CASE STUDY: SolarWinds IPAM saves time and safeguards quality for Open Line

Open Line, a mature managed service provider based at Maastricht-Airport in The Netherlands, has steadily increased the operational efficiency of its cloud solutions, project and consultancy business groups over the past seven years by using a range of SolarWinds solutions.

Download the Case Study to learn more

Download the Case Study

SolarWinds regularly enhances and updates its IT Management product portfolio which has allowed Open Line’s Managed Services business group to safeguard its service level quality. For instance, SolarWinds IP Address Manager (IPAM), has allowed the company to progress from using spreadsheets to monitor customers’ IP addresses, to relying on IPAM’s centralised IP management. IPAM has also simplified capacity management, saving up to 10 hours a month in IT staff time.

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Website Performance Monitoring solution that supports Sysadmins During Peak Online Shopping Season

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, have recently announced enhancements to its web application monitoring product SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor (WPM), formerly known as Synthetic End User Monitor (SeUM), just in time as systems administrators prepare for increased holiday online shopping demand.

Using Web Performance Monitoring, users have been able to track the response time and health of web applications and websites to help maintain business-critical uptime. This system helps discover whether or not after making changes to their website, the right changes have been made or improvements are still required by the user in order to get to the level in which they would want their website to be at.

Web application and website performance are critical to businesses as any unplanned downtime can lead to lost productivity, dissatisfied customers, lost revenue and more. With Cyber Monday and the holidays fast approaching, IT admins are on alert considering what this means to their e-commerce business and online user experience. In a survey* SolarWinds conducted among 71 IT professionals, 42 percent deem Cyber Monday an issue that requires proactive planning and monitoring.

Whether planning for Cyber Monday, a summertime holiday promotion or a geographic expansion, sysadmins should follow these tips to help keep websites and Web applications going strong:

  1. Test the impact of changes to website from the end-user’s perspective before the big event – Set alerts and establish normal performance baselines, then monitor each crucial step of transactions to identify problems and monitor from multiple locations to make sure all are performing optimally.
  2. Ensure adequate capacity for influx of user requests – Communication among all stakeholders is essential. Talk with teams, such as marketing, to anticipate challenges from any planned activities that may drive a spike, then use monitoring systems’ historical data to do 95th percentile load planning.
  3. Monitor availability and performance of the supporting infrastructure – Monitor everything you can, including shared storage, visualisation infrastructure, database, firewall and core network components and the WAN links to the outside world, and utilise IT staff or hosting providers to ensure any problems identified by monitoring solutions are quickly resolved.

    Click for large image and explanation

Using SolarWinds WPM, sysadmins can continuously monitor websites and Web applications, including those that are internal (behind the firewall), customer-facing, SaaS, and cloud-based to keep a proactive watch on the end user’s point of view. The latest version of WPM extends its application support to include Web-based Java applications such as Oracle forms and those served via the Citrix Web Interface.

For more information on SolarWinds and other technology solutions for business and public sector organisations, including where you can purchase from, contact us today

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SolarWinds and Network World Survey Finds Remote IT Access Aids Disaster Response Time and Business Continuity

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, recently released the results of a disaster preparedness and response survey conducted in partnership with Network World, and introduced the latest version of DameWare Remote Support, formerly DameWare NT Utilities.

The survey revealed that 76 percent of respondents’ organisations have a disaster preparedness and response plan for their business or IT department. An aspect of most plans includes remote access for employees to ensure business continuity. In addition, 48 percent of respondents have implemented remote management software to ensure that IT problems can be solved regardless of location.

Remote IT management solutions like DameWare Remote Support, which allows the ability to access systems with remote tech support if IT pros have to evacuate an area during a disaster, or SolarWinds Mobile Admin, a mobile IT administration tool that enables business continuity by allowing IT pros to monitor, troubleshoot and triage IT technologies from a mobile device, provide a comprehensive remote IT management solution to aid IT pros during destructive events.

Products that allow remote access to IT departments and applications can be an integral component in a comprehensive backup plan by ensuring secure connections during disasters or emergencies.

