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Product Blog

There has been so much information about what’s going on in the SolarWinds space, it’s hard to keep up to date with everything.  This is my attempt at summarizing everything I’ve found helpful.


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17 1 886
Level 9

The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) applies to over 300,000 companies providing services to the Federal government—specifically, the Department of Defense (DoD). The CMMC Framework was released in January 2020 and as a final step of implementation starting in October 2020 all DoD contractors need to get certified by an external assessor/C3PAO (a CMMC third party assessment organization). If your company does not get the certification, you may be ineligible to bid on or perform government work.


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3 6 825
Product Manager
Product Manager

As mentioned in Adam’s post the other week, Pingdom users will soon have the option to view end user experience data with their metrics, traces, and logs in the integrated experience.

In preparation for the integrated experience, today we have launched changes to Pingdom’s navigation, provided additional account management options, and updated our user management functions.


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0 5 579
Level 8

In addition to supporting on-premises servers and self-managed cloud databases on EC2, Compute Engine, and Azure Virtual Machine, SolarWinds® Database Performance Monitor (DPM) currently offers robust support for monitoring PostgreSQL databases hosted in Amazon Web Services RDS and Aurora, Google Cloud Platform CloudSQL, and Azure Database for PostgreSQL managed services. SolarWinds DPM has been a leading solution for years to monitor AWS RDS-hosted databases, so we’re excited to highlight below how improvements made in PostgreSQL ver. 10 have led to our expanded support for monitoring PostgreSQL databases hosted in GCP and Azure. Additionally, we’re excited to highlight how persistent efforts by our engineering team has led to product improvements enabling deeper analysis into cloud-hosted managed database servers.


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1 3 518
Product Manager
Product Manager

SD-WAN was designed precisely to address the types of challenges posed by a sudden rapid traffic pattern change (such as a WFH-migration), and how it impacts the end-user. As an old-hat IT pro turned SolarWinds product manager, I’m keenly interested in addressing your current and future SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) visibility and automation needs. My team and I are actively working on doing a better job of addressing them. That said we do have several Orion modules that provide SD-WAN visibility now, namely Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Netflow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), and User Device Tracker (UDT).


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3 5 822
Product Manager
Product Manager

ipMonitor version 11.1 is now generally available - this version introduces new possibility to monitor VMware ESXi hosts and continues the work of improving ipMonitor user interface.


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6 0 386

SolarWinds is constantly improving the upgrade experience for us customers, but the most recent upgrade to the Orion Platform products 2020.2 was the easiest yet - even considering the occasional bump in the road.


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25 19 3,232
Product Manager
Product Manager

New Orion 2020.2.1 service release has cool new features too!


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4 5 1,441

As a long-time user (and customizer) of the Orion Platform, I was anxious to upgrade to the newest version to get access to the new features, but I was a little behind the times. Thankfully, with some planning, foresight, and the help of a few others, my upgrade went smoothly and quickly.


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23 25 6,033
Product Manager
Product Manager

Learn how ARM can help you identify and remediate some not so easy to find permission issues.


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3 4 694
Product Manager
Product Manager

See the latest features and capabilities of SEM, ARM and SCM, SolarWinds security products. 


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0 3 754
Product Manager
Product Manager

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Serv-U FTP & MFT Server version 15.2.

IMPORTANT: This Serv-U version 15.2 shouldn't be applied for installations with automated users or generally users who don't have access to Serv-U web ftp client as they are prompted to change password and it is not possible without login via web ftp client so their access will not work. In case Serv-U 15.2 is applied for this type of implementation current workaround is to revert version 15.2. We will inform about new version without this limitation soon.

You can view the full set of release notes.
Download Serv-U 15.2 from your customer portal.


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0 7 901
Product Manager
Product Manager

The SolarWinds® product management team is happy to announce the latest release for all 14 products on Orion Platform 2020.2. Every product has new features available in this release. Download now through your Customer Portal. By downloading the unified SolarWinds Orion installer, you'll be able to upgrade your entire Orion environment in a single, streamlined, upgrade session.

Click to view more details.


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15 28 5,554
Product Manager
Product Manager

Learn how you can use ARM to save time in permission management while keeping processes compliant and trackable.


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3 2 1,137
Product Manager
Product Manager

The SolarWinds® product management team is happy to announce the latest release candidate for all 14 products on Orion Platform 2020.2. Every product has new features available in this release candidate. Download now through your Customer Portal. By downloading the unified SolarWinds Orion installer, you'll be able to upgrade your entire Orion environment in a single, streamlined, upgrade session.

Click to view more details.



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5 29 3,866
Product Manager
Product Manager

Ever wanted to filter your workload profile by user, app, or software module? SolarWinds® Database Performance Monitor (DPM) is happy to announce the new Query tags feature.

Query tags are key-value pairs embedded in query comments. This gives added visibility into your query workload in two ways:

● See overall performance by tag, e.g., the total number of query executions and total query time
● Filter by tag, seeing only query families where an execution had the specified tag


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2 0 962
Level 8

By listening to IT pros to help shape not only our products but the way we do business, SolarWinds promises to make easy-to-use and easy-to-buy software capable of fitting the needs of any budget. Starting today, we’re making a subscription-based purchasing alternative available—in addition to perpetual licensing—for most of our on-premises management and monitoring solutions. You can view a complete list of the available products here.


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5 5 1,468
Product Manager
Product Manager

On December 11, 2019 we announced the acquisition of VividCortex, which specializes in SaaS-delivered database performance management. VividCortex focuses on cloud-native applications along with open-source databases such as PostgreSQL and NoSQL databases like MongoDB. The customer base for VividCortex reads like a who’s who of leading SaaS and online commerce including Shopify, DraftKings, and Okta.

This week we launched SolarWinds® Database Performance Monitor (DPM)—new name, same great technology.

For those of you who are customers of Database Performance Analyzer (DPA), the past twelve months have seen three major product releases introducing anomaly detection powered by machine learning, tuning advisors, and a new RESTful management API, among many other new features.

Bringing DPM into the fold allows SolarWinds to double down on the important database performance management market. With DPA, we helped define the market by focusing on wait-time analysis while DPM provides a simple, yet powerful SaaS-based dashboard approach to database performance management with before-and-after comparisons and comprehensive database health monitoring.

Now that we have these market-leading products under the same roof, we plan to aggressively deliver new features and drive innovation in both products, and don’t be surprised if you see features from one product popping up in the other.

No matter which product you have, the addition of DPM to the SolarWinds family is a win for all our customers. For DPA customers, stay tuned to “What We’re Working on for DPA” in 2020 as we move forward with exciting product releases. We’ll be adding a “What We’re Working on for DPM” soon.

As the product leader for both products, I’ve never been more excited. We’ll continue to share with you our progress as we move into 2020. I hope you feel the same as I do with VividCortex—now Database Performance Monitor—in the SolarWinds database performance management family.

Craig McDonald

Vice President - Database Products

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1 8 1,771
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:


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:






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:






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:

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:


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.

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6 5 2,936
Product Manager
Product Manager

SolarWinds® Access Rights Manager (ARM) 2019.4 is available on the Customer Portal! Please refer to the release notes for a broad overview of this release.

Previous releases of ARM extended the existing access rights permission visibility into Active Directory, Exchange, and file servers by Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft SharePoint Online and introduced the ability to collect events from Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online.

With ARM 2019.4, we now add the ability to provision users in managed Azure AD domains and to assign mailboxes and licenses.

Supporting hybrid environments also means we continue to further improve ARM in all its capabilities and platforms you use. We’ve introduced improvements with ARM 2019.4 in Active Directory monitoring/alerting as well as official support for Microsoft Server 2019 editions.

What’s New in Access Rights Manager 2019.4?

  • Installation and configuration: Improved installation and configuration experience for new installation and upgrade scenarios.

  • Web Client - web dashboard: Use the new dashboard to get instant insight into what’s most important, or what needs to be addressed right now.

  • Active Directory - group policy monitoring: ARM now monitors if a group policy change has occurred and reports the change details.

  • Active Directory - alerting on user/group events: ARM now supports creation of alerts for any user/group on AD containers, making the configuration easier and covering more use cases beyond alerting on selected objects.

  • Azure AD/Office 365: Provision users in managed domains and assign mailboxes and licenses.

  • Defect fixes and architecture improvements: As with any release, we addressed product defects and introduced architectural optimizations, laying the foundation for coming features we plan to make available in the next releases.

The SolarWinds product team is excited to make these features available to you. We hope you enjoy them. Of course, please be sure to create new feature requests for any additional functionality you would like to see with ARM.

To help get you going quickly with this new version, below is a quick walkthrough of the new monitoring capabilities for Microsoft Active Directory, also available in the ARM Audit edition.


Group policies are an important tool for managing Active Directory environments, and administrators should be aware if these have changed.

Now let’s look at how we can use Active Directory monitoring to answer the question, “What group policy has changed, and what are the change details?” ARM allows you to find this information via the Logbook in the thick client.


     1. Navigate to the Logbook view in the ARM thick client by clicking on “Logbook” in the navigation bar.

         The “Logbook” opens.


     2. Select the time period to be viewed by clicking the highlighted “from” date.


     3. Select the new date by clicking on the date in the date picker.


     4. Click “Apply.”


     5. Click the cell in the “Group Policy Changes” column of the date you’re interested in.


     6. In the upper window on the right side, you’ll see all group policy change events and who has changed these when on the selected date. The lower window holds the details of each event. In our case, we have the “Maximum system log size” changed from “60096 kilobytes” to “60160 kilobytes” and the “Prevent local      guests group from accessing application log” changed from “Not configured” to “Disabled.”

You can also get this information as report via the “AD Logga” report, which can be scheduled to be sent periodically to your mailbox, helping you stay on top what’s happening with group policy changes in your Environment.


I hope this quick summary gives you a good understanding of some of the new features in ARM and how you can use ARM to get better visibility and control over your hybrid IT Environment.

If you’re reading this and not already using SolarWinds Access Rights Manager, we encourage you to check out the free download. It’s free. It’s easy. Give it a shot!

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4 3 1,700
Product Manager
Product Manager

Security Event Manager (SEM) 2019.4 is now available on your Customer Portal and  The Release Notes are available here and steps to upgrade your existing SEM appliance here. The SEM online demo has also been updated and can be accessed from here​ and you can see the dashboard in action within this video.

Firstly, you'll probably notice our new versioning format. New releases for SEM going forward will now use year.quarter, taking a similar approach to Orion® Platform product modules. SEM versions will be named with the four-digit year in which they were released, followed by the quarter of release. If there's a Service Release in between major releases, it will appear in the third position following the quarter, e.g., 2019.4.1.

So, what's included in this SEM release? This release mainly focuses on our migration from Flash, with new functionality added to our HTML5 interface including dashboards, user-defined groups, and email templates.


As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand wordswhich is particularly true when it comes to log data. The Events page in SEM allows you to interact with your logs via filtering and keyword searching, but it can be difficult to spot any unusual activity or suspicious trends. That's where a dashboard comes into playbeing able to visualize thousands of logs and build a picture of what's happening on your network can be hugely valuable when detecting threats. We've included several out-of-the-box charts based on some of the most common use cases we hear from our customers, including change management, authentication, and network traffic widgets. You can easily create custom widgets based on any filter within the Events page and chart options include bar, pie, and donut, as well as line graphs for time-series data. Drilling into the log data behind each chart is vitally important when analyzing potential threats. You can easily view the corresponding log data within the Events page by clicking on a segment of a chart. Here's a glimpse at our new dashboard looksI hope you like what we've done:

Screenshot 2019-11-07 at 09.22.24.png


You can now build and manage these groups via the HTML5 interface. User-defined groups contain data specific to your environment, such as user and computer names, sensitive files, approved USB devices, and so on. These groups can also act as whitelists and blacklists for use in correlation rules and filters, for example, alerting you to attempted URL access to a URL that you've blacklisted. You can create these groups manually or import elements via a CSV file. You can also easily export group elements to a CSV too. To ensure our out-of-the-box content remains relevant to an ever-changing threat landscape, we've updated several of our predefined groups, including SQL Injection/XSS vectors, anonymizer websites, and remote desktop websites.

Screenshot 2019-10-30 at 13.11.30.png


As part of the SEM 6.7 release, we introduced the ability to manage your correlation rules via the new interface, including the ability to select which email template you'd like to use as part of the alert. However, the creation and customization of those email templates still resided in the Flash console. SEM 2019.4 introduces the ability to build and customize these email templates within the new interface. These emails are incredibly valuable when it comes to adding context to email alerts as well as including information from log data within those alerts.

Screenshot 2019-10-30 at 13.12.30.png


Your network is probably generating hundreds, if not thousands, of events every second, and trying to identify interesting logs from the deluge of log data is challenging. That's where filters come into play. You can rely on the predefined filters or create custom filters within SEM to home in on certain logs. But what if you want to create a correlation rule to alert or respond to those same events being generated on your network? Until now, you had to create a filter and then manually create a corresponding correlation rule. We've simplified this process and you can now send SEM filters to rule creation to quickly create new correlation rules based on a filter.

Screenshot 2019-10-29 at 10.22.40.png

I really hope you like the direction we're going with Security Event Manager, especially the new user interface. As always, your feedback and ideas are always greatly appreciated, so please provide any feedback you may have within the comments section below or within the SEM Release Candidate forum.

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2 10 2,592
Level 9

The release of Orion® version 2019.4 brings a lot of excitement to the SolarWinds® Service Desk team. It introduces an integration that enables a closed-loop workflow, which converts alerts detected by Orion into a service desk ticket and updates the Orion alert as the ticket is resolved. By streamlining this process, IT pros can react faster when performance issues or outages are detected. This helps expedite the resolution process, helping IT ensure the availability of the service that employees rely on to stay productive.

My good friend, tony.johnson, put together a great article on how to implement the integration, but we wanted to also share how you can maximize the value of this integration. Let’s take a look into how you can configure your alerts and your service desk for optimal results!

The SolarWinds Orion and SolarWinds Service Desk Integration

Before we jump into the configuration option, let’s talk about the value this integration brings to your IT operations. The core capability automatically converts alerts into tickets. This makes things much easier for IT pros, but that is only part of the story. The integration also:

  • Brings together IT operations and service information to improve visibility of employee impacting issues, helping them react and resolve issues faster
  • Improves operational efficiency by automating bi-directional communication between SolarWinds Orion and SolarWinds Service Desk
  • Captures all alert data into your service records, allowing you to report on alert-generated incident trends and your team's efficiency in resolving these types of issues

To take full advantage of the integration’s capabilities, you will need to properly configure both systems. Fortunately, this can be accomplished relatively easily. The three-step process below outlines a best practice approach to implementing this integration.

Step One: Game Planning

Although this step may seem like a no-brainer, we cannot stress its importance enough. At many organizations, the teams working in the Orion platform differ from those working in the service desk. They have different roles, responsibilities, priorities, and processes that they follow. By formalizing what you are trying to accomplish with this integration you can drive better alignment and accountability across teams. Keep in mind that this step may not require you to reinvent the wheel. The Orion Platform provides hundreds of pre-configured alerts, many of which you may already have activated. Now it’s just a matter of discussing which alerts you want sent to your service desk and how those tickets should be processed. A great way to accomplish this step is to have a classic whiteboard session. Some key questions to ask in this session are:

  • What types of alerts do we want sent to the service desk?
  • How should we categorize them?
  • Who should we assign them to?
  • How do we prioritize individual tickets?
  • Who should we notify when an alert-based ticket is created?
  • Do we want to set individual SLA rules on the alert-based tickets?
  • What information and attributes of the alert should be included in that ticket?
    • The general rule is to include all beneficial attributes. Not only could this information help you diagnose the issue, but it also can be used to automatically route, categorize, and prioritize the ticket.

It is important to note that the answers to these can vary based on the different types of alerts you are sending to the service desk. For example, the desired outcomes for alerts generated by Network Performance Monitor (NPM) could vary greatly from those for Server and Application Monitor (SAM). Throughout this post, we will focus on a specific scenario, but keep in mind that the flexibility of both Orion and SolarWinds Service Desk allows this integration to support many use cases. Example Scenario: Active Directory Replication FailureThe Problem: Like many organizations, our company is running on several mission-critical applications that our employees rely on to get their work done. We are using Active Directory (AD) to ensure the right users have the proper access levels to the applications essential to their positions. To help us manage AD, we utilize Server and Application Manager (SAM) coupled with AppInsight for Active Directory for deeper visibility into this critical system. However, we have more than one domain controller, and if replication fails or is delayed, users may not be able to log in to their applications. To help address this, we want to escalate AD generated alerts for replication failures to our service desk to provide better visibility and quicker resolutions.

