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Home > Success Center > Server & Application Monitor (SAM) > SAM Documentation > SAM Upgrade Guide

SAM Upgrade Guide

Updated March 12, 2019 | SolarWinds Upgrade Guide

Supports: SAM 6.8 and earlier


This guide walks you through upgrading only your SAM product, without any additional Orion Platform products. It includes a preparation checklist, gotchas, and troubleshooting steps.

Upgrading multiple products? See the SolarWinds Upgrade Guide.

Preflight upgrade checklist

This preflight checklist details a number of important steps to help plan and prepare for your upgrade.

Review release notes

Review the latest SAM release notes.

Review system requirements

Review the latest SAM system requirements to ensure your environment includes the necessary hardware and software. To learn about Orion Platform requirements and configurations, refer to:

Review licenses Review current product licenses to determine if you need changes. You can download updated license keys for your upgrade in the SolarWinds Customer Portal. Verify license upgrades with your SolarWinds account manager or contact SolarWinds.
Do you need to migrate?

You may need to migrate products and databases to new dedicated servers or shared servers. Check if you need to migrate by reviewing new requirements, product release notes, and your current environment.

Migrating adds time to your upgrade, but it's the best opportunity to update servers.

Gather credentials Make sure you have all necessary account credentials, SQL database credentials, your SolarWinds account, and local admin server credentials.
Back up files

To ensure a smooth upgrade, back up any custom code such as changed SolarWinds .css files or added .js files. >> Learn More


Always back up your database prior to making any changes.  If you'd like to use SolarWinds Backup, click here for information. You can try it out for free!

Build your upgrade path

Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer, available in the Customer Portal, to direct your upgrade path and run preflight environment checks.

You can still use the Upgrade Product Advisor to see what your upgrade path might look like, but we recommend always using the Orion Installer upgrade path.

Run all Windows updates

Check for and run all Microsoft Windows Updates on your main polling engine, all Additional Polling Engines (APEs), and all Additional Web Servers (AWS).

As you upgrade, Windows updates may reboot your computer, as needed.

Schedule the upgrade Set up the maintenance window, preferably off-peak hours. Depending on the number of products, size of database(s), and size of environment, you may need several hours to complete your upgrade.

Upgrades require polling engines and SolarWinds services to be offline for a length of time so you may lose some polling data.

Notify your company Send a message to your company of the upgrade schedule and maintenance window. If you need additional help, contact and allocate specific staff to be available.


How long does an upgrade take?

The time it takes to complete an upgrade depends on:

  • Hardware
  • Database server performance and database size
  • Number of additional polling engines
  • Number of additional web servers
  • Environment performance
  • Number of modules being upgraded
  • Number of devices being polled

Since every configuration is different, we cannot predict exactly how long your upgrade will take. Through this guide, we include steps and tips to help reduce the time for your upgrade.

Gotchas you should review

SAM 6.8

During the initial configuration of AppInsight for Active Directory, the following component monitors are disabled, by default, to avoid performance issues for domain controllers in environments with large quantities of users and computers:

  • Total User Accounts
  • Total Disabled User Accounts
  • Total Computer Accounts
  • Total Inactive Users
  • Total Inactive Computers
  • Total Expired Password User Accounts

To enable these counters for the main template or for individual AppInsight for Active Directory application monitors, select the check box for the "Enable total counters" option and wait ten minutes for polling to occur.

If you decide to disable the "Enable total counters" feature later, be sure to restart the Orion Collector service to clear its cache. Otherwise, AppInsight for Active Directory applications display as Down and warnings appear in SAM logs. To restart services, use the Orion Service Manager, accessible by clicking Settings > All Settings > Orion Service Manager.

SAM 6.7

SAM 6.6.1

  • The Application Dependencies feature is now disabled when upgrading from an earlier version of SAM to prevent performance issues during upgrades for environments with large quantities of nodes. To start Application Dependency polling after an upgrade, enable the Application Dependencies feature.

SAM 6.6

  • The Application Dependencies feature introduced in SAM 6.6 provides a holistic view of application and server connections, expanding monitoring by detecting how applications and nodes interact with each other. To support this new feature, SAM deploys agent plug-ins to nodes to monitor connections and network communications. If the Allow automatic agent updates option is enabled on the Agent Settings page, performance issues may occur when SAM deploys agent plug-ins.
  • An Orion agent hosted on a minimally provisioned server can consume high CPU usage during polling. If that happens, try reducing the quantity of monitored elements or increasing server resources.

SAM 6.5

  • Windows OS 2008 and 2008 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 are no longer supported for use as the Orion server or the Orion SQL server. You must upgrade to Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, or 2016. See End of support notices.
  • The Alert Manager application was deprecated and removed in SAM 6.4. Please use the web-based Alert Manager through the Orion Web Console to create and manage alerts. See Navigate to the Alert Manager.
  • Microsoft Azure sometimes uses different terms for the same value in its user interface and documentation. For tips about adding Azure accounts, see this article.
  • If you plan to exceed SolarWinds recommendations and monitor 2000 or more Microsoft Azure VMs, see this article if the Orion Platform receives a Status Code 503 - Service Unavailable message when adding an Azure account.

SAM 6.4

  • If you added a site binding to a host name before you upgrade, you must bind the Orion Web Console to a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). See this article.
  • When upgrading to SAM 6.4 with custom menus, you cannot see the Performance Dashboard link in the menu. See this article.
  • When upgrading an Additional Polling Engine (APE), you may receive this error " The license we have for Orion Scalability Engine is outdated". See this article.
  • After SAM 6.4, future releases will no longer support Windows OS 2008 and 2008 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. SAM 6.4 currently supports these versions. SolarWinds recommends that you upgrade to Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, or 2016 at your earliest convenience. See End of support notices.
  • To monitor Exchange Server 2016, install PowerShell 2.0 or later and provide local Administrator rights. 

Orion Platform gotchas

  • Orion Platform 2018.4 products are no longer compatible with Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2.
  • Orion Platform 2018.4 products are no longer compatible with any version of SQL Server 2012.
  • If you wrote your own code, by changing SolarWinds .css files or adding .js files, or were directed to make changes by SolarWinds Support, the code may be overwritten during the upgrade. See Upgrading if you have custom code.
  • Always check that you have enough hard drive space for zipped and unzipped installers. One unzipped installer can consume several GBs of space.
  • During your upgrade, use the Scalability Engine Installer. If you use downloaded installers or the installer bundle, you must install one product and version at a time. The versions must match between the main and additional polling engines or you will receive a Database Configuration Failure Error.
  • If upgrading from a very early or End of Life SolarWinds product version, you may want to install a new product instead of performing an upgrade or migrating data. SolarWinds Support can provide the best advice for these upgrade scenarios.
  • If you enabled SolarWinds High Availability, you must disable High Availability before you can upgrade. You must have the same versions of SolarWinds products on your primary and secondary servers before you can re-enable your HA pools. See Upgrade with HA.

Prepare your environment

When you are ready to upgrade, complete these steps. They include the common actions you need to complete before upgrading products.

If you have a test or staging environment, we highly recommend testing the upgrade first. You cannot roll back an installation once completed.

1. Back up the DB

Snapshot your VMs

Back up your SolarWinds SQL database. If you need help, please check your vendor's site for documentation and instructions.

If you have your database on a VM, create a snapshot or copy of your VM.

You cannot roll back an upgrade. Always create a database backup.

2. Back up custom code (Optional)

(Optional) Back up your custom code. When upgrading, any custom additions or changes to the interface will be saved over.

3. Back up Report Writer reports (Optional)

Upgrading to an Orion Platform 2016.1 or later product? You can skip this step.

If you use Report Writer reports (NPM 10.5 and earlier) or still have legacy reports, back up the reports folder to save your custom reports:

  • 64-bit OS: C:\Program Files x86\Solarwinds\Orion\Reportsx86\Solarwinds\Orion\Reports
  • 32-bit OS: C:\Program Files\Solarwinds\Orion
4. Exclude files on anti-virus software

To ensure the best performance on your server host and provide full file access, exclude specific file paths and directories from anti-virus software scans. See this article for details.

You can also place your systems behind a firewall to completely disable your anti-virus software during an upgrade.

5. Stop services Stop services in the Orion Service Manager on the main polling engine, all additional polling engines, and all web servers.
6. Disable alert actions

To prevent false alert storms during upgrades, SolarWinds recommends disabling alert actions:

  1. Go to Alerts & Activity.
  2. Click More.
  3. Select Pause actions of all alerts.

Perform the upgrade

Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer to upgrade from SAM 6.2.4 or later. See the SolarWinds Orion Installation Guide for details. You can also use the Installer to upgrade from SAM 6.2 by downloading legacy files and running the Configuration Wizard. See the SolarWinds Upgrade Guide.

Upgrade with SolarWinds HA

To upgrade a server pair in a SolarWinds High Availability (HA) pool, follow the instructions for upgrading your product with the following differences.

If you enabled SolarWinds High Availability, you must disable HA before you can upgrade. All SolarWinds product versions must match on the primary and secondary servers before you can re-enable your HA pools.

These instructions assume you have an HA pool already created and enabled. 

1. Disable the HA pool

The HA pool must be disabled to begin upgrading. If you upgrade prior to disabling, the pool is automatically disabled.

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > High Availability Deployment Summary.
  2. Select the pool you want to disable.

  3. Toggle High Availability to Off.

Do not modify the VIP or IP settings for the servers.

2. Upgrade the primary server Follow the upgrade instructions in the next section for the primary server. If you need to upgrade multiple products in the upgrade path, complete those upgrades fully.
3. Upgrade the secondary server using Orion Scalability Engine Installer

Download the Orion Scalability Engine Installer on the primary server and run it on the secondary server to upgrade:

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > Polling Engines and click Download Installer Now.
  2. Move the downloaded installer to your secondary server and run it.
  3. Complete the installation process. You may be prompted to enter your SQL credentials for your Orion SQL database.
4. Enable the HA pool

When the installer completes, enable the HA pool using the following instructions. You may need to recreate the HA pool. For details, see this article

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > High Availability Deployment Summary.
  2. Select the pool you want to enable.

  3. Toggle High Availability to On.
    The Orion Web Console verifies all SolarWinds product versions match across the HA pair before enabling. If you receive errors, check your product versions.

Verify the upgrade

All product versions should be installed properly. Open the application and verify the versions displayed in the footer of the Web Console. Try current and new features with your system to check performance and expected functionality. If you run into issues, check the troubleshooting tips.


If you receive errors, try the following:

  • If you experience issues and are not on the latest product versions, we recommend completing a full upgrade. Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer to create the upgrade path. Many of these updates solve issues you may experience part way through your upgrade.
  • Check our Success Center for troubleshooting. We recommend searching the name of the product, the version number, any error codes or messages displayed, and the general issue you found.
  • Check your Customer Portal for any new hot fixes.
  • If you receive a (500) internal server error after an upgrade, use the Orion permission checker to make sure your Group Policy is not locked. See this article for full details.
  • If your views do not load when first opening the console, run the Configuration Wizard again.

If an issue occurs you need additional help with, contact Support. We recommend gathering diagnostics, a screenshot of the issue, and any error codes you receive. Attach and add this information to your ticket.  You may also want to gather additional diagnostics on your additional polling engines and web servers.

Want to learn more?

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