Getting Started > Monitor your environment with SAM

Introduction to SolarWinds SAM

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) gives you the tools to monitor your applications and environment through a single web console. SAM includes custom collections of templates, application monitors, and alerts to intelligently monitor application status and issues. Monitor over 200 application types including application servers, operating systems, authentication servers, database servers, and more.

SAM monitors applications in public, private, and hybrid environments using:

  • AppStack: provides an interactive visual mapping within Orion with an in-depth perspective through the entire environment to help identify the root cause of performance and availability issues.
  • AppInsight: monitors every aspect for Microsoft Exchange, IIS, and SQL servers in an environment, displaying metrics, status, and issues to manage and maintain applications and servers.
  • Application Monitor templates: combine process monitors, port availability, and performance counters to assess the status of every aspect of an application, including overall health.
  • Alerts: identify issues using customizable triggers, static or baseline thresholds, and actions.
  • Cloud monitoring: provides visibility into cloud environments through the Orion Web Console.
  • PerfStack: troubleshoot issues in your environment from data collected by your SolarWinds Orion solution.

Integrated with the Orion Platform, leverage SAM monitored data and nodes with Orion features including automated application discovery, agent monitoring, High Availability (HA), web-based license management, and much more.

This guide provides Information about configuring and using SolarWinds SAM. For installation information, review the SAM 6.5 Recommended Requirements and the SAM Release Notes, and then use the SolarWinds Orion Installer. If you are new to SAM, see the SAM Getting Started Guide. The SolarWinds Customer Portal and the SolarWinds online IT community, THWACK, also contain product information.

Applications defined and monitored in SAM

In SolarWinds SAM, an application is a collection of component monitors inherited from a template. A component monitor queries for values returned by a process, counter, status, or script. SolarWinds SAM uses the data received to display vital statistics concerning the health of the system.

Node

A node is considered to be any endpoint of a given network. For example, any application, server, device, or computer on a network is considered a node.

Template

A template is the blueprint for an application. It is a collection of component monitors designed to monitor a server or application. You can customize numerous templates using only the component monitors you need for a specific environment.

The type of information returned by the component monitor is based upon the type of monitor being utilized. For example, one type of monitor can report the up or down status of a service or process, another monitor can return the percentage of free space of a volume. Another type of component monitor can return up to ten values. Each monitor type, along with its parameters and returned values and/or states, is unique.

SolarWinds SAM provides the following types of templates:

  • AppInsight application templates are preconfigured templates that provide detailed information. If you have business-critical Exchange, Microsoft IIS, or Microsoft SQL instances, use the AppInsight templates to monitor these applications. These templates have their own mechanism of discovering elements of an application dynamically. They also have special licensing.
  • If you have other business-critical applications, apply one of the many preconfigured application templates that ship with SolarWinds SAM. SolarWinds recommends deploying a single template, making necessary edits to customize it to your environment, and then deploying the edited template on all similar applications. You can also obtain a template from the thwack community for an application not shipped with SAM.
  • If you have a custom, homegrown application that you need to monitor, you can build a custom template.

For a list of out-of-the-box templates, see the SAM Template Reference.

Application

An application or application monitor in SAM monitors a specific application or server using a collection of component monitors.

Component Monitor

A component monitor is the fundamental element of an application. Component monitors return the current status or value of a monitored service or process. All component monitors return at least one value or one status condition.

For a full list of component monitors, see SAM Component Monitor Types.

Every application template includes a number of component monitors per application or service to monitor. You can include multiple versions of component monitors for specific system monitoring or for customized scripts.

Each node, along with its applications and component monitors, can be viewed through the Orion Web Console as shown in the diagram below.

If you make a change at the template level, the applications based on that template are affected. If you make a change at the application level, only the individual application is affected. This inheritance relationship is beneficial if you need to make a lot of changes. For example, rather than making one change to 100 applications (and therefore 100 changes), you can change one item that affects all 100 applications based on that template.

The following illustration explains the template and application relationship.

How SAM works

Using UDP, TCP, SNMP, and WMI calls to your environment and application servers, SAM provides real-time feedback about applications and trends through statistics stored in the Orion database. Thanks to the SolarWinds common components infrastructure, there are no agents installed on your servers and no remote software to maintain. All calls are made in real time and displayed in the Orion Platform accessible from any supported browser.

As a standalone product, SAM operations can be visualized with the following flowchart:

Installed as a module in your family of SolarWinds products, SAM can be visualized with the following flowchart: