Prepare to install or upgrade Orion Platform products

Use the following sections to plan your installation or upgrade and to prepare your environment.

Plan your installation or upgrade

Use this checklist to verify product requirements before you get started. The Orion Installer will alert you to warning or critical level requirement issues during the System Check.

  Installation and upgrade checklist

Review product release notes:

Review system requirements.

Use the following links and the multi-module environments guidelines to make sure your environment has all of the required hardware and software.

See URLs used by the Orion Platform for a list of URLs to add as exceptions to your firewall.

Review licenses, gather keys, and review maintenance status.

Review your product licenses and maintenance status and determine if you need to make any changes. You can download license keys for your new Orion Platform products through the Customer Portal. Discuss license upgrades with your SolarWinds account manager or contact SolarWinds.

Gather credentials.

Make sure you have all account credentials, Orion Platform database credentials, your SolarWinds account, and local admin server credentials.

Considerations for upgrades

The following situations can affect your upgrade process.

Do you need to migrate?

If product requirements have changed, you might need to migrate products and databases to new dedicated servers before you can upgrade to the latest version. Determine whether you need to migrate by reviewing new product requirements, performance, and company needs.

Migrating adds time to your upgrade, but upgrades provide a good opportunity to update your environment. See the Migration Guide for more information.

Do you have products out of maintenance?

If you have a product that is out of maintenance (that is, the license has expired), the Orion Installer upgrades the product to the latest version that became available before maintenance expired and is compatible with other installed products.

Be aware that having an out-of-maintenance product can prevent you from upgrading products that are currently under maintenance. This occurs when the out-of-maintenance product is not compatible with the latest version of the Orion Platform.

Example: You have IPAM out of maintenance. You want to upgrade NPM to the latest version. Upgrading NPM would also upgrade the Orion Platform. However, your version of IPAM is incompatible with the latest version of the Orion Platform. The installer reports the issue and suggests resolutions, but it does not allow you to upgrade NPM until the issue is resolved.

Recommendations:

  • Renew. SolarWinds highly recommends renewing. Products under maintenance have access to technical support and all the latest upgrades.
  • Uninstall the product that restricts your upgrade.
  • Move the out-of-maintenance product to a different server. See the Migration Guide for details.

Do you have product versions that cannot be upgraded by the Orion Installer?

If you have legacy product versions that are not supported by the Orion Installer, the installer runs a system check that provides a full upgrade path for legacy products. Use the links supplied in the system check details to download legacy installers for the versions you need. See Upgrade older versions of Orion Platform products for details.

Prepare for an upgrade

  Upgrade Checklist

Schedule the upgrade.

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

If you upgrade or install new Orion Platform products into an existing Orion Platform installation, all SolarWinds services and polling must be offline for a length of time, causing you to lose a portion of polled data.

Notify your company of the upgrade schedule and maintenance window.

Back up your database and snapshot your VMs.

Back up your SolarWinds Orion database. If you need help, check your vendor's site for instructions. If you'd like to use SolarWinds Backup, click here for information.

If your Orion server is on a virtual machine, create a snapshot or copy of your VM.

You cannot roll back an upgrade. Always back up your database.

If you have written custom code, back it up.

Prepare the servers

Depending on your licensed Orion Platform products, you might need to prepare multiple servers and configure ports in your firewall before installation.

  Server preparation checklist

Prepare servers for your Orion Platform products and deployment:

  • Orion server: See your product's system requirements.
  • Orion database server: See your product's system requirements.
  • Primary and Secondary servers for SolarWinds High Availability: Review the HA requirements and VIP address information and prepare matching servers.
  • Additional Polling Engine servers: See the SolarWinds Scalability Guidelines.
  • Additional Web Server: See the SolarWinds Scalability Guidelines.
  • Additional databases: Some products require additional databases. For example:
    • NTA requires a SQL Server database to store flow data, and Log Analyzer requires a SQL Server database to store log data. These databases can be on the same server as the Orion database, or they can be on different servers. For more information, see Databases used by SolarWinds modules.

    • Integrated products, such as DPA and Patch Manager, require a separate, dedicated database.

For upgrades, be aware of changes to server and other requirements. For example:

  • VMAN 8.0 and later versions no longer require a separate virtual appliance. Existing customers can choose to retire the appliance or continue to use the appliance by upgrading it separately.
  • NTA 4.2.3 and earlier used a FastBit database to store flow storage data. NTA 4.4 and later versions use a SQL Server database. Data from earlier versions cannot be migrated to NTA 4.4 and later.

Run all Microsoft Windows updates.

Before installation, check for and run any Windows Updates on all servers. If a Windows update runs during the installation, your system might reboot. The installation cannot complete if your system is waiting to reboot.

Open required ports.

Open the ports required by your products and any additional features you have enabled. For example, SolarWinds High Availability has additional port requirements beyond product needs. The Orion Platform uses these ports to issue management commands and to send and receive data.

Exclude files from anti-virus scans.

To ensure a smooth installation and optimal product performance, exclude specific file paths and directories from anti-virus software scans. See Files and directories to exclude from antivirus scanning.

Gotchas for Orion Platform products

Be aware of the following changes or considerations that frequently affect installations or upgrades. For information about product-specific issues that could affect upgrades, see your product's release notes.

  • Installing Orion Platform products and Access Rights Manager (ARM) on the same server causes a conflict with the RabbitMQ service. To avoid this, ARM and Orion Platform products must be installed on separate servers. Note that ARM is not an Orion Platform product.

  • Products that run on Orion Platform 2018.4 and later (such as NPM 12.4) are no longer compatible with the following platforms:

    • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2
    • SQL Server 2012, 2012 SP1, 2012 SP2, 2012 SP3, and 2012 SP4

    To use the new features introduced in Orion Platform 2018.4 products, upgrade your environment at your earliest convenience.

  • Carefully review the port requirements for your products. Incorrect ports can cause communication and polling issues. See the Port requirements for all SolarWinds products for details.
  • If Patch Manager is part of your environment, SolarWinds recommends upgrading to version 2.1.5 or higher before running the Orion Installer.
  • If you have NTA 4.2.3 or earlier, SolarWinds does not recommend performing an upgrade. Instead, uninstall the earlier version and then install the current version. Because of a change in the type of database used as the Flow Storage Database, flow data cannot be migrated during an upgrade. For more information, see this article.

Next steps