

When we build the alert, we set one of the trigger actions as execution of an external program and give it an easily recognizable name.

pastedImage_11.png

The full command line I put here is:

C:\WINDOWS\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe -File "C:\Scripts\New-SwsdIncident.ps1" "${N=SwisEntity;M=StatusDescription}" "${N=SwisEntity;M=Caption}" "${N=SwisEntity;M=IP_Address}" "${N=Alerting;M=AlertName}"

This is the path and executable for PowerShell, the script file we want to execute, and the parameters (order is important) we want to pass to the script. I’ve also surrounded the parameters with double quotes because they *may* contain spaces. In this case, better safe than sorry.

Then I just need to sit back and wait for an alert matching my description trigger. There’s one now!

pastedImage_13.png

Just like every alert I write, I’ve already found ways to improve it. Yes, I know this is a very rudimentary example, but it’s a great introduction to the integrations possible. I’ll need to tweak this alert a little bit before I’d consider it ready for prime time, but it’s been a great learning experience. I hope you learned a little bit along with me.

So, I ask you all: where should I go next?

Read more
4 5 1,975
Product Manager
Product Manager

Status is arguably one of the most important aspects of any monitoring solution. It's a key component for visually notifying you that something is amiss in your environment, as well as being an important aid in the troubleshooting process. When used properly, status is also the engine that powers alerting, making it an absolutely essential ingredient for both proactive and reactive notifications aimed at ensuring your entire IT environment runs smoothly.

Orion® Node Status, in particular, has for an extended period of time been somewhat unique when compared to other entities in the Orion Platform[MJ1] . Most other entities have a fairly simple, straightforward, and easy-to-understand hierarchy of status based upon severity. These include things like Up, Warning, Critical, and Down, but can also include other statuses which denote an absence of a state, such as Unknown, Unmanaged, etc. By comparison, a node managed in the Orion Platform today can have any of twenty-two unique statuses. Some of these statuses can, to the uninitiated, appear at best contradictory, and at worst, just downright confusing.

This is the result of separating information about the node itself from its associated child objects (like interfaces and applications) into multiple colored balls. The larger colored ball representing the reachability of the node, usually via ICMP, while the much smaller colored ball in the bottom right represents the worst state of any of the node's child objects.

Primary Node Status

Nodes With Child Status

pastedImage_6.pngpastedImage_0.png

It would be fair to say that this is neither obvious, nor intuitive, so in this release, we've sought to radically improve how Node status is calculated and represented within the Orion Platform.

Node Thresholds

The first thing people usually notice after adding a few nodes to the Orion Platform, is that node thresholds for things like CPU & Memory utilization appear to have no effect on the overall status of the node, and they'd be right. Those thresholds can be used to define your alerts, but node status itself has historically only represented the reachability of the node. That, unfortunately, complicates troubleshooting by obfuscating legitimate issues as well as adds unnecessary confusion. For example, in the image below, I'm often asked why the state of the node is “green” when the CPU Load and Memory utilization are obviously critical? A very fair and legitimate question.

With the release of Orion Platform 2019.2 comes the introduction of Enhanced Node Status. With this new Enhanced Node Status, thresholds defined either globally or on an individual node itself can now impact the overall status of the node. For example, if the memory utilization on a node is at 99% and your “Critical” threshold for that node is “Greater than 90%,” the node status will now reflect the appropriate “Critical” status. This should allow you to spot issues quickly without having to hunt for them in mouse hovers or drilling into Node Details views.

CPU Load

Memory Utilization

pastedImage_4.pngpastedImage_5.png

Response Time

Packet Loss

pastedImage_7.pngpastedImage_8.png

Sustained Thresholds

Borrowing heavily from Server & Application Monitor, Orion Platform 2019.2 now includes support for sustained node threshold conditions. Being notified of every little thing that goes bump in the night can desensitize you to your alerts, potentially causing you to miss important service impacting events. For alerts to be valuable, they should be actionable. For example, just because a CPU spikes to 100% for a single poll probably doesn't mean you need to jump out of bed in the middle of the night and VPN into the office to fix something. After all, it's not that unusual for a CPU to spike temporarily, or latency to vary from time to time over a transatlantic site-to-site VPN tunnel. 

What you probably want to be notified of instead is if that CPU utilization remains higher than 80% for more than five consecutive polls, or if the latency across that site-to-site VPN tunnel remains greater than 300ms for 8 out of 10 polls. Those are likely more indicative of a legitimate issue occurring in the environment that requires some form of intervention to correct.

pastedImage_3.png

Sustained Thresholds can be applied to any node's existing CPU Load, Memory Usage, Response Time, or Percent Packet Loss thresholds. You can also mix and match “single poll,” “X consecutive polls,” and “X out of Y polls” between warning and critical thresholds for the same metric for even greater flexibility. Sustained Thresholds can even be used in combination with Dynamic Baselines to eliminate nuisance alerts and further reduce alert fatigue, allowing you to focus only on those alerts which truly matter.

Null Thresholds

A point of contention for some users has been the requirement that all Node thresholds must contain some value. Those could be nodes that you still want to monitor, report, and trend upon those performance metrics but not necessarily be alerted on, such as staging environment, machines running in a lab, decommissioned servers, etc.

Historically, there has been no way to say, “I don't care about thresholds on this node”' or “I don't care about this particular metric.” At best, you could set the warning and critical thresholds as high as possible in the hopes of getting close to eliminating alerts for metrics on those nodes you don't necessarily care about. Alternatively, some customers update and maintain their alert definitions to exclude metrics on those nodes they don't want to be alerted on. A fairly messy, but effective, solution—but also one that is no longer necessary.

With the introduction of Enhanced Status in Orion Platform 2019.2, any Node threshold can now be disabled simply by editing the node and unchecking the box next to the warning or critical thresholds of the metric you're not interested in. Don't want a node to ever go into a “Critical” state as a result of high response time to keep the boss off your back, but still want to receive a warning when things are really bad? No worries, just disable the “Critical” threshold, leave the “Warning” threshold enabled and adjust the value to what constitutes “really bad” for your environment.

pastedImage_5.png

If so inclined, you can even disable these individual warning and critical thresholds globally from [Settings > All Settings > Orion Thresholds] for each individual node metric.

pastedImage_10.png

Child Objects

In this new world of Enhanced Status, no longer are there confusing multi-status icons, like “up-down” or “up warning.” Child objects can now influence the overall node status itself by rolling up status in a manner similar to Groups or how Server & Application Monitor rolls-up status of the individual component monitors that make up an Application. This provides a simple, consolidated status for the node and its related child entities. Those child objects can be things such as Interfaces, Hardware Health, and Applications monitored on the node, to name only a few.

Similar to Groups, we wanted to provide users with the ability to control how node status rollup was calculated on an individual, per-node basis for ultimate flexibility. When editing the properties of a single node or multiple nodes, you’ll now find a new option for “Status roll-up mode” where you can select from Best, Mixed, or Worst.

pastedImage_1.png

By altering how node status is calculated, you control how child objects influence the overall status of the node.

BestMixedWorst
pastedImage_6.pngpastedImage_7.pngpastedImage_8.png

Best status, as one might guess, always reflects the best status across all entities contributing to the calculation. Setting the Node to “Best” status is essentially the equivalent of how status was calculated in previous releases, sans the tiny child status indicator in the bottom right corner of the status icon.

Worst status, you guessed it, represents the status of the object in the worst state. This can be especially useful for servers, where application status may be the single most important thing to represent for that node For example, I'm monitoring my Domain Controller with Server & Application Monitor's new AppInsight for Active Directory. If Active Directory is “Critical,” then I want the node status for that Domain Controller to reflect a “Critical” state.

Mixed-status is essentially a blend of best and worst and is the default node status calculation. The following table provides several examples of how Mixed status is calculated.

Polled Status

Child 1 Status

Child 2 Status

Final Node Status

DOWNANYANYDOWN
UPUPUPUP
UP or WARNINGUPWARNINGWARNING
UP or WARNINGUPCRITICALCRITICAL
UP or WARNINGUPDOWNWARNING
UP or WARNINGUPUNREACHABLEWARNING
UPUPUNKNOWNUP
WARNINGUPUNKNOWNWARNING
UPUPSHUTDOWNUP
UP or WARNINGDOWNWARNINGWARNING
UP or WARNINGDOWNCRITICALCRITICAL
UP or WARNINGDOWNUNKNOWNWARNING
UP or WARNINGDOWNDOWNWARNING
UPUNKNOWNUNKNOWNUP
WARNINGUNKNOWNUNKNOWNWARNING
UNMANAGEDANYANYUNMANAGED
UNREACHABLEANYANYUNREACHABLE
EXTERNALANYANYGroup Status

In case you overlooked it in the table above, yes, External Nodes can now reflect an appropriate status based upon applications monitored on those nodes.

Child Object Contributors

Located under [Settings > All Settings > Node Child Status Participation] you will find you now have even more fine-grained, granular control of up to 27 individual child entity types that can contribute to the overall status of your nodes. Don't want Interfaces contributing to the status of your nodes? No problem! Simply click the slider to the “off” position and Interfaces will no longer influence your nodes status. It's just that easy.

pastedImage_1.png

Show me the Money!

You might be asking yourself, all these knobs, dials, and switches are great, but how exactly are these going to make my life better or simpler? A fair question, and one that no doubt has countless correct answers, but I'll try and point out a few of the most obvious examples.

Maps

One of the first places you're likely to notice Enhanced Status is in Orion Maps. The example below shows the exact same environment. The first image shows what this environment looked like in the previous release using Classic Status. Notice the absence of any obvious visual cues denoting issues in the environment. The next image to the right is of the very same environment taken at the exact same time as the image on the left. The only notable difference is that this image was taken from a system running Orion Platform 2019.2 with Enhance Node Status.

In both examples, there are the exact same issues going on in the environment, but these issues were obfuscated in previous releases. This made the troubleshooting process less intuitive and unnecessarily time-consuming. With Enhance Status, it's now abundantly clear where the issues lie. And with the topology and relationship information from Orion Maps, it's now easier to assess the potential impact those issues are having on the rest of the environment.

Classic Status

Enhanced Status
pastedImage_9.pngpastedImage_8.png

Groups

Groups in the Orion Platform are incredibly powerful, but historically in order for them to accurately reflect an appropriate status or calculate availability accurately, you were required to add all relevant objects to that group. This means you not only needed to add the nodes that make up the group, but also all child objects associated with those nodes, such as interfaces, applications, etc.

Even in the smallest of environments, this was an otherwise impossible feat to manage manually. Given the nature of all the various entity types that could be associated with those nodes, even Dynamic Groups were of little assistance in this regard. Enhanced Status not only radically simplifies group management, but it also empowers users to more easily utilize Dynamic Groups to make group management a completely hands-off experience.

The following demonstrates how Enhanced Node Status simplifies overall Group Management in the Orion Platform, reducing the total number of objects you need to manage inside those groups. The screenshot on the left shows a total of eight nodes using Enhanced Status in a group, causing the group to reflect a Critical status. The image to the right shows all the objects that are required to reflect the same status using Classic Status. As you can see, you would need to not only add the same 8 nodes but also their 43 associated child objects for a total of 51 objects in the group. Yikes!

Enhanced Status (8 Objects)

Classic Status (51 Objects)

pastedImage_0.pngpastedImage_0.png

By comparison, the following demonstrates what that group would look like with just the eight nodes alone included in the group using both Classic Status and Enhanced Status. Using Classic status, the group reflects a status of “Up,” denoting no issues at all in the group. With Enhanced Status, it's abundantly clear that there are in fact issues, which nodes have issues, and their respective severity. This aids in significantly reducing time to resolution and aids in root cause analysis.

Enhanced Status

Classic Status
pastedImage_2.pngpastedImage_1.png

Alerts

Possibly the greatest benefit of Enhanced Status is that far fewer alert definitions are required to be notified of the exact same events. Because node thresholds and child objects now influence the status of the node, you no longer need alert definitions for individual node metrics like “Response Time,” or related child entities like “Interfaces.” In fact, of the alert definitions included out-of-the-box with the Orion Platform, Enhanced Status eliminates the need for at least five, taking you from seven down to a scant two. That's a 71% reduction in the number of alert definitions that need to be managed and maintained.

