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SolarWinds Lab Episode 29: Orion® Cribs: View, User, and Resource Customization

Who needs a room with a view when you can get an NMS with multiple views, plus NOC displays, tabbed web pages, and more? Join SolarWinds Head Geeks Patrick Hubbard, Kong Yang, and Leon Adato as they dig deep into how to customize the Orion® Platform for your environment. This episode is chock full of how-tos for creating custom views, managing view limitations, custom view assignment to individual users or groups, custom menu bars, and creating NOC views from scratch. Patrick also talks with SolarWinds Products and Markets EVP Suaad Sait with a question from our audience.

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Episode Transcript


Hello, I’m Patrick Hubbard, and welcome to SolarWinds Lab. It’s great to have you with us today on my new set where I’ll be taking your questions live on air as we drill into customization options for views, resources, and users on the Orion platform. And if you’re not chatting with me live, be sure to sign up for reminders at lab.solarwinds.com.

Are you done with your ego massage on Studio B, yet Patrick?

Ego massage?

Uh, yeah.

Yeah okay, maybe just a bit. I’ll come over. [Loud humming]

Much better.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, let’s try that again. Hi, I’m Patrick–

We know, we know. And I’m Leon Adato.

And I’m Kong Yang. Welcome to SolarWinds Lab.

So I had planned this episode to spend the whole time talking about monitoring essentials. What you should and should not monitor. What products you probably need and don’t need. But I was looking at the chat logs from the last couple of episodes.

You really do that?

I really do that. And I noticed a recurring theme. You guys have been asking a lot of questions about customizing the look and feel of Orion and specifically views, sub-views, NOC views, the new view limitations. Pretty much the works.

And I noticed that they were also asking about user accounts and managing tabs and thought about the new layout control. One more thing to customize.

Right. I mean, there have never been so many great things that you can tweak and customize in Orion. But by the same token, there have never been so many things to tweak.

Right. But how are we going to cover what is and is not essential with network monitoring and also creating views?

From scratch.

From scratch all in one show.

What? [Laughing] I’m going to duck out and go play with the new script, learned action. You’re on your own.

Okay. So what we’re going to do then is–thinking about this yesterday, I realized we can condense a very long discussion about what is and is not critical to monitor into just a couple of minutes if I can have a really frank discussion.

Okay, that makes sense.

So I have a special guest. And we’re going to chat for a couple of minutes about what really should be monitored and using the right combination of products. And then we’ll spend the rest of the episode doing a hands-on tutorial of how to customize views, manage what users see, and how to train others on your team on how to create their own view.

That’s exactly what I would have done.

Okay, and that explains what the new set is all about.

Exactly.

And what am I doing?

You’re going to be doing half of the customization how-to.

All right!

Cool. Okay gents, hasta la vista.

All right, me too. I’m going be on Stage 2 for a couple of minutes. And then I’ll be right back for that how-to.

Fine. And I’m just going to spend a couple of minutes customizing Patrick’s laptop. Windows? Yuck.

I heard that. [Laser beaming]

So, joining me today, finally from the new set, is Suaad Sait, EVP of Products and Markets for SolarWinds. How’s it going?

Hi everyone.

Uh, I promised myself that I wouldn’t have any execs on the show, nothing personal. But I’m making an exception here. Because you and I were talking about this in the hall the other day. And it was a conversation that I thought they’d really want to get in on.

I thought you were just kidding when you said you were going to have me on.

No, and I feel bad. I kind of cut you off. I said save it for the show. The other thing is, you’re also a geek.

Well, you know, a very long time ago I was a software engineer. I actually started my career that way, writing code. And as I tell everyone–is that if you listen carefully when–anytime someone sends-does a file print to a high-end Xerox printer, you can actually hear my lines of code execute. Slowly, though, in today’s day and age. [Laughing]

You get any residuals on that?

No, no, I do not.

Okay. So, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and I’m going to ask a question that a customer asked me at Cisco Live last year. And it’s similar to ones that a lot of you guys have been asking, as well. Ready?

Okay, let’s do it.

Okay, we’re rolling here. So there’s no way to back out. And so that question is, do we expect that every customer is going to buy every SolarWinds product?

Well, I mean, that’s a question that a lot of folks have asked over time, when they look at our broad portfolio of products that we have. And the way we think about it, really, at the end of the day is, that we enable IT pros and DevOps pros to do their jobs every single day. And when say about doing their jobs, what we’re talking about is, them solving problems related to IT performance issues. So let me give you an example. So for example, you know it’s March Madness time. People may be streaming games at their desktops or their computers or their laptops at work. And if there’s a network performance problem related to bandwidth, we have products that would enable them to, with NPM and NTA, to really look at what’s going on from a performance and bandwidth perspective for the network.

Sure.

Now, another IT pro may have a database performance issue for their SQL database that is running behind an application.

Right. That may be an issue. And we have a product for that. And so, the way we think about it is that we want to be the right company to give them either a free tool that is available to solve their problem or a paid product that they download and use right away to solve the performance problem that they have today. And over time, when IT pros or DevOps pros think about what problem they’re going to solve next, we would like them to use a SolarWinds tool or product to do that. But we don’t expect them to consume all of the products at once. They, over time, understand their environment and have different needs, and we have customers that will use one product all the way to 20 products over time. But that’s really our approach, is to enable them to solve the problem that they have at the moment and get them to the other side of that.

So let me untangle that for myself so that I think that I get it. So if you are Ecklerwr1 [bell chiming]. Hey. You’re using several of our products. You have a really large infrastructure that you’re managing. You’ve got maybe lots of automation. You’ve done a lot of cool customization. You’re doing some cool stuff with SSDs. But he didn’t start with all the products at once. He started with one, showed value for that. Probably, I’m guessing, did a lot of really cool reports for the purchasing managers to make sure that they were seeing the value. But then kind of grew over time, and so that’s one of the reasons why there are so many products and so many categories, and the one strand of DNA that’s common in all of those is the just making them really available, expecting that they’re going to experiment. They’re going to start with something that maybe they’ve never seen before. They’re going to tune into shows like this or work with our, everything from the knowledge base to—all of you should be members of thwack.com at this point. And get help and actually find that not only are they solving that first problem, they solve other problems with what they are already using and then discover, “Hey, you know what?” “I really could do something to make my application performance better.” Let’s say, if you’re already using NPM. So no, we don’t expect them to use all the products. We just find that over time, they find usefulness in products and tend to get new products.

That’s exactly right. So did you answer the question that way at the show that day?

Yeah but I involved a white board.

With you, I would expect at least a white board, if not a lunch and a deeper discussion. [Sighing] Probably product demos were involved, but that’s just how you are.

Yeah, there was a thousand words, probably. I should have gone ahead and put it up on Geek Speak. Okay, well Suaad, thanks again for coming on SolarWinds Lab. It was great to have you.

Well, thank you for having me on.

You bet. And we might even have you back.

Might have me on?

Well, it depends on feedback.

Feedback from?

From them. Yeah. So if you— [laughing] If— actually, we’re going to have you back. So, if you like what you saw, keep asking lots of questions and I— we’re going to go back and get into our demos for customizing views.

Get on with it, because I think that’s what they’re here for, not to hear us just chit chat on about IT stuff.

So shoo. I’m getting shooed off of my own show?

Yes, you are. Let’s get on with it.

Okay. [Laser beaming] [Loud humming]

Well, welcome back.

Yeah, that was a lot of fun and a chance to use to the new set. What are you doing?

Nothing, nothing… Nothing.

Uh, okay. So, customizing views.

Yeah, what do you want to show?

Well I figure we just start from the top right? We’re going to create a new view; we’ll throw sub views on it.

Mmhmm.

Uh, left tabs.

Right, left tabs. Right, correct.

Yes.

We’ll put tabs on the left and then we’ll add some resource limitations, groups, and then convert that to a NOC view.

Right and I’d like to create a new user, adjust which tabs they see, permissions, different menu bars, and set the custom view for them.

Ah, that would be awesome.

So we should probably use your laptop.

All of those were questions that you guys had.

All right, yeah.

So, we’ll just get started.

Yeah, we’ll use your laptop.

All right, that sounds great. Oh, for heaven’s sake, Leon. [Loud snorting] [Circus music] Really?

Yeah, well it’s just a background image. You can turn it off if you want to.

Yeah, we’re going to turn it off.

And what’s with, you know, “for heaven’s sake?” For heaven’s sake.

Well, we actually have some youth that are beginning to watch the show now so I’m just, you know, trying not to get bleeped.

Oh good, you know. A couple of kids growing up geek. Very good.

Exactly. [Laser beaming] All right, so creating a view. It seems like it’d be really simple, and I remember the first time that I ever did it. I created a view and then I did nothing with it. And I couldn’t figure out where it goes. [Laughing]

Right.

So we’re going to walk through this in the order of steps that you typically will use not necessarily the step— the order that makes the most sense the first time you do it. But the way you end up with something that’s actually differentiated and specifically designed for whichever one of your users you want to see that view. So the first thing we’re going to do is create a view. Where’s the “create a view” button?

It’s actually up under settings, right?

That’s right.

And then it’s way, way, way down. Where you don’t normally look. “Below the fold,” as they say in the news business.

Yes. All the way down here.

Mmhmm.

Manage views. Although this has gotten a lot better organized.

Yeah.

So, I just look for this little icon here. Because it reminds me, that’s the view, right?

I just search the page.

Yep, or search the page. So manage views. Oh, look at that!

Manage views view.

So first step we’re going to do is we’re going to add a view. Now, if you want to actually look at one of these other ones, you can just go ahead and select one, click edit, and kind of see how they’re made.

Which I recommend as a really good way when you find a particular view that you like, and I’ll show you how to get there quickly in a minute. But if you find a view that you like, basing something off of that is a really good way to learn what things are on the screen. But, that having been said,

Okay, so we’ll come back here.

Mm hm.

I’m going to say add a new view. And we give it a name. How about Lab 29? How to view.

How to view.

And what do we want to do?

I always like summary views. It’s either summary views or details view.

Okay.

Let’s start with summary.

And it’ll tell you here what the different view types are. You can actually just scroll down here and it’ll describe every single one of these for you.

Mmhmm.

And it’s going to be based on all the different modules that you have installed. So it’s not going to tell you about NCM views if you don’t have NCM installed. Although you should be backing up your permissions every day. So, we’re going to say submit. And now I am working on my new view. I can still change the name if I want to, at this point. Because how many times do you create something and then realize you want to rename it?

Right. I will point out, though, because I do this every time, that if you change the name, make sure you click the update there. Because, otherwise the view name won’t change.

Yes, that’s true. All right, so adding new columns. If you wanted to actually have a whole lot of columns, you can add as many as you want. This is especially handy for NOC view, which we’re going to show you here in just a second. But the easiest way to do this— let me just leave this with two columns. I’ll say add new with the plus, and you get this handy add resource wizard. Now if you have not messed with this in about a year and a half, you have seen this new wizard, and this just makes everything a whole lot easier. You can either group by nothing and then search. So for example, let’s say you wanted to do, what, like a node search?

Node search, definitely. It’s the first thing that I put on any page.

So I’m going to say search for nodes.

Ha, look at that.

Aw, there it is. I’m going to click. And hey, it added it over here. You know what? I don’t want that. I’m going to delete that. Uh, it’s not there anymore. Look at that. I can put it in and take it out. And again, I’m not going back, because remember the old version? You had to expand and then…

Find one thing at a time, and add it, then go back, and then the enumeration. It took forever. It was really— I ended up enumerating everything. Printing it, figuring out what I wanted, and then going back through it. This is much easier.

Right, so then you add that to selected resources, and there it is on the list. And so you can almost think of this as sort of just a toggle zoom view of what’s in that column. So don’t think so much about using the controls there, using them here instead. I think what the all nodes view, probably, and of course that’s a…

It’s an AJAX, right?

Yeah, which is using what?

Uh, SWIS and SWQL.

That’s right, it sure is. All right, we’ll put that on that— we’ll put that down there as well. We’ll add that. And now we’ve got it here, as well.

Add another one.

Okay, let’s— Do you want to go over here on the right column?

That’s fine. Now, Patrick is doing one thing. He’s adding one at a time and he’s, you know, putting in the different columns. I like to go out and find everything that I want all at once, even if it’s not going to go in that order. And then I do use the previous screen. We’re going to see in a minute, to move things around until they’re the order that I like them.

Well, let’s actually do that.

Okay.

Let’s do that right here. Okay so, I’m going to go back to my original column here. I’m going to click the plus. So what else do we want to add in here?

Again, I want one more AJAX. Add nodes.

