The most difficult task of my review is to convey the power of
processing data, yet at the same time, explain the simplicity of
operating the GUI. Regarding the logs, LEM doesn't re-invent the
mib structure of SNMP, or the flow control of syslog, it simply reads
existing logs on your server and router. Working with the
correlation rule builder is straightforward, but only because
programmers have created hundreds of routines, which work away in the
background analyzing the logs.
a) Identifying Pure Server and Network Problems Wearing your
operations manager hat, LEM will alert you to problems such as when a key
application on a particular server is unavailable. It can also
detect when services have stopped, or if there is a
network latency problem. Perhaps LEM's most interesting ability is to
take corrective action by restarting services, or isolating the source
of unauthorized network traffic.
You can configure Log & Event Management so that you (or other key
personnel) can receive instant alerts if important events occur,
meanwhile, LEM's correlation rule builder could have been programmed to take corrective action in
real-time. Once you have the problem under control, you can track
the history in the logs and thus find
the event that caused the glitch. It's also worthwhile adjusting,
or creating new rules to improve the response if such events were to occur again.
b) Enforcing Security Through Log & Event Management Being a 'country boy', I
have never had
security drilled into me; consequently, I am
grateful for the way the event manager gives me an alert if there is a security breach because
I had not locked down permissions or user rights. I also took the
opportunity to understand how LEM can employ settings to restrict the usage of USB devices.
Moving on to malware, what I find is that even if I keep my
anti-virus definitions up-to-date, sooner or later a new virus seems to emerge from
no-where. It's great to have the peace of mind that not only
will LEM alert me if there is an attack, but also I can also use LEM's
correlation rule builder to take counter-measures against typical
actions of viruses, and best of all I can isolate the source and thus
stop the virus spreading on the network.
c) Compliance with Industry Standards One thing I have noticed about
SolarWinds in this appraisal is their supply of templates. They encourage dedicated geeks, who spend hours creating clever settings,
them available to the rest of the 'Thwack' community.
In the case
of LEM, Thwack has collected 300 out-of-the box templates to cater for
any compliance test you I could imagine. A simple example is
Authentication - who is logging on where and when.
In my role as server consultant company managers often ask me how
if there was a rogue techie in their IT department? I say just ask your
top IT geek for the change management log. I tell managers you
don't have to understand it, or even read it, but just asking for the
log sends the message
that you may just spot any security breach, or you might call in not me,
but a dedicated security consultant who would find it!
The key point is all the data is already out there on your network.
All you need is for the log event manager to deploy agents, which collect syslog
information from routers, read anti-virus programs, and trawl the
operating system's numerous logs. LEM's skill lies in using
hundreds of rules to analyze
all this data in real-time. Its mission
is to correlate events, for example abnormal traffic at a router is
related to errors in a log at
the server. As for the rules, you can rely on the
built-in logic, or better still, amend the defaults and thus develop
tailored responses to actual situations
on your network.
More than just analyzing and presenting data, LEM is empowered to
take corrective action; for instance, it can restart services, or isolate
machines affected with viruses. I also like the way you can set
rules to disable USB ports if an unauthorized user tries to copy data to
a memory stick.
However, I think that the killer reason why people will trial, then buy LEM, is
for its compliance capability. It's not just financial companies
that need to abide by industry rules, most companies need to comply with
a standard such as CISP or FERPA. If, like
me, you find this security fulfilment a drudge, then you will breathe a
sigh of relief to have LEM take care of business, to check the logs, compare
with criteria, then provide a detailed compliance report.
Hidden Benefits of Log & Event Management LEM will assist an organization
by boosting morale, and supporting
its work ethos. Firstly, it will exude a sense security by
protecting the users from viruses; it is also protective in a mothering
way by taking action when things go wrong, such as alerting a supervisor
who can help someone who has accidentally locked-out their account.
To my way of thinking, by doing the analysis with a thoroughness that
only automation can achieve, LEM frees you to tackle the interesting
part, setting the criteria for alerts, and my favourite, configuring
actions based on events. For example, through analysis of the logs
LEM can detect which application users are launching. Then you can
configure actions to block their games of poker, 'Civilization' or 'World of
Warcraft'. It's up to you set the tone and force of the
corresponding message which tells the user to stop playing and get back
to work! But it's not all being Mr Nasty, you can also be Mr Nice
and help them if they are locked out, or restart their legitimate apps
automatically if they hang. See also
Alert Central review.
An Easy Installation is More Important Than You Think
The litmus test for my evaluation of the
Log & Event Management app is will it install effortlessly? It is my belief that all programs
should be as easy to install as Microsoft Office - and LEM passes this
test with flying colours. I am obsessed with smooth setups because,
if a program installs easily, then it's my experience that it will be
stable and behave predictably.
Guy says that all software instillations should be intuitive. In the case of
LEM, it's testament to the care of the SolarWinds engineers and
programmers that you can install LEM, and get it running, without any
knowledge of SQL databases or Crystal reports. And the only
knowledge of VMware you need is that you have got a licensed copy! OK, you
must also have 8GB of RAM and 2 processors. The reason that
beginners find it easy to get LEM up and running is because Wizards will
guide them through
Improvements in Log & Event Manager 6.2
Threat Intelligence with feeds of statistics and trends
Automatic Connector Updates
Appliance Details now displayed on the Settings Page
11 Configuration Items addressed
Setting up the LEM application is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
In addition to providing the Log & Event Manager, SolarWinds have an
Orion suite of applications, most notably the Network Performance
Monitor (NPM). The difference between these two apps is that LEM
is concerned with monitoring the logs, then providing alerts and
corrective action. Whereas NