Jump in, play around with the product, ask questions. That's how most of us got our start!
What are you going to be monitoring at first? Network devices? Servers? Something else?
Monitoring things on-prem, or in the cloud?
@cnorborg Thanks for the response. We have a hybrid environment. Main focus are servers, ensuring specific services and IIS pools are running. We currently have SolarWinds Orion, and we are polling servers and network devices, so at least its a start.
So, do you know what modules you have? There are quite a few depending on what you want to do.
NPM is mainly for network devices, but can be used to do basic polling of pretty much anything. It's main focus is SNMP devices, but will support polling servers via SNMP (although Windows is supposedly getting rid of this), WMI and I think you can use the agent without having to purchase SAM. However, it won't do that much interesting without SAM. Without SAM you mainly get memory, bandwidth and basic disk space for servers.
SAM allows you to monitor servers more fully, you can get down to the process level, either use or design templates to monitor applications and generally get a lot more info about a server.
If you go to the way bottom of any solarwinds screen, you should see a footer that lists the modules you have.
A good thing to learn with Solarwinds and servers is how the different monitoring works. ie: configure up a server and see if you can get SNMP working, might have to add a service with Windows. Then, give WMI a shot, it can get fairly complex and you have to have permissions set right for the WMI user you decide to use. Then try it with the agent, the easiest way is to push it from the server, for which you'll need admin privs on the server you want to monitor, however the agent doesn't run using the admin privs so you're ok. You can also install the agent manually if you want, a bit more complex.
Talk with one of your Solarwinds administrators and get their advice about where they want you to start first. Do the same with your boss. Once you have a focus, get the appropriate rights for viewing that section or module in Solarwinds. I'd like to see you start first with NPM, since it's a great base for understanding & tying in the rest of the modules.
Set up a tiny test lab with a spare router, switch, server, firewall, WAP. Configure them for read-only access via snmp-v3 for your NPM. And start monitoring them. See what you can do with each. Learn how to add & delete nodes within NPM. RTFM as often as you find time, focusing on the module your team and manager indicate.
Then move to NCM. Use it to capture configurations from each of the devices in your test environment. Use it to create daily config change reports. Use it to upgrade compatible nodes. Use it to find security problems and versions of code that have bugs. Again, RTFM.
Once you have a firm understanding, ask for read-only rights to some portion of your production network. You should show the Solarwinds admin and your boss what you've done in your test lab, proving you aren't a danger to the network.
Continue reading the manuals for each module, be active in Thwack, and sign up for every Solarwinds User Experience opportunity you can find.
If you have a good understanding of SSH-v2 and implemented it (and ONLY v2) on your test lab gear, if you're getting good alerts and not too many of them, and they are all actionable alerts, and if you're understanding snmp-v3 and have implemented it correctly, you're probably on your way to being more than a novice in monitoring.
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