I love auto-complete. It’s a good thing.

Mmhmm.

Okay.

And let’s go ahead and also find events, the last 25 events.

Look at that. I typed the word event, and even if it’s the end of that string it still found last 25, so it’ll search everything, not just what you were expecting to find. So we’ll add that.

Mmhmm.

And that’s good for now.

Okay.

So then we click ‘add’ to selected resources. And there they are.

There they are.

Now, talk about what you were talking about.

So, I want to have the last 25 events on the second column.

Okay.

So I’m going to click on it and just use this little “scoochie arrow.”

Mmhmm. That’s a technical term, by the way. “Scoochie arrow.”

“Scoochie arrow.” I like it.

It’s going to be on the SAP exam. [Laughing]

Yes. It’s going to be called column adjuster, when I have a chance to add that. Okay, so we’ve got a search at the top, upper left hand-corner of column one.

Mm hm.

Then we have two node trees, which at first are going to be populated with everything and we’re going to narrow those down with view restrictions.

Yes.

And then we’ve got our application events over on the right-hand side. Anything else?

No. This is going to be an executive view. I don’t want to give them too much and overwhelm them. So.

Okay, and you can preview it if you want. I think it’s going to look great, we’re going to hit done.

It’s on the screen for a moment. The view limitation, we’re going to talk more about it. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you.

Awesome. And if I had been smart, I would have named it something— you know what? I tell you what we’re going to do. See, it’s not appearing at the top of this list. And since we’re going to be editing this a whole bunch, and it is sorted in alphabetically, let’s just change the name of that. Oh [blowing air], please select a view. This is why I wanted to do that.

This is where it goes. So you keep on clicking. What you— what I always do is, when I’m creating a custom view, I will number them. So I’ll create zero, one so that it does sort to the top of the list. But if it doesn’t, you really got to remember which one it was that you named it, because it will appear wherever it is in that list.

Of course it is. I just did it right there. See, one.

Uh huh. Very good, although it should be zero one, but that’s okay. That’s all right.

We’re not going to do more than nine.

Sure we’re not. [Laughing]

Not today. Okay, so we’ve edited our view. Now, let’s take a look at that, all right? So, how are we going to get to that?

Well, there’s a couple of different ways. You could go to the–Well, it’s not assigned to anyone. You could bring up the–No, it’s not assigned to anyone.

So the way that I do that is, I go back to my edit, and then because we haven’t yet defined it to anything— and we could stick it on a menu. We’re going to show you how to do that in a minute. Just click preview. And then look up here in the bar. I’m going to have to pull this out of the full screen so you can see this. And you’ll see up here, the view ID is 84. So if I just copy that somewhere, any time I want to take a look at that view, then I just go back to that URL, and I’m going to find it.

That’s absolutely true.

That’s a nice cheat to be able to do it here anyways. So anyway, I’m not going to worry about saving it. But we’ve got it. Okay so here’s the view that we created. Yeah, it’s so scrunchy. Oh, yes. That’s right, drag and drop, I forgot all about that.

Yeah, they added that recently.

Or maybe I didn’t. Yeah, okay. So, search for nodes.

This was a conversation that we had on THWACK. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to add it. Because some users saying, when are we going to have this— well, you’ve always had search. And not only are you searching by node name, but by any piece of information you have. So you can search by the IP address, IP version, DNS, etc., whatever piece. Custom properties, they’ll appear there also. It does partial matches. It does wild card matches. So this a resource that I put on the summary page, as soon as I get my hands on anybody’s SolarWinds installation. So if you find it one day, you know I’ve been there. For interfaces, there’s also a search for interface option. So on an interface summary screen, you can add that as well.

And then, of course, global search right now is sort of out in alpha. Check your release notes for enabling that if you’re an advanced user and you want to play with that.

Right now. These AJAX… views, right now are not collapsed. Really, you want to collapse to group and collapse them. So, you can pick levels. Typically, I want to sort by, let’s say, ‘Vendor’ and then by ‘Machine type,’ and then I’m not going to do a third level. Okay.

But I’ve certainly done that a lot of times by, let’s say OS version, especially for switching gear, where I’m not sure what I’ve got installed when I get sent out of the field.

Right.

And I’m going to push an image back out there that I don’t expect it to be rolled up under one particular grouping and it’s not there. I’m like, why are you— ah, because you haven’t been upgraded yet.