Survey Highlights:

  • Disaster preparedness and response plans: Almost half (44 percent) of respondents update plans each year; 57 percent of respondents that reported not having a plan, will create one in the next 12 months
  • Natural disaster business implications: 27 percent have not been able to go into the office because of a disaster and over 30 percent of those respondents missed a week or more of work
  • Data center recovery: When asked how confident their organization was that they could recover their data center in a reasonable amount of time, 30 percent reported they are “not at all confident”
  • Most common disasters: When asked about what disasters have kept them out of the office, 31 percent cited hurricanes while 28 percent cited floods

“In times of natural disasters and in maintaining year-round business continuity, remote IT management solutions can maximize flexibility and efficiency for IT organizations,” said Denny LeCompte, VP of product management, SolarWinds. “With DameWare Remote Support and SolarWinds Mobile Admin, IT pros have two, robust and easy-to-use solutions for taking on both remote desktop support and mobile IT administration.”

What’s new in DameWare Remote Support, formerly DameWare NT Utilities:

DameWare Remote Support lets IT pros support remotely troubleshoot and resolve IT issues. Using remote support software, IT pros can remotely administer Windows computers without having to interrupt end-users. DameWare Remote Support also includes the ability to remotely control computers so IT Pros and end-user can collaboratively troubleshoot problems.

The latest version of DameWare Remote Support adds the ability to remotely control Mac and Linux machines in addition to Windows. This release of DameWare Remote Support also adds support for Intel vPro allowing IT Pros to remotely troubleshoot problems when a server crashes or is powered off.

For more information on SolarWinds and other technology solutions for business and public sector organisations, including where you can purchase from, contact us today

You can follow Technology4Business on LinkedinTwitter and Facebook, where we’ll keep you up to date on our  latest blog posts on Technology to help keep your IT Infrastructure and Network secure, safe and always connected.

SolarWinds launches new VOIP quality monitoring suite to shed light on system issue causes

SolarWinds have announced the VOIP and Network Quality Manager, formerly known as SolarWinds IP SLA Manager, aimed directly at quality control of Cisco IP telephony systems today with support for additional vendors in the future. But beyond the core phone system software, the monitoring suite watches the entire VOIP environment holistically, including the transport, servers and software.

SolarWinds is certainly a stalwart in the network monitoring space. The Orion products are used throughout many VNQM_image_for_news_story_Interactive_Ideas.pngtelecommunications business, including my employer, to keep a handle on network performance and highlight transport and connectivity problems quickly.

As telephony and network solutions converge, complexities increase and troubleshooting becomes exponentially more difficult for the system admins.  Visibility is the key to reducing the complexities and shedding light onto the cause of any system issue.  SolarWinds is seeking to do that with the VOIP and Network Quality Manager. The suite monitors call quality statistics, network bandwidth and latency across the infrastructure, and service performance for the VOIP environment. It provides both real-time and historical views of the statistics it has collected and exposes them to aid in troubleshooting and isolating problems efficiently. 

As a relative newbie to VOIP deployments, I know the critical things that I want to watch in our VOIP deployment, which would include latency,  jitter, failed calls and packet loss.  Unlike historical network monitoring, the servers and applications are also a critical piece of the puzzle for VOIP deployments, so keeping an eye on the performance of the server and the application is critical. Fortunately, the VOIP and Network Quality Manager does all these things and much more.  The software does a good job of summarising health through the call monitoring screen which includes software performance, the number of phones registered and unregistered, and some basic system health statistics.  

One of the shining features I found in this release is the call search features, helping to identify and investigate the behavior during a particular call when a user reports problems. This visibility is huge towards finding and squashing any problems that may be cropping up in the environment. Issues like buffer exhaustion or flaky connections between sites can wreak havoc on a VOIP deployment and traditional troubleshooting can be time consuming due to the number of components and potential causes of any given problem.

 

But most powerful of all is the ability to search for a particular call and inspect what happened or was happening during the context of that call.  When users report an issue, seeing the environment’s behavior during that time period is key to preventing future problems.

