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Level 10

Clarification of VMAN Free Additional Polling Engine (APE)

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Is there documentation that more completely details the role, function, and implementation of the VMAN Free Additional Polling Engine (APE)?

(....what aspect of VMAN are they intended to be used for? ,   which installer would be used to install one?... )

thanks

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1 Solution
Level 10

Hi Mark,

What functionality of NCM is broken when you installed the VMAN poller?

The free polling engine should not interfere with any of the NCM jobs, as they do not have the packages necessary to run jobs from products other than SRM and VMAN.

The installer used to run the FPE can be found from the SolarWinds web console, navigate to Settings -> Polling Engines and the installer can be found on the top right-hand side of the page.

When the installer runs it will give you two options:

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21 Replies
Level 11

I'm confused, we have a freeAPE for vman, but solarwinds asks to pay for maintenance renewal for it ?

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Level 10

Hello,

are you sure that you have Free Poller installed? Are you sure it is not classic additional poller?

VMAN Free poller engine is fully working without license, so something is probably wrong. Maybe Scalabiliy engine license was assigned automatically to FP? Do you have more additional/free pollers?

If you are not sure, please open ticket with support.

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Level 11

my bad, i just realized that we missed to renew the annual maintenance for 1 of our APE, I thought it was the freeAPE, but not, it's a full one !

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Level 9

Can I "stack" this free APE onto existing Primary or Additional Polling Engine?

If so, what is the installation procedure?  What license do you specify for the free APE?

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from what I read, the free APE only comes with NAM/NOM License as this License is only counting the amount of nodes.

I think I didn't read some other posts correctly so sorry about the confusion...

I already ranted in this this thread https://thwack.solarwinds.com/community/solarwinds-community/announcements/blog/2018/02/04/thwack-mo... about my dislike of stacked APEs so I won't do it again here.

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Level 7

I had discovered the existence of the free VMAN 8.1 polling engine by accident last week. I opened a support case and went through the process last Friday.

I spun up a new Windows 2012 R2 VM, support installed the Java_x64 binaries. Downloaded the install software dirrectly from the NPM Polling Engine admin page. Pointed the installer at the existing Solarwinds envirenviro, left all the option fields default.. Installed perfectly... I checked the Solarwind database, and the polling ID is specifically notated as free..  the only thing I'm using it for is to pull our 3 vCenters which consists of 52 hosts and 1500 vms..

You will need to change the Pulling Engine from the manage nodes for your vCenters. But that's about it..

Sorry about the grammatical errors, on my phone..

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There's nothing to add, the VIM software is already part of the normal APE package.  This free VMAN ape is just a stripped down version of the software you would already have.

- Marc Netterfield, Github
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Level 9

So then you really aren't getting a free APE, you are just providing the (same) capability that all other Orion modules have (SAM, NCM, SRM, etc): to perform specific polling type from an already licensed APE.

Herein lies this issue with this new architecture for VMAN: Previously, the polling was performed by the appliance. If you have capacity or latency concerns, you could install any number of federated collectors. These collectors could be installed close to the vCenter they are polling, feeding collected data back to the main appliance.

So now, by eliminating the appliance in the architecture, all of the polling responsibility for VMAN data falls directly to Primary and APEs, which increases their load, which forces us purchase licenses for more APEs.  Also, because APEs by design need to be close to the database, I do not have the same ability as I did previously with federated collectors to deploy them remotely. Polling an vCenter over a connection that has high latency will further reduce the polling capacity of the APE it is assigned to.

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I think you misunderstand, to get around this licensing issue they allow you to install just the VIM module with no license anywhere you want.  You can spin up any number of VIM pollers, exactly the same as using an FC was.  No need to buy any APE licenses just for VIM stuff, but if you already have APE's doing other things they can also work for VMAN stuff as well. If your current ape's can't handle the additional load (which so far seems to be relatively light) then you are free to spin up more with the free vim software and set them up wherever you want.  Nothing lost, and maybe a small amount of simplification gained in new environments since you don't need to have spin up separate APE's and FC's.

Ideally, yes, you want the APE's to have a good connection to the SQL database, and the documentation indicates that 300 ms is the high end of acceptable latency, but I would be surprised if the appliance to FC did not also have some threshold beyond which the FC might also have problems, they just never explicitly documented that threshold anywhere that I can recall.  I've also noticed that the pollers that are able to use the newer rabbitmq messaging seem to be a bit less fussy about latency and can handle bigger workloads since rabbitmq is a good chunk more effective than MSMQ was.

- Marc Netterfield, Github
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Level 9

That may be true. But if I do misunderstand, it is because Solarwinds has not provided proper clarification/documentation on how this "free poller" is implemented.

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Level 9

This is what I found by trial and error approach. With our VMAN/VIM purchase, Solarwinds includes Primary and Secondary license.

Primary license has be to used on the machine where VIM is installed - your main Orion platform server.

Secondary license can be installed on APE - same as any other APE you may have in your environment; if you don't have any you stand one up just for VIM.

If you decide to upgrade the VMAN appliance or have one already in the environment, you must apply the secondary license on it. If you do, you can't use it on APE.

If you decide to deploy another APE with VIM license, and you are already using VIM & VMAN appliance, you will also need to purchase additional VIM Polling license separately from your APE license.

You can still use FCs with upgraded VMAN appliance at no additional cost. We decided to keep our VMAN appliance and upgrade to recent version (8.1) and upgrade our FCs (which in reality is deploying them from scratch).

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Level 10

Primary License is for VIM Main poller (VMAN in Orion) and secondary license is for VMAN appliance (or vice versa). Secondary license is definitely not for APE.

You could use Free Poller (When you are installing it, it's named "Install Storage Resource Monitor or Virtualization Manager Additional Polling Engine Only" and it doesn't need license). But be careful, Free poller is polling only Virtualization data, so if you have also SAM/NPM/... and you want to poll i.e. vCenter with also stuff for these Orion products, you need regular Additional poller. This regular additional poller need another/own license - it's named something like "Orion additional polling engine license" or "Stackable Additional Polling Engine". Regular additional poller is polling data for all Orion products (also for VIM).

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Level 13

The following guide from the vman customer success site has information regarding the free VMAN APE

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Level 10

hi Chris

that article is pretty obsolete and lacks information on the Free APE for VMAN. 

We are currently working on issue that this Free VMAN APE breaks a lot of NCM functionality.  Unfortunately SLW support is not even aware of this APE installation option and the fact that this such APE doesnt contain NCM module.

They asking me to install NCM on it

regards

mark

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Level 10

along the lines of what Mark mentioned, what preceded my post here is the fact that we had been working with SolarWinds Support on a case for the past four weeks, during which members of the dev team joined us on our Webex sessions...the word we are receiving is that the "free" APE is only free if you purchase the NAM "bundle, otherwise all polling and data is gathered from main poller, requiring us to either buy an additional NPM poller license, or revert back to the appliance model.

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As mentioned in other posts, the support rep you were talking to must have become confused.  Those are a completely different set of "free" additional pollers that he was talking about and both products are somewhat new (but I am dissappointed to hear that at least some people in support aren't up to speed on these product developments).

The sizing guide and admin docs indicate that they recommend deploying those additional pollers wherever you exceed ~3000 monitored VM's.

Virtualization Manager (VMAN) - SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. Help and Support

As the name implies, you should associate vcenters to these APE's to poll them for metrics relating to the VM's.  Obviously, the exact numbers you end up with would vary depending on the distribution of your VM's across multiple vcenters, and you can't really split up a single vcenter across multiple pollers if it happens to have more than 3k vm's on it so I would take those recommendations with a grain of salt, but that is the rough ball park you would be looking at.  Anything under 3k vm's is probably fine to just use your primary app server and not even worry about APE's, unless it is already heavily loaded and struggling with workloads associated with your other modules.  You can also keep tabs on how much the existing loads are taxing your pollers but looking at the pollers page in Orion and finding the VIM Hyper-V polling rate or VIM VMware polling rate  I haven't got nearly enough in my lab to see what it takes to bring that to 100% but I'd be curious to see what that looks like.

- Marc Netterfield, Github

Also worth pointing out, if you already have the more traditional orion additional pollers licensed and deployed then you don't HAVE to deploy separate free vman pollers, the normal APE's can poll vmware just fine.  I would assume many environments with over 3k vm servers are also big enough to have already purchased APE's for their existing SAM or NPM needs.

- Marc Netterfield, Github
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Level 10

Features Available in VMAN 8.1 (Orion)

There is more info on the free pollers in the link above.

The Free Polling Engines that come with VMAN are different to the polling engines that are included in NAM.

Now that native polling has been moved over to the Orion console for VMAN, it offers free polling engines to balance the polling of the virtual environment across multiple pollers.

See the screenshot I posted above which gives the option to install an Additional Polling Engine (APE), or a Free Polling Engine (FPE).

Can you PM me the case number?

Level 10

Hello, sorry i was on leave - anyway here is my case number 00048742

SLW support eng still not helping to resolved our problem claiming that there is no FREE APE

thanks

marek

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Level 10

hello,

first we bumped into issue when setting up storage location for Firmware upgrade under NCM - message was Unable to connect to polling engine

then we saw error alert under NCM Advanced settings - Unable to connect to polling engine on node. Verify that NCM 7.7 is installed on the server.

last place - not sure related - just tried to run NCM report - User Activity Tracking Report - - error Resource report failed to properly initialize

no issues running any other reports

case number is 00048742

thanks

Mark

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