N-central Help

Install SolarWinds N-central on Microsoft Azure Resource Manager

The instructions below walk you through a new installation of SolarWinds N-central in the Microsoft Azure environment.

SolarWinds N-central is certified to run on Microsoft Azure, sized for up to 9,000 devices. Larger deployments are not currently supported.

SolarWinds MSP recommends that you plan your deployment with SolarWinds MSP Support in advance.

You will need a valid license to be applied before you are able to log in to SolarWinds N-central.

You must have basic knowledge of how to install and configure SolarWinds N-central. SolarWinds N-central deployment to Azure Resource Manager is not designed for technicians who are unfamiliar with Azure Resource Manager and PowerShell.

Prerequisites

Before you begin, ensure that you have:

  • An Azure subscription
  • A Windows PC with Windows Edge, Internet Explorer 11 or current version of FireFox or Chrome, and PowerShell with Azure Resource Manager extensions.

Set up the PowerShell and Azure environment. PowerShell commands are used to perform the Azure steps required to convert and upload the virtual machine image file and create an Azure Cloud VM based on the image. Each step below requires PowerShell with Azure Resource Manager extensions installed on the working PC.

Background information on the environment setup can be found at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/powershell-install-configure.

Before you begin

  • You must have Administrator privileges for the Azure Environment.
  • PowerShell must be launched as an Administrator by clicking Start Menu > Search for PowerShell, Right Click the PowerShell icon and click Run as Administrator.
  • Clean up any old Azure and Azure Resource Manager PowerShell Modules (as Administrator) - Older versions may not work/upgrade correctly.
  • Install the new Azure Resource Manager PowerShell Module (as Administrator).

All Azure device and resource names must be Cloud, or in some cases, globally unique (no duplicates in the entire cloud location, or in all clouds).

 

Download and extract the SolarWinds N-central VHD

Download the image file for the version and disk size of SolarWinds N-central you want to install. Extract the .vhd file in your Azure Environment.

The extraction of the .vhd can take over an hour to complete.

The SolarWinds N-central Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) image is available on the SolarWinds MSP Resource Center. You will need enough free space to extract the full size of the image to the disk. The image size is 100, 200 or 500 GB.

  1. Login to the SolarWinds MSP Resource Center (https://community.solarwindsmsp.com/).
  2. Click the hamburger menu () and click Support > Software Downloads > N-central.
  3. Click the link for the latest release of SolarWinds N-central.
  4. Download the appropriately-sized VHD file for Microsoft Azure.

The web browser downloads the VHD file to the location it has configured for downloaded files from the Internet. Use a decompression tool to extract the VHD file.

Extract the VHD file

Extract the file using a tool such as 7-zip. The extraction of the 100GB VHD image can take over an hour to uncompress. Larger images will take longer.

  1. Set up the PowerShell and Azure environment. PowerShell commands are used to perform the Azure steps required to convert and upload the virtual machine image file and create an Azure Cloud VM based on the image. Each step below requires PowerShell with Azure Resource Manager extensions installed on the working PC. For more information on the environment setup, see https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/powershell-install-configure/.
  2. You need Administrator privileges for the Azure environment.
    Launch PowerShell as an Administrator

  3. Clean up old Azure and Azure Resource Manager PowerShell modules. Older version may not work or upgrade properly. Run the following commands:
    • Uninstall the AzureRM component modules: Uninstall-AzureRM
    • Uninstall the AzureRM module: Uninstall-Module AzureRM
    • Uninstall the Azure module: Uninstall-Module Azure
  4. Close PowerShell and run the Microsoft Azure PowerShell Uninstaller from the Programs and Features in the Control Panel.
  5. Reboot the system and install the new Azure Resource Manager PowerShell Module as an Administrator:
  6. Install-Module AzureRM

  7. From the PowerShell console as Administrator, import the required PowerShell Azure Resource Manager Module previously installed:

    Import-Module AzureRM

  8. Confirm the Azure environment using the command:
  9. $PSVersionTable.PSVersion.Major and (Get-Module AzureRM).Version.

Create a Resource Group

Create a Resource Group and give it a name.

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon and click Add.
  2. Enter a Resource group name. For example, xxx-NC-RM-RG.
  3. Click Create.

Create a Storage Account

Ensure you select Premium storage if you have over 1000 devices.

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon and click Add.
  2. Enter a Name, for example xxxncrmsa.
  3. Complete the information as outlined in the image below.
  4. Click Create.

Create a Container

Create a Container inside the Storage Account.

  1. In the Storage Account, click OverviewContainer.
  2. Enter a Name for the Container. For example, xxx-nc-rm-co.
  3. Click OK.

Upload the VHD

  1. In PowerShell, connect the console to the Azure Subscription:
  2. Login-AzureRmAccount

    An Azure credentials window opens.

