Integrating with SolarWinds NPM

SolarWinds NPMis a software that enables you to detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues. 

Configure an integration with SolarWinds NPM, to view the alert, event, metric, and topology data from SolarWinds NPMin the following products and derive actionable insights:

  • BMC Helix Operations Management
    BMC Helix Operations Management displays alerts as events, even though SolarWinds NPM separates events and alerts. 
  • BMC Helix Discovery
  • BMC Helix AIOps


As a tenant administrator, perform the following steps to integrate with SolarWinds NPM , verify the integration, and view the collected data in various BMC products.

Supported versions

This connector supports the following versions of SolarWinds NPMfor data collection:

  • 2023.3
  • 12.5
  • 2019.4
  • 2020.2

Planning for the connection

  • Depending on the location (SaaS, on-premises) of the third-party product, choose one or more BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations deployment modes and review the corresponding port requirements. For information about various deployment modes and port requirements, see Deployment scenarios.
  • Based on the deployment modes, use the BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations SaaS deployment or the BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations on-premises gateway or both. For more information about the gateway, see Deploying the BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations on-premises gateway.

  • The on-premises gateway must be able to reach the third-party product on the required port (default is 17778).

In the preceding list, third-party product refers to SolarWinds NPM .

Configuring the connection with SolarWinds NPM

  1. Access BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations:

    • BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations SaaS – Log on to BMC Helix Portal, and click Launch on BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations.
    • BMC Helix Intelligent Integrationson-premises gateway – Use one of the following URLs to access BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations:
      • http://<hostName>:<portNumber>/swpui
      • https://<hostName>:<portNumber>/swpui
  2. On the CONNECTORS  tab, click in the SOURCES panel .
  3. Click SolarWinds NPM .
  4. Specify the source connection details:
    1. Specify a unique instance name.

      Best practice

      We recommend that you specify the instance name in the following format:

      <sourceType>_<sourceControllerServerName>_<InstanceQualifier>

      The instance qualifier helps you to distinguish the multiple instances configured from the same source server. For example, you can name your instances as SolarwindsNPM_Host_PROD, SolarwindsNPM_Host_TEST, and so on.

    2. Specify the SolarWinds NPM host name.
    3. Specify the SolarWinds NPM HTTP or HTTPS port number depending on the connection protocol (default value is 17778).
    4. Select the HTTPS  option to use an https connection to the SolarWinds NPM host.

      Warning

      We recommend that you do not select the Allow Unsigned Certificate option in a production environment. You might want to select this option to allow unsigned certificates in a test environment. See the SolarWinds NPM documentation to learn how to install SSL certificates.


    5. Specify the number of maximum concurrent REST API requests that should be executed during a collection schedule (d efault value is 5).
    6. Specify the user name and password. Ensure that the specified user can access SolarWinds NPM REST API.
    7. Specify the time, in seconds, after which no attempt should be made to establish the connection (d efault value is 30 seconds).
    8. Click Proxy and specify whether you want to configure a proxy server.
      If yes, specify the host name and port number (default value is 8888).
  5. Click VALIDATE AND CREATE.
    The specified connection details are validated and the corresponding source connection is created in the Source Connection  list.
  6. Select the source connection that you created from the list if it is not selected already.

    Important

    The destination host connection is created and configured automatically when the source connection is created.

  7. Ensure that the options for the datatypes for which you want to collect data are selected.

  8. Click a data type and specify the configuration parameters in the Collectors section as described in the following table:

    Parameter NameData Type

    SolarWinds Events

    SolarWinds Alerts

    SolarWinds Metrics

    SolarWinds NPM Topology

    Specify the data collection frequency by using one of the following methods:

    • Constantly by specifying the schedule in minutes, hours, or day using the Duration option
      Default: 5 minutes

      Example:
      Collection Schedule
      is set to 5 mins.
      Current time is 00:30.

