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NTA 4.x and later have a brand new database component referred to as Flow Storage, which stands separately from your SQL server to provide a dedicated resource for storing Netflow data.
If you wish to upgrade to NTA 4.x and utilize the new Flow Storage database you must have your SolarWinds Application Server on a 64-bit server. Additionally, the server your Flow Storage Database will be installed on MUST be 64-bit as well. SolarWinds highly recommends that you install NTA 4.x on a separate server and not with either your SQL or SolarWinds Applications due to performance concerns. Even with the recommended RAM and CPU, in addition to the requirements of SQL or your SW Applications, the Disk I/O can become a bottleneck and cause your system to halt.
Please see: NTA 4.x Installation: Frequently Asked Questions
Netflow Flow Storage requires a separate server with a dedicated 16GB of RAM, 4 CPU cores and a minimum of 20GB of storage with up to 1TB recommended depending on your Netflow utilization.
The upgrade should take you approximately 15 - 30 minutes in order to install the Flow Storage database and then upgrade the product. The migration of Netflow data can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours or more depending on the size of your Netflow data in the Existing SQL database. The migration is a background process that will take place once the upgrade is complete.
Note: The NTA 4.x installation package is universal for all of the following deployments:
To install Flow Storage simply run the NTA 4.x installation package on the dedicated server and choose Install Flow Storage ONLY and follow the prompts to connect to the existing SQL database (for migration and Core integration) and to set up the Flow Storage.
Once the above has been completed, run the same NTA 4.x installation package on your SolarWinds application server and choose the Option to install NTA 4.x only. This installs the product and then run the Orion Configuration Wizard to guide you through the steps of connecting to the new Flow Storage database and finish the product upgrade.
After the Configuration Wizard is complete, the upgrade will be finished and the background data migration begins. The NetFlow Summary page within the Orion Web Console gives you an indication of the progress.