How do I get started with NCM?

Welcome to the SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) Getting Started Guide.

Ensure your long term success with SolarWinds NCM by following the guidelines described in this guide. Depending on your workload, getting started with NCM should take you one week or less.


This getting started guide assumes that you have:

  • Purchased or are evaluating NPM and NCM.
  • Installed NPM and are adding NCM to your SolarWinds Orion deployment.
  • Completed the NPM Getting Started Guide. There are some very important principles and skills that you learn in the NPM Getting Started Guide, so SolarWinds highly encourages you to work through that content.

Get started with NCM

To get started with NCM, complete the following tasks.

Install NCM.

Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer to prepare the environment and install NCM.

Populate NCM with devices.

For NCM to manage your device configs, you need to discover those network devices and add them to Orion for monitoring.

Manage network change.

Understand options for editing configs. Learn how to manually back up a config, edit one or more configs with a script, run an inventory scan, and edit a config using a config change template.

Troubleshoot a network problem caused by a config change.

Get a walk-through of investigating and correcting a network outage caused by a config change, and learn what was configured to enable that type of monitoring and troubleshooting.

Configure real-time change detection.

Get instant notification through email whenever a change occurs to any of your device configurations. Real-time change detection helps you troubleshoot the root cause of network performance issues and identify unauthorized changes.

Run and schedule inventory reports.

Use NCM inventory reports to access up-to-date device information and to manage the inventory of your network infrastructure. Learn how to run and schedule device inventory reports.

Ensure compliance.

Use the NCM compliance policy reports to verify and maintain compliance within your network. Learn how to use preconfigured reports to conduct a compliance audit.

Existing customers: Access your licensed software from the SolarWinds Customer Portal.

If you need implementation help, contact our Support Geeks. Read this SolarWinds Customer Support article to learn how to properly open a support case and get your case the right level of visibility.

Evaluators: If you are evaluating SolarWinds NCM, download a free 30-day evaluation. The evaluation version of SolarWinds NCM is a full version of the product, functional for 30 days. After the evaluation period, you can easily convert your evaluation license to a production license by obtaining and applying a license key. If you need assistance with your evaluation, contact

Product terminology

Orion Platform: The common backend platform used by the SolarWinds Orion suite of products, including NPM, SAM, NCM, NTA, and more. The platform provides the backbone for navigation, settings, and common features like alerts and reports. It also provides a consistent look-and-feel across products, giving you a “single pane of glass” for your Orion monitoring tools.

Orion Web Console: The web interface that you use to access NCM and other products that run on the Orion Platform. This interface is used to view, configure, and manage all of your monitored objects.

Check out this video on navigating the Web Console.

Orion Application Server: A Windows server that runs the Orion Web Console and collects data from monitored objects. Also called the Orion Main Poller.

Orion Database Server: A Windows SQL server that should be hosted on a dedicated server in a production environment, separately from the Orion Application Server. It stores Orion configuration data and all collected performance and syslog data.

Polling Engine: A polling engine controls polling job scheduling, data processing, and queries your monitored devices for performance metrics such as CPU, memory, and up or down status. Additional Polling Engines can be licensed to provide additional scalability and capacity. By default, the Orion Server provides one polling engine (often referred to as the main polling engine).