13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2009 2:42 PM by mhh351

    Orion installation "falls short"?

      A product review of Orion appeared today on CRN  http://www.crn.com/networking/208700591  

      We have been fortunate to have many good reviews in the past, and this review is certainly more critical than we have experienced, so it gives us pause.   It seems the reviewer ran into difficulty installing Orion and connecting to the SQL database when using an evaluation version of the product.  (In the eval version, we include SQL Express to aid in evaluation. Our licensed code doesn’t include SQL Express or recommend using SQL Express for larger production deployments.) 

       

      Typically new users tell us that installation goes smoothly, and we usually pride ourselves on ease-of-installation and ease-of-use, but we’re very open to constructive criticism.   Do we need to re-evaluate how Orion set up and configuration works, or instructions for doing so?   For instance, in the next version of Orion (coming soon) we are clarifying database set up requirements in the documentation.

       

      Anyone out there that has production or eval installation experiences to share, good or bad?

       

      Thanks,

      Andy

        • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
          BryanBecker

          Andy,

          I have 3 basic peeves with installation/upgrades of the Orion product and add-ons.

          1. In a multi poller environment you have to stop the services of every server before you try and upgrade a single copy.  We have 5 servers (4 pollers, 1 NPM Server).  I have to terminal server into all 5 boxes and shut everything down before I start my 1st upgrade.  Can be time consuming. Perhaps create a "master services app" that you can launch that talks to all servers and with 1 click you can stop the services on all Orion servers.

          2. After the installation it runs the configuration wizard and you go thru the steps.  After it compeletes the services automatically start up.  If I need to go to another server I have to again stop the services on the server I just upgraded.  Give us the option to not start the services after running the wizard.

          3. Running the configuration wizard steps is redundant after each server upgrade,  Have a field or something that once I run thru the configuration wizard on my 1st server I dont have to do it over and over again after each server upgrade.  It would be nice to only run it once even though I have more than 1 server to upgrade.

          Thanks.

          BB

            • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
              Malcolm Stewart

              I went through all of the problems the CRN reveiwer had and more. I recently evaluated as many as 10 Network Monitoring applications and would not have persisted with the Orion installation issues but on paper the product appeared to best meet our monitoring needs.


              Encounted major frustrations getting around the SQL express problems the reviewer had and further frustrations getting the Web interface up.  Most of the problems appear to be around permissions various services and applications need and these are not documented.


              Most of the fixes I found through much googling and trial and error. Searching for error strings in google was more productive the searching Solarwinds site or Thwack, even when google pointed back to Thwack.


              I love this one, a live error -  http://rvrentalsamerica.com/  !!


              On the third clean install I captured many error messages and screen shots as I went though the trial and error. I will compile my notes and forward them (where to?).  There are further issues with un-installing which seems to leave too much stuff behind hampering re-installation efforts.


              In short, I think the installation instructions and requirements fall short.


              Stewie

              • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?

                 Hi Bryan,

                 Thanks for the feedback.  Good input.  All issues you highlight are specific to a multi-poller environment, correct?  

                Andy

                • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
                  jtimes

                  I feel your pain Bryan (multiplied by a factor of 2).  I have 7 Polling Engines, 1 NPM, and a Hot Stand-by server with a substantially large db.  I just about lost my mind during the version 8 upgrade in doing 7 concurrent Polling Engines a basically two NMPs...The db structure got validated 9 times, and that took a long time to accomplish in my Orion deployment...  Redundant tasks and installing unused services on Polling Engines is my largest frustration with Orion installs/upgrades.


                  Expanding on you "master services app" idea; For version upgrades I would like to see a Orion Deployment Manager, ran from the NPM, that during an upgrade would detect all Orion servers (HSB, Polling Engines) and auto update/patch them.  The db already has all the Polling Engines and HSB in it, now it just needs to be able to reach out and touch them auto-magically... 


