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Home > Success Center > Server & Application Monitor (SAM) > Server & Application Monitor (SAM) Getting Started Guide > Discover > What should I monitor?

What should I monitor?

Created by Chris.Moyer, last modified by Chris.Moyer on Sep 30, 2016

Views: 1,979 Votes: 0 Revisions: 7

Discovery is a term used to describe the process SolarWinds Orion uses to identify network elements. During discovery, SolarWinds Orion scans the network for application server and application that you can you can add to the SolarWinds Orion database for monitoring.

SolarWinds SAM can monitor an application, or it can be configured to monitor a custom collection of application components, process monitors, and performance counters. Depending on your needs, SolarWinds can assess the status of every aspect of your application, and the health of the application as a whole.

SolarWinds recommends adding a limited number of application servers, including Exchange, IIS, SQL, Linux, and Unix. After you have the monitoring, alerts, and reports set up, SolarWinds recommends adding more servers.

Discovery checklist

When you run the Discovery Wizard, you will be asked to provide IP addresses and credentials for the devices you want to monitor. SolarWinds recommends that you gather this information before running the Discovery Wizard.


Determine the devices to monitor.


Determine the protocol used to monitor your devices agent or agentless — SNMP or WMI.

Monitoring with Orion agents

An agent is software that provides a communication channel between the Orion server and a Windows  or Linux computer. Products install plugins on agents to collect the data that the agents send back. Orion agents include Windows and Linux. For requirements and information, see Monitoring with Orion agents in SAM.

Monitoring with SNMP

If monitoring devices using SNMP, you must enable SNMP on those devices because it is not enabled by default. SNMP is primarily used to monitor network devices such as routers, firewalls, and switches. To enable SNMP, consult the device vendor documentation.

Linux/Unix servers are generally monitored with SNMP and SSH Script Monitors that require user credentials.

When configuring SNMP-enabled network devices for monitoring, note these details:

  • For correct device identification, monitored devices must allow access to the SysObjectID.
  • Unix-based devices should use the version of Net-SNMP (5.5 or later) that is specific to the Unix-based operating system in use.
  • If SNMPv2c is enabled on a device you want to monitor, by default, SolarWinds SAM attempts to use SNMPv2c to poll the device for performance information. To poll using only SNMPv1, you must disable SNMPv2c on the polled device.
  • SolarWinds SAM can monitor VMware ESX and ESXi Servers versions 4.0 and later.

VMware Tools is not required on VMs running on monitored ESXi and ESX servers, but additional information, including IP addresses, are made available when VMware Tools is installed on virtual machines hosted by monitored ESXi and ESX Servers.

Monitoring with WMI

If monitoring Windows servers, use WMI, which is usually enabled on Windows devices by default. WMI is the preferred polling method because some SolarWinds SAM features are not available if you use SNMP.  
Agentless monitoring using WMI is not recommended when the poller and the device are separated by a firewall. To overcome this limitation, SolarWinds provides an optional agent that allows you to securely monitor Windows servers and applications by WMI. If you want to use SNMP for Windows, then you must install and configure an SNMP agent.

The following table outlines the pros and cons of using SNMP and WMI. For Windows servers, SolarWinds recommends using WMI polling. For a non-Windows server, SolarWinds recommends using SNMP.


Bandwidth, CPU, memory usage on the host/poller File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/icon_check.png File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/icon_warn.png Uses more bandwidth, CPU, and memory than SNMP per poll.
Monitoring across firewall/NAT-ed WAN connection File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/icon_check.png File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/icon_warn.png Requires an agent for secure monitoring over one port.
Windows mount points and application metrics File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/Critical.png Cannot collect Windows mount point statistics or application level metrics. File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/icon_check.png

For additional information, see WMI vs. SNMP polling in the SolarWinds Customer Success Center.


IP ranges or individual IP addresses you want the system to scan as it discovers your network.


SNMP v1/2c community strings and SNMP v3 community strings and credentials of the devices you want to monitor.


Log in credentials for each monitored device.

File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/checkbox.gif VMware host credentials. The system requires read-only permissions.  
File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/checkbox.gif Windows credentials: domain or local admin.  

For AWS cloud monitoring, add an AWS IAM user account (up to 10) and Account Access Key ID and Secret Access Key for access. The account should include the following permissions:

  • ec2:DescribeInstances
  • ec2:DescribeAddresses
  • ec2:DescribeVolumes
  • ec2:DescribeVolumeStatus
  • cloudwatch:GetMetricStatistics
  • autoscaling:DescribeAutoScalingGroups
  • autoscaling:DescribeAutoScalingInstances

For additional management actions, add the following permissions to the AWS IAM user account:

  • ec2:StartInstances
  • ec2:StopInstances
  • ec2:RebootInstances
  • ec2:TerminateInstances

For details on setting up permissions and AWS cloud accounts, see Learn more about Amazon EC2 credentials for cloud monitoring.

File:Success_Center/New_Articles/SAM-Getting-Started-Mindtouch/030/010/checkbox.gif For Microsoft Azure cloud monitoring, configure Azure to interact with the Orion Platform before adding an Azure cloud account to the Orion Web Console. Each account must have sufficient Azure Active Directory (AD) and subscription permissions to add an AD app in the Azure Portal so the Orion Platform can retrieve status and metrics for VMs. IAM permissions must also be set up. 
To learn more, see Configuring Microsoft Azure for cloud monitoring in the Orion Platform.
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