Documentation forSolarWinds Observability

Add a network device

To monitor your network with SolarWinds Observability, deploy a Network Collector, log in to the Network Collector Web Console, and configure devices to monitor in SolarWinds Observability. The Network Collector Web Console has the same look and feel like the SolarWinds Platform Web Console and workflows are almost the same.

Use the Network Collector to manage network devices, interfaces, and 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.

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.

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

Get the Network Collector installation file

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

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

  3. Download the ISO file.

Add Network Device dialog tips

  • To check whether a network device is being monitored, click Network Device List. This opens the Entity Explorer filtered by Network Device where you can search for the device.

  • To check whether you already have deployed a suitable Network Collector:

    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 400 network devices per Network Collector. To observe more network devices, SolarWinds recommends you deploy multiple Network Collector instances to distribute the load.
  • For flow monitoring, you can monitor up to 40,000 flows per second, or up to 4,000 inserts per second.
  • For flow monitoring using Platform Connect, you can monitor up to 300,000 flows per second, or up to 30,000 inserts per second.
  • See SolarWinds Observability System Requirements for details.

Install the Network Collector

  1. In SolarWinds Observability, copy an API token to identify the Network Collector.

    To add a new Network device entity, your organization must have an API token of the Ingestion type available. If the Ingestion type token does not exist, click Settings > API Tokens. When creating a token, use the Ingestion type. See API Tokens for details.

  2. Log in to the server that will host your Network Collector and transfer the ISO file there.

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

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

  5. In the wizard, paste the API token into the text box.

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

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

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

  9. Click Install to start the installation.

  10. 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 Collectoror 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.

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)

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.


Data not displaying in SolarWinds Observability

If SolarWinds Observability does not display data for monitored devices, make sure the devices have the correct category specified in the Network Collector.

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

  2. Select the device and click Edit Properties.

  3. Scroll down to Node Category, make sure Network is selected, and submit your changes.

Flow data not displaying in SolarWinds Observability

Flow data should appear in the SolarWinds Observability in about 5 minutes after the data are available on the Network Collector.

If you are getting other network device data, check out the following troubleshooting steps.

  • Verify that flow export is set up correctly. See Netflow data coming in to Orion server but not showing up in Orion Web Console.

  • Verify that flows are correctly stored in the database (Flow Storage Database) used by your Network Collector. See NTA shows Data Not Available.

  • Check how many flows are coming to the Network Collector:

    1. On the server hosting the Network Collector, open the Windows Performance Monitor.

    2. Click the plus button to add performance counters, search for SolarWinds NetFlow and add Rows Inserted Per Second.

    3. If the number of Rows Inserted Per Second is constantly over 500, the SolarWinds Observability Agent (Agent) service might be overloaded.

  • Verify that the SolarWinds Observability Agent service sending the data to SolarWinds Observability is not overloaded.

    • On the server hosting Network Collector, open Services and check the CPU and memory usage for SolarWinds.SOC.Service.exe.

      If CPU or memory usage is high, the service might be overloaded.

To address the overloaded Agent issue, stop sending flow data for non-critical nodes to SolarWinds Observability.

  1. Log in to the Network Collector Web Console and click My Dashboards > Flow Sources.

  2. Switch Flow sources management to Nodes. To do so, select Nodes in the drop-down box next to the Flow sources management.

  3. Select all nodes and click Drop traffic. The Network Collector will stop processing flow data and no flow data will be sent to SolarWinds Observability.

  4. Restart the SolarWinds.SOC.Service.exe service. This will mean that there will be a gap in data sent from the Network Collector.

  5. On the Flow sources management view, select a few critical nodes and click Store traffic. After a few minutes, the data should start appearing in the SolarWinds Observability.

No flow data is displayed from a domain

If no data is displayed for domains on Flows tabs, check the Filters tab. The data might be filtered out.

If the data is not being filtered out, check that resolving and storing IPv4 hostnames is enabled on the Network Collector.

  1. Log in to the Network Collector Web Console, click Settings > All Settings, and click NTA Settings in the Product specific settings grouping.

  2. Scroll down to DNS and NetBIOS Resolution settings and ensure that the Resolve and store IPv4 host names immediately when a flow record is received option is selected.

Troubleshoot Network Collector installation issues

The Network Collector includes the SolarWinds Observability Agent and the Agent uses the network-collector plugin to send data to SolarWinds Observability. During the installation, both the Agent and the plugin are configured automatically. See Agents and Troubleshoot SolarWinds Observability Agent installation issues for details on configuring and installing SolarWinds Observability Agents.

Upgrading SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability on a server with Network Collector is not supported

You are running an incorrect installer. Instead of using the installer for Network Collector, you launched the installer for a different SolarWinds Observability product.

To resolve the issue, download the correct installation file.

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

  2. Click Network Device and click the link to download the ISO file.