Category Archives: Uncategorized

Free Network Monitoring Tools

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 4.57.13 PM

I need to let everyone know about the free tools offered by Solarwinds.  I wish I had access to these tools when I was trying to solve network issues back in the day. I sweated many a bullets trying to diagnose issues without the tools I needed. Netstat only goes so far.  Well, there is no excuse for any Network or System Admin not to use these free tools from Solarwinds. They are basically mini versions of the full featured tools.  They do not expire.  If you do not use any other tool they offer you must try IP Address Tracker.  This tool automatically tracks static IP address assignments and lets you know what IP’s are free. No more spreadsheets. Get your FREE tools Herrrre (tried to imitate the Sonic pretzel dog guy).

Solarwinds Network Performance Manager (NPM) Groups

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 12.49.33 PM

NPM provides the ability to create groups of objects contained in the Solarwinds database. You are able to create groups of interfaces, nodes, volumes, applications, hardware categories, player locations, components, groups (yes, you can create Groups of Groups), hardware sensors, ports, transactions, transaction steps and volumes.  A group function that is not obvious is the ability to create a group of different items. You can have a group consisting of any number of the above listed items.  This is handy when you are creating a group to represent a complete system. A system would consist of a number of components that must all be operational for the system to function. An email system would not be functional if the DNS server is off line or the SMTP relay service is down.

Another great feature of groups is the ability to create dynamic queries to populate the groups automatically. You can create a group of like items based of a custom property or characters contained within the node name.

But wait, there’s more.  There are three status roll-up modes for groups.

  • Show Best Status – as long as one item in the group is green, the group LED will remain green.
  • Mixed Status shows warning – If one item in the group is red then the group LED will turn yellow.
  • Show Worst Status – If one item in the group is red then the group LED will turn red.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 12.44.14 PM

I find it very useful to create maps with the SolarWinds Network Atlas tool and use groups to populate the map. Clicking on a group will display a page listing all items contained in that group and you can drill down from there.

Don’t get stuck on the old ways of monitoring.  Listing a bunch of nodes and watching for node Up/Down. Design your Network Management system to support complete systems that provide a service to the end user.