Yeah. Exactly, so there’s a lot of different ways you can group. Again, custom properties are a wonderful way to group them for your particular organization. And we’re going to hit submit. And there we go. Now we are grouped by the vendor, and then by the machine type. Well, that wasn’t— there we go. So, you’ve got that. But I want to do something a little different with the second tree. It’s same control. You saw us add it. It’s the exact same one but I’m going to, again, group by vendor and then by machine name just for fun. But I want to filter the nodes. Now this is one of those neat ways that you can get into the SQL back end. It’s very low impact.

Wait a minute. I don’t know how to do this. How do I do this?

Yeah, so that’s what I was going to say. The reason why it’s low impact is because they tell you exactly how to deal with it. The show filter examples, they really do give you a bunch of them. So that you can just copy and paste. The one I like to do for this is status equals two. Now, status equals two is down, so you can do that if you want to. Okay, you can also do, and this is what I prefer, status is not equal to one. Status 1 is up.

Anything other than up, yeah.

Yeah, anything other than up, exactly. I want to submit that. And that gives me basically all my problem nodes. Now, one more thing I want to adjust here, and this is relatively new to version 11, which is that I can take this now and move it up. So it actually doesn’t matter in that create view screen where you put things. Because you can move them around as much as you want to.

But it says all nodes tree AJAX. How am I going to know those are my down nodes?

Yes, yes, yes.

Or my non-up nodes.

Thank you, Mr. Literal. Okay, so. Problem. [Stuttering] Let’s try that again. Problem nodes for Patrick. [Laughing]

To resolve. [Laughing]

To do. There we go.

Right.

But one of the things that was really great there was— and I think, you know, we saw something like this that Kevin did in his demo, was that you can actually, in this case, it’s where everything is not one or it’s not up. But if you wanted to do a list of unmanaged, lists of down, list of up. If you wanted to go by custom properties, you can do that too.

Right.

So that you can actually create, instead of one big tree that you navigate a lot of time, trees that should just be empty if they don’t have anything. So, for example, everything’s great. That thing won’t even appear and I don’t have any problems.

And also, for larger organizations that have onboarding, or they have a lot of move, move, add, change, you can actually have where owner group equals zero, is null. So that you know which devices you have to go back and either ask somebody whose this is or assign it, or whatever need to do.

That’s right. Those custom properties are available in that where clause, just like anything else.

Right.

Okay, so let’s say you’re building a NOC view. I mean, this probably isn’t the best set of resources for this, but let’s say you want to add sub tabs.

Mmhmm.

To be able to either organize it or go ahead and have the NOC view rotate through them.

Yes.

So adding a sub view is pretty straightforward. All I’m going to do is, I’m going to come in here and enable left navigation. Okay, this was again, the edit view, right? So we’re going to enable that. There’s my tab.

Like magic!

Just like magic. I can add tabs right here if I want to. Typically, you’re not going to do them in here. You may do them like— when I do them, I go to that view, and then I click add tab on the view.

Right.

And then add it there, so I can kind of do it interactively. But if I want to, you can go ahead and do it here and create a secondary tab. So, I’m going to create a view called map.

And thank you for hitting update.

Yes, exactly. I’m going to rename that. And then let’s just put a world map in there. This one, I think, is going to have that awful, “this is the sample” message.

Uh huh.

But that’s all right. That way, you can at least roll through. And I’m going to go ahead and click— kill the second column, because I want this thing to be full screen.

Now hang on. Depending on how big your screen is, you also need to adjust— there you go. Adjust the width. To however wide your screen is. So you can make it 1024 or 11— that’s fine

Yeah, I’m just going to make it 1100 because I think the capture on this— on here, is actually a little bit narrow. So I’ll say done. So now, I’ve set the width of that column, and then remember, before, we actually went back and looked at that view, and you’ll notice here there’s two different views.

Mm hm.

Why are there two different views?

One for each tab.

That’s right. And the way you can tell is, there’s this hyphen, right? So you’ll see the name of the view repeated a couple of times, and then then dash was the tab name.

Right.

And then main reason for that is it lets you designate which one you want to edit. So when you click on it and click edit, you’ll go straight to that view. All right, so I’ve got the view. Let’s go back to the preview on that and see what that looks like.