Out-of-the-box Alerts Using Classic Status - x7

pastedImage_2.png

Out-of-the-box Alerts Using Enhanced Status - x2

pastedImage_3.png

Alert Macros

I'm sure at this point many of you are probably shouting at your screen, "But wait! Don't I still need all those alert definitions if I want to know why the node is in whatever given state that it's in when the alert is sent? I mean, getting an alert notification telling me the node is “Critical” is cool and all, but I sorta need to know why."

We would be totally remiss if in improving Node status we didn't also improve the level of detail we included in alerts for nodes. With the introduction of Enhanced Status comes two new alert macros that can be used in your alert actions, such as email notifications, which lists all items contributing to the status of that node. Those two alert macros are listed below.

The first is intended to be used with simple text-only notification mechanisms, such as SMS, Syslog, or SNMP Traps. The second macro outputs in HTML format with hyperlinks to each child objects respective details page. This macro is ideally suited for email or any other alerting mechanism that can properly interpret HTML.

  • ${N=SwisEntity;M=NodeStatusRootCause}
  • ${N=SwisEntity;M=NodeStatusRootCauseWithLinks}

pastedImage_5.png

The resulting output of the macro provided in the notification includes all relevant information pertaining to the node. This includes any node thresholds that have been crossed as well as a list of all child objects in a degraded state associated with the node, which is all consolidated down into a simple, easily digestible, alert notification that pinpoints exactly where to begin troubleshooting.

pastedImage_10.png

Enabling Enhanced Status

If you're installing any Orion product module for the first time that is running Orion Platform 2019.2 or later, Enhanced Status is already enabled for you by default. No additional steps are required. If you're upgrading from a previous release, however, you will need to enable Enhanced Status manually to appreciate the benefits it provides.

Because status is the primary trigger condition for alerts, we did not want customers who are upgrading to be surprisingly inundated with alert storms because of how they had configured the trigger conditions of their alert definitions. We decided instead to let customers decide for themselves when/if to switch over to Enhanced Status.

The good news is that this is just a simple radio button located under [Settings > All Settings > Polling Settings]

pastedImage_4.png

Conversely, if you decided to rebuild your Orion server and have a preference for “Classic” status, you can use this same setting to disable “Enhanced” Status mode on new Orion installations and revert back to “Classic” status.

Cautionary Advice

If you plan to enable “Enhanced” status in an existing environment after upgrading to Orion Platform 2019.2 or later, it’s recommended that you disable alert actions in the Alert Manager before doing so. This should allow you to identify alerts with trigger conditions in their alert definition that may need tweaking without inadvertently causing a flood of alert notifications or other alert actions from firing. Your coworkers will thank you later.

pastedImage_11.png

Feedback

Enhanced status represents a fairly significant, but vitally important, change for the Orion Platform. We sincerely hope you enjoy the additional level of customization and reduced management overhead it provides. As with any new feature, we'd love to get your feedback on these improvements. Will you be switching to Enhanced Status with your next upgrade? If not, why? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Read more
17 50 5,972
Product Manager
Product Manager

The Orion® Platform is designed to consolidate monitoring into a single source of truth, taking massive amounts of data and making it easier to identify issues in complex environments. A key component to this is the organization of data. As an example, if I were to present you with the dashboard below, you can see it’s aggregating a ton of information and highlighting issues from multiple modules like Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Server & Application Monitor (SAM), Virtualization Manager (VMAN), and Storage Resource Monitor (SRM). Single pane of glass, right?  However, it’s not interesting, not even a little bit, and most importantly, it’s not easily interpreted. This dashboard doesn't really help me understand the problem or where to focus.

pastedImage_0.png

Click to Enlarge

Simplifying how data is interpreted through better visualizations can provide drastic improvements for understanding problems. Now, if I present you with this view, can you tell me where the problem areas are?

pastedImage_4.png

Click to Enlarge

The Orion Maps team believes visualization of your data can be a powerful tool when put together in a meaningful way. Ensuring critical data is available but presenting it in a clear and concise manner allows you to quickly see the problem and its potential impact. Visualizations help tell the story, and can help members of your organization, or clients, understand the breadth and complexity of what you manage on a day-to-day basis. For those of you unfamiliar with the Orion Maps project to date, you may want to review the following posts. These should help paint the picture, no pun intended, on what we’ve delivered with the previous releases.

Orion Platform 2018.2 Improvements - Chapter Two - Intelligent Mapping

Orion Platform 2018.4 Improvements - Intelligent Mapping Enhancements

With the release of 2019.2, we’ve incorporated some new enhancements designed to extend the flexibility of the platform and provide some amazing new options for representing your environment and critical services.

ORION MAPS MENU & MANAGEMENT PAGE

As a new entry point to maps, an "Orion Maps" menu is now available under My Dashboards and Home.Selecting this option will transport you to the Map Management page.  This will be blank initially, prompting you to create a map.
pastedImage_4.pngpastedImage_9.png

It’s important to note here that any user can create a map. If you have access to this menu, you can create maps. However, each of you will only be able to see the maps you created yourself in the list view. The current features on this page will allow you to sort your list by Map Name, Last Updated, and Created Date. There’s also a search bar allowing you to search for maps by name.

pastedImage_19.png

Any Orion Administrator will have an additional function when they access this view. A very helpful tool is available in the upper-right corner allowing you to toggle the view to include all user maps vs. just your own. The main components to this page provide the capabilities to create a new map, edit existing maps, delete maps, or view a map by selecting its name.

Maps List View.gif

Click to Enlarge

MAP EDITOR

Let’s begin by creating a new map via the Map Editor. Selecting New Map will open the basic editor for building maps from scratch. You’ll be greeted by an entity library on the left side, which defaults to a paginated list of your nodes. You can click the drop-down to choose from any entity type in Orion Maps. As always, a search bar is also available. The empty canvas will take up most of the view, and a few controls will be noticeable in the bottom-right corner, along with a Save button and More menu in the upper-right side. Building a map from the basic editor is for those of you who know exactly what you want in the map. For now, this is single drag-and-drop functionality, and any relationships or connections identified will automatically be drawn.

Basic Map Editor.gif

Click to Enlarge

Like any design tool, built-in functions allow you to manipulate the map. Holding the space bar will allow you to pan the map. Selecting entities will allow you to move objects, and holding the Shift key when moving objects will perform a snap to grid function. Using arrow keys will gently nudge the entity in a desired direction. Holding Shift while using arrows will move the object in larger increments. Holding the Control key or using the + or - buttons will allow you to zoom in or out while working with your map. Probably one of my favorite tools is the Center key in the bottom right. This will not only center your map, but perform a zoom to fit, ensuring the entire map is placed in the viewable area. This is an excellent tool as you expand or condense maps of different scales. Any entity can be removed from a map by selecting it and hitting the Delete key on your keyboard.

Basic Map Editor Tools.gif

Click to Enlarge

Once we have our map situated how we want it, you’ll notice any change in the canvas enables the "Save" button in the upper-right corner.  Clicking save will generate a dialogue, which will allow you to add a unique name. This will warn you in the event you attempt to name your map with a previously used name.

pastedImage_4.pngpastedImage_5.png

Under the MORE menu, a number of options will be presented to you. "New" will allow you to start a new map and a blank canvas, much like the name implies. "Save As" is particularly useful if a map has been shared with you, or as an administrator you’re editing a map you didn’t create. Unless you’re the one who created the original map, you won’t be allowed to "Save" but will have to perform a "Save As" and rename the map. "Delete" needs little explanation, but again, if this isn’t your map, then the delete option will be grayed out. I’ll cover the "View" button a bit later in this post in more detail, and the "Help" button of course links to formal documentation for much of the items discussed in this post.

pastedImage_23.png

LEVERAGING CONTEXTUAL MAPS

We have massive plans to improve upon the function of building maps as we understand one of the biggest needs is expediting map creation and limiting the number of touches to maintain them. Feel free to share what you believe would make a difference in the comment section below. In this release, we’re taking advantage of the framework and functionality delivered previously through the contextual sub-views. If or when viewing an automatically generated map from the Node or Group Details sub-views, you’ll now see a new button added to the menu bar, "Open Map in Editor." Essentially, I can use the existing functionality to take a pre-built map, expand it further, and have what was done within the sub-view persisted and sent to the new map editor with the click of a button. The images below should show a basic demonstration of this workflow. This is a great way to build maps quickly and then make final adjustments in the editor before saving.

Navigating to Map sub-view from Node Details page

Navigating to contextual map.gif

Click to Enlarge

Expanding the map through automatically discovered relationships

Expanding contextual map.gif

Click to Enlarge

Open Map in Editor

Open Map in Editor 2.gif

Click to Enlarge

Of course, using the built-in tools to move objects around the canvas, snap to grid, and taking advantage of the center/auto-fit tool as you make adjustments can help you properly create a representation that makes the most sense for your organization. Once I’ve saved the map, what do I do now?

ORION MAPS WIDGET

As maps are saved, they’ll be accessible as a Map Project from the list view under the Map Management page. You’ll also find a new widget available in the Widget Drawer, allowing you to add any of your custom maps to a dashboard or view. Click the pencil in the upper-left side marked Customize Page, then click Add Widgets, and the resource will be located under the Network Maps section called Orion Map.

pastedImage_3.png

Drag and drop as many of these widgets out to the page as you wish, and click "Edit" or "Choose Map" to specify a map from your list. A dialogue will contain options to customize a title or subtitle and specify the widget height by pixels. A list of maps will be shown, along with a search option for quickly identifying the map you wish to use. Like the Map Management page, admins will also have the option to see all user-created maps by clicking the toggle on the right side.

pastedImage_8.png

Click "save" and your map will now be available. Another one of my favorite features is we managed to build the widget where it‘ll automatically scale the map according to the size you specified. By adjusting the height and the column width, your map will auto-fit the available space, making it fast and easy to get the map exactly where you want on your dashboard, at just the right size.

Auto-Fit Map in Widget 2.gif

Click to Enlarge

With the ability to incorporate these maps alongside other widgets in the dashboard, you have some amazing new ways in which to roll up critical problems within your environment.  Below is a quick example of what one may look like.

pastedImage_5.png

Click to Enlarge

ENHANCED NODE STATUS

If you are unaware, or have yet to come across this post, Orion Platform 2019.2 - Enhanced Node Status by aLTeReGo, we’ve included some very significant updates in how we highlight status in the Orion Platform. The desire for improvements in status was a consistent theme we heard during user research with maps as well, and the difference this change makes is awesome. To steal an excerpt from aLTeReGo's post: The example below shows the exact same environment. The first image shows what this environment looked like in the previous release using Classic Status. Notice the absence of any obvious visual cues denoting issues in the environment. The next image to the right is of the very same environment, taken at the exact same time as the image on the left. The only notable difference is this image was taken from a system running Orion Platform 2019.2 with Enhance Node Status.

In both examples, there are the exact same issues going on in the environment, but these issues were obfuscated in previous releases, making the troubleshooting process less intuitive and unnecessarily time-consuming. With Enhanced Status, it's now abundantly clear where the issues lie, and with the topology and relationship information from Orion Maps, it's now easier to assess the potential impact those issues are having on the rest of the environment.

Classic StatusEnhanced Status
pastedImage_27.pngpastedImage_28.png

INTERACTING WITH THE MAP WIDGET AND VIEW MODE

Now that you have an amazing visualization of your environment and the issues are clearly identified, a closer look may be in order. There are a couple of different methods for interacting with your maps. The first method takes advantage of the improvements made to the Orion Hovers and are accessible from the Map Widget.  By hovering over an entity in your map, performance status will be available and should highlight exactly why your entity is in a degraded state. You will also be able to access the Commands menu, which will allow you to Go To Details pages, Edit Node, Mute Alerts, or Unmanage the entity directly from the map!  This behavior will be the same if a group is on a map, or if you have nested maps.  You can see that the commands option for a map includes viewing a map, editing a map, or muting alerts associated to a map!  From here, you can choose to use the command options or simply click on the entity in the map. By doing so it will take you to the details page automatically as pictured below.  The View Mode, which can also be accessed as a button in the top right of the Map Widget, is a full screen depiction of that map and all its entities, allowing you to investigate further utilizing the inspector panel to show related entities, alerts, and recommendations, if viewing virtual entities.