    Get-AzureRmSubscription

    Displays the Azure Subscriptions.

    SubscriptionName: Visual Studio Professional with MSDN
    SubscriptionId : ex0fcxxx-b2xx-41xx-86xx-bxx6xxxd1xxx
    TenantId : xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
    State : Enabled

    Select-AzureRmSubscription -SubscriptionId "ex0fcxxx-b2xx-41xx-86xx-bxx6xxxd1xxx"

  3. Set the Resource Group PowerShell variable using the name you entered above:
  4. $ResourceGroup = "xxx-NC-RM-RG"

  5. Set the Azure Image File name (The file name of the .vhd file you extracted):
  6. $ImageFileName = "N-central-xx.x.x.xxxx-x00.vhd"

  7. Set the Azure Image location (the local folder where the above file is located):
  8. $vhdPath = "C:\Some Path\$ImageFileName"

  9. In Microsoft Azure, copy the URL from the container you created above.
  10. Paste the URL to the UploadURL command:
  11. $UploadURL = "https://xxx-nc-rm-sa.blob.core.windows.net/xxx-nc-rm-co/$ImageFileName"

  12. Upload the VHD file to Azure:
  13. Add-AzureRmVhd -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup -Destination $UploadURL -LocalFilePath $vhdPath

Allow the upload to run in the background. The upload will take several hours.

Create a Virtual Network

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon and click Add.
  2. Enter a Name for the virtual network. For example, xxx-NC-RM-VN.
  3. Complete the information as outlined in the image below.
  4. Click Create.

Create a Public IP Address

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon and click Add.
  2. Enter a Name. For example, xxx-NC-RM-PIP.
  3. Complete the information as outlined in the image below.
  4. Click Create.

Create a Network Security Group

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon and click Add.
  2. Enter a Name. For example, xxx-NC-RM-SG.
  3. Complete the information as outlined in the image below.
  4. Click Create.

Create a Network Interface

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon and click Add.
  2. Enter a Name . For example, xxx-NC-RM-NIC.
  3. Complete the information as outlined in the image below.
  4. Click Create.

Link the Public IP to the NIC

Enable and attach the Public IP to the NIC created.

  1. Go to the IP configuration for the Network Interface you created above.
  2. Click IP Configurations in the Settings area and click ipconfig1.
  3. Complete the information as shown in the image below.

Create the Inbound Security Rules for SolarWinds N-central.

Create security rules to connect with SolarWinds N-central.

  1. In Microsoft Azure, click the icon .
  2. Click the Security Group > Inbound security rulesAdd.
  3. Add the inbound security rules as outlined in the images below. Create a rule for a Source of Any and Source Port Range of "*" (asterisk) to accept all incoming traffic. Set the destination for ports 22, 80, 443, 5280, 10000, and any other ports you may require.
  4. Click OK.

Complete as many rules as required for communication. For example:

When the upload completes, go to the PowerShell window and Create the VM. Refer to the Number of Devices Managed table in the SolarWinds N-central in the System Requirements for proper Azure Instance Sizing.

  • > 1,000 devices should use Premium Storage.
  • > 6,000 devices should also use Compute Optimized Instances.

$nic = Get-AzureRmNetworkInterface -Name "xxx-NC-RM-NIC" -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup
$storageAcc = Get-AzureRmStorageAccount -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup -Name "xxxncrmsa"
$location = "Central US" #
<- Use the same Azure region used in the user interface
$VMSize = "Standard_DS4_v3" #
<- Use an appropriate Azure size based on the MSP N-central Install Guide and the above considerations.
$vmName = "xxx-NC-RM-VM"
$osDiskName = "xxx-NC-RM-DSK"
$vm = New-AzureRmVMConfig -VMName $vmName -VMSize $VMSize
$vm = Add-AzureRmVMNetworkInterface -VM $vm -Id $nic.Id
$vm = Set-AzureRmVMOSDisk -VM $vm -Name $osDiskName -VhdUri $UploadURL -CreateOption attach -Linux
New-AzureRmVM -ResourceGroupName $ResourceGroup -Location $location -VM $vm

The new SolarWinds N-central server should be accessible through its IP Address or DNS address that was assigned by Microsoft Azure. You can access it using a web browser and the SolarWinds N-central server configuration can continue as outlined the Install Guide.

To monitor the state of this VM, the Azure portal can be used.

Be sure to Adjust the Time Zone to match your location or the Time Zone location of the server you are restoring from.

Once your server is deployed to Azure, open a Support Case to have SolarWinds MSP Technical Support apply a finger fix for Bug NCCF-5915. Due to verbose logging being enabled on the Azure Agent, and the default rotate settings in use on the Azure Agent logs, the Azure Agent logs can fill up your SolarWinds N-central disk over several weeks or months. The finger fix prevents this by disabling verbose logging and adjusts the retention settings on the log.