It’s beautiful!

Isn’t that nice?

It is.

Look at that. 1100 pixels wide. You almost think, I knew exactly how wide those tabs are going to be and what it was going to take to make that work.

Mmhmm.

And then, of course, this is our dynamic map. Which is included along with Orion, so you can get maps on your—you can get zoomable maps on your pages without paying for Google licensing fees once you get one hundred thousand clicks. And if I go back to my summary view, it goes back to my summary.

So this is good, and it’s a great summary review. And we’re going to end up using it later for our management user, our theoretical management user. But I want to make this a NOC view. So what is it that I need to do to get this up on the big board in my…

Okay, now, this is really hard. Where you’re back here on your edit view.

Yeah.

And you clicked enable left navigation.

Right.

Click enable NOC view mode. Now, one of the things it’ll ask you, of course, is how often you want it to rotate tabs.

Mmhmm.

Whether it’s every few seconds or minutes. I’m going to set this to five so that we can actually see that. And then this section up here will actually give you a link to it as well. That’s automatically turned on. But if you want to go straight to that, you can do that. You can click done. And go to NOC.

Mmhmm. And notice at the top, it tells you in the black bar which view you’re on.

Exactly. And it gives you the option, if you want, of exiting your NOC view, and it’ll take you back to your regular view. And you might say to yourself, “Well, how am I going to get back to NOC view? Oh, this button right there.

Right up there at the top.

I don’t want to say that checkbox does something that’s actually really simple, but really, all it does is put that up there.

Right. From your perspective as a user, it’s very, very simple to do. It took a lot of programming time, but it’s really very easy.

And the other thing that happens, you can also remember, customize this page, which will basically take you back to this edit view. It’s the main reason that this link is here, is that you’re typically going to stick that into a menu which we’re going to show you here in just a second. So this is a great way to just grab that link.

Mmhmm.

So that you can then take that and put that into a menu bar. So we started by creating a view. And that seems a little bit backwards.

Right. In terms of setting up a user, like I mentioned earlier, we have a management user. We want to give them a special view with their own little menu bar that doesn’t have a lot. They can’t get themselves into trouble. That kind of thing. It seems weird. You want to— you’d think you’d want to create the user first.

Right.

The trouble is that what you’re going to see in a minute, is the user page asks you for the view you want to use. And if you haven’t created it first, you’re going to end up doing a lot more back and forth-ing. And so after, you know, years of working with this, the pattern I’ve gotten into is; you create the view, you create the menu, you create the user, and assign the view or views that you want to that. So that’s what we’re going to do now.

Right, and more often than not, you’re not creating views from scratch. You’re cloning an existing view.

Right.

So the steps that we went through have actually starting from a blank canvas and building it up, you don’t actually do that, that often. Usually, you’ll end up creating— you’ll spin off a view, because you’re thinking about, I want an individualized view for particular users. You’re starting with, “what do I want to show that user?” And then especially when you’re using Active Directory integration, you’re then just going to give that user permissions to view that page and associate it that way.

Which we’re going to look at here now.

All right, let’s create a user.

Okay. So, to create a user, to start this process, you want to go to settings, and I will say that you want to manage users. Okay, but we’re not going to do that. We’re going to scoot past manage users and accounts, and we’re going to go down to customize menu bars, because we have to do that first.

We’ve diverted again.

We have. But only for a moment. Only for just a brief minute. So here we are, diverted again onto the menu bars. Because we have to have the menu bar before we assign it user. Here’s the list of all the different menu bars we have. Not that many. But I want to point out that this is the bar that the administrator, someone logged in as an admin, would see. This is the menus for the APM. That’s the old name. The SAM menu bar. Default and so on and so forth. So you can edit this one and use it, but I’m just going to create a new menu bar. Again, this is for my management users. The nice part is, any menu you’ve ever used anywhere is going to appear on this list. And all I have to do— like, if I want to have an option for alerts, I just drag it into the box. And again, I’m not going to give them a whole lot of alerts. I’m going to give them just events. And then I also want to bring them our knowledge base, if they have questions or internal wikis. So I’m going to add and we’re going to call it Internal Wiki. And the URL’s going to be /internal.wiki.corp.com. Because that’ll go somewhere. Of course it will. [Laughing] You’ll have a…

It will once we start messing with the data…

This is for managers. It uses small words only. [Laughing]

And you don’t…

If you’re a purchasing manager, you did not hear us, just saying.