Map Widget Interaction.gif

Click to Enlarge

FEEDBACK

This release marks another significant step for the Orion Maps project and we hope you find these new enhancements valuable and useful in your environment.  I plan to write and attach a couple other posts to this announcement around using Maps in Alerts and Reporting.  Of course with each release, we find your feedback extremely valuable, and much of what has been done to this point centers around your asks.  Please be sure to comment below and SHARE YOUR MAPS and DASHBOARDS!  Stay tuned as we are already hard at work on the next major release and have some very cool stuff in store. 

Check out the other posts form serena and aLTeReGo on 2019.2 Platform improvements if you haven't already!

Orion Platform 2019.2 - Install/Upgrade Improvements Part 1

Orion Platform 2019.2 - Install/Upgrade Improvements Part 2

Orion Platform 2019.2 - Enhanced Node Status

Orion Platform 2019.2 - Additional Improvements

Orion Platform 2019.4 - Orion Maps is Now Available

Read more
7 43 5,728
Product Manager
Product Manager

In addition to Node status improvements, the Orion® Platform 2019.2 includes a slew of other great new features and enhancements. There’s a tremendous amount of diversity in these improvements, ranging from deployment flexibility to usability all the way to security. So, no matter what your jam, this release for the Orion Platform is sure to have something for you.

Default Admin Password

If you're installing an Orion Platform product for the first time, perhaps on a lab system or in a staging environment, undoubtedly the first new thing you'll notice the first time you attempt to log in to the Orion web interface is you’re now required to define a password for the default “Admin” user account. No longer will you be able to login with the default “admin” account with no password. If you're upgrading from a previous release, however, this change won’t affect you. It's only applicable to new installs of the Orion Platform. However, if you're still running your Orion instance with no password defined for the “Admin” account, let this post serve as a reminder to check that off the to-do list.

Admin Password Change PromptError Returned When no Password is Entered
pastedImage_1.pngpastedImage_0.png

Azure SQL DB Support

In the earlier Orion Platform 2018.2 release, we added support for using Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) as a cloud-based alternative to more traditional on-premises Microsoft SQL database servers. This allowed those customers who were deploying Orion instances into the cloud using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as their infrastructure as a service solution, to lower costs and reduce management overhead further by using Amazon's database-as-a-service offering. As more organizations lift and shift workloads into the cloud, it's natural for their monitoring solution to be one of them.

Since that release, however, we've received numerous requests to provide similar support for Azure SQL DB, Microsoft's equivalent alternative service offering to Amazon's RDS… and in the Orion Platform 2019.4, we’ve delivered. By adding support for Azure SQL DB to all product modules running atop Orion Platform 2019.2, you’re now afforded greater deployment flexibility and choice than ever before, without the worry of being locked in to a single cloud vendor. Best of all, using Azure SQL DB as the SQL database repository for your Orion install is just as easy as using a local on-prem MSSQL database server instance.

Regardless if you're installing the Orion Platform for the first time or migrating your Orion instance to the cloud, the magic begins in the Configuration Wizard. Simply enter in the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the SQL Server instance as shown in your Azure Portal and your credentials. With the introduction of Azure SQL DB, the Orion Platform now also supports the use of Azure Active Directory credentials for authenticating to the Azure SQL DB instance should you prefer not to use SQL authentication.

pastedImage_0.png

If this is a new Orion Platform installation, you can create an empty database from within your Azure Portal for your Orion instance to use, or the Configuration Wizard can automatically create one for you, no differently than if you were to deploy the Orion Platform on-prem. By default, the Configuration Wizard will create an S3 tier database, the absolute lowest Azure SQL DB tier supported by the Orion Platform and its associated product modules.

My favorite thing about Azure SQL DB is how incredibly fast and easy it is to scale your database tier up or down from within the Azure portal as your needs (or budget) dictates.

If for any reason you forget which Azure SQL database tier the Orion Platform is using, you can remind yourself from within the comfort of the Orion web interface simply by going to [Settings > All Settings > Database Details].

pastedImage_5.png

Orion Agent Rediscovery

Rediscovering things like newly added volumes, AppInsight applications, and interfaces on Agents has historically been a fairly binary operation. Your options were either to run a rediscovery against every Agent-managed node associated with a given Polling Engine, or none. There wasn’t really a way to specify additional criteria to narrow your rediscovery job to a subset of Agent-managed nodes. This was obviously fairly limiting if you wanted to handle some Agent-managed nodes differently than others, such as production vs. staging/lab machines or by office/region. If you wanted these handled differently, your only recourse was to divvy those Agents up across polling engines based on their role or location.

Since this was hardly an ideal solution for some customers, or even an option for others, we knew we could do better. In Orion Platform 2019.2, you can now specify rediscovery parameters for Agent-managed nodes based on node properties, such as IP addressing, node caption naming conventions, and even custom properties. These properties can even be combined to target a subset of Agents you want to be rediscovered, either one time or on a recurring basis. You'll even find a convenient “Preview” button so you can validate the rediscovery parameters you've specified to return the expected Agent-managed nodes. Coupled with automatic import, these Agent rediscovery options provide the Ronco Rotisserie equivalent of IT management, allowing you to simply set it and forget it.

pastedImage_1.png

Linux Agent Metrics

More than a few keen-eyed observers have noticed a slight discrepancy when monitoring Linux nodes using the Agent when compared to those same nodes being monitored via SNMP. Namely, the absence of specific volume types, such as Swap Space, Shared Memory, Memory Buffers, and more. Fortunately, in this release, we've corrected this injustice and now provide visibility into the same volume types with the Linux Orion Agent as are available when polling via SNMP. No longer will you need to make difficult compromises or tradeoffs when deciding to switch your node polling method from SNMP to the Linux Agent.

Orion Platform 2018.4Orion Platform 2019.2
pastedImage_0.pngpastedImage_1.png

Orion Agent SDK

Since the initial first release of the Orion Agent, it's been possible to use the Orion SDK to script the push deployment of new agents to remote machines no differently than you can through the Orion web interface. While this has been great, those systems have to be accessible via RPC and WMI for Windows or SSH for Linux for the agent to be deployed. Additionally, those machines where the Agent is deployed must be able to communicate back to the Orion server or one of its associated polling engines. For those customers who would prefer to pre-deploy the Agent in a passive mode (server initiated), either using Chef, Puppet, SCCM, or even SolarWinds Patch Manager, there hasn’t really been any good way to script or automate managing those systems. Instead, users have had to add those passive agents to the Orion Platform manually, one by one. Which is perhaps fine if you have the occasional one or two, but not so much fun when you have dozens or even hundreds of newly deployed Agents to manage in your Orion instance.

With Orion Platform 2019.2, this is now a problem of the past. You can now fully script and automate adding passive agents to your Orion instance using the Orion SDK. Simply pass all the same parameters you would normally be prompted to enter when adding a passive agent through the Orion web interface as part of your script. For example, the IP address of the machine where the passive agent is already deployed. Within seconds of executing your script, you should see your passive agent appear under [Settings > All Settings > Manage Agents] of the Orion web interface.

pastedImage_1.png

Manually Provision Agent Plugins

Some organizations have offices in very remote regions of the world where latency is very high and bandwidth is a sparse, precious commodity. While the Orion Agent is extremely lightweight to deploy and bandwidth-efficient during normal operation, when the Agent is initially provisioned, it downloads any and all dependencies necessary to perform whatever function it has been asked to do, such as functioning as a QoE sensor, NetPath probe, or becoming a managed node, to name only a few uses for the Agent.

Depending on which functions are being used, the age of the operating system, and how up-to-date the machine is with Windows Updates, the Agent plugin dependencies can reach up to a couple of hundred megabytes in size. If you need to provision dozens of Agents in one of these remote regions with high latency connections and very little bandwidth, it can take a very long time before all those Agents finish downloading all necessary plugins and dependencies (if they don't give up before then). Worse yet, if you're doing this deployment during working hours, the download of plugins and dependencies for all those Agents can significantly impede other people's ability to function in the office, as all available bandwidth could be consumed by those Agents attempting to download their plugins and plugin dependencies.

After upgrading to Orion Platform 2019.2, you’ll be able to pre-provision all Agent plugins and their related dependencies, thus eliminating the need for them to be downloaded from their associated polling engine as well as the potential to impact end users working in that remote office during the Agent provisioning process.

To get started, simply copy the contents of the “C:\Program Files (x86)\SolarWinds\Orion\AgentManagement\Plugins”' directory on the main Orion server to the “C:\ProgramData\SolarWinds\Agent\Plugins” directory of the Windows machine where you want to deploy the Agent. How you get those files to their intended destination is entirely up to you. You can use a CD, DVD, USB drive, even a local file share (or can I plug the tried-and-true Serv-U® MFT file transfer solution).

Once the agent plugins and their related dependencies have been copied to the appropriate directory on the remote machine where the Agent will be installed, install and configure the Agent as you normally would. The Agent should now use the local plugin repository rather than downloading those plugins across the wire from the polling engine with which it's associated. If you're pre-provisioning Linux or AIX Agents, you can follow the same steps. The only difference is the directory where the agent plugins are stored. For Linux or AIX Agents, be sure to copy them to the “/opt/SolarWinds/Agent/bin/Plugins” directory.

This same method can be used when upgrading Agents using a package management or software distribution solution like SolarWinds Patch Manager or Microsoft SCCM. Simply deploy the contents of the “C:\Program Files (x86)\SolarWinds\Orion\AgentManagement\Plugins” directory from the main Orion server to the appropriate directory listed above on the machine where the Agent is installed. Then execute the unattended Agent upgrade process as you normally would.

PerfStack Links

Continuing on the momentum of the previous release, Orion Platform 2019.2 adds even more direct links to PerfStack, where you can cross-correlate metrics across a variety of different entities and entity types to quickly identify the root cause of issues in your environment. Now, simply click on the numeric value or linear gauge in any of the 30 updated resources and you’ll be launched directly into PerfStack, where metrics are automatically plotted for you over time, ready for you to begin your analysis.

pastedImage_5.pngpastedImage_6.png

The following table lists all 30 Orion resources updated in this release to link their respective metrics directly to PerfStack.

New Resources Supporting Direct Links to PerfStack
Top 10 Avg. Disk sec/TransferTop 25 Avg. Disk sec/TransferTop XX Avg. Disk sec/Transfer
Top 10 Nodes by Average Response TimeTop 25 Nodes by Average Response TimeTop XX Nodes by Average Response Time
Top 10 Nodes by Average CPU LoadTop 25 Nodes by Average CPU LoadTop XX Nodes by Average CPU Load
Top 10 Disk Queue LengthTop 25 Disk Queue LengthTop XX Disk Queue Length
Top 10 Volumes by Disk Space UsedTop 25 Volumes by Disk Space UsedTop XX Volumes by Disk Space Used
Top 10 Nodes by Percent Memory UsedTop 25 Nodes by Percent Memory UsedTop XX Nodes by Percent Memory Used

Top 10 Nodes by Percent Packet Loss

Top 25 Nodes by Percent Packet LossTop XX Nodes by Percent Packet Loss
Top 10 Nodes by Current Response TimeTop 25 Nodes by Current Response TimeTop XX Nodes by Current Response Time
Top 10 Total IOPSTop 25 Total IOPSTop XX Total IOPS
Nodes with High Average CPU LoadVolumes with High Percent UsageNodes with High Memory Utilization

Automatic Removal of Unknown Volumes

In today's highly virtualized word, volumes are no longer the physical, heavy-metal rectangle components of the server seldom, if ever, removed or added from the machine. Instead, volumes are simply additional storage capacity easily added or removed on a whim with just a few mouse clicks or keystrokes. As such, it's not uncommon these days for new volumes to be added or removed as storage capacity needs change over the course of a server's lifecycle. This, however, results in some additional overhead to keep the monitoring server up-to-date with these changes in the environment. While scheduled recurring discoveries with automatic import helps address automating the monitoring of new volumes as they're added to servers in the environment, removed volumes remain managed in the Orion Platform until they're manually deleted by someone with Node Management rights. Hunting down all these “unknown” volumes can also be a tedious process, which is why it's seldom done. The result is wasted volume licenses and bogged down polling engines wasting polling cycles by trying to monitor volumes that will never return.

pastedImage_0.png

In our never-ending quest to reduce management overhead, we’ve now added the ability to automatically remove these “unknown” volumes after a predetermined period of time, which is, of course, user-configurable.

