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New SolarWinds Orion Release – An Overview by our Resident SolarWinds Expert


Our resident SolarWinds Expert Brian Steele shares his opinions on the latest updates from SolarWinds and what they mean to the current users.

Brian is an extremely experienced consultant specialising in SolarWinds and has led the delivery of many of our largest and most complex SolarWinds deployments, along with our Team of SolarWinds Certified Engineers.

The team specialises in helping SolarWinds users to get the most out of their software investment, this includes system optimisation, custom dashboards, custom reports, complex alerting structures and integration with 3rd party systems for an integrated approach to IT Operations.

To book a free 1 hour SolarWinds consultation with Brian, click here

Introduction

This is a significant release with some interesting and practical new features to help you save time and resources. If you are running your SolarWinds ORION system on Windows/SQL 2008 I strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 2012/2016 and SQL 2014/2016 to future proof your investment. If you still think you don’t want to upgrade then bear in mind that I have read all 71 of the following fix notices (and this is just for ORION Platform Services and NPM) and have found several fixed issues relating to polling lockups, inconsistent data, resource hogging and performance.

Details

On the 13th September 2017 SolarWinds released significant updates across a raft of modules. For the last three weeks I have been working with these new modules performing installs, upgrades and feature investigations… here are my findings:

New Module Releases:
  • ORION Platform Services – 2017.3
  • NPM (Network Performance Monitor) - v12.2
  • NTA (NetFlow Traffic Analyser) – v4.2.3
  • NCM (Network Configuration Manager) – v7.7
  • SAM (Server & Application Monitor) – v6.4 HF1
  • WPM (Web Performance Monitor) – v2.2.1
  • VM (Virtualisation Manager) – v8.0
  • SRM (Storage Recourse Monitor) – v6.5
  • IPAM (IP Address Manager) – v4.5.2
  • VNQM (VoIP & Network Quality Manager) – v4.4.1

So what are the BIG changes?

New Install Process - The first big change is the new installation process, which I have been eagerly anticipating for the last 12+ months. Gone is the old cumbersome installation process, which required you to download then install modules one by one and then manually apply the required patches. With the new installation process, you select the modules you need from a list and everything else (download, install & patch) is automated for you. I was able to install all ten modules in 90 minutes compared to 1-2 days.



Deprecated Windows/SQL 2008 – Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 have been deprecated; so, if you want to upgrade to the latest version then you may need assistance planning the migration to Windows 2012/2016 and SQL 2014/2016 as part of the upgrade process.

Full VM Integration – Finally you should know that if you have the VM (Virtualisation Manager) module the functionality provided by the VM Appliance has now been fully incorporated into ORION. This means that the VM Appliance can be decommissioned. If you are on an older version of VM then you may need to jump through some hoops but once you are on the latest VM v8 the final step will be a synchronisation to move your virtual landscape from the VM appliance into ORION.

Other New Features:
Across all the upgraded modules there are two major changes to mention here, so I will mainly focus on ORION and NPM for now. I have included the links to the release notes at the top of this article and I encourage you to look at the other modules.
  • Network Insight for Cisco ASA firewalls - Monitor VPN tunnels, get the basic visibility for troubleshooting tunnels with issues, understand the health of the platform including power supplies or High Availability status.



  • Search from your global navigation - Search for nodes, interfaces, or volumes by their display name or IP address directly from the global navigation bar at the top of every page. The last five searches performed are saved so you can quickly run frequent search queries:


  • Dashboards and widgets - The new “Customize Page” significantly simplifies and streamlines how you build your dashboards or views. Drag and drop resources, now known as widgets, exactly where you want them on your page, including on to blank areas to create new columns.


  • Multi-subnet High Availability - Distribute HA pool members to different subnets in this new update to SolarWinds High Availability for near instantaneous, automated failover to a secondary server on a different subnet. Create an HA pool, update your secondary server, and activate HA in your current Orion environment just as easily as before.



  • PerfStack - Real-Time Polling at approximately one second intervals for selected metrics. Get both broad and in-depth visibility into your environment by correlating disparate data points across your infrastructure, including on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments, in easy-to-read charts:


  • Manage Nodes - The new Manage Entities page presents information about your nodes in a more intuitive fashion, including filtering options and contextual management options:




To see complete list of fixed issues download here

If you would like a demo of the new features or assistance with planning/deploying the new release then please contact your account manager or e-mail sales@kedronuk.com

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