Documentation forSolarWinds Observability

Add a network device

You have the following options to add network devices for monitoring in SolarWinds Observability:

  • Network Collector: Deploy one or more Network Collectors, log in to the Network Collector Web Console, and configure network devices, interfaces, or flows you want to monitor with SolarWinds Observability.

    You can deploy multiple Network Collectors. SolarWinds recommends that you deploy a Network Collector for each monitored network site. See Review Network Collector requirements.

    The Network Collector Web Console has the same look and feel like the SolarWinds Platform Web Console and workflows are almost the same.

  • Platform Connect: If you have SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability Essentials or Advanced, you can use the Platform Connect feature to observe data collected by HCO in SolarWinds Observability as well. See Connect HCO to SolarWinds Observability.

Go directly to the relevant section:

Install the Network Collector

To monitor devices with an existing Network Collector, log in to the Network Collector Web Console.

Check whether you already have a Network Collector deployed

  1. Click Take Me to Agents on the Install Network Collector screen. This opens the Agents page listing all hosts with deployed plugins.

  2. Find the host where you want to deploy the Network Collector and click it. This opens the Inspector Panel, Plugins tab.

    • If there already is a Network Collector deployed, you will see a network-collector plugin in the list.

    • If you are using the Platform Connect feature to get SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability data to SolarWinds Observability, the plugin name is network-collector (CloudConnected).

Review Network Collector requirements

  • You can only install the Network Collector on a server with a supported Windows version. Network Collector requirements are the same as SolarWinds Platform requirements. See SolarWinds Platform on-prem requirements.

  • If you plan extensive flow monitoring, SolarWinds recommends that you use a higher version of SQL Server than MS SQL Express as the database or use a dedicated Network Collector for monitoring flow data. Review the SQL Express Limits.

  • You can monitor up to 2,000 network devices per Network Collector. To observe more network devices, SolarWinds recommends you deploy multiple Network Collector instances to distribute the load.

    The scale can be influenced by the complexity of the network devices being monitored, such as the number of polled interfaces and/or volumes, and by polling capabilities of the Network Collector.

  • For flow monitoring, you can monitor up to 40,000 flows per second, or up to 4,000 inserts per second.

    See SolarWinds Observability System Requirements for details.

  • For data in transit from the Network Collector to SolarWinds Observability, the Network Collector encrypts the data using the TLS 1.2 protocol with a 2048 bit RSA certificate.

Install the Network Collector

  1. In SolarWinds Observability, click Add Data at the top.

  2. On the Add Data dialog, click Network Device.

  3. In the Add Network Device wizard, specify whether you want to use a new or an existing Ingestion token to identify the Agent when sending the data into SolarWinds Observability and click Next.

  4. On the Install Network Collector screen, download the ISO file.

  5. On the same screen, copy the API token value in step 3.
  6. Log in to the server that will host your Network Collector and transfer the ISO file there.

    When installing the Network Collector on a VM, copy the installer to the VM. Mounting the ISO in the Hypervisor software and then sharing it with the VM blocks the installation. For a workaround, see SolarWinds Installer could not determine which product to install.

  7. Mount the ISO file. You can double-click it or right-click the file and select Mount.

  8. In the mounted DVD drive, launch the EXE file to start the installation wizard.

  9. On the Installation Type screen, select Collector and click Next.

  10. Paste the API token from the clipboard into the text box.

  11. Review the EULA. If you agree, select the checkbox.

  12. Review the installation options. You can change the folder for installing the Network Collector here.

  13. Review the installation report. If it includes warnings, complete the suggested steps and click Re-check.

  14. Click Install to start the installation.

  15. When the installation wizard finishes, configure the Network Collector. You can use default options.

All activities necessary for providing data from the Network Collector to SolarWinds Observability are performed automatically. Just specify network devices you want to monitor.

See Troubleshoot Network Collector installation issues if necessary.

Add devices to the Network Collector

If you deployed a Network Collector, add and manage devices in the Network Collector Web Console.

Log in to the Network Collector Web Console

If you are logging in to the Network Collector Web Console for the first time, you are prompted to define a password for the Admin account.