                  As for the confusion with SQL and install account permissions; I haven't read the Orion install documents in quite sometime.  Considering that I have installed it a minimum of  27 times in production (ver7,8, & 8.5.1), and countless times in QA/beta, it is now second nature to me as how to answer each step of the installation package; which IMO has gotten progressively better with each release.

                    • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
                      denny.lecompte
                      I feel your pain Bryan (multiplied by a factor of 2).  I have 7 Polling Engines, 1 NPM, and a Hot Stand-by server with a substantially large db.  I just about lost my mind during the version 8 upgrade in doing 7 concurrent Polling Engines a basically two NMPs...The db structure got validated 9 times, and that took a long time to accomplish in my Orion deployment...  Redundant tasks and installing unused services on Polling Engines is my largest frustration with Orion installs/upgrades.



                      Bryan, John:

                      We will look into making the upgrade experience easier for users with multiple pollers.  Honestly, we have not focused on the multi-poller upgrade scenario in the last 18 months.  We have made the tradeoff to concentrate on adding new functionality (e.g., the upcoming Universal Device Poller, web-based node management) since that impacts you every day.  Going forward, we'll want to discuss this with you more to see whether this prioritization continues to be the correct one.

                  • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
                    cbreger


                    We have a very basic Orion installation, with only a single
                    NPM server polling about 400 devices and a separate server running SQL
                    2005.  We've only been using the software for the past 18 months as our
                    production NMS.  I am big fan of the Orion software, but I cringe when we
                    have to apply a patch or upgrade.  We have not had have much success when performing
                    an upgrade, it usually takes a day or two to get everything working
                    again.  We are also running the NetFlow Traffic Analysis module which has attributed
                    to many of our upgrade problems.  We decided not to upgrade to NetFlow V3
                    due to all of the problems we had trying to get it work.  If someone were
                    to ask me my honest opinion of Orion I would recommend the software but would
                    caution them when performing installs/upgrades.  In my limited experience
                    this has been my only real complaint. 



                    • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
                      mhh351

                      Orion NPM 9.1 conversion from 8.5.1 did not go as well as I would have hoped. It did NOT give an option to use another folder/directory from the one that 8.5.1 was using. The process did take the time to tell me that it was going to install in the old directory and that if I did want to change the option to go back and then continue with the installation. Unfortunately, there is no place to go back to!


                       


                      Second, today, I tried to install our first use of Orion NCM. This is the initial installation. We do not have Cirrus either. The installation failed when I wanted to tell it to go to the "E" drive on the server. This server also houses Orion NPM. While on the phone with support (ticket 70864), we tried installing it on the "C" drive of the server just to see if it would get past the issue. It did!


                      The issue with this install is that it said that files were being used by another application that needed to be UPGRADED! The application that it called out as the application causing the problem was the INSTALLTION exe itself. That means that it thought that a file that it was going to "upgrade" was being used by itself. In order for it to proceed, I needed to cancel it! Ummmm, no! And NO there were not two instances of the upgrade running.


                      What I am trying to illustrate here, is that the installation process is getting more sloppy as we go forward. Pleaes take a little longer to test every rfacet of the processs before releasing it. Also, I would think that you would have a section of the support group dedicated to installation issues.

                        • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
                          Craig Norborg

                           I think the install/upgrade process has been going a bit downhill over the years, to the point with 9.1 I never did get a completely clean install.   Had problems with starting/stopping the polling engine which messed up other things.  Its up and running, but we have seen problems like that.

                           

                          At least you have fixed it so you no longer need to have "sa" priveledges on the database to do a simple upgrade, but I've never been able to run your own database tools on the server since I don't have "sa" access.  In larger environments like ours, a seperate group handles the DB servers and they refuse to let us have that kind of access.    Don't assume that the DB server is managed by the NMS people, nor that the DB server is only running Orion all the time.

                           

                          • Re: Orion installation "falls short"?
                            mark wiggans

                             With an upgrade to 9.1 you cannot use another folder/directory from the current 8.5 installation. The upgrade needs to occur in the same folder/directory. As for the NCM not installing on E", this may be a bug. Let me see what I can find out.