Under [Settings > All Settings > Orion Polling Settings], you’ll find a new option intuitively entitled “Automatically Remove Unknown Volumes,” which, as the name suggests, will remove any volumes from being managed by the Orion Platform if they’ve been “unknown” for longer than the number of days defined in “Remove Unknown Volumes After” field. To ensure we’re not inadvertently removing “unknown” volumes you may not want to be deleted immediately upon upgrading to Orion Platform 2019.2,, we’ve disabled this option by default. We do, however, recommend enabling this option and removing “unknown” volumes after a reasonable number of days as part of good monitoring hygiene.

Secure Syslog Alerts

For several years it's been possible to send SNMP Traps securely using SNMPv3 as an alert action. There has, however, not been any equivalent for sending Syslog messages as part of an alert trigger action in a similarly secure fashion… until now.

With the release of Orion Platform 2019.2, you’ll now find a new option to send Syslog messages via TCP, not just UDP, as in previous releases. There’s also an option for sending those Syslog messages via TCP using TLS encryption, providing secure communications and data privacy for data in motion. With these new capabilities, you can now safely and securely send alerts via Syslog to other Syslog receivers like Kiwi Syslog® or another Orion instance running Log Analyzer via TCP for improved reliability of message delivery and TLS encryption to comply with your latest security policies and regulatory mandates.

pastedImage_0.png

HSRP Addresses

Odd as it may seem, IP addresses configured on Cisco routers for use with HSRP are not expressed using the traditional industry standard MIB2 ipAdEntAddrhttp://oid-info.com/get/1.3.6.1.2.1.4.20.1.1 OID. This information is instead tucked away in Cisco's private cisco-hsrp-mib, out of reach from the Orion Platform's normal mechanisms for gathering IP addresses assigned to a node. This meant it wasn’t possible to search for a node via the “Search for Nodes” resource using any HSRP IP address configured on a device. It also meant any Orion product module attempting to associate information to a given Node via its HSRP address, like NetPath, was unable to because the Orion Platform was unaware of the node's HSRP addresses.

Fortunately for you, this is now a thing of the past. With Orion Platform 2019.2, it will now collect all HSRP addresses assigned to a given node, allowing you to quickly find nodes by their HSRP addresses and properly associating disparate information from Orion product modules to its associated node.

pastedImage_1.png

FortiGate CPU & Memory

Those of you running FortiGate firewalls in your environment should be pleased to hear Orion Platform 2019.2 now natively supports monitoring of both CPU and memory utilization for these devices out-of-the-box. No longer will you need to fumble with Universal Device Pollers. Best of all, you can even monitor these metrics in real-time via PerfStack Real-Time Polling.

If you're already monitoring your FortiGate firewalls with your Orion instance via SNMP, there's nothing additional you need to do. Simply upgrade your Orion product module to the latest version that includes Orion Platform 2019.2, and these metrics will begin being collected. If you were previously using Universal Device Pollers to monitor the CPU and memory utilization on your FortiGate firewalls, you may want to consider removing those pollers after upgrading to reduce polling overhead.

pastedImage_1.png

Dynamic External Nodes

For years now, the Orion Platform has had the notion of External Nodes, which essentially represents a node that typically isn’t owned or managed by you and doesn’t respond to ICMP, SNMP, or WMI. The primary purpose of external nodes is for assigning application templates from Server & Application Monitor. Those application templates are commonly HTTP/HTTPS User Experience Monitors or TCP Port Monitors for monitoring external websites and SaaS applications, but there are many more uses for External Nodes. These are simply two examples.

pastedImage_0.png

The trouble with external nodes historically has been since they don't poll any information, they also don't update their IP address—you must edit the properties of an External Node and select “Dynamic IP.” In previous Orion releases, you couldn't have external nodes with dynamic IP addresses. So, if you’d assigned an application template to an external node and its IP address ever changed, it would report a “down” status even if the application being monitored was really “up.” The Orion Platform was still polling the application using the original IP address of the node prior to it changing. Your only recourse for correcting this issue was to delete the node, re-add it to your Orion instance, and reassign any application templates you had assigned while losing any historical data for the applications monitored on the node.

With the release of Orion Platform 2019.2, we have addressed this glaring limitation of external nodes. Now, when the “Dynamic IP Address” box is checked on an “External” node, a reverse lookup against the hostname or fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the node is done every two minutes by default, automatically updating the IP address. The frequency in which this query is done can be adjusted simply by updating the “Node Status Polling” interval for the node.

Newly Added SysObjectIDs

Every release of the Orion Platform includes support for identifying new makes, models, and manufacturers of devices. This comes in large part from customers just like you who help identify these new devices in the wild and report them to us in the Tell Us Your Unknown Devices v2.0 thread.

The following is a list of all new devices that will now be properly identified by Orion Platform 2019.2. If you're running the latest release of the Orion Platform and the “Machine Type” for any of your devices is reported as “Unknown,” simply post its SysObjectID to the Tell Us Your Unknown Devices v2.0 thread along with its make, model, and manufacturer, and we’ll ensure it's properly identified as such in the next release of the Orion Platform.

Cisco 800M with 8-Port LAN Integrated Services RouterCisco C1111-8PLTELAWH Router
DELL S5000Cisco C1111-8PLTELAWF Router
DELL S4810-ONCisco C1111-8PWE Router with WLAN E domain
DELL S6000-ONCisco Aironet 1815
DELL S4048-ONCisco Aironet 1540
DELL S3048-ONCisco Catalyst 2960L-24TQ-LL Switch
DELL S3148PCisco Catalyst 2960L-48TQ-LL Switch
DELL S3124PCisco Catalyst 2960L-24PQ-LL Switch
DELL S3124FCisco Catalyst 2960L-48PQ-LL Switch
DELL S3124Cisco Catalyst 9407R Switch
DELL S6100Cisco Catalyst 94010R Switch
DELL S6010Cisco C1111-4P Router
DELL S4048TCisco C1111-4PLTEEA Router with Multimode Europe and North America Advanced LTE
DELL S3148Cisco C1111-4PLTELA Router with Latin America Multimode and Asia Pacific Advanced LTE
DELL Z9500Cisco C1111-4PWE Router with WLAN E domain
DELL Z9100Cisco C1111-4PWB Router with WLAN B domain
DELL S4148FCisco C1111-4PWA Router with WLAN A domain
DELL S4148TCisco C1111-4PWZ Router with WLAN Z domain
HP 2930F-24G-PoE+-4SFP (JL261A)Cisco C1111-4PWN Router with WLAN N domain
1920S 24G 2SFP PoE+ (JL385A)Cisco C1111-4PWQ Router with WLAN Q domain
ForeScout CounterACT ApplienceCisco C1111-4PWH Router with WLAN C domain
Corvil CNE ApplianceCisco C1111-4PWR Router with WLAN R domain
Corvil CNE ApplianceCisco C1111-4PWF Router with WLAN K domain
FortiWeb 1000DCisco C1111-4PWD Router with WLAN D domain
Fortinet Fortigate 280D-POECisco C1116-4P Router with VDSL/ADSL
FortiGate 500DCisco C1116-4PLTEEA Router with Multimode Europe and North America Advanced LTE
FortiGate 600DCisco C1117-4P Router with VDSL/ADSL
FortiWeb 4000DCisco C1116-4PWE Router with WLAN E domain
Pulse Secure IC4000Cisco C1117-4PLTEEA Router
Pulse Secure MAG-2600Cisco C1117-4PLTELA Router
Pulse Secure PSA-3000Cisco C1117-4PWE Router with WLAN E domain
Pulse Secure PSA-5000Cisco C1117-4PWA Router with WLAN A domain
Pulse Secure PSA-7000cCisco C1117-4PWZ Router with WLAN Z domain
Pulse Secure PSA-7000fCisco C1117-4PM Router with VDSL/ADSL
9982P2ETCisco C1117-4PMLTEEA Router
IAP-325Cisco C1117-4PMWE Router with WLAN E domain
IAP-315Cisco C1112-8P Router
ClearPass Policy Manager CP-HW-5KCisco C1112-8PLTEEA Router with Multimode Europe and North America
6548 SwitchCisco C1113-8P Router
Internal Management Module SwitchCisco C1113-8PM Router with VDSL/ADSL
AnnuncicomCisco C1113-8PLTEEA Router
InstreamerCisco C1113-8PLTELA Router
DataDomain 9300Cisco C1113-8PMLTEEA Router
S6720-54C-EI-48S-ACCisco C1113-8PWE Router with WLAN E domain
Lantronix EDS4100Cisco C1113-8PWA Router with WLAN A domain
Xerox DocuColor 242Cisco C1113-8PWZ Router with WLAN Z domain
ColorQube 9301Cisco C1113-8PMWE Router with WLAN E domain
D110Cisco C1113-8PLTEEAWE Router
Palo Alto PA-5200Cisco C1113-8PLTELAWE Router
Palo Alto PA-5200Cisco C1113-8PLTELAWZ Router
Palo Alto PA-220Cisco C1114-8P Router
H3C S5560-54C-EICisco C1114-8PLTEEA Router with Multimode Europe and North America
H3C S12504X-AFCisco C1115-8P Router
H3C S6520-48S-EICisco C1115-8PLTEEA Router with Multimode Europe and North America Advanced LTE
LP-1030Cisco C1115-8PM Router with VDSL/ADSL
TSM-24-DPSCisco C1115-8PMLTEEA Router
VMR-HD4D30Cisco C1118-8P Router(ciscoC11188P)
NPS-8-ATSCisco C1116-4PLTEEAWE Router
vMXCisco C1117-4PLTEEAWE Router
Juniper Virtual Route Reflector (vRR)Cisco C1117-4PLTEEAWA Router
Juniper ACX2200Cisco C1117-4PLTELAWZ Router
Juniper ACX5048Cisco C1117-4PMLTEEAWE Router
Juniper ACX5096Cisco 807 Industrial Integrated Services Routers
Juniper vSRXCisco 807 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service Router
Juniper SRX345Cisco 807 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service Routers with multi-mode  Global (Europe & Australia) LTE/HSPA+
Juniper ACX2100Cisco 807 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service Router
Juniper ACX1100Cisco 807 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service Routers with multi-mode  AT&T and Canada  LTE/HSPA+
Juniper EX3400-24TCisco Catalyst 9500 series with 32 Ports of 100G/32 Ports of 40G
Juniper QFX10002-72QCisco Catalyst 9500 series with 32 Ports of 40G/16 Ports of 100G
Juniper QFX10008Cisco Catalyst 9500 series with 48 Ports of 1G/10G/25G + 4 Ports of 40G/100G
WIB 8000Cisco Catalyst 9500 Router with 24 Ports of 1G/10G/25G + 4 Ports of 40G/100G
Meraki DashboardCisco Catalyst 9500 Series Switch
Xerox ApeosPort-IV C3375C9500-16X
Xerox ApeosPort-V C6675 T2IR829M-LTE-LA-ZK9
DCS-7060CX2-32SCisco C1109-2PLTEGB 2 ports GE LAN M2M Router with Multimode LTE WWAN Global
SX6036Cisco C1109-2PLTEUS 2 ports GE LAN M2M Router with Multimode LTE WWAN US
SX6036Cisco C1109-2PLTEVZ 2 ports GE LAN M2M Router with Multimode LTE WWAN Verizon
MSB7800-ES2FCisco C1109-2PLTEAU 2 ports GE LAN M2M Router with Multimode LTE WWAN Australia and New Zealand
F5 BIG-IP 10350vCisco C1109-2PLTEIN 2 ports GE LAN M2M Router with Multimode LTE WWAN India
BIG-IP i2800Cisco C1101-4P 4 Ports GE LAN Router
F5 Networks BIG-IP i4600Cisco C1101-4PLTEP 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Delphix DB EngineCisco C1101-4PLTEPWE 4 Ports GE LAN Router
TSC ME240Cisco C1101-4PLTEPWB 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Dell S4048-ONCisco C1101-4PLTEPWD 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Dell S6000-ONCisco C1101-4PLTEPWZ 4 Ports GE LAN Router
CX923deCisco C1101-4PLTEPWA 4 Ports GE LAN Router
OmniSwitch 6450-48LCisco C1101-4PLTEPWH 4 Ports GE LAN Router
OmniSwitch 6450-P10Cisco C1101-4PLTEPWQ 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Alcatel OmniSwitch 6450-C48XCisco C1101-4PLTEPWR 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Alcatel OmniSwitch 6450-P48XCisco C1101-4PLTEPWN 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Alcatel OmniSwitch 6450-U24Cisco C1101-4PLTEPWF 4 Ports GE LAN Router
Alcatel OmniSwitch 6350-P48Cisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2P)
OmniSwitch 6860E-U28Cisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWB)
InfoBlox ND-1400Cisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWE )
TelePresence MCU 5320Cisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWD)
Cisco IE 2000-16PTC-G-NX Industrial Ethernet SwitchCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWZ)
Cisco IE 2000-4S-TS-G-L Industrial Ethernet SwitchCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWA)
Cisco IE-2000U-4S-G Industrial Ethernet SwitchCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWH)
Cisco C887VAM Integrated Series RoutersCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWQ)
Cisco 897 Multi-Mode VDSL2/ADSL2+ POTS Annex M with Multi-Mode 4G LTE RouterCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(iscoC11094PLte2PWN)
Cisco C899 Secure Gigabit Ethernet with Multi-mode 4G LTE RouterCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWR)
Aironet 1572EC Outdoor Access PointCisco C1109-4PLTE2P 4 Ports GE LAN M2M Router(ciscoC11094PLte2PWF)
Cisco Catalyst 6824-X-LE-40GCisco C9407R
Cisco Firepower NGFW 4140Cisco 1000V
Cisco NCS 5001Cisco Nexus 3132Q Switch
Cisco NCS 5002Cisco UCS 6332 32-Port Fabric Interconnect
Cisco 897 Multi-mode VDSL2/ADSL2+ POTS with Multi-Mode 4G LTE RouterCisco Nexus 5672UP Switch
Cisco NCS 1002UCS 6332-16UP Fabric Interconnect
Cisco NCS 5508Cisco Nexus 31128PQ Switch
Cisco NCS 5502-SECisco Nexus 3132
Cisco 897VAGLTELAK9-4G LTE Latin America router with 1 Giga Ethernet WANCisco Nexus 3172
Cisco 819 Non-Hardened 4G LTE M2M with Dual Radio 802.11n WiFi RouterCisco Nexus 3172
Cisco 819 Non-Hardened 4G LTE M2M with Dual Radio 802.11n WiFi RouterCisco Nexus Nexus 9236C
Cisco Aironet 1560Cisco Nexus 31108PC-V
C899G-LTE-LA-K9 4G router with 1 Giga Ethernet WAN, 1 SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) Giga Ethernet WANCisco 3172
C819G-LTE-LA-K9 Router with 1 Gigabit Ethernet WAN, 4 Fast Ethernet LANCisco 9232C
Cisco 4221 ISRNexus 93180YC-FX
Cisco 4221 Integrated Services RouterNexus 9348GC-FXP
Cisco Catalyst CDB-8U SwitchCisco Nexus 9K C9364C
Cisco Catalyst CDB-8P SwitchCisco 7600 Series Route Switch Processor 720 with 10 Gigabit Ethernet Uplinks
Cisco NCS 5501WS-X45-SUP9-E (Cisco Catalyst 4503-E  Switch Module )
Cisco NCS 5502Cisco 3172
Cisco 829 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service RouterCisco SGE2000 10/100/1000 Ethernet Switch
Cisco 829 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service Routers with multi-mode LTE/HSPA+ with 802.11nSF550X-24
Cisco 829 4G LTE Dual-modem Industrial Integrated Service RouterSF550X-24P
Cisco 829 4G LTE Dual-modem Industrial Integrated Service Routers with multi-mode LTE/HSPA+ with 802.11nSF550X-24MP
Cisco 809 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service RouterSF550X-48
Cisco 809 4G LTE Industrial Integrated Service Routers with multi-mode LTE/HSPA+SF550X-48P
Cisco C1111-8P RouterSF550X-48MP
Cisco C1111-8PLTEEA Router with Multimode Europe and North America Advanced LTESG550X-24
Cisco C1111-8PLTELA Router with Latin America Multimode and Asia Pacific Advanced LTESG550X-24P
Cisco C1111-8PWE Router with WLAN E domainSG550X-24MP
Cisco C1111-8PWB Router with WLAN B domainSG550X-24MPP
Cisco C1111-8PWA Router with WLAN A domainSG550X-48
Cisco C1111-8PWZ Router with WLAN Z domainSG550X-48P
Cisco C1111-8PWN Router with WLAN N domainSG550X-48MP
Cisco C1111-8PWQ Router with WLAN Q domainSG350X-24
Cisco C1111-8PWH Router with WLAN C domainSG350X-24PD 24-Port 2.5G PoE Stackable Managed Switch
Cisco C1111-8PWR Router with WLAN R domainSG350X-24P
Cisco C1111-8PWF Router with WLAN K domainSG350X-24MP
Cisco C1111-8PLTEEAWE RouterSG350X-48
Cisco C1111-8PLTEEAWB RouterSG350X-48P
Cisco C1111-8PLTEEAWA RouterSG350X-48MP
Cisco C1111-8PLTEEAWR RouterSG350X-8PMD 8-Port 2.5G PoE Stackable Managed Switch
Cisco C1111-8PLTELAWZ RouterSG350-8PD 8-Port 2.5G PoE Managed Switch
Cisco C1111-8PLTELAWN RouterPravail NSI
Cisco C1111-8PLTELAWQ Router