No, not at all. We don’t mean purchasing managers. We mean your manager. So then, you want— you click ‘okay.’ It doesn’t put it up there automatically. It puts it down. What did I call this? Internal wikis, so it’s going to be under “I” for internal. I do have to remember just a little bit of this. Here we go. And also notice that any of the menus that you’ve created, or which are adjustable, have an edit option. The ones that are sort of locked in— are, in fact, locked in.

And, or they’ll have the delete option. Because you can delete them because you’ve created them. The ones that are built in, you can’t delete them. They’re there.

So, then I’m going to hit submit. Notice that I didn’t name it. I’m going to call it the manager menu. And now, we can create a user.

All right.

All ready.

Let’s create our manager.

Ah, create our— Yes, our manager user. So I’m going to go down to manage accounts. And although I am a big proponent of creating Active Directory users and groups, I think that that’s the best way to go. In this case, for our example, we’re just going to create a new regular old Orion individual account. We’re going to call it manager. The password is going to be super-secret. So the piece that I want to focus on, first of all, is allow account to customize views. Now this almost always no. But the reason I mention this is because in the upper right corner of the screen, is that customize view. And if you don’t want everyone and their cousin changing things around and moving them, you want to make sure that’s no. But for the people that you do want to give this permission, now that you’ve had a chance to understand it, that’s the permission that they need to do this stuff.

Right, so like for NOC view, the one that’s open all the time, you might want to basically essentially make it read only.

Right.

And then they can only do that one thing. And then someone who’s a manager, maybe they would want to be able to do a couple things. Maybe you rearrange resources a little bit, but not actually have administrative rights.

Right. So I just want to mention that, but really, where we’re going with this, is down to the views area. Now, I just want to point out that you may or may not have some of these. Depending if you don’t have SAM, you’re not going to have applications tab menu bar. If you don’t have NCM installed, you’re not going to have configs tab menu bar. So, you may have more or fewer of these depending. In this case, I’m only really worrying about the default view for our managers, and the default view rather than being the default is the manager menu. That’s their menu bar. Okay. So let’s select a view. And…

And this is going to be at the end, because it’s in the order that they created.

Right, so there we go. So we want that to be the summary view there. Default summary view again. Once again, down at the bottom. And you can keep on going, if you want to. If you want to create different summary views for users for every aspect of the Orion portal, you can do that. This is where you decide everything. So again, you have different things depending on which modules you have installed. This is really want I wanted to accomplish.

Mmhmm.

So I’m going to…

Well, I was going to say, before you do that, drop down one of these config tab menu bars. See, you have the option that’s none. If you set that to none, that menu tab at the top will disappear for that user.

Right. So if I don’t want the manager to have menus that, you know, to be able to get there, they actually won’t get it. Okay, so we’ll take those two off the lists and submit. And now the manager user is created. It’s got its own menu bar. Do you want to log in and see what it looks like?

Yeah, let’s log in and take a look at that. And while you’re doing that, the point that I’m going to make also, is that most of the time when you do this, you’re going to use probably Active Directory integration. So when you create a user that’s associated with a group, what you’re really doing is customizing the view one time, and then that view is customized for all users that are a part of that AD group.

Yes.

So if you have a hundred managers, you’re not going to do this a hundred times. You’re only going to do it once.

No, you want to think of views and menus as being role based not individual based, for the most part.

Yeah, because you can certainly do them one off, but that— the opportunity for reuse is a lot greater, though.

Right. And for those viewers who have one SolarWinds installation but multiple customers, what you’re looking at is having a different view for each of those customers where their logins are tied to that view. So they might have different menus again. That wiki, maybe, their wiki, not your wiki. You know, that kind of thing.

Or there may just be things that they care about, like the finance team is going to have a very specific set of applications and systems that they care about.

Right.

You, in IT, you’re going to want to have access to everything. I mean, I certainly have access on my network that— [clearing throat] goes pretty much everywhere all in one place and no— I do correctly separate my workstations. Yes, so being able to specify that so that it’s not only— it’s not that they feel like you’re restricting the view, but you’re actually providing really customized service to them that makes them really get the most out of it. The feel that like, it’s their Orion. It’s their instance. And then they aren’t even aware of all the other things it’s connected to.

