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How to install SolarWinds

Great question… and the best answer I can give you here – just follow the installation guide. The fun does not start here. The installation itself is very straightforward and to an extend – boring. But, you just need to get through this stage anyhow. Let me help you here …

SolarWinds is marketing most of its products as “DIY” – “out of the box” – “everything works” tools. I largely disagree with this statement, however, as far as installation goes – it is pretty much spot on.

You don’t need external help to get things going. Just deploy your vanilla SolarWinds and come back here – we will then go through truly fun stuff on how to make your SolarWinds really shine.

I would, however, advise you to come up with the High-Level Design (HLD) document first. It can be just a few pages long and all of it you can derive from the installation guide. It will serve you well when communicating with your management team since you can show them what is it you are just about to do.

To help you get going – please see below bullet points of what I would normally include in the HLD document:

  • Scope (what is in-scope and out-of-scope. Usually this will include a list of SolarWinds modules you are going to install. Also, remember, this is scope for HLD, not for your final flagship product 5 years from now. So, your scope should be successful installation and POC that monitoring with SolarWinds can be done in your environment. Leave the rest for other enhancement projects. SolarWinds is a Beast, so, don’t even try to harness it all in one day.)
  • Problems (current existing problems you are planning to solve with SolarWinds)
  • Requirements (any requirements that you need to achieve with this task. Initially, this will be your ability to do few basic things with SolarWinds – monitor your devices, get stats and maybe fire some basic alerts. It is all about proving the concept that SolarWinds can and will work in your environment.)
  • Architecture (hardware infrastructure, access control, DR options, HA options, etc)
  • Prerequisites (what ports need to be opened, etc)
  • Dependencies (teams, people and resources that you will need to align to make it all happen. Often it will be server/platform team to spin up your infrastructure, network team to help with firewall rules, management to ok your HLD, etc)
  • Support and ongoing maintenance (maintenance hours and strategy, patching, upgrades, self-monitoring, licensing, support)
  • Documentation and training plan (if you are the only SolarWinds user – skip this. However, chances are there will be other people involved to use these products. So, consider how you are going to get them onboard. It is important to get maximum approval and engagement from your teammates as early as possible)
  • Deployment plan and cost (in this section just get an estimated timeline for your deployment work and cost associated with purchasing required number of licenses).

Once again – remember – your primary focus and task at hand at this stage is to deploy SolarWinds in your environment and to prove the concept of its ability to pick up monitoring of your existing infrastructure. Don’t worry too much about details, such as alerts, probes, checks, config, escalation workflow, look and feel and other million of elements it has. It is way too much to get you going. Just get the Beast out and let it do its job… out-of-the box.

Don’t have time to research and write an HLD?

I can do a thorough analysis of your current problems, requirements and will produce an HLD document for you as part of my consultancy services. Please get in touch.

Bonus tip

SolarWinds gives you fully functioning 30 day’s trial for all products and modules that you need. It is also possible to extend it to 60 days – just contact your sales rep and I am pretty certain they will arrange it for you.

So, 30-60 days is more than enough to POC this tool. And get this – it may not cost you anything at all, until such times when POC has been successful, business approves its purchase and you can then get the ball rolling long term.

Summary

  • RTFM (installation guide)
  • Produce few pages HLD doc
  • Go for 30 day’s trial
  • Just do it – install and prove it can work in your environment.
  • SolarWinds is a Beast (do not even try to harness it all in one go. Leave all tuning and customizations for dessert)

I wish you all the best with your HLD, deployment & POC

With Gratitude,
Alex Soul

By Alex Soul

CEO & Founder at AceWinds