But Wait, there's more!

The list of improvements above is just a small sampling of everything included in the Orion Platform 2019.2 release. There are still plenty of additional new features and improvements added to this release of the Orion Platform, including Enhanced Node Status, Orion Maps 2.0, and Install/Upgrade Improvements. As always, we appreciate your feedback on all these improvements, so be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Read more
8 29 3,830
Level 8

I’m excited to announce the general availability of SolarWinds® Service Desk, the newest member in the SolarWinds product family, following the acquisition of Samanage.

pastedImage_0.png

SolarWinds Service Desk (SWSD) is a cloud-based IT service management solution built to streamline the way IT provides support and delivers services to the rest of the organization. The solution includes an ITIL-certified service desk with incident management, problem management, change management, service catalog, and release management, complemented by an integrated knowledge base. It also includes asset management, risk and compliance modules, open APIs, dashboards, and reporting.

Core Service Desk

SWSD includes a configurable Employee Service Portal, allowing employees to make their service requests, open and track their tickets, and find quick solutions through the knowledge base. The portal’s look and feel can be customized to your branding needs, and

configurable page layouts support your organization’s unique service management processes.

pastedImage_5.png

For IT pros working the service desk, we provide an integrated experience to bring together all related records (for example, assets or knowledge base articles related to an incident or change records related to a problem), so the agent can see all the information available to expedite the resolution.

pastedImage_10.png

To help agents prioritize work, Service Level Management (SLM) helps build and manage SLA policies directly within the service desk, including auto-escalation rules.

pastedImage_15.png

IT pros often need to be on the go or need to respond to urgent service requests and incidents after hours. The SWSD mobile app, available on both iOS and Android mobile devices, allows agents to work on records, make approvals, and track the status of their work queue at all times.

Process Automation

Driving automation throughout all aspects of service delivery helps service desk groups drive fast, affordable, and highly consistent services to the rest of the organization. Process automation in SWSD uses custom rules logic to route, assign, prioritize, and categorize inbound tickets, change requests, and releases.

The Service Catalog allows you to define and publish IT (VM provisioning or password reset) and non-IT services (employee onboarding) through the Employee Service Portal. The catalog forms defining those services are dynamic and can be configured to fit specific use cases, with little to no coding required.

pastedImage_25.png

The other part of defining any Service Catalog item is automated fulfillment workflow.

pastedImage_30.png

IT Asset Management and CMDB

SWSD offers full asset lifecycle management starting with the management of IT and non-IT asset inventories and an audit history of changes. Compliance risk analysis helps expose unmanaged software or out-of-support software and devices. Where applicable, asset information incorporates contract, vendor, and procurement data to provide a full view on assets under management.

pastedImage_37.png

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) populated by service supporting configuration items (CIs) plays a critical role in providing better change, problem, and release management services. Knowing what CIs support each service and the dependencies between them helps IT pros to better assess the risks and impacts related to IT changes, driving better root cause analysis (RCA) in problem management, as well as being better prepared for new software releases.

pastedImage_47.png
Integrations

Many service desk processes can be integrated into other IT and business processes. SolarWinds Service Desk comes with hundreds of out-of-the-box integrations and an open REST API, allowing you to make it part of the workflows you need.

pastedImage_57.png

We are releasing a brand-new integration today with Dameware® Remote Everywhere (DRE). The great synergy between SWSD and Dameware’s remote support capabilities allow agents to initiate a DRE session directly from a SWSD incident record.

pastedImage_62.png

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is embedded in a few different SWSD functions, introducing a new level of automation and an improved time to resolution. Our machine learning algorithms analyze large sets of historical data, identify patterns, and accelerate key service management processes. There is a “smart” pop-up within the employee service portal that auto-suggests the best corresponding knowledge base articles and service catalog items related to the keyword(s) typed in the search bar.

pastedImage_68.png

For agents, AI helps with automatic routing and classification of incoming incidents, reducing the impact of misclassifications and human errors. It also offers “smart suggestions” agents can leverage when working on a ticket. Smart suggestions are made based on keyword matching from historical analysis of similar issues—those suggestions offer knowledge base articles or similar incidents, advising the agent on the best actions to take next.

pastedImage_73.png

Reports and Dashboards

SolarWinds Service Desk comes with dozens of out-of-the-box reports to analyze and visualize the service desk’s KPIs, health, and performance. Those reports help agents, managers, and IT executives make data-driven decisions through insights, including trend reports, incident throughput, customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, and SLA breaches.

pastedImage_79.png

Dashboards provide a real-time dynamic view of the service desk. Dashboards are comprised of a set of widgets that can be added, removed, and configured to adjust to the individual needs of the agent, manager, or organization.

pastedImage_89.pngpastedImage_90.png

This has been a pretty packed inaugural product blog for us, and I hope you found it useful. We’d love to get your feedback and ideas here. Please stay tuned to many more ITSM updates as we’re quickly building out the new THWACK Service Desk product forum.

Read more
7 26 4,454
Product Manager
Product Manager

For those of you who didn’t know, Storage Resource Monitor 6.8 is currently available for download! This release continues our momentum of supporting new arrays that you all requested on THWACK® as well as deepening our already existing support for the most popular arrays.

Why don’t we go over some of what’s new in SRM with the 6.8 release?

NEW ARRAY SUPPORT - KAMINARIO®

We’re all really excited here about our newest supported array vendor: Kaminario®. With Kaminario® being an enterprise storage vendor that has a lot of exciting progress going on, we’re really excited to say that we now support their arrays, starting with K2 and K2.N devices. And we think that you will be to, if the voting in THWACK has anything to say about it.

Best of all, out of the box, this new support includes all the standard features you know and love: capacity utilization and forecasting, performance monitoring, end-to-end mapping in AppStack™, integrated performance troubleshooting in PerfStack™, and Hardware Health.

And, as always, we’re excited to share some screenshots.

Summary View

pastedImage_28.png

Hardware Health View

pastedImage_29.png

NEW HARDWARE HEALTH SUPPORT - DELL® COMPELLENT AND HPE 3PAR

Whether you’re a new customer to SRM or you’ve been a customer for a while, you know that there is a lot to be had when we extend support for an array to hardware health. With SRM 6.8, we focused on adding hardware health support to those arrays most popular with our customers. And so, we’re excited to announce hardware health support for Dell® Compellent and HPE 3PAR arrays. So now, starting in SRM 6.8, digging into these array types allows you to see details on fans, power supplies, batteries, and more.

A screenshot? Of course.

pastedImage_36.png

WHAT’S NEXT

Add in some bug fixes and smaller changes and you have SRM 6.8. We’re excited for you all to check it out.

If there are any other features that didn’t make it into SRM 6.8 but that you would like to see, make sure to add it to our Storage Manager (Storage Profiler) Feature Requests forum. But before you do, head over to the What We’re Working On page to see what the storage team already has in the works for upcoming releases.

