Documentation forServer & Application Monitor

Use API pollers to monitor metrics via remote APIs in SAM

If you can access an external REST API, you can use the API Poller feature to collect data from modern application stacks and display it in SAM dashboards. Define your API endpoints, configure authentication add credentials, select the metrics you want to monitor, and start automated polling at regular intervals without the need for custom scripts.

Similar to tools like Postman, the API Poller feature guides you through building an API poller that can include one or more API requests. You need to know what each API provider requires in requests (for example, tokens), but little coding knowledge is needed. The API Poller feature builds request URLs for you.

Some benefits of this feature include:

  • Send and receive automated API requests to quickly exchange data with cloud services like Azure and AWS, hardware vendors like Cisco, or any entity that offers data via API, including SolarWinds.
  • Create connections between SAM and remote APIs for wider visibility and improved troubleshooting.
  • Monitor data that's not available via standard polling methods, such as SNMP.
  • Receive alerts about API data in the Orion Web Console.

New to REST APIs? Watch Intro to APIs for people who hate to program.

For example, if you use Pi-hole to track incoming spam, you can navigate to the URL of the host server in a browser, and log in to see the latest values for DNS Queries Today and Ads Blocked in the main web interface.


(Screenshots property of © 2021 Pi-hole)

You can access the same data via the Pi-hole API (© 2021 Pi-hole, available at https://discourse.pi-hole.net/, obtained on February 16, 2021). After using the host server URL to create and send an API request ###.###.###.##/admin/api.php in your web browser, the response should include the same values displayed in the Pi-hole web interface, as shown in this partial example:
{"domains_being_blocked":131941,"dns_queries_today":279430,"ads_blocked_today":28655,"ads_percentate_today";10.2544805...

To avoid the hassle of crafting code and entering retrieved data in the Orion Web Console manually, you can add an API poller instead. Besides being easier, you can get benefits of the API Poller feature such as automated polling, data integration within SAM, and alerting.

The following figure shows an example of the initial Pi-Hole request on the API Poller page:

Here is an example of the API response:

After deciding which values to monitor, you can save the API poller. When polling occurs, metrics appear in the Orion Web Console and are also saved to the Orion database.

Want to see this example in action? Watch API Pollers: When SNMP Won't Cut It.

Besides being easy to use, the API Poller feature provides the following benefits over standard API tools: 

  • Select only the metrics you care about, such as those needed for troubleshooting.
  • Set warning and critical thresholds to trigger alerts in the Orion Web Console.
  • Get started quickly with API Poller templates designed for popular APIs, such as Microsoft 365 and Azure.

Some ideas for using the API Poller feature include:

  • Leverage existing requests created in API tools such as Microsoft Graph Explorer SAM. Copy URLs and access tokens from Graph Explorer and use them to build API pollers in the Orion Platform.
  • Increase visibility into apps already being monitored by Office 365 application templates in SAM by adding API pollers that connect to the Microsoft Graph API.
  • Tighten connections between SolarWinds products in your environment by creating API pollers to access SolarWinds AppOptics, Loggly, and Pingdom APIs.
  • Provide Orion Platform data to external teams, produce custom dashboards for executives, or automate maps with data from the Orion SDK API.
  • Use the Cisco UCS API to bolster blade server monitoring by adding metrics to what you already collect through hardware health monitoring.
  • Use the Nutanix API to check data resiliency by setting alert thresholds for the number of nodes in monitored Nutanix clusters, or drill down into data endpoints to find metrics such as cluster Read IOPs.

Get started with your first API poller

To begin monitoring a remote API from within SAM:

  1. Review API poller requirements.
  2. Navigate to the Manage API Pollers page (Settings > All Settings > Manage API Pollers).
  3. Add your first API poller. Alternatively, assign an out-of-the-box API poller template to an existing node.

    Allow time for API responses — the larger the data set, the longer the response time.

When SAM receives a response from a remote API, it parses the JSON payload to glean relevant data, assigns that data to the monitored node, and displays metrics in several places throughout the Orion Web Console, including:

  • Node Details views: The API Poller widget displays the latest metrics being monitored for the node with their status.
  • PerfStack: Navigate directly to a Performance Analysis dashboard from the API Poller widget on the Node Details view to see historic API metrics.
  • Orion Maps: Click a node with an assigned API poller to display monitored metrics.

For more details, see How the API Poller feature in SAM works.