Install or upgrade Orion Platform products

Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer to install or upgrade Orion Platform products. When you install new products in an existing Orion Platform environment, you might also need to upgrade existing products.

Prepare for installations and upgrades

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.

Schedule the installation.

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.

For upgrades, 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.

For upgrades, if you have written custom code, back it up.

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 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 the Orion Installer and 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.

  • Orion Platform 2018.4 products (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.

Perform the installation or upgrade

Complete the following tasks as needed. Some tasks are not required for all environments.

If you are upgrading, SolarWinds recommends testing the upgrade in a test or staging environment. You cannot roll back an upgrade after it is complete.

Task 1: Download the installer from the Customer Portal

  1. Log in to the Customer Portal.

  2. Under Latest Downloads for Your Products, locate one of your Orion Platform products and click Choose.

    In most cases, you need to download only one product module, even if you plan to install or upgrade multiple products.

    To install the DPA Integration Module without SolarWinds SAM, you must download the DPAIM installer. Other product installers do not include DPAIM in the list of products. See DPAIM installation options.

  3. Click Download to download either the online or offline installer:
    • Online: Use this option if your Orion server has internet access. This option guarantees that you have an up-to-date installer with the latest optimizations and fixes. It is the most efficient option, because it downloads only what it needs and nothing more.

      Also use online installation to install a scalability engine, even in environments without Internet access. Installing a scalability engine doesn't require Internet access. See Install an Additional Polling Engine, Additional Web Server, or HA server for details.

    • Offline:  Use this option for installations without Internet access. The offline installer is a prepackaged file that includes everything you need for a large combination of dependencies and products.
  4. Save the installer on your Orion server.

Task 2: If you are upgrading with HA, disable the HA pool

The HA pool must be disabled to upgrade. If you upgrade without disabling it, the pool is automatically disabled.

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings.
  2. Under Product Specific Settings, click High Availability Deployment Summary.
  3. Select the pool you want to disable.

  4. Toggle High Availability to Off.

Do not modify the VIP, IP address, or virtual host settings for the servers.

Task 3: If you are upgrading, stop services

If the required SolarWinds services are not stopped before the upgrade, the Orion Installer attempts to stop them. To ensure a smooth upgrade, SolarWinds recommends that you stop the required services before upgrading.

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings.
  2. Under Product Specific Settings, click Orion Service Manager.
  3. Stop all services listed in the Orion Service Manager on the main polling engine, all additional polling engines, and all web servers.

If you use the Windows Control Panel to stop services, do not stop the SolarWinds Administration Service on your scalability engines. If you stop the SolarWinds Administration Service, the installer cannot reach the scalability engines to upgrade them in parallel.

Services are restarted automatically when the upgrade is complete.

Task 4: Run the installer on the Orion server

The following software is required. If it is not found on the server, it will be downloaded and installed when you run the installer.

  • .NET 4.6.2
  • Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable 2012
  1. Run the installer .exe file on your Orion server as Administrator.

    If you are installing Orion Platform Products in a new environment (not updating an existing installation), the Welcome page is displayed.

  2. On the Welcome page:
    1. Select the type of installation:
      • Lightweight Installation: Use this option only for evaluations or Enterprise Operations Console (EOC) installations. It installs SQL Server Express locally and then installs Orion Platform products as quickly as possible using global settings. You select only the installation location and your preferred product language.

        SQL Server Express has a 10 GB storage limit, which is not sufficient for production installations of SolarWinds products other than EOC. If you choose Lightweight Installation and later require a larger database, you will have to migrate to a SQL Server database.

      • Standard Installation: Install Orion Platform products with an existing or licensed SQL Server database.

      • Add a scalability engine: Install an Additional Polling Engine, Additional Web Server, or High Availability server. If you are installing a new scalability engine, see Install an Additional Polling Engine, Additional Web Server, or HA server.

    2. Set the Destination Folder.

      Orion Platform products cannot be installed on a remote mapped drive, read-only drive, compressed drive, or compressed HDD.

    3. Click Next.

      The Select Products page lists the products that you can install and any existing products that will be upgraded.