Right, because as monitoring engineers, we love all of it. We want to monitor all the things and we want to see all the things. But for the Linux team, or for the network team, they don’t want to see all the other stuff. So it can avoid people getting into SolarWinds and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. I just want to point out here that our manager, first of all, has the view that we created with the two tabs: the map tab, and the summary tab. They only see the three menu choices and they only get the home and network tab, because we said none to those others. But I want to do one more thing. This isn’t just a manager. This is the manager of the Linux machines, okay. That’s all. So now, what I want to do, I have to log out because I can’t change…

Yes, because he’s restricted.

Right. And I’ve done what nobody should ever do. Which is I still have this. This is my dev box, so I can play a little fast and loose here.

So you’re going to come back to settings.

Yep. And I’m going to go to manage accounts. Our manager user accounts. And I’m going to set up an account limitation. Okay, so from here, I want to limit by machine type, so I’m going to say, in this case, a single machine type. You can do multiples. You can have the server administrator and then just remove all the network or the other devices. But in this case, it’s just one type of machine. And I’m going to say continue. Which one is it? Well, I’m looking at the Net SNMP. There we go. Now that we’re flipped back to the manager view, you can see that all this person can see is the SNMP devices. So that’s how you can create an account limitation. Now we do the account limit— the limitation on the account. Remember, I mentioned when we were creating the view in the first place? Same thing. So if you want to have a view that is the same, identical, as all the other views of its type, but you want the view to have an embedded limitation, you can say that this view is only able to look at Windows boxes, Net-SNMP boxes, routers, whatever you want to have. But the user themselves can then flip to a different view that is Windows or a different view that is something else.

And this is the part where we have to cut the show off because we don’t want to go a whole lot longer. [Laughing]

Right.

But this is a really great example of when some views aren’t— the selectors aren’t quite right, and you’re generally going to want to use groups to actually do this. Because in this case, we just went by machine type, which in this case, is Net-SNMP-Linux. But if you’re using SAM to do the monitoring here, and you’re not using the SNMP client on that machine, or you just haven’t installed SNMP, it’s not going to come back as that machine type. So what you’re probably going to do instead is you’re going to create a group called Linux.

Right.

Then you’re going to add dynamic selectors inside of that group, where one of them is the machine type, is Net-SNMP, and the other one might be individual ones or are a custom property. Or the OS version is set to something else. And you might even have a half a dozen dynamic selectors that then create that group to be dynamically populated.

Yes.

And then set the group membership to actually restrict the nodes that are available in those views.

That is absolutely the way to do it. Right. [Laser beaming] So, that’s about it.

Yeah it’s awesome. Mmhmm.

Kong!

Where everybody knows Kong’s name. [Singing]

But da da da da. [Singing]

Where’s the beer?

Yeah, so cheers! [Laughing]

I spend most of my time in VMAN and SAM, but it’s always great to go back and catch up on the basics of the Orion Platform.

Right, we love to talk about the new sexy stuff. And it’s easy to forget that we’ve had years for some of the tasks to become secondhand, like customized views.

Absolutely. Especially when those features, like everything else on the platform, continue to evolve.

Right. Sub views, NOC views…

And using the new console alert action with the NOC view.

Right, so hopefully that was fun for you all and we covered all the questions that you’ve had in chat for the last couple of months.

Right. About chat: if you’re watching this episode and you don’t see a live chat window over there on the right, with hundreds of THWACK members all hanging out while we’re yapping, it’s because you’re not watching live. So to do that, be sure to swing by lab.solarwinds.com and you can give us— and sign up for reminders. You can give us offline feedback on that same page for what you’d like to see in the next episode.

Also, be sure to come by and say hi in person. We’ll be at Microsoft Ignite and Cisco Live in the next few weeks. And we’d love to meet with you.

Yeah, that’s right. And last time, Lawrence and I had someone that really wanted us to sign their arm. [Laughing]

Okay, that is a hardcore fan.

Yeah, or something like that. [Laughing] So anyway, thanks again for stopping by today. And remember, we’re live twice a month, ready to chat with you. And we look forward to seeing you again soon. I’m Patrick Hubbard.

I’m Leon Adato.

And I’m Kong Yang, and thanks for watching SolarWinds Lab.