      If you run the collector just after 00:30, data is collected every 5 mins, first at 00:30 and next at 00:35, and so on.  

    • Periodically by specifying the schedule through a cron expression using the Cron schedule option 

      A cron expression is a string consisting of five subexpressions (fields) that describe individual details of the schedule.  These fields, separated by blank spaces, can contain any of the allowed values with various combinations of the allowed characters for that field.
      Default: */5 * * * * (evaluates to 5 minutes)

      Format:
      Minutes Hours (24-hour format) Day of Month Month Day of Week

      Example:
      If you specify 10 15 3 7 * , data is collected at 15:10 hours every third day in the month of July.

    For more information about how this parameter affects data collection,  see Data collection schedule.

    (tick)

    (tick)

    (tick)

    (tick)

    Specify the historical time period (in minutes) from the current time for which the data should be collected.

    Default: 5 minutes

    Example:

    Collection Schedule is set to 5 mins.
    Data Collection Window is set to 5 mins.
    Current time is 00:30.

    If you run the collector just after 00:30, data is collected first at 00:30 for the interval, 00:25 - 00:30, and next at 00:35 for the interval, 00:30 - 00:35, and so on.

    For more information about how this parameter affects data collection,  see Data collection window.

    (tick)

    (tick)

    (tick)

    (tick)

    Specify the time (in minutes) by which the data time window should be shifted back on the timeline.

    This parameter is useful in delayed data availability situations.

    Default: 0 minutes

    Example:

    Collection Schedule is set to 5 mins.
    Data Collection Window is set to 10 mins.
    Data Latency is set to 2 mins.
    Current time is 00:30.

    If you run the collector just after 00:30, data is collected first at 00:30 for the interval, 00:18 to 00:28 and next at 00:35 for the interval, 0:23 to 00:33, and so on.

    For more information about how this parameter affects data collection, see Data latency.

    (tick)

    (tick)

    (tick)

    (tick)


    Event Types

    Select one or more event types from the list.

    This list is updated automatically from SolarWinds NPM.

    (tick)

    (error)

    (error)

    (error)

    Status

    Select one alert status from the list.

    (error)

    (tick)

    (error)

    (error)

    Alert Severities

    Select one or more alert severities from the list.

    This list is updated automatically from SolarWinds NPM.

    (error)

    (tick)

    (error) (error)

    Alert Categories

    Select one or more alert categories from the list.

    This list is updated automatically from SolarWinds NPM.

    (error) (tick) (error) (error)

    Groups

    Select all nodes or a specific subset of node groups from the list.

    This list of node groups is updated automatically from SolarWinds NPM.

    (error) (error) (tick) (error)

  9. Click CREATE COLLECTORS to create the required collector streams for the selected data types.
  10. Click a data type and specify the configuration parameters in the Distributors section as described in the following table:
    Parameter nameDescription
    Max Batching Size

    Specify the maximum number of data items to send in a single POST request to the destination API.
    The batch size
    depends on the destination’s ability to buffer the incoming data.

    Default: 250

    Max Batching Delay

    Specify the maximum time (in seconds) to wait before building a batch and processing.

    Default: 3 seconds 

    Base Retry Delay

    Specify the initial time (in seconds) for which to wait before retrying to build a batch and processing.
    The waiting time increases in the following sequence: n1, n2, n3, and so on, where n indicates the number of seconds.

    Default: 2 seconds

    Example:

    Base Retry Delay is set to 2 seconds.

    Retry is performed after 2, 4, 8, 16, ... seconds.

    Max Intra-Retry Delay


    Specify the maximum limit for the base retry delay. 

    Default: 60 seconds

    Example:

    Max Intra-Retry Delay is set to 60 seconds.
    Base Retry Delay is set to 2 seconds.

    Retries are performed 2, 4, 8, 16, 32,... seconds later.

    Max Retry Duration

    Specify the total time for retrying a delivery. For REST destinations, a delivery is a batch of data items in one POST request. 