  1. Launch a browser and enter the IP address or hostname of Network Collector Web Console.

    • http://ip_address:8787
    • http://hostname:8787

    By default, the Network Collector is installed in the express mode, using HTTP on port 8787. To use HTTPS, see Configure the SolarWinds Platform Web Console to use HTTPS.

  2. Enter your user name and password and click Login.

    If you are logging in for the first time, specify the password for the Admin account.

  3. You are now in the Network Collector Web Console.

Discover your network

To identify multiple nodes in your network, use the Discovery wizard. When you log in to the Network Collector Web Console for the first time, it opens by default. To launch the Discovery manually, click Settings > Network Discovery. See Discover your network with the Discovery wizard.

  1. In the Network Collector Web Console, click Settings > Discover Network.

  2. Specify the network to discover the nodes.

  3. Provide the necessary credentials and complete the wizard.

  4. When the wizard completes, review the discovered nodes and only import nodes, interfaces, and volumes to be monitored with SolarWinds Observability.

    See Add discovered devices.

Import discovered nodes

Starting with Network Collector 2023.4, you are notified about discovery results run on your Network Collector or Hybrid Cloud Observability instance connected via Platform Connect.

To see the number of new and changed network devices in SolarWinds Observability, click Settings > Network Discoveries.

To synchronize SolarWinds Observability with the discovered updates, import the new and changed entities.

  1. Log in to the Network Collector Web Console.

  2. Click Settings > Network Discovery and activate the Network Discovery Results tab.

    To only import new devices, stay on the Discover Network tab, select the discovery, and click Import New Results.

    To launch the import wizard without reviewing the changes first, select the discovery and click Import All Results.

  3. Select the discovery you want to import results for and select nodes to be imported.

    To see what changed for specific nodes, review the information in the Description column. Expand the entry to find out more.

  4. The Network Sonar Results Wizard starts. Review the selected devices, interfaces volumes, applications, and server configuration profiles to be imported.

    The wizard reflects what you selected in the Network Discovery Results tab.

  5. On Import Preview, verify the list of items to be imported and click Import.

  6. When the import finishes, click Finish to complete the wizard.

Add single nodes

  1. In the Network Collector Web Console, click Settings > Manage Nodes.

  2. Click Add Node.

  3. Provide the node details, select elements (volumes, interfaces), and add the node for monitoring.

See Add a single node for monitoring.

To view data collected for the newly configured entity in the Entity Explorer, click the name of the Network device in the confirmation dialog in the lower-left corner. It may take a few seconds for data to appear for the newly created entity. See Entity Explorer for details.

See Entities in SolarWinds Observability for an overview of Network device entities and how they work in SolarWinds Observability.

Monitor flow data

Set up network devices to export flow data and add the devices to Network Collector. See Set up network devices to export NetFlow data.

Requirements for flow monitoring

  • The device must be configured to export flow data to the Network Collector.

  • The device must be monitored in the Network Collector.

    If the device is not monitored with the Network Collector, traffic from the device is added to the traffic from unmonitored devices. The Network Collector is receiving the data, but you cannot analyze it.

  • The interface used for exporting flow data must be monitored in the Network Collector. The interface index must match the index number in the collected flow data.

Set up flow data monitoring

  1. Log in to the network device.

  2. Enable flow export. See NetFlow device examples for configuration examples.

  3. In the Network Collector Web Console, click Settings > Manage Nodes.

  4. Click Add Node and complete the wizard. On Choose Resources, ensure that the interface for flow export is selected for monitoring.

    Flow data from the device should start appearing in SolarWinds Observability shortly. If not, ensure that device category in the Network Collector is Network.

Monitor volumes

When adding nodes for monitoring on a Network Collector, select volumes to be monitored.

The method used to poll the node defines the details that you will be able to observe for the volume:

  • SNMP - usage statistics
  • WMI - usage statistics and performance (IO) statistics

Calculating volume metrics

To calculate a volume usage, the following OIDs are polled from the node:

  • AllocationUnits (.
  • TotalSize (.
  • UsedSize (.


  • Volume size (in bytes) = TotalSizeOID * AllocationUnitsOID
  • Used size (in bytes) = UsedSizeOID * AllocationUnitsOID
  • Available size (in bytes) = Volume size (in bytes) - Used size (in Bytes)