Time to rebuild a Solarwinds monitoring  environment for a new customer.

This customer currently has a single Solarwinds poller on Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 server with 12CPU Cores, 32GB RAM.

They run the Solarwinds Orion SQL database on a shared SQL server with 16CPU Cores and 64GB RAM.

There are many custom alerts, reports and application pollers running on the main Solarwinds poller that need to be preserved.

Purpose : The customer needs to upgrade because the new version of Solarwinds server and application monitor will not run on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. SAM will only run on Windows server 2012 or newer.

 

To start with we must define the Solarwinds Main Poller Hardware and Software requirements.

Main Poller Server Requirements :

Hardware : 

Quad Core CPU

32GB Memory (18GB) Minimum.

40GB Disk space recommended for Solarwinds Software.

Two 146 GB 15K (RAID 1/Mirrored Settings) hard drives are recommended with a dedicated drive for the server operating system and SolarWinds installation.

Software :

Solarwinds Software modules downloaded from customer portal.

Microsoft Windows Server 2016

IIS8

.NET 4.6.2

Microsoft Internet Explorer 11

SQL Database Server Requirements :

Hardware :

Quad Core CPU

128GB Memory recommended. (64GB) Minimum.

400GB Disk space recommended (100GB) Minimum.

Due to intense I/O requirements, a RAID 1+0 drive is strongly recommended for the SolarWinds database, data, and log files with a dedicated drive for the server operating system and tempdb files.
Other RAID configurations can negatively affect your SQL Server’s performance.
Mirrored drives for the OS and RAID 1+0 for database data files are recommended.
Solid state drives (SSD) are recommended for all components.

Software :

Microsoft Windows Server 2016

Microsoft SQL Server 2017 (64Bit)

We are now at the point where we can define the options for a virtualised or a physical Solarwinds monitoring environment.

Option 1. Full Physical

Main Poller on own physical hardware with all modules installed.

Dedicated SQL Server on own physical server with Solarwinds Orion database running.

Solarwinds recommend 2 x 146GB RAID 1 mirrored drives for Solarwinds polling server and 1 separate drive for the O/S.

Solarwinds recommend SQL server database has own physical drive.

Advantages : Dedicated NIC. Heavy polling use does not affect other VM’s as poller has own dedicated NIC. SQL database has access to fast I/O on dedicated disk RAID array.

Disadvantages : server would have to be engineered with redundancy (RAID and failover) whereas VM would already have DRS and host redundancy.

Option 2. Virtualised Poller & Shared SQL database server

Virtualised main poller.

Virtualised SQL server running multiple other databases as well as Solarwinds.

 

Advantages : Can assign CPU and Memory dynamically as required. Utilises DRS and host redundancy of VMWare infrastructure.

Disadvantages  :Solarwinds recommend SQL server database has own physical drive if SQL installed virtually.

Due to large I/O access to poller from all other network servers and devices NIC on virtual host may slow down and prevent other VM’s from working properly.

I/O to SQL database disk may slow down as a result of being virtualised.

Option 3. Virtualised Poller & Physical SQL database server

Virtualised main poller.

Dedicated SQL Server on own physical server with Solarwinds Orion database running.

Advantages : Poller has VMWare redundancy. SQL database has access to fast I/O on dedicated disk RAID array.

Disadvantages : Due to large I/O access to poller from all other network servers and devices NIC on virtual host may slow down and prevent other VM’s from working properly on same host.

Constant assessment of impact of poller and SQL database upon environment (other VM’s) would need to be carried out to make sure environment performance does not degrade.

I have built the above options many times for my customers so I know they are all viable. It helps to give your customers options to make an informed choice about which solution is the right one for their environment.