And as always, comments welcome below.

- the SRM Team

Read more
1 4 1,051
Level 11

I’m happy to announce the General Availability of Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) 12.1. This release focuses on deeper performance analysis and management of DPA through these cool new features:

  • Anomaly Detection Powered by Machine Learning
  • Management API
  • Upgraded Java
  • New Options Page
  • Alerting Improvements

Anomaly Detection Powered by Machine Learning

Users tend to log help desk tickets when things are running slower than normal, i.e., an anomaly. Those tickets often find their way to the database team’s inbox to check the database. DPA can be used to find issues when you have time to drill into the wait time data, but often, time is of the essence. Everyone wants answers immediately.

Tired of comparing the trends chart with previous days to decide what “normal” looks like? DPA 12.1 now does the work for you, using a machine learning algorithm to identify which hours are abnormal, and displays the information contextually on the trends page. Bonus! If DPA detects an anomaly in the last 60 minutes, it changes the wait time status on the home page, letting you quickly identify the database instances your users are waiting on.

The DPA wait meter on the home page is now powered by anomaly detection, and new correlation charts appear as you drill into an instance. For example, you may be reviewing the home page and suddenly see the wait meter turn red.

pastedImage_0.png

This is an indication the instance is having higher than normal wait times and may be having issues. Clicking on the wait meter takes you to a view of the last 24 hours, and the status of the last bar will match the wait meter.

pastedImage_1.png

Drilling into the last bar, we can start to unravel the root cause of the anomaly. In this example, we see heavy wait times on RESOURCE_SEMAPHORE_QUERY_COMPILE, usually an indication that one or more queries require more memory than is currently available. In our case, many queries were waiting on this wait type, indicating a potential memory shortfall on the database server, which is what we found to be the case. Without the anomaly detection feature, we may not have known about this problem.

pastedImage_2.png

For more about this story and others, see this feature post in the DPA Customer Success Center: DPA 12.1 feature: Anomaly detection - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support .

Management API

DPA has many customers automating tasks within their database environments, and many of you have scripts that can deploy/destroy a database environment in minutes. The new REST API in DPA 12.1 can be used to further that automation to management of DPA itself as well as monitored instances. It can safely connect to DPA and issue calls to:

  • Add and remove instances
  • List, allocate, and deallocate licenses
  • Stop, start, and update passwords for monitors
  • Add, retrieve, and delete annotations
  • And more

pastedImage_4.png

DPA customers are already using the API to:

  • Create annotations when a new build of an application is installed
  • Add monitoring to a newly created database instance and allocate proper licenses
  • Stop and restart monitors before and after O/S patches

If you are using the DPA API to do cool things, reply to this post and let us know about it.

For more information about DPA’s Rest API, including an interface to try them out before building code around them, use the new Options page and the Management API Documentation link. Here’s a list of other useful pages when you are ready to put the API into action:

What Did You Find?

Our QA team uses DPA to help make sure our code performs well. The anomaly detection feature has helped them be more efficient when problems crop up. DPA pings them using anomaly detection alerts rather than a person being required to drill into every instance to find issues. They can then use the anomaly detection charts to quickly understand the issues. If you find interesting stories in your environment, let us know by leaving comments on this blog post.

We would love to hear feedback about the following:

  • Does anomaly detection improve your workflow for finding wait time issues?
  • Are there issues in your databases that DPA did not find, or flagged incorrectly?
  • Are you using the REST API? How much time does it save you? What processes are you automating?

What’s Next?

To learn more about the exciting DPA 12.1 new features, see the DPA Documentation library and visit your SolarWinds Customer Portal to get the new software.

If you don't see the features you've been wanting in this release, check out the What We Are Working On for DPA post for what our dedicated team of database nerds are already looking at. If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Database Performance Analyzer Feature Requests.

Read more
3 2 1,711
Product Manager
Product Manager

I'm very excited to announce that SolarWinds Server Configuration Monitor (SCM)​ 1.1 is now available for download! This release expands on SCM 1.0 capabilities, both giving more detail for each change detected, and adding a new data source that can be analyzed for changes:

  • Detect “Who made the change” for files and registry
  • Detect changes in near real-time
  • Deploy PowerShell scripts and track changes in the output (with links to additional example scripts)
  • Set baselines for multiple nodes at once

Who made the change? In near real-time

SCM 1.0 is good at detecting changes in your Windows files and registry, but it didn't tell you who made the change, leaving you to do some additional investigative work. SCM 1.1 adds "who made the change" by leveraging our File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) technology, which also detects changes in near real-time -- a double benefit. Near real-time allows us to catch changes almost as they happen, and gives us a separate record for each change, even if changes are happening in rapid succession.

Turning on "Who made the change"

After you install or upgrade to SCM 1.1, you can easily turn on the "Who Made the Change" feature for the servers you want to monitor via a wizard:

  • From the "Server Configuration Summary -> What's New Resource," click the Set Up "Who Made the Change" Detection button
  • From the "All Settings -> Server Configuration Monitor Settings -> Polling Settings Tab," click the Set Up Who Detection button

Either way, it starts the "Who Made the Change" wizard.

The first step tells you about what happens when you turn on "Who Made the Change" detection:

The second step allows you to define the server exclusion list and turn on the feature:

Once you press Enable Who Detection, SCM will push out FIM driver to the agent(s) and turn it on, so file and registry changes will be monitored in near real-time rather than polled once a minute as in SCM 1.0. You can always come back and change the exclusion list or turn off "Who Made the Change" later.

Where to see "Who made the change"

You can see who made the change (user and domain) in a number of places, represented by the person icon.

  • SCM Summary: Recent Configuration Changes resource
  • Node Summary: Configuration Details and Recent Configuration Changes resources
  • Node: Content comparison, note the time I added to the file matches the time SCM shows the file changed.

Alerting

When building an alert, you can filter on "Who made the change" and add it to the text of your alert.

Reporting

The out-of-the-box SCM report includes "Who made the change" data.

Deploy and monitor the output of PowerShell scripts

Everyone's environment is different, and SCM could never monitor everything you want to "out-of-the-box." So, we added the ability to deploy and execute PowerShell scripts and compare the output over time. Now, configuration monitoring is only limited by your imagination and scripting super powers.

Adding a new script

I created a new Profile for this test, but you can add scripts to your current Profiles too.

First, create a new Profile and click Add to add a new element.

To add a PowerShell script configuration element:

  1. Choose PowerShell script as your Element type.
  2. Paste your script into the box.
  3. Click Add to add the element to the profile, then add again to save the profile.

Deploy and enjoy!

Once your new (or modified Profile) is ready, you can deploy it to one or more agents. From Server Configuration Monitor Settings > Manage Profiles, select the profile and click assign, then pick the servers you want, and walk through the wizard. SCM will deploy the scripts and start executing them on schedule.

Comparing the output

Comparing the output of the script over time works like any other source (file, registry, asset info) in SCM. You can set baselines and see changes in the content comparison. As you can see, the entire output of the script is captured and stored.

Mix and match elements in profiles

Don't forget -- one of the great things about SCM is you can mix and match elements in a single profile. Mix and match registry setting, multiple files, and PowerShell scripts into a single profile to monitor interesting aspects of your configurations.

Check Out Some Cool PowerShell Examples by Kevin

SolarWinds' own Technical Community Manager KMSigma put together some awesome examples of what SCM can do: Manage and Monitor PowerShell Scripts

Keep a lookout in our SCM forums for more PowerShell script examples in the future, and feel free to post your scripts too.

Set/Reset baselines for multiple nodes at once

Our early customers in large environments were limited to setting/resetting baselines one node at time, which was very painful when the dozens or hundreds of servers were updated (like a Windows update), so we addressed it quickly in this release. Now from the Server Configuration Monitor Settings screen, you can pick multiple servers, see a quick summary of the number of baselines you'll be updating, and then reset the baselines to the current output -- easy as 1-2-3.

What's next?

Don't forget to read the SCM 1.1 Release Notes to see all the goodness now available.

If you don't see the features you've been waiting for, check out the What We're Working on for SCM post for a list of features our dedicated team of configuration nerds and code jockeys are already researching. If you don't see everything you've been wishing for, add it to the Server Configuration Monitor (SCM) Feature Requests.

Read more
1 3 853
Product Manager
Product Manager

I’m pleased to announce the General Availability of Log Analyzer (LA) 2.0 on the Customer Portal.  You may be wondering what Log Analyzer is. The artist formally known as Log Manager for Orion has undergone a transformation. It has evolved past its former life as a 1.0 product and become Log Analyzer 2.0. Log Analyzer was selected after extensive research to better understand what our users would call a product that solves the problems our tool solves based on our feature set. I hope you like the new name!

This release includes Windows Event Support, Log Export, Log Forwarding and Rule Improvements as well as other items listed in the Release Notes.

Windows Events

As a System Administrator, closely monitoring Windows Events is vital to ensuring your servers and applications are running as they should be. These events can also be hugely valuable when troubleshooting all sorts of Windows problems and determining the root cause of an issue or outage. While there are vast array of Windows Events categories, the three main categories you'll likely focus on when troubleshooting are the Application (events relating to Windows components), System (events related to programs installed on the system) and Security (security related events such as authentication attempts and resource access). Trawling through Windows Event Viewers to find the needle in the haystack on individual servers can be a laborious task. Having a tool such as Log Analyzer can be a real life saver when it comes to charting, searching and aggregating these Windows Events. Thanks to the tight integration with Orion, you can view your Windows Events alongside the performance data collected by other tools such as NPM and SAM. Worth noting that you can also add VMware Events into the mix, thanks to the latest Virtualization Manager (VMAN) release.

In order to start ingesting Windows Events with Log Analyzer, you need to install the Orion Agent on your Windows device. Windows Event Forwarding​ is also supported, so if you prefer to forward events from other nodes to a single node with the Orion agent installed, that's an option too. By default, we collect all Windows Application and System events, along with 70 of the most common Windows Security Events. You can view more information on setting up Windows Event Collection here.

Once you have the agent installed and added the node(s) to Log Analyzer, you'll see the Events within the Log Viewer. Events are automatically tagged with Application, System or Security tags. Predefined rules are also included out of the box which tag events such as Authentication Events, Event Logs Cleared, Account Creation/Lockout/Deletion, Unexpected Shutdowns, Application Crashes and more.

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 10.18.27.png

Windows Events are also supported in PerfStack, enabling you to correlate performance data with Windows Events. For example, you can see below there are memory spikes on a SQL Server, with some corresponding Windows Events and Orion Alerts. Drilling into the Windows Events you can clearly see there is insufficient system memory which is causing the Node Reboot and SQL Server Insufficient Resources alerts.

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 10.58.21.png

Log Forwarding

​Log Analyzer shouldn't be seen as a dead end for your log data. There may be times when you need to forward import syslog/traps to another tool such as an Incident Management or SIEM for further processing/analysis. This release includes a new 'Forward Entry' rule action which enables you to forward syslog/traps to another application. You can keep the source IP of the entry intact or replace with Orion's IP address:

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 11.21.15.png

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 11.22.12.png

Log Export

When troubleshooting problems it's often necessary to share important log data with other team members, external vendors or attach to a helpdesk ticket. You can now do so thanks to the new Export option within the Log Viewer.

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 11.33.28.png

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 11.47.21.png

Rule Improvements

We've added some pre-populated dropdown menus for fields such as MachineType, EngineID, Severity, Vendor and more to make it even easier to create log rules. It is now also possible to adjust the processing order of the rules.

Screenshot 2019-03-12 at 12.00.34.png

The team is already hard at work on the next version of LA, as you can see covered here in the What We're Working On post. Also, please keep the feedback coming on what you think and what you would like to see in the product in the Feature Requests section of the forum.

Read more
2 19 2,303
Product Manager
Product Manager

Virtualization Manager (VMAN) 8.4 is now available and can be downloaded from your customer portal. In recent releases, we brought you VMware vSAN monitoring, container support, and better centralized upgrades to your deployment overall.