    Default: 5 minutes

    Example:

    Max Retry Duration is set to 8 hours.
    Base Retry Delay is set to 2 seconds.

    Requests are sent for 2+4+8+16+32+64+132... until 8 hours in total duration is reached. After that, no subsequent attempts are made to retry the delivery.

    The assumption here is that if there is an outage or other issue with the destination tool, recovery should take less than the value of the Max Retry Duration parameter to be completed.

    Attributes To Be Dropped When Updating Events

    Specify the event attributes that you do not want to be updated in BMC Helix Operations Managementwhen events are updated. 

    For example, if you do not want an event's severity, source address, source category, and subcategory to be updated in BMC Helix Operations Management , you need to specify those attributes in a comma-separated format: severity,source_address,source_category,source_subcategory .

    Important:

    You can obtain the event attribute names in BMC Helix Operations Management, by exporting any event data in JSON, BAROC, XML, or CSV format . The exported file contains all attributes of the event data, and from there you can identify the attributes to be dropped. 


  11. Click CREATE DISTRIBUTORS to create the required distributor streams for the selected data types.
  12. Click one of the following buttons:
    • SAVE STREAM : Click this button if you want to edit the integration details before creating the connector. After you save the stream, the connector that you just created is listed in the SOURCES panel. Move the slider to the right to start the data stream.
    • SAVE AND START STREAM : Click this button if you want to save the integration details and start receiving data immediately.

    Important

    For a data stream, the Run Latency (max/avg), Items (Avg per Run), and Last Run Status columns on the Streams page might show No Runs as the status during the data collection process. After the completion of the process, these columns are updated with an appropriate status.


    For more information about data streams, see Starting or stopping data streams.


Verifying the connection

In BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations , on the SOURCES panel, confirm that the data streams for the integration you created are running. Data streaming is indicated by moving colored arrows.

  • Moving dark blue arrows () indicates that alert and event streams are running. Event data will be pushed according to the configured Collection Schedule interval.
  • A moving red arrow () indicates that metric stream is running. Metric data will be pushed according to the configured Collection Schedule interval.
  • A moving light blue arrow () indicates that topology stream is running. Topology data will be pushed according to the configured Collection Schedule interval.

Viewing data in BMC Helix applications

Important

If the event or metric data is ingested by using BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations, and the topology data is ingested through some other means, all the use cases in BMC Helix AIOps might not work as expected because the external IDs generated by BMC Helix Intelligent Integrations and BMC Helix Discovery differ. In addition, host name might differ in both the products. 

To view events in BMC Helix Operations Management

  1. In BMC Helix Operations Management, select Monitoring > Events.
  2. Filter the events by the SolarWindsAlert class.

Incoming events from SolarWinds NPM are processed in BMC Helix Operations Management   through a set of deduplication rules to determine whether the incoming event is a duplicate event or a new event. For more information, see Event deduplication, suppression, and closure for reducing event noise.

For information about events, see Monitoring and managing events Open link .

To view metrics in BMC Helix Operations Management

  1. In BMC Helix Operations Management, select Monitoring > Devices.
  2. Click the links for the required device.
  3. On the Monitors tab, click the required monitor.
    The Performance Overview tab shows the metrics graph.

    For information about metrics, see Monitoring and managing events Open link
    .

To view the topology data in BMC Helix Discovery

In BMC Helix Discovery, select Explore > Data, and click <count> Import Records in the Miscellaneous section. The Import Record List page shows the CI records received from SolarWinds NPM.

For information about records, see Managing your IT infrastructure Open link .

To view services and situations in BMC Helix AIOps

Before you view services and situations in BMC Helix AIOps, create a Business Service model in BMC Helix Discovery. For information about creating models, see Managing models Open link .  

In BMC Helix AIOps, on the Overview page, view the services and situations for the event and topology data received from SolarWinds NPM.

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