Home Enterprise Solutions SolarWinds says it can bring order to your virtualisation and database chaos

You might know SolarWinds for its Network Performance Monitor. The company wants you to know it’s more than that, and claism to provide resources to manage your virtual environment wherever it may be.

Thomas LaRock, SolarWinds' Head Geek, says his role is to give IT Professionals longer weekends. This can be achieved through the vast array of SolarWinds products, he claims.

In fact, SolarWinds offers 36 products across networking, cloud monitoring, help desk, systems administration, database administration and security.

iTWire asked LaRock to name his favourite two, to which he offered VMAN (Virtualisation Manager) and DPA (Database Performance Analyser).

“Your infrastructure environment is only getting more complex each day. Nobody is managing less, only managing more. Things are just expanding, it’s a sprawling mess of chaos,” LaRock said.

“What we can do for you is bring order to that chaos. Through VMAN I can give you insight into VM sprawl.”

For example, with VMAN you can identify snapshots you have which are over a year old and are taking up space. These can, and most likely ought to, be cleaned up, but are not easily identified through tools like vSphere.

Another example is identifying disk capacity and waste with great efficiency. You might have an orphaned disk taking up 500Gb, or half a drive, and nobody is even using it because it is simply not attached to anything.

“We help you make sense of, and get some order out of, that chaos,” LaRock says.

LaRock keenly demonstrates AppStack view, a feature of Orion, SolarWinds' overall unified IT monitoring platform. “AppStack lets you see how everything is related,” he says. “I can have a guest tied to a host and tied to storage, and in AppStack view, I can easily look at that storage and see every other guest and host tied to it also.”

“AppStack view helps with the ‘noisy neighbour syndrome’,” LaRock Says, identifying the infrastructure concern of making a change and inadvertently affecting another VM.

VMAN is licensed by socket, with pricing available through SolarWinds' online quoting tool.

The second app LaRock is keen to demonstrate is DPA.

“I was a DBA for about seven years and we were starting to go virtual,” he says. “However when debugging an issue we had to ask is the issue somewhere in my virtual environment or in my database environment?”

This is where DPA comes in: the tool brings performance metrics out of vSphere and from your database, allowing you to put them side-by-side and see queries and infrastructure counters side-by-side.

LaRock gives the example that you can address issues with storage performance before trying to tune a query. Or maybe the host is overcommitted in CPU and all you know at the start is user’s say the database queries are slow. “You could spend all day trying to tune the query, but the issue is external to the database,” he says.

DPA is a multi-platform product supporting Windows, Linux and Unix, as well as SQL, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, Amazon RDS, Amazon’s Aurora and Azure SQL.

“You don’t have to buy 17 different tools for 17 different platforms,” LaRock states.

Pricing for both products is available online.

LaRock also encourages beginner and experienced SolarWinds users alike to participate in the SolarWinds' online community, Thwack, for free tools, support forums and other resources.


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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.


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