      Not sure what these release acronyms mean?

      • HF = Hotfix
      • RC = Release Candidate
  3. On the Select Products page:

    1. Select the products to install.

      • Click the release notes link to learn more about a product.
      • Existing products that will be upgraded are also listed. You cannot deselect items from this list. The installer must ensure all versions of your products are compatible.
    2. Optionally, select the option to Send usage metrics to help SolarWinds improve products. We receive only data collected for the installation and upgrade.
    3. Click Next.
  4. On the Install Report page, review the system check.

    The installer runs a series of checks per product to verify that your server meets system requirements and recommendations. These checks include:

    • Hardware resources, such as RAM and hard drive space
    • Software dependencies, such as installed Operating System version and .NET Framework
    • Ports for network communications
    • Product-specific checks for configurations and additional requirements

    If your environment does not meet specifications, the installer displays one or more messages:

    • Informational and warning messages recommend actions and best practices to optimize performance. These do not block the installation.
    • Critical issues describe changes that are required to support the products. These block the installation until they are resolved.
  5. If any issues are found:

    1. Click the details link to display additional information and suggested resolutions.

    2. Optionally, click Save System Check Results to save the list of issues.
    3. Resolve any blocking issues and run the installer again.
  6. Review the EULA. If you agree, click I accept, and then click Next.

    Upgrading customers are prompted to confirm that they have backed up the Orion database.

  7. If you have backed up your database, click Yes, and then click Install.

    If not, you should back up now. This is your last chance to back up data before installations and database changes begin. New products and versions can modify your database tables. Click here for information about SolarWinds Backup.

    The Installation page displays progress messages. If the installer encounters any issues, the installation stops so you can resolve them. The installer might run multiple product installations before running the Configuration wizard.

    If a reboot is required as part of the installation, a message is displayed.

Task 5: Complete the Configuration wizard

If database configuration is required, the Configuration wizard automatically opens. Depending on your products, the wizard might include options and pages not described here.

  1. On the Welcome page, click Next.
  2. If prompted to stop services, click Yes.
  3. If you performed a Standard installation with an existing SQL Server database, select one of the following for authentication:
    • Authenticate as currently logged in user: Pass through authentication to the database server using the account currently logged in for installing the Orion Platform product.

    • Switch user: Provide credentials automatically detected as either SQL or Windows credentials, allowing Windows authentication for the initial setup even if the Orion server is not joined to a domain or the current account does not have permissions to the database server.

    If you intend to use Windows authentication for the Orion Platform, remember to exempt that user account from any password change policies. An expired password will cause the Orion Platform to stop data collection and interrupt Orion Web Console access.

  4. On the Database Settings page, select your existing Orion database, or create a new database for a new installation, and click Next.
  5. On the Database Account page, create an account or specify an existing account that the polling engine and Orion Web Console will use to access the database. The account can be a Windows or SQL Server account.

  6. On the Website Settings page:
    1. Select All Unassigned unless your environment requires a specific IP address for the Orion website. If SSL is selected, port 443 is used. Otherwise, port 80 is used.
    2. Specify the Port and the Website Root Directory where the system installs the web console files.

      If you specify any port other than 80, include that port in the URL used to access the Orion Web Console.

    3. To configure SSL, click Enable HTTPS and select your SSL certificate.

      If a certificate is not available, select the option to Generate Self-Signed Certificate. The Configuration wizard automatically generates a self-signed certificate issued to the hostname or FQDN and adds it to the trusted certificate store.

      If you select Skip website binding, the Configuration wizard does not make changes within the website configuration in your IIS. This option prevents IP address, port, and SSL certificate options.

  7. If prompted to create a directory or website, click Yes.
  8. Review the list of services to install, and click Next.
  9. Click Yes if prompted to disable the SNMP Trap Service and enable the SolarWinds Trap Service.
  10. On the Completing the Orion Configuration Wizard page, click Next.
  11. When the configuration is complete, click Finish to launch the Orion Web Console.

    If the Orion Web Console doesn't open automatically (for example, if it times out before opening), do one of the following to open it manually:

    • Click Start > All Programs > SolarWinds > Orion Web Console.