One of the biggest advantages of a monitoring solution like VOIP and Network Quality Manager is the ability to get summary data while not losing the depth of a specific statistic. The software offers the ability to dive into a particular statistic and graph point-in-time information for critical statistics like jitter and latency. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so a full set of screenshots are below in a gallery so you can explore the screens and functionality.

For more information on SolarWinds products and other technology solutions for business and public sector organisations, including where you can purchase from, contact us today

Altoona First Savings Bank puts trust in SolarWinds Log and Event Manager for Security and Compliance

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today announced that Altoona First Savings Bank (AFSB), based in Altoona, Pa, uses SolarWinds Log & Event Manager (LEM), a Security Information Event Management (SIEM) software solution, to protect and support the company’s secure IT banking environment.

AFSB had previously been using Cisco® Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System (MARS) to troubleshoot attacks on the bank’s network security data. When the product became obsolete after Cisco announced its end-of-life status, Doug Ickes, AFSB’s network administrator, sought a replacement.

Ickes started doing some investigative work, and narrowed his choices down to an appliance from netForensics® and SolarWinds LEM. He found that both were good products, but that he was going to pay inherently more for netForensics while SolarWinds LEM provides the same capabilities at a lower cost.

“For the price and the level of support, SolarWinds won me over,” said Ickes. “I wear a lot of hats managing the IT infrastructure at our small, community bank of 50-some employees, and I didn’t want to have to spend an inordinate amount of time monitoring logs. SolarWinds LEM allowed me the flexibility to do my job more effectively and efficiently.”
Security and Compliance Benefits and Beyond

Track USB usage – AFSB has several use cases for USB devices around the bank including electronic signature scanners for driver’s licenses. SolarWinds LEM’s USB Defender technology allows AFSB to monitor these ports rather than locking and shutting them all down arbitrarily, permitting AFSB to continue with business as usual unless a threat is detected.

Compliance-ready reports – Auditors love to see reports and stats on failed network logins. SolarWinds LEM helps AFSB exceed requirements for regulations such as FFIEC, FDIC and GLBA.
Track changes to users, groups and machines – AFSB uses SolarWinds LEM to protect and secure its infrastructure. When users are added, deleted, or added to groups that may elevate their privileges, alerts can be generated anytime a new user or machine account is added to the domain. Tracking these changes is key to ensuring AFSB’s policies are being enforced.

Real-time IT event correlation and analysis of network activity – Categorising the events makes them easy to filter in real time and search for historical analysis, enabling AFSB to detect a fan fail on one of their Cisco switches by using SolarWinds LEM, meaning they were able to send it in for a repair before it became problematic.

For more information on SolarWinds products and promotions as well as other technology solutions for business, including where you can purchase from, request information here

Finding it difficult to assess your organisations firewall rules?

It is common for Network Engineers to find it difficult and time consuming to assess firewall rule sets to determine rule necessities and security risks.

Current rules could be:

  • Error-prone – redundant or no longer provide any benefit
  • Security risks – badly configured rules can allow unwanted traffic or intruders onto your network
  • Expensive to manage – require shorter cycle time and improvements to rulebase implementation process

Implementing Athena FirePAC alongside your existing NCM installation allows you to fully automate your firewall management and synchronise security across your whole firewall estate.

Athena FirePAC is flexible, available in a variety of bundle  options and includes many different tools to meet your firewall management needs including:

PCI Audit – Make PCI reporting easy – FirePAC identifies specific technical checks for PCI control items to allow you to secure your network but also allows you to prove your network is secure

Rulebase Cleanup – Analysis of your rules to remove redundant rules or rules that are not in line with your security policy – this speeds up traffic and removes risk

Change Advisor – Perform sophisticated packet tests using the same parameters contained in a simple change request form to identify the impact of changes before they are made and therefore reduce downtime caused by firewall config changes

You can find more information with the below downloadable resouces including a free white paper on Effective Solutions for Firewall Management’

For more information on Kerio products and promotions as well as other technology solutions for business, including where you can purchase from, request information here

SolarWinds New Server & Application Monitor product enables IT professionals to do their jobs faster and at a more affordable price

SolarWinds, a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, announced the release of Server & Application Monitor v. 5.0 (SAM), formerly known as Application Performance Monitor (APM). The latest version of the product introduces several exciting features including a server hardware health monitor, the Real-Time Process Explorer, and support for IPv6.