VMware Event Monitoring, Correlation, and Alerting

As a virtualization admin, it's a primary concern to track the many changes that occur in dynamic and often automated virtualization environments. While many virtualization vendors tout that the simplicity of their solution alleviates the need for admins to worry, I err on the side of caution. With VMware event monitoring, you now have real-time access to alert and correlate VMware's alarms, health checks, events, and tasks to issues in your environment. Ephemeral events such as vMotions are now easily tracked, and if you also have Log Analyzer, you can tag them for future cataloging.

pastedImage_0.png

Looking at my VMware Events summary, there are quite a few warning and critical events in the last hour. Filtering down to the warning events to do deeper inspection, I can see four of them are warning me of a failed migration for virtual machine DENCLIENTAFF01v

pastedImage_0.png

Clicking on one of these events allows me to drill in to get more context. Clearly, I need to look at the configuration of my vMotion interface.

pastedImage_1.png

Clicking "Analyze Logs" allows me to have better filtering and is also where I would configure processing rules to start configuring real-time alerting on these VMware events. Yes, event collection is real-time, and as a result, your alerts configured on these events are also triggered in real-time. If you want to be alerted to host connection changes, or when vMotions are triggered when they aren't supposed to be, you now can be alerted immediately.

pastedImage_0.png

For those of you who have Log Analyzer, you have even more troubleshooting tools that play very nicely with this VMAN feature. Are you looking to visually see occurrences of this event over time? Easy. Click "Analyze Logs" to navigate to the Log Viewer. Your Log Viewer will differ in that you'll have a visual graph to see how many times this event has occurred over the specified time period. In the example below, I increased the time to two hours, and searched for "vMotion." In addition, I've used the tagging feature to tag all events like this with a "vMotion" tag.

pastedImage_2.png

So how do I correlate this to problems? By using PerfStack dashboard.

pastedImage_1.png

After troubleshooting your issues, simply save the PerfStack project and put that project on your NOC view for future visibility.

pastedImage_2.png

Deeper Dives and Other Features

For a more in depth look at the VMware events feature check out these documents. Let me know if you have use cases that require real time alerting, monitoring and reporting so we can consider putting them in as OOTB content.

For those of you who are curious what we have for those users who do not need VMware event visibility check out these documents for more details:

Next on the VMAN Roadmap

Don't see what you're looking for here? Check out the WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON FOR VIRTUALIZATION MANAGER (UPDATED MARCH, 2019)  post for what our dedicated team of virtualization nerds and code jockeys are already looking at. If you don't see everything you've been wishing for there, add it to the Virtualization Manager Feature Requests

This version of VMAN is compatible with the legacy VMAN 8.1 appliance; however, all the newly available features are only on VMAN on the Orion Platform. If you're using the appliance on your production VMAN installation, I recommend that you consider retiring the appliance at your earliest convenience to reap all the benefits of the new features we are developing for VMAN on Orion. If you cannot retire the appliance for any reason, I'm very interested in your feedback and reasons, and would love to see them listed out in the comments below.

Helpful Links

Read more
0 8 1,290
Community Manager
Community Manager

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of PowerShell. “Fan” is a diminutive version of the word “fanatic,” and in this instance both are true. That’s why I was so excited to see that PowerShell script output is now supported in Server Configuration Monitor (SCM).

Since SCM’s release, I’ve always thought it was a great idea to monitor the directory where you store your scripts to make sure they didn’t vary and to validate changes over time, even going in and reverting them in case there was a change without approval. However, that part was available in the initial release of SCM. Using PowerShell with SCM, you can monitor your C:\Scripts\*.ps1 files and get notified when any deviate from their baselines.

Using PowerShell scripts to pull information from systems you’re monitoring is only limited by your scripting prowess. But let me say this plainly: You don’t need to be a scripting genius. The THWACK® members are here to be your resources. If you have something great you wrote, post about it. If you need help formatting output, post about it. If you can’t remember how to get a list of all the software installed on a system, post about it. Someone here has probably already done the work.

Monitoring the Server Roles

Windows now handles many of the “roles” of a machine (Web Server, Active Directory Server, etc.) based on the installed features. There never was a really nice way to understand what roles were installed on a machine outside the Server Manager. This is especially true if you’re running Windows Server Core because it has no Server Manager.

Now, you can just write yourself a small PowerShell script:

Get-WindowsFeature | Where-Object { $_.Installed } | Select-Object -Property Name, DisplayName | Sort-Object -Property Name

…and get the list of all features displayed for you.

Name                      DisplayName

----                      -----------

FileAndStorage-Services   File and Storage Services

File-Services             File and iSCSI Services

FS-Data-Deduplication     Data Deduplication

FS-FileServer             File Server

MSMQ                      Message Queuing

MSMQ-Server               Message Queuing Server

MSMQ-Services             Message Queuing Services

NET-Framework-45-ASPNET   ASP.NET 4.7

NET-Framework-45-Core     .NET Framework 4.7

NET-Framework-45-Features .NET Framework 4.7 Features

NET-WCF-Services45        WCF Services

NET-WCF-TCP-PortSharing45 TCP Port Sharing

PowerShell                Windows PowerShell 5.1

PowerShell-ISE            Windows PowerShell ISE

PowerShellRoot            Windows PowerShell

Storage-Services          Storage Services

System-DataArchiver       System Data Archiver

Web-App-Dev               Application Development

Web-Asp-Net45             ASP.NET 4.7

Web-Common-Http           Common HTTP Features

Web-Default-Doc           Default Document

Web-Dir-Browsing          Directory Browsing

Web-Dyn-Compression       Dynamic Content Compression

Web-Filtering             Request Filtering

Web-Health                Health and Diagnostics

Web-Http-Errors           HTTP Errors

Web-Http-Logging          HTTP Logging

Web-ISAPI-Ext             ISAPI Extensions

Web-ISAPI-Filter          ISAPI Filters

Web-Log-Libraries         Logging Tools

Web-Metabase              IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility

Web-Mgmt-Compat           IIS 6 Management Compatibility

Web-Mgmt-Console          IIS Management Console

Web-Mgmt-Tools            Management Tools

Web-Net-Ext45             .NET Extensibility 4.7

Web-Performance           Performance

Web-Request-Monitor       Request Monitor

Web-Security              Security

Web-Server                Web Server (IIS)

Web-Stat-Compression      Static Content Compression

Web-Static-Content        Static Content

Web-WebServer             Web Server

Web-Windows-Auth          Windows Authentication

Windows-Defender          Windows Defender Antivirus

WoW64-Support             WoW64 Support

XPS-Viewer                XPS Viewer

This is super simple. If someone adds or removes one of these features, you’ll know moments after it’s done because it would deviate from your baseline.

Monitoring Local Administrators

This got me thinking about all manner of other possible PowerShell script uses. One that came to mind immediately was local security. We all know the local administrator group is an easy way to have people circumvent security best practices, so knowing who is in that security group has proven difficult.

Now that we don’t have those limitations, let’s look at the local admins group and look at local users.

Get-LocalGroupMember -Group Administrators | Where-Object { $_.PrincipalSource -eq "Local" } | Sort-Object -Property Name

Now, you’ll get returned a list of all the local users in the Administrators group.

ObjectClass Name                         PrincipalSource
----------- ----                         ---------------
User        NOCKMSMPE01V\Administrator   Local
User        NOCKMSMPE01V\Automation-User Local

Now we’ll know if someone is added or deleted. You could extend this to know when someone is added to power users or any other group. If you really felt like going gang-busters, you could ask for all the groups, and then enumerate the members of each.

Local Certificates

These don’t have to be relegated to PowerShell one-liners either. You can have entire scripts that return a value that you can review.

Also, on the security front, it might be nice to know if random certificates start popping up everywhere. Doing this by hand would be excruciatingly slow. Thankfully it’s pretty easy in PowerShell.

$AllCertificates = Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\My -Recurse

# Create an empty list to keep the results

$CertificateList = @()

ForEach ( $Certificate in $AllCertificates )

{

    # Check to see if this is a "folder" or a "certificate"

    if ( -not ( $Certificate.PSIsContainer ) )

    {

        # Certificates are *not* containers (folders)

        # Get the important details and add it to the $CertificateList

        $CertificateList += $Certificate | Select-Object -Property FriendlyName, Issuer, Subject, Thumbprint, NotBefore, NotAfter

    }

}

$CertificateList

As you can see, you aren’t required to stick with one-liners. Write whatever you need for your input. As long as there’s output, SCM will capture it and present it in a usable format for parsing.

FriendlyName : SolarWinds-Orion
Issuer       : CN=SolarWinds-Orion
Subject      : CN=SolarWinds-Orion
Thumbprint   : AF2A630F2458E0A3BE8D3EF332621A9DDF817502
NotBefore    : 10/12/2018 5:59:14 PM
NotAfter     : 12/31/2039 11:59:59 PM

FriendlyName :
Issuer       : CN=SolarWinds IPAM Engine
Subject      : CN=SolarWinds IPAM Engine
Thumbprint   : 4527E03262B268D2FCFE4B7B4203EF620B41854F
NotBefore    : 11/5/2018 7:13:34 PM
NotAfter     : 12/31/2039 11:59:59 PM

FriendlyName :
Issuer       : CN=SolarWinds-Orion
Subject      : CN=SolarWinds Agent Provision - cc10929c-47e1-473a-9357-a54052537795
Thumbprint   : 2570C476DF0E8C851DCE9AFC2A37AC4BDDF3BAD6
NotBefore    : 10/11/2018 6:46:29 PM
NotAfter     : 10/12/2048 6:46:28 PM

FriendlyName : SolarWinds-SEUM_PlaybackAgent
Issuer       : CN=SolarWinds-SEUM_PlaybackAgent
Subject      : CN=SolarWinds-SEUM_PlaybackAgent
Thumbprint   : 0603E7052293B77B89A3D545B43FC03287F56889
NotBefore    : 11/4/2018 12:00:00 AM
NotAfter     : 11/5/2048 12:00:00 AM

FriendlyName : SolarWinds-SEUM-AgentProxy
Issuer       : CN=SolarWinds-SEUM-AgentProxy
Subject      : CN=SolarWinds-SEUM-AgentProxy
Thumbprint   : 0488D26FD9576293C30BB5507489D96C3ED829B4
NotBefore    : 11/4/2018 12:00:00 AM
NotAfter     : 11/5/2048 12:00:00 AM

FriendlyName : WildcardCert_Demo.Lab
Issuer       : CN=demo-EASTROOTCA-CA, DC=demo, DC=lab
Subject      : CN=*.demo.lab, OU=Information Technology, O=SolarWinds Demo Lab, L=Austin, S=TX, C=US
Thumbprint   : 039828B433E38117B85E3E9C1FBFD5C1A1189C91
NotBefore    : 3/30/2018 4:37:41 PM
NotAfter     : 3/30/2020 4:47:41 PM

Antivirus Exclusions

How about your antivirus exclusions? I’m sure you really, really want to know if those change.

$WindowsDefenderDetails = Get-MpPreference

$WindowsDefenderExclusions = $WindowsDefenderDetails.ExclusionPath

$WindowsDefenderExclusions | Sort-Object

Now you’ll know if something is added to or removed from the antivirus exclusion list.

C:\inetpub\SolarWinds
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\SolarWinds
C:\Program Files (x86)\SolarWinds
C:\ProgramData\SolarWinds
C:\ProgramData\SolarWindsAgentInstall

Trying to find this out by hand would be tedious, so let’s just have SCM do the work for you.

This is all just a sample of the power of PowerShell and SCM. We’d love to know what you’ve got in mind for your environment. So, download a trial or upgrade to the latest version of SCM. Be sure to share your excellent scripting adventure so the rest of us can join in the fun!

Read more
14 22 3,904
Product Manager
Product Manager

In part 2 of "What's New in SAM 6.8" we are going to discuss the improved Cisco UCS monitoring that is shipping with SAM 6.8

(If you were looking for part 1 it is over here: SAM 6.8 What's New Part 1 - AppInsight for Active Directory )

Those of you who have been using SAM with NPM for a while are probably already aware that some support for UCS monitoring is possible in Orion. UCS support has been re-written to be utilized by any combination or standalone deployment of SAM, VMAN or NPM Additionally we added a new overview resource that let's you visualize your UCS environment. We fleshed out the hardware health support to include all the pieces. Fabric Inter-connects, Chassis, Blades and any rack mount UCS servers that you have managed under UCS. Finally we added a widget to let you see native errors and failures from UCS via the API. If you are using Cisco UCS in a Hyper-converged (HCI) configuration or hosting your critical virtualization resources in UCS then the new monitoring we have added is going to be a big win for you!