The Whiteboard Session:

What types of alerts do we want to be sent to the service desk?Active Directory Replication Failure
What information and attributes of the alert should be included in that ticket?The Domain Controller Name
How should we categorize them?
  • Category: Application
  • Subcategory: Active Directory
Who should we assign them to?Application Support Team
How do we prioritize individual tickets?Critical
Who should we notify when an alert-based ticket is created?Tier One Support Team
Do we want to set individual SLA rules on the alert-based tickets?Yes, we want service restored within 2 hours

Step 2: Configuring Orion Alerts

Now that you have a clear picture of your goals in converting an alert to a ticket, it is time to start configuring the two systems. We are going to start on the Orion Platform side, where you have two key configuration options:

  1. Customizing your alert attributes: Selecting the information you want included when an alert is sent.
  2. Adding the “Create SolarWinds Service Desk Incident” alert trigger: Setting that these specific alerts will be sent to your service desk.

Example Scenario: Active Directory Replication FailureLet’s jump back into our use-case from step one to build out our alerts.

  1. In the first step, we decided which attributes are to be included in the alert for “AppInsight for Active Directory: Alert me when replication fails.” We built it out to include these attributes:

  1. Now that you have the alert attributes set, let’s add the action to send these alerts to the service desk. Select the option below to add the action to your alert:

With the above configuration, alerts sent to your service desk will look like this:

Step 3: Configuring Your Service Desk

Now that we have our alerts configured properly, let’s start configuring the service desk. Here we will focus on three main areas:

  1. Building Automation rules
  2. Defining Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  3. Creating reporting on alert-generated tickets

IT Pro Tip: When you are configuring the integration in your service desk (in the setup options), you have to designate a requester, which will be the user that all alert-generated tickets will be associated with. We recommend creating a “shell” or fake user for this requester to make it easier to configure SLAs and automation rules specific to this integration. This will also make it easier to visualize alert-generated tickets when viewing your Incident queue.

Setting Alert-Generated Incident Automation Rules

In SolarWinds Service Desk, automation rules allow you to define what actions you want to take on a ticket when it is created, commented on, or updated. These automated actions drive consistency to the way you route, prioritize, categorize, and process tickets. Setting automation rules for alert-generated tickets keeps the proper teams aware of performance issues, allowing them to quickly react to and address the situation.

Example Scenario: Automation Rule for Active Directory Replication Failure Alert
Now that we have configured the Orion side in step two, let’s build an automation rule that will triage, prioritize, and categorize the alert-generated ticket. This is a two-part process:

  1. First, set your conditions. When a ticket matches these conditions, the proper automated actions will take place. Here are a couple of key conditions:
  • Origin: You can set conditions based on the origin of the incident, and in our case, incidents coming from “SolarWinds Orion.” This ensures the automation rules will only run for tickets generated by this integration.

  • Keywords: Setting a keyword condition allows you to leverage the alert attributes we established earlier with your automation rule. In our situation, we are going to use keywords from the alert name to build out the rule.

IT Pro Tip: Using Multiple Attributes - Depending on your use case, you may want several attributes in your keyword condition when building an automation rule. To do this, you can use regular expressions for your keyword condition. For example, if you had two alert attributes you wanted to use, you could leverage the regular expression: (\s|\S)*. This allows you to search through the entire body of the incident to pinpoint your specified keyword criteria. This would look like:


  1. Actions: Now select what you want your automation rule to do. For our example, I want my rule to:

    • Reassign the ticket to the Application Support Team
    • Categorize it as an Applications/Active Directory issue
    • Update the priority to Critical
    • Notify the Tier One Team that the issue is happening

Voila! Your automation rule is built.

IT Pro Tip: Cloning Automation Rules - You may want to build multiple automation rules for similar types of alerts. For example, you could build two automation rules for our scenario with slightly different actions:

  1. When the New York domain controller (NEWYADDS01v) is down, route the alert-generated tickets to the New York support team
  2. When the Los Angeles domain controller (LOSADDS01v) is down,  route the alert-generated tickets to the Los Angeles support team

With the help of cloning capabilities, you can easily scale variations of your automation rules. This allows you to clone an existing rule and make your modifications without starting from scratch.

Setting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Orion Alert-Generated Incidents

You can set up individual SLA rules for the incidents created by this integration to set expectations for response and resolution times associated with alert-generated tickets.
Before we get started, here are a few things to consider:

  • In many cases, your SLA rules will rely on your previously developed automation rules. In the example above, the automation rule set the category and priority of the alert-generated ticket, both of which are criteria you can use for your SLA rule.
  • Earlier, we shared an IT Pro Tip about creating a “shell” user to use as the default requester for this integration. That user can also be used to define the scope of your SLA rule, helping you ensure these rules will only apply to alert-generated incidents.

Example Scenario: SLA Rule for Active Directory Replication Failure Alert

When Active Directory is down, our employees cannot access the applications they need to do their jobs. For this reason, we want to set the expectation that any replication failure alert will be resolved within two hours. Let’s build out this SLA rule:

  1. Set your SLA target: For this example, I am setting a target of “Not resolved” within 2 hours.

  1. Define your scope: We will use the data points we set with our above automation rule in this section.
    1. Category = Application
    2. Subcategory = Active Directory
    3. Priority = Critical
    4. Requester = Orion Alerts

  1. Set your action: This is where you set actions that are triggered when the SLA breaches. For our example, we are:
    1. Assigning to Anthony Campbell (Director of IT)
    2. Escalating the ticket to Tier 3 Application Support

Similar to automation rules, you may want to build specific SLA rules for the different types of alerts that will be sent to your service desk. For example, you may have different expectations for tickets generated by networking alerts versus application alerts. This will help you set performance standards and measurable goals across the various scenarios that can impact your IT services.

Reporting on Orion Alert-Generated Tickets

The last thing we want to dive into is how you can leverage the service desk reports to get a different perspective on Orion alerts. tony.johnson said it best, “The Orion Platform gives you great information on when the alert was triggered, and when the alert is re-set, however, it is missing the details on what was done to resolve the alert.”

This is where the service desk can help. Here are a handful of reports available out-of-the-box with SolarWinds Service Desk that provide you a more complete picture on how alerts are processed and resolved by your teams:

  1. Incident Trend Reports - View the days of the week you receive the most alerts and resolve the most alert-based incidents.
  2. Incident Heatmap - See which times of the day you experience the most alert based incidents.
  3. Incident Throughput Report - Visualize how effective your team is at resolving alert based incidents.
  4. Service Level Breach Report - Keep track of  overall SLA compliance your agents have with alert-based incidents.

IT Pro Tip: Similar to automation rules, you can use the “Incident Orion” field in the reports module. This allows you to build reports that only reflect incidents that are created by the integration.

Bringing It All Together

We’ve walked through configuring both Orion and your service desk to get optimal results with this integration. Let’s tie it all together and talk through a real-world scenario.

Your Active Directory is experiencing a replication failure. An alert is generated, which is instantly converted into a service desk ticket. This ticket is prioritized as critical and assigned to the application support team.

The Tier One team is also notified that we are experiencing an AD replication issue. They are seeing tickets submitted by end users that seem related—users are unable to sign into Salesforce.

Per our processes, a problem record is promptly created and associated with the end users and alert-generated tickets. This allows the application support team to consolidate all the tickets associated with this issue, giving them valuable data that could help them quickly diagnose the root cause of the issue and work towards a resolution.

At the same time, the Help Desk Manager posts an announcement to the employee service portal that we are experiencing an issue when logging into Salesforce and we are actively working on resolving the problem. Now employees are aware of the situation and no longer submitting tickets, saving Tier One from a barrage of inbound tickets in their queues.

The Application Support team figures out what the problem is and deploys a fix that resolves the issue. They then resolve the problem record, which resolves all attached tickets, including the one generated by Orion. The team was able to react fast, keep the organization informed on the situation, and quickly diagnose and resolve the issue. IT saves the day again.

Although the above scenario may be a common use case, it is only one of the vast number of use cases that can be supported by this integration. As you begin using this integration we would love to learn more about your use cases and what impacts they made to your team and your organization. Share your stories in the comments below!

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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 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.


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.


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.

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19 52 9,740
Product Manager
Product Manager

I'm excited to announce general availability of SolarWinds Identity Monitor, an easy-to-use cloud-based service specialized in preventing account takeover. Identity Monitor is enabled through a partnership with SpyCloud, experts in recovering data breach information. Since this is the introductory post about Identity Monitor, I wanted to talk about the main problem it solves and then give you a quick overview of the product.

What Is Account Takeover?

Account takeover is exactly what it sounds like--when a bad guy obtains your credentials associated with one site, and then tries to use them to take over your accounts on other sites.

As someone in IT, you probably use unique, strong passwords with multi-factor authentication for every site or service you use (right?), and at work, you probably enforce secure policies for the servers and applications you control, but... are your users as careful as you?  Do they ever reuse passwords, mixing them across work with non-work services? They do, and this is why account takeover works--because once the bad guys get one set of credentials, they try them on hundreds of other sites using credential stuffing tools to find out what else they can access... and then the bad stuff starts to happen.

How Do You Prevent Account Takeover?

You can take all the preventative steps in the world, but there will continue to be data breaches where your credentials and information are taken, and once your credentials are compromised, the only way you protect yourself is to change your credentials. Seems simple--but first you have to know you've have been compromised to take action.

Identity Monitor has billions of records from previous data breaches and can tell you if you or your company are compromised right now. Identity Monitor presents this data in a timeline and summarize it into asset types, allowing you drill down on specific breaches in the past and see what credentials were exposed.  Data can include usernames, email addresses, passwords (both encrypted and unencrypted), addresses, birthdays, phone numbers--almost anything you've ever entered into a website.

Identity Monitor continuously scours the internet for new data breaches, and as this new information is ingested, it will analyze the data and alert you to new compromises. Speed is the key here--you need to know about new compromises of your users as fast as possible.

If the hair on the back of your neck is standing up and you're ready to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, go sign up for a free Identity Monitor account.   Otherwise, let's look at how Identity Monitor works, evaluate how compromised your company is right now, and find out what kind of information you might see.

Am I Compromised Right Now?

As IT professionals, part of our job is to protect our companies physical and digital assets. Let's log in, look at timelines, and drill into some detail. Here I have one domain registered ( and I can see the timeline of breaches on top, the most recent breaches on the right, and the types of compromised information.


Let's take a closer look at the breached asset types.


You can see how email addresses are compromised, how many passwords are known, and the amount of Personal Identifiable information available. Let drill down on the emails and see what's exposed. I'll pick the first one since it was just a few days ago and is marked critical... and I'll click to expose the password (which turns out to be "secret").


I am also interested to see what personal information is available, so I click View Raw Data.


Here you can see the extensive amount of personally identifiable information... and it's scary.

Once you get a feel for the scope and type of exposure your company and employees have, you can address the current situation, and then decide how to improve your processes going forward. Each breach has advice on remediation too.

Ongoing Protection

Let's says we've addressed all the problems Identity Monitor found, but sadly we know another security breach is around the corner (just look at the history on the timeline). How does Identity Monitor protect us going forward? By continuously scouring the internet for new breaches, digesting the data as quickly as possible, and alerting you. In the Email Assets example above, you can see there were only a few days between the breach date and the date it published in Identity Monitor. We also get this handy email alert telling us there was a breach and link us to the details:


And you aren't limited to just your domain. You can extend your protection to any email address as long as the email owner gives permission.  This is great for watching personal emails of critical employees (like your executive team), DL used for signing up for external services, or any other email used for company business.

Sign up now for free! Pricing is by number of employees and starts at $1795 USD for 100 employees.