“The purpose of every SolarWinds systems management product is to enable IT professionals to do their jobs faster and with less effort, all at a more affordable price,” Denny LeCompte, vice president of product management at SolarWinds, said. “Every new feature in SAM started as a user request on thwack, our online community, and we have made improvements in the product to meet our customers’ needs.”

The new name more accurately reflects the product’s focus on monitoring server and application health and performance. Server & Application Monitor is a comprehensive server and application management product that enables monitoring of Windows, Unix, and Linux servers. It provides visibility into the performance of critical IT services, the underlying application components, and the operating system and server resources on which they run.

An Introduction to the new SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor

New features in version 5 include: — A server hardware health monitor that provides alerts on server fan speed, power supply status, and more hardware health indicators for vendors such as Hewlett-Packard (HP) ProLiant, Dell PowerEdge, IBM X Series, and VMware Hosts — The Real-Time Process Explorer, which monitors processes real-time performance statistics like CPU, memory, virtual memory, and disk I/O in real time to diagnose and troubleshoot server performance issues quickly — Support for IPv6 — More than 30 new and updated out-of-the-box server and application monitoring templates SAM benefits for sysadmins: — Comprehensive server and application coverage (email, Active Directory, Java, database, hardware, etc.), which eliminates the need for multiple monitoring products — Easy-to-use, customizable dashboards and reports for viewing trends, capacity, and performance — Expert Templates that provide best practices information into which statistics should be monitored and why, as well as optimal thresholds — Business service views and alerts that can be configured for fast root-cause analysis “We’re excited about the new hardware monitoring features of SAM 5.0; as soon as we check the box to monitor our hardware, we can extend the notification and alerting to our server desk application and immediately notify staff if a failure takes place,” Jed Krisch, manager of technical services, Carilion Clinic, said. “With Real-Time Process Monitoring, we can see what’s going on with the server over time. If there’s a process using a lot of resources that we aren’t already monitoring, we can start capturing historical data with just a few clicks. This just wasn’t possible with other products we tried.”

SolarWinds SAM is one of five key products in the SolarWinds systems management product portfolio. Together, these products address the troubleshooting, patch management, and performance monitoring needs of the system administrator. This portfolio also includes Synthetic End User Monitor (SeUM) and three new products: Patch Manager, DameWare NT Utilities, and DameWare Mini Remote Control.

For more information on SolarWinds and other technology solutions for business, including where you can purchase from, request information here

SolarWinds Network and Virtualisation Products recognised with Top Honours

Readers and editors at leading IT media outlets Windows IT Pro and Redmond Magazine have awarded SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, SolarWinds Virtualization Manager, and SolarWinds VM Monitor top honours over the past month.

SolarWinds received recognition from Redmond Magazine for its network management software, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, and VM Monitor in the Microsoft magazine’s 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Windows IT Pro awarded SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor “Gold” for Best Network Management Product and SolarWinds Virtualization Manager “Bronze” for Best Virtualization Product.

SolarWinds picked up the Grand Slam for SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor by virtue of being either winner or ISV Winner in a crowded category four years in a row.

“The Redmond Readers Choice Awards (RCAs) aren’t about what’s cool or hip or might be big a year or five years from now,” said Lee Pender, executive editor of Redmond magazine. “They’re about what works right now, what makes your job easier and what you use to help you navigate the daily minefield of working in IT.”

According to Windows IT Pro, “SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor offers excellent enterprise-class network management capabilities at a reasonable price. SolarWinds’ network management tools have a fan base that just seems to keep coming back for more. SolarWinds modular design lets you pick and choose exactly what you need for your business. The product’s network maps are particularly noteworthy, allowing you to pinpoint where problems are occurring in the environment. SolarWinds’ support team is almost legendarily responsive, and the company’s thwack community leads the way in vendor/customer interaction.”

For more information on SolarWinds and other business software solutions including where you can purchase from, request information here: http://bitly.com/AAtB94