Get started by adding your Cicso UCS Manager node. In the Add a node wizard, click  'Poll for UCS' and enter your credentials.

pastedImage_0.png

Once you are successfully polling the UCS Manager some new widgets will become available:

pastedImage_1.png

Overview and UCS Errors and Failures

pastedImage_2.png

Chassis Overview

pastedImage_3.png

Blade hardware health

pastedImage_5.png

New layer added in AppStack!

AppStack let's you see the relationship between your Cisco UCS resources and the VMs and Applications running on them.

See end to end status from containers and applications all the way to the storage at the foundation of your UCS stack!

pastedImage_0.png

Out of the box alerts and reports:

Hardware Alerts:

pastedImage_5.png

Cisco UCS Entity Report

pastedImage_4.png

That wraps up our quick tour of this great new feature in SAM 6.8... As always, if you like what you see or have a question or a comment please feel free to contribute below.

You can also submit a feature request Server & Application Monitor Feature Requests

If you are curious about what we are planning for future releases jump over to the public road map What We're Working On Beyond SAM 6.8 (Updated March 13, 2019)

Here are some additional useful links related to SAM:

Read more
4 16 2,491
Level 11

Update: A few new screenshots based on the current version. Full release notes available here.

After four months, it is time again to write another article about another product.
As it happens, we’ve added a new toy to our portfolio:

SolarWinds Access Rights Manager (ARM)

Some of you may know it under its former name, 8MAN.

What exactly does ARM do? And who came up with this TLA?

The tool validates permissions within Active Directory®, Exchange™, SharePoint®, and file servers. So who has access to what, and where does the permission come from?

Users, groups, and effective permissions can be created, modified, or even deleted.

Reports and instant analysis complete the package.

Everything works out of an elegant user interface, and you can operate it—even if you aren’t a rocket scientist.

ARM will be installed on any member server and comes with minimal requirements.
The OS can be anything up from 2008SP1; give it two cores and four gigs of RAM, and you’re golden, even for some production environments. The data is stored on an SQL 2008 or later.

The install process is quick.

01.jpg

02.jpg

03.jpg

Once installed, the first step is to click the configuration icon on the right-hand side. The color is 04C9D7, and according to the internet, it is called “vivid arctic blue,” but let’s call it turquoise.
On that note, let me tell you: I am German and unable to pronounce turquoise, so I am calling it Türkis instead.

04.jpg

The next step is to create an AD and SQL® user and connect to the database:

05.jpg

Don't panic if you see this message, the system is automatically reconnecting:

06.jpg

ARM is now available, but not yet ready to use.

07.jpg

We need to define a data source, so let’s attach AD. The default settings will use the credentials already stored in ARM for directory access.

05.png

In my example, an automated search kicks off in the evening. When you set it up for the first time, I suggest clicking the arrow manually once to get some data to work with.
Attention: Don’t do this with 10,000 users in the early morning.

Alright, that’s it.


Now click the orange—sorry, F99D1C—icon to start the tool.

06.png

Login:

08.jpg

The first thing we see is the dashboard:

09.jpg

Let’s deal with the typical question, “Why was that punk able to access X at all?”
The main reason for this is probably a nested authorization, which isn’t obvious at first glance.
But now ARM comes into play.
Click on Accounts and enter Mr. Punk’s name into the search box above:


09.png

The result is a tree diagram showing the group memberships, and it is easy to see where the permission is coming from.

10.png

If you click on a random icon, you will see more details—give it a try.
You can also export the graphic as a picture.
On the right side, you will find AD attributes:

11.png

Now it is getting comfortable. It is possible to edit any record just from here:

12en.png

Oh yes, I don’t trust vegetarians!

By the way, this box here is mandatory on any change, as proper change management requires the setting of notes.

13.png

And while we’re at it, right-click on an account:

14.png

Let’s walk from AD to file permissions. It’s only a short walk, I promise.
Click Show access rights to resources as seen above.

Now we need to select a file server:

15.png

On the right, we see the permissions in detail:

16.png

We ship ARM with a second GUI in addition to the client—a web interface accessible from anywhere, where you find tools for other tasks.

10.jpg

Typical risks are ready for your review out of the box. Just click on Analyze/Risk Assessment Dashboard. I know you want to do it.

You’ll find some interesting information, like inactive accounts:

18.png

Permanent passwords:

19.png

Or everybody’s darling, the popular “Everyone” permission on folders:

20.png

One does not simply “Minimize Risks,” but give it a try:

21.png

I could initiate changes directly from here – also in bulk.

By the way, any change made via ARM will be automatically logged.
The logbook is at the top of the local client, and we can generate and export reports:

22.png

You may have seen this above already, but you can find more predefined reports directly on the Start dashboard:

23.png

Let’s address one or two specific topics.

Since Server 2016, there is a new feature available called temporary group membership.
It can be quite useful; for example, in the case of an employee working in a project team who requires access to specific elements for the duration of the project. That additional authorization will expire automatically after whatever time has been set.

Practical, isn’t it?

But also consider this: Someone might have used an opportunity and given him- or herself temporary access to a resource with the understanding that the change of membership will disappear again, which makes the whole process difficult—if not impossible—to comprehend.

But not anymore! Here we go:

24.png

If you hover over this box here…

25.png

…you will find objects on the right side:

26.png

For this scenario, these two guys here might be interesting:

27.png

Unfortunately, in my lab, there’s nothing to see right now, so let’s move on.

ARM allows routine tasks to be performed right from the UI; for example, creating new users or groups, assigning or removing permissions, and much more.
This becomes even more interesting when templates, or profiles, are introduced.

Let’s change into the web client. Click the cogwheel on top, then choose Department Profiles:

28.png

At the right side, click Create New.

29.png

The profile needs a shiny name:

30en.png

Always make sure people who operate microwaves receive proper training. But that’s a different story.

More buttons on the left side; I will save it for now:

31.png

Starting now, you can assign new hires to these profiles, and everything else is taken care of by the tool, like assigning group memberships or setting AD attributes.

Of course, these profiles are also baselines, and there is a predefined report available showing any deviations from the standard. Just click Analysis and User Accounts.

32.png

Select a profile and off you go:

33.png

Elyne is compliant; congratulations. But that’s hardly surprising, as she is the only employee in Marketing:

34.png

These are just a few features of ARM. Other interesting topics would be the integration of different sources, or scripts for more complex automation. This is food for future postings.

Have fun exploring.

Read more
3 1 1,252
Product Manager
Product Manager

Woes of Flow

A poem for Joe

It uncovers source and destination

without hesitation.

Both port and address

to troubleshoot they will clearly assess.

Beware the bytes and packets

bundled in quintuplet jackets,

for they are accompanied by a wild hog

that will drown your network in a bog.

The hero boldly proclaims thrice,

sampling is not sacrifice!

He brings data to fight

but progress is slow in this plight.

Mav Turner

As network operators, one of the most common—and important—troubleshooting tasks revolves around tracking down bandwidth hogs consuming capacity in our network infrastructure. We have a wealth of data at our fingertips to accomplish this, but it’s sometimes challenging to reconcile into a clear picture.

Troubleshooting high utilization usually begins with an alert for exceeding a threshold. In the Orion Platform’s alerting facility, there are several conditions we can set up to identify these thresholds for action. The classic—and simple—approach is to set a threshold for utilization defined as a percentage of the available capacity. The Orion Platform also supports baselining utilization in a trailing window and setting adaptive thresholds. Next, you need to investigate to determine what’s driving utilization and decide what action to take.

Usually, the culprit is a particular application generating an unusual level of traffic. We can get some insights into application traffic volumes from a NetFlow analyzer tool like NetFlow Traffic Analyzer.

So, why don’t the volume measurements match exactly from these two sources of data? Aren’t interface utilization values the same as traffic volume data from NetFlow?

Let’s review the metrics we’re working with, and how this data comes to us.

Interface capacity—the rate at which we can move data through an interface—is modeled as an object in SNMP, and we pick that up from each interface as part of the discovery and import process into Network Performance Monitor network monitoring software. It can be overridden manually; some agents don’t populate that object in SNMP correctly.

Interface utilization is calculated from the difference in total data sent and received between polls, divided by the time interval between polls. The chipset provides a count of octets transmitted or received through the interface, and this value is exposed through SNMP. The Orion Platform polls it, then normalizes it to a rate at which the interface speed is expressed. That speed is usually “bits per second.”

Picture1.png

The metrics reported by SNMP about data received or sent through the interface includes all traffic—layer two traffic that isn’t propagated beyond a router, as well as application traffic that is routed. Some of the data that flows through the interface isn’t application traffic. Examples include address resolution protocol traffic, some link-layer discovery protocols, some link-layer authentication protocols, some encapsulation protocols, some routing protocols, and some control/signaling protocols.

For a breakdown of application traffic, we look to flow technologies like NetFlow. Flow export and flow sampling technologies are normalized into a common flow record, which is populated with network and transport layer data. Basic NetFlow records include ICMP traffic, as well as TCP and UDP traffic. While it’s possible on some platforms to enable an extended template that includes metrics on layer 2 protocols, this is not the default behavior for NetFlow, or any of the other flow export protocols.

Picture2.png

The sFlow protocol takes samples from layer 2 frames, and forwards those. So, while it’s possible to parse out layer 2 protocols from sFlow sample packets, we generally normalize sFlow along with the flow export protocols to capture ICMP, TCP, and UDP traffic, and discard the layer 2 headers.

When we work with flow data, we’re focusing on the traffic that is generally most variable and represents the applications that most often drive that high utilization that we’re investigating. But you can see that in terms of the volumes represented, flow technologies are examining only a subset of the total utilization we see through SNMP polled values.

Picture3.png

An additional consideration is timing. SNMP polling and NetFlow exports are designed to work on independent schedules and are not synchronized by design. Therefore, we may poll using SNMP every five minutes and average the rate of bandwidth utilization over that entire period. In the meantime, we may have NetFlow exports from our devices configured to send every minute, or we may be using sFlow and continuously receiving samples. Looking at the same one-minute period, we may see very different values at a particular interval for interface utilization and application traffic that is likely the main driver for our high utilization.

Picture4.png

If we’re using sFlow exclusively, our accuracy can be mathematically quantified. The accuracy of randomly sampled data—sFlow, or sampled NetFlow—depends solely on the number of samples arriving over a specific interval. For example, a sample arrival rate of ~1/sec for a 10G interface running at 35% utilization and sampling at 1:10000 yields an accuracy of +/-3.91% for one minute at a 98% confidence interval. That accuracy increases as utilization grows or over time as we receive a larger volume of samples. You can explore this in more detail using the sFlow Traffic Characterization Worksheet, available here: https://thwack.solarwinds.com/docs/DOC-203350

So, what’s the best way to think about the relationship between utilization and flow-reported application traffic?

  • Utilization is my leading indicator for interface capacity. This is the trigger for investigating bandwidth hogs.
  • Generally, utilization will alert me when there’s sustained traffic over my polling interval.
  • Application traffic volumes are almost always the driver for high utilization.
  • I should expect that the utilization metric and the application flow metrics will never be identical. The longer the time period, the closer they will track.
  • SNMP-based interface utilization provides the tools to answer the questions:
    • What is the capacity of the interface?
    • How much traffic is being sent or received over an interface?
    • How much of the capacity is being used?
  • Flow data provides the tools to answer the questions:
    • What application or applications?
    • How much, over what interval?
    • Where’s it coming from?
    • Where is it going?
    • What’s the trend over time?
    • How does this traffic compare to other applications?
    • How broadly am I seeing this application traffic in my network?

Where can I learn more about flow and utilization?

An Overview of Flow Technologies

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJhQaMN1ddo

Visibility in the Data Center

https://thwack.solarwinds.com/community/thwackcamp-2018/visibility-in-the-data-center

Calculate interface bandwidth utilization

https://support.solarwinds.com/Success_Center/Network_Performance_Monitor_(NPM)/Knowledgebase_Articl...

sFlow Traffic Characterization Worksheet

https://thwack.solarwinds.com/docs/DOC-203350

Read more
4 4 1,250