These are the primary use cases Identity Monitor covers, but there's more--be watching for more blog posts.

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Product Manager
Product Manager

We are delighted to introduce our latest Dameware Remote Everywhere update: Viewer 6.00.07 for Mac.

In January 2019, we introduced our entirely re-styled Windows Viewer – in which we had consolidated all menu and action items into a single, easy to navigate top bar – giving an organized and scalable presentation to the DRE Viewer.

On initial launch, you’ll notice the Viewer changes immediately:


But despite the menu changes, and consolidation of all menu items on the top bar, there’s been no compromise to functionality – all the features and functions have been homogenized and streamlined.


All your session stats and session telemetry remain wholly accessible:


The menus are slick, navigable, and highly responsive, making this a real pleasure to use.

Summary of release:

– SolarWinds Take Control Viewer update: 6.00.07
– No agent update

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The Problem…

As the "monitoring person," we often find ourselves dealing with keeping the records in the database correct and current. The problem is, no matter how hard we try, our end users don't always keep us up to date when a device is turned off. Normally, we find out a device was turned off when we see a NODE DOWN alert hit the board. The team responsible will sometimes ignore the notification because to them, the node's no longer in use, so they delete the email and never circle back to ensure the device is removed from all the different databases, including the monitoring database.

Well, one day a few weeks ago, coming off a great SolarWinds User Group (SWUG) in New York, my brain was spinning with ideas on how to automate simple tasks when the idea of "Dead Nodes" hit me. I thought about the common problem of having nodes on a report showing as "Down" when they were no longer in use. And knowing the power of Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and some of the things I've already done within that tool; I knew it was possible to address this use case easily within SAM.

The Birth of an Idea

So, I turned to THWACK to see if anyone else had the same idea. I found a great post with a great script, and I wanted to take it one step further. The original post I found would deal with the dead nodes, but it wasn't integrated into an alert. Since I wanted notifications sent to the system owners, this wouldn't work for me.  So, I reached out to Kevin M. Sparenberg, told him my idea, and he came back with "Let me try it out!" A few hours later, while at an amusement park, I found myself working with Kevin to perfect the alert. The alert was key for me because, as the monitoring guy, I think it's important to at least share with my end users what I'm doing with their devices. And that was lacking from the original post I found on THWACK. Kevin and I worked together to develop the SWQL query to define the conditions, write the script to run in PowerShell to do the heavy lifting, and craft the email notification.

I'm going to walk you through the way I built this alert with some help from the community. I'll cover three basic areas: Frequency of the Alert, Trigger Condition, and Alert Actions.

At the very end of this post are some things you may encounter using the examples in your environment. I ran into a few of them, I knew about a few others, and Kevin reminded me about one or two. I highly recommend you review the Some System Requirements section before importing the alert and scripts.

I've done my due diligence and provided you the necessary warnings. Now it's off to the races!

What's the Frequency?


Since our dead nodes alert isn't exactly mission-critical—it's more like good housekeeping—there's no need to check it every minute (which is the default). After a little discussion, I decided once an hour was enough for our needs. You could scale this back to once a day or even once a week (168 hours) if you like.

The Power of SQL/SWQL in an Alert Trigger

Thanks to Kevin's knowledge and understanding of SQL and SWQL, he was able to develop the original SWQL query based on the key points I wanted, which were straightforward. I wanted to find all the nodes in my system reporting as "DOWN" for the past 30 days. He came back with the following based off the original thread:

SELECT Nodes.Uri, Nodes.DisplayName FROM Orion.Nodes AS Nodes
JOIN Orion.ResponseTime AS RT
ON Nodes.NodeID = RT.NodeID 
AND Nodes.UnManaged = False
GROUP BY Nodes.NodeID, Nodes.Caption, Nodes.Uri, Nodes.UnManaged
HAVING MAX(RT.Availability) = 0

I opened SWQL Studio and ran this query to see if it passed the "sniff" test. The results looked pretty good, so I looped in my manager.

After speaking with my manager, I realized we'd cast our net a little too wide. Within my environment, I have some nodes down for over 30 days, but shouldn't be considered "Dead." These nodes are normally found within some of our locations and might be offline because of a natural disaster or the stores simply being remodeled. So, I took what Kevin gave me and changed it up to make sure it wasn't pulling in any devices down for a known reason. The result was this:

SELECT Nodes.Uri, Nodes.DisplayName FROM Orion.Nodes AS Nodes
JOIN Orion.ResponseTime AS RT
ON Nodes.NodeID = RT.NodeID 
AND Nodes.UnManaged = False
  AND Nodes.CustomProperties.Store_Known_Down = False
GROUP BY Nodes.NodeID, Nodes.Caption, Nodes.Uri, Nodes.UnManaged
HAVING MAX(RT.Availability) = 0 

It should be noted that Store_Known_Down is a Yes/No custom property I've tied to nodes so I can mark them as being down for a known reason. Your alert logic will probably differ, but it's important to think about these edge cases.

Defining the Alert Actions

With the list of devices from the alert trigger in hand, we next had to address the actions when the trigger occurs. For me, it was key to have both an email message to the system owners and the alert add a "Decommissioned Date" to the existing custom property with the same name. We use this custom property within my environment to track when a node is no longer in use, so having this date was critical for both reporting and alerting logic.

Kevin again came to the rescue and helped me develop the PowerShell script. We then tested the alert in his test lab and BINGO! The system was unmanaged and the custom property value was updated with the current date/time. But more details on the script later.

The Proof Is in the Results

So, after perfecting the query and the script, it was time to test it out. Kevin spun things up in his lab. We started by crafting a new alert and testing the query logic in the alert editor:


The query passed validation, so we've got no syntax errors and are good to move on to the next step.

