New SolarWinds Virtualization Manager 6.1 Creates Voltron-Like Monitoring

Application Monitoring

Now that my SQL server is being monitored from both an virtual machine perspective with VMan and server / application perspective from SAM, I wanted to look into how this integration plays out across the product. To begin, I simply opened up the SQL server node itself from the SAM dashboard. The amount of data available was staggering!

Let’s start with the summary view. It shows all sorts of information on uptime (availability), node status, virtual machine details, alerts, and various “top” graphs. Here’s a big snapshot:

SQL Server from a node summary perspective
SQL Server from a node summary perspective

My eye was immediately drawn to the AppInsight alert of critical for my MSSQLSERVER application, which is the default instance of SQL installed on the box, along with two alerts. I decided to switch off the node view of SQL and into the application view of MSSQLSERVER to figure out what was up. According to SAM, one of my SQL Agent Jobs was failing. This one is used for vCenter Server for its daily stats rollup. Oops, I better fix that!

Apparently I need to fix a SQL Agent Job
Apparently I need to fix a SQL Agent Job

I could also browse my various databases, which reminded me to add the prnx DB to my daily backup maintenance job to commit those gobs of transaction logs. 🙂

The databases included with this application
The databases included with this application

And for giggles, let’s take a peek at the expense queries list. It’s always fun to look at a tool that is monitoring its own queries.

The worst offenders
The worst offenders

Going back into the SQL node view, I decided to look at the hardware supporting the virtual machine, starting with storage. By clicking the Storage tab on the left, I could see the cluster, host, and datastore details, including space, IOPS, and latency details on both the datastore and SQL virtual machine.

Storage perspective for the SQL node
Storage perspective for the SQL node

I then went into the SQL node from the virtualization summary perspective. Lots of great details on the VM itself and the host it was running on.

Vital signs for the VM and host
Vital signs for the VM and host

Virtualization Storage and Sprawl Suggestions

Moving off the SQL application for a bit, I wanted to look at how SAM would use the data from VMan to make suggestions. Specifically, what it thought about VM sprawl. While more data will obviously provide better suggestions to the tool, after just a day it had a few ideas on my environment. I love it when a tool suggests removing its own vCPUs. 🙂

Sprawl!
Sprawl! Italic names are not being monitored by SAM

I also wondered what SAM thought about my storage consumption, latency, and IOPS. Here’s a view of the storage summary:

Helpful details concerning my virtual storage containers
Helpful details concerning my virtual storage containers

Final Thoughts

This is my first time looking at both Server and Application Monitor (SAM) and Virtualization Manager (VMan). I’m quite pleased with both – the install was easy, configuration was wizard driven and filled with helpful tips, and just about every widget / link / object in every dashboard has hover-tips to provide context and assistance. Even the licensing and download portal was incredibly slick compared to other vendors. It’s very obvious that SolarWinds puts user experience high up on the priority list.

The Voltron model – where components are integrated into one another – makes a lot of sense. Consume the software you need, plug it in together, and then let the decision engine use that data to add value to the dashboards, alerts, and recommendations. I’m going to let SAM and VMan run in my environment until my trial expires and hopefully provide some more feedback as the tools learn my lab. Perhaps I can land a few more component monitoring licenses so I can add other applications beyond just SQL server. 🙂