I have been asked many times, how to make a Solarwinds deployment multitenanted?

Managed service providers often wish to run their own instance of Solarwinds and they want to display all their customers inside it for monitoring purposes. They also want to give their customers visibility of their own infrastructure. So here is my quick guide.

The most important part of making Solarwinds multitenanted is to give it the power it needs.

Refer to Solarwinds system requirements for more details.

Additional pollers should be placed in relevant network locations combined with the correct Solarwinds monitoring tool to monitor relevant technology.
Customers always have specific requirements.
Requirements should be assessed and a plan of action for each customer can be generated.

Custom Properties

Custom properties are useful but if they are not adhered to then they become useless.
I favour a combination of custom properties and dynamic rules applied to groups. Once dynamic groups are created you can generate suitable NOC displays to allow users to quickly see when there is a problem in an environment.

Dynamic Groups and Dependencies

Currently I monitor fifteen data centres at unique customers based in different geographical locations around the world. I have assigned dynamic grouping to them to fit into a predefined group that saves me time sorting my nodes and allows my group alerting and NOC displays to work more efficiently.

Groups are based upon functions of the equipment, location, applications, and dependencies.
I use custom fields mainly for support purposes to allow my engineers to see where the devices fit into the organisation and to provide them with the information they need to effectively support a device. I use the group information to create a local NOC for each site that I give to the customer inside a custom view for their local technicians and I create a general NOC for engineers who want to see all fifteen locations.

Dependencies are key to the success of your monitoring.
If you have a business critical application you need to know what servers / hardware it relies upon, these are known as dependencies.

View Limitations

My customers view is restricted by view limitations so they can only see their own nodes. This is key to a multitenanted monitoring environment allowing customers to coexist on the same platform but not able to see each others infrastructure.
A multitenanted environment is a challenge to create and maintain due to the communication / security / privacy issues and understanding required across the organisation.

Connectivity

Check that firewall connectivity and key ports are allowed through for your monitoring applications. This is key. If your firewall rules don’t allow SNMP and WMI data then you won’t be able to monitor a unique data centre properly.

Conclusion

  • A managed service provider needs a good understanding of the multiple locations, customers, requirements and applications that they are attempting to monitor.
  • Give Solarwinds enough resources to do its job. Refer to Solarwinds requirements.
  • Setup dynamic groups, utilise custom properties and view limitations.
  • Set up a regular monitoring/alerting workshop to assess requirements regularly.
  • Utilise smart alerts combined with distribution groups rather than hundreds of the same alerts for each customer. It saves time and stops you spending your days trawling through alerts.