    • Open a web browser on your Orion server and enter http://ipAddress or http://hostname, where ipAddress is the IP address of your server and hostname is the host name of your server. This is https:// if SSL was selected.

  12. Log in with user name admin and leave the password field blank.

    For security purposes, SolarWinds strongly recommends that you change the password to your admin account.

Task 6: Upgrade scalability engines

If you don't have any scalability engines (additional polling engines, additional web servers, or high availability backup servers), skip this section.

If you have scalability engines, you can use the Orion Deployment Upgrade wizard to upgrade all reachable scalability engines in parallel.

To use the Orion Deployment Upgrade wizard, do not stop the SolarWinds Administration Service on your scalability engines. If you stop this service, the scalability engines are not reachable.

  1. Log in to the Orion Web Console (if you have not already done so).

    If you have scalability engines, the Welcome page of the Orion Deployment Upgrade wizard is displayed.

  2. Review the information on the Welcome page, and click Start.

    The installer attempts to contact all scalability engines, and determines whether updates are needed.

    If any scalability engines are unavailable, a message tells you which server cannot be reached. Click Start Preflight Checks for additional information about the issue. You can either:

    • Fix the issue now and restart the wizard.
    • Continue upgrading other scalability engines now and upgrade that scalability engine later.
  3. If scalability engines are reachable and need updates, click Start Preflight Checks.

    As on the main server, the installer runs a series of system checks to verify that each scalability engine meets the system requirements.

  4. If any issues are found:
    1. Click the details link to display additional information and suggested resolutions.
    2. Optionally, click Save System Check Results to save the list of issues.
    3. Resolve any blocking issues.
    4. Click the Back button, and then click Start Preflight Checks to run the system checks again.
  5. When you are ready to upgrade, click Start Upgrade.

    The Orion Installer copies the installation file to all scalability engines, and then upgrades and configures them.

    The RDP link is available in case you need to connect to the scalability engine and correct an issue.

    After each successful upgrade, the Orion Upgrade wizard on your main server displays the message Upgrade complete.

  6. When all upgrades are complete, click Finish.

Task 7: Upgrade Orion Agents

If the Allow automatic agent updates setting is enabled (default option), the Orion Agents are automatically upgraded in the background. Agents are tied to their release version. You can skip manually upgrading agents if the option is enabled.

To enable the option to allow automatic agent updates:

  1. Click Settings > All Settings.
  2. Under Product Specific Settings, click Agent Settings.
  3. Click Define Global Agent Settings, and select Allow automatic agent updates.

The upgrades take some time to complete but do not require any actions. Agents are upgraded at a throttled number of 10 at a time to limit the impact on the polling engine. As soon as one agent upgrade is complete, another agent takes its place so there are always 10 active threads until all agents are upgraded.

If automatic upgrades are disabled, upgrade the Orion Agents:

  1. Open the Manage Agents page. Orion Agents requiring upgrades display the message Update Required.
  2. Select all agents needing updates and click More Actions > Update. The agents are upgraded in the background.

Task 8: If you are upgrading with HA, enable the HA pool

When the installation is complete, enable the HA pool using the following instructions. You might need to recreate the HA pool.

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > High Availability Deployment Summary.
  2. Select the pool you want to enable.
  3. Toggle High Availability to On.

The Orion Web Console verifies all SolarWinds product versions match across the HA pair before enabling. If you receive errors, check your product versions.

Task 9: For new installations, activate licenses

When every product is installed, you can activate your licenses.

Get the license key for your product from the Customer Portal. You might need multiple licenses: one for each product, HA, Additional Polling Engine, and Additional Web Server.

  1. In the Customer Portal, select License Management.
  2. Select the product.
  3. Copy the license key.

Add and activate the license key using the web-based License Manager in the Orion Web Console.

  1. Open the Orion Web Console in a web browser.
  2. Click Settings > All Settings > License Manager.
  3. Click Add/Upgrade License.
  4. Enter the Activation Key and Registration Information, and click Activate.

To activate an offline license, see Activate licenses offline.