Manually Testing the PowerShell Script

Before we could define the alert actions, we wanted to test all the parts, including the PowerShell script.

The complete script is here, and commented thoroughly. There are a few important parts to this script. The only place you will absolutely need to edit is the authentication block at lines 21-23, where you'll need to put in your Orion server and credentials.

Script: Alert_Unmanage-Node.ps1
Arguments: The node ID in question
Authors:    Ben Keen (the_ben_keen) and Kevin M. Sparenberg (KMSigma)

Version: 1.0 - initial release

if ( -not $args[0] )
    Write-Error -Message "You must provide the Node ID as a parameter to the script"

    # I hate using the "args" nomenclature, so I'm just going to do assign it to a better name
    $NodeID = $args[0]
    # Authentication
    $SwisHostname = "MyOrionServer.Domain.Local"
    $SwisUsername = "MyAdminAccount"
    $SwisPassword = "MyAdminPassword"

    # Build a SWIS Connection
    $SwisConnection = Connect-Swis -Hostname $SwisHostname -UserName $SwisUsername -Password $SwisPassword

    # When does the unmanage start?  Right now!
    $CurrentDate = ( Get-Date ).ToUniversalTime()
    # Flip the status to Unmanaged with no end date
    # The parameters are:
    # - The Node ID (in N:##) format
    # - The start date of the unmanage time
    # - The end date of the unmanage time (now + 10 years)
    # - false - no clue why this is required, but it is
    $Results = Invoke-SwisVerb -SwisConnection $SwisConnection -EntityName "Orion.Nodes" -Verb "Unmanage" -Arguments @( "N:$( $NodeID )", $CurrentDate, $CurrentDate.AddYears(10), $false )

    # We need the full URI to set properties
    $Uri = Get-SwisData -SwisConnection $SwisConnection -Query "SELECT Uri FROM Orion.Nodes WHERE NodeID = $NodeID"
    # Then we need to append it with the CustomProperties identifier
    # The [$Uri += "/CustomProperties"] is the equivalent of [$Uri = $Uri + "/CustomProperties"]
    $Uri += "/CustomProperties"

    # Set the Custom Property
    # Parameters are:
    # - The URI of the node in question's custom properties
    # - A hashtable of the properties and the values
    #      Denoted by @{ PropertyName1 = PropertyValue1; PropertyName2 = PropertyValue2; ... }
    $CustomProperty = @{ "Decommissioned_Date" = $CurrentDate }
    Set-SwisObject -SwisConnection $SwisConnection -Uri $Uri -Properties $CustomProperty

You'll notice on line 18, we make reference to the $args variable. These are the parameters you pass to this script. For this script, it's the Node ID of the device we want to decommission.  This script is only expecting a single node ID to be passed, so we are only looking at $args[0] (the first argument in the variable).

On line 37, we set the device to the Unmanage status and later on line 50-51, we set the decommission date custom property. In reality, there are only about six lines of this script that do any work.  The rest are comments so we can understand what we did even years down the road.

To test it, we opened a PowerShell prompt and then typed:

D:\Scripts\Alert_Unmanage-Node.ps1 62

This is the full path to the script, including the extension, a space, and then the node ID for marking "dead."

When executed against a testing node, we got no errors in the PowerShell prompt and the Orion pages showed the results we expected. Nice!


As you can see, the node was switched to Unmanaged and a Decommissioned Date was added.

Now that I know the script works, I can add it to an alert action.

Add an action for Execute an External Program and then fill in the details.


The full path doesn't show up in a screenshot, so I'll put it all here for you:

"C:\WINDOWS\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" -File "D:\Scripts\Alert_Unmanage-Node.ps1" ${N=SwisEntity;M=NodeID}

It's a very long line, but simple in execution. Let me break it down:



Full path to the PowerShell executable


Parameter telling PowerShell to run the script in the next position


The full path to the script. If you save this elsewhere on your computer, be sure to update the path.


SolarWinds variable containing the NodeID for the alerted node

Customizing the Alert Email

The user experience is key in everything, but especially in monitoring. If you're going to use the information in this post, make sure you spend some time crafting the message sent. I wrote it based on how my end users digest their alerts.  Your end users may view their alerts differently. I don't need much more than the basics for this type of alert message. I kept most of the default message and then just added some language about it being a dead node. Below is my example of the alert message.  [Yes, I know I have a typo in the first line]


So, I have the Frequency of the Alert, Trigger Condition, and Alert Actions (execute a script and send an email)—everything we need for this alert. When completed, the trigger actions list looked like this:


And that's pretty much it for the alert. There are no reset actions, so we're done. I just clicked through the wizard to save it. In my environment, I didn't enable the alert yet. I needed to make everyone aware of what was happening first.

The Results Are In

After clearing it with the necessary teams, I enabled the alert. Within a few minutes, the first system was found, flipped, and timestamped.


The results speak for themselves. My Orion server will no longer waste compute power trying to poll devices that have been offline for 30 days, the associated teams got a message saying I've stopped watching their devices, and I can make a simple custom query resource to show me all unmanaged devices with a decommission date.

Edit a dashboard, add new widget, search for a Custom Query widget, drag it into your dashboard, and then save the layout.

Edit the widget. Provide a clear name and enter:

SELECT  N.Caption AS [Node Name]
      , CONCAT('/NetPerfMon/images/Vendors/', N.VendorIcon) AS [_IconFor_Node Name]
      , N.DetailsURL AS [_LinkFor_Node Name]
      , N.CustomProperties.Decommissioned_Date AS [Decommission Date]
FROM Orion.Nodes AS N
WHERE N.Unmanaged = 'TRUE'
   AND N.CustomProperties.Decommissioned_Date IS NOT NULL

For the custom SWQL Query.

If you want to enable the search, enter:

SELECT  N.Caption AS [Node Name]
      , CONCAT('/NetPerfMon/images/Vendors/', N.VendorIcon) AS [_IconFor_Node Name]
      , N.DetailsURL AS [_LinkFor_Node Name]
      , N.CustomProperties.Decommissioned_Date AS [Decommission Date]
FROM Orion.Nodes AS N
WHERE N.Unmanaged = 'TRUE'
   AND N.CustomProperties.Decommissioned_Date IS NOT NULL
   AND N.Caption LIKE '%${SEARCH_STRING}%'

For the Search query.

When done, it'll look like this:


Save that resource and now you have a quick and easy way to search for unmanaged nodes, with hover-over information to boot.


In Summary

After all this was completed, I was very pleased with the results, but began to look around for some other changes. I've already thought of some ways to tweak this logic, improve the alert language, and leverage the SolarWinds Orion API to do more of my work for me.

Some System Requirements

Since this was my first foray into using a script action, I needed to do some additional work. You may not need to do all of these, depending on the way your infrastructure is architected.

PowerShell Execution Requirements

Depending on how your Orion server is configured, you may not be able to natively execute PowerShell scripts. This is part of the Execution Policy and it's controlled by several things, including Group Policy. To check the execution policy, open PowerShell as an Administrator and execute:


If the results are either RemoteSigned or Unrestricted you can already run PowerShell scripts on this machine. If it's anything else, you'll need to change the policy. This falls outside the scope of this document, but you can find more information about Execution Policies in the Microsoft documentation.

SolarWinds Orion PowerShell Module

To connect to the SolarWinds Information Service, you'll need to install the SolarWinds Orion PowerShell Module (SwisPowerShell). This module is freely available and published on the PowerShell Gallery. To install it on your server, open PowerShell as an Administrator and execute:

Install-Module -Name SwisPowerShell -Scope AllUsers -Force

If this is the first PowerShell module you're installing, you may get prompted to approve the NuGet package provider. This is expected, and you can answer "Yes."  The above line says to install the PowerShell module and make it available for all users on that machine.

To validate the module was installed correctly, execute:

Get-Module -List -Name SwisPowerShell

If you get a result showing a version, then it's installed correctly.

Custom Properties

For the script to execute correctly, you need to have a custom property called "Decommissioned_Date" with the date/time data type and assigned to nodes. To create this custom property, within your admin pages, navigate to the Manage Custom Properties page and click "Add Custom Property."


This custom property will be based on nodes.


Provide the name, give it a description, and select the format as Date/Time. Be sure to keep the "required property" checkbox deselected.


Lastly, don't manually assign nodes with this custom property. We'll let the script do the work.


Note: if you choose to use a different name for your custom property, be sure to update it within the PowerShell script (line 50).

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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!


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1 2 1,245
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.

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Product Manager
Product Manager

After a long tenure working on the Orion® Platform, I’ve recently shifted my responsibilities to fully focus on Server & Application Monitor (SAM). Features designed on the platform and in SAM have eye-opening similarities due to deep integration between SAM, Virtualization Manager (VMAN), Web Performance Monitor (WPM), and other heavy hitters in our systems portfolio. The same tenets of componentization and shareability demanded by the Orion Platform exist in AppStack the way they do for PerfStack or the newest generation of Orion maps.

In honor of this revelation and how far our integration story has come since the first introduction of AppStack in 2014, I’d like to revisit this milestone feature and show those new to the SolarWinds systems portfolio the power of what we provide. For those who enjoy nostalgia, revisit the first AppStack post here Personally, I was taken aback by the amount of change that’s occurred in the UI itself.

Welcome to 2014, amirite? (I stole this screenshot from Jeremy's original 2014 post.)

Fast forward to 2019, the look and feel is quite different. Navigate to AppStack through the menu bar, or enjoy the contextual AppStack widget on the details page for an entity.



For those who land on the full AppStack view today, you'll notice we have new entities appearing in the stack with the inclusion of container monitoring.


When we as Product Managers introduce the capability to monitor new entities such as containers, we must first ask if it deserves a place in the AppStack. For containers, this is certainly true, due to their ephemeral nature and clear distinction as a generic entity type. The same can be said for the improvements to Cisco UCS monitoring, where SAM added chassis, blade, and rack server statistics into the AppStack view. However, in the case of VMware vSAN entities, you'll notice their inclusion into AppStack in a subtle approach aligned with customer expectations for hyperconverged infrastructure.


In 2019.2 versions of the platform and later, the spotlight workflow is still an effective tool to quickly analyze where the problem might lie along your infrastructure stack.

2019.2 appstack spotlight.gif

The subtle difference lies in the changes to node status in the Orion Platform 2019.2 release. With simplified status calculations, and clear contributors detailed in the popovers, it's easier than ever to navigate to where you need to drill in for detailed troubleshooting. 


With additional changes from VMAN 8.4 to add virtual entities as status contributors and the ability to control the status contributors via the Node status contributors page, the AppStack solution becomes even more powerful. Through continued improvement and integration throughout the Orion Platform and the system portfolio, AppStack in 2019 has aged well and can help you navigate the intricacies and quirks of your environment.


Supplementing AppStack capabilities, through the addition of new Orion Maps and PerfStack, you now have a full toolset available to visualize your environment, narrow down the problem, and then troubleshoot the problem in-depth in real time.

Now that we've walked through how AppStack has grown over the years, I'd love to hear from you, both new and familiar to AppStack. What was your introduction to AppStack? Was it back in 2014 or the newer versions available today? What would you like to see improved in the future and what would you like to see preserved to keep the heart of AppStack beating strong for the next generation of Systems Management product releases? Put your feature request into Server &amp; Application Monitor Feature Requests  for tracking and community input.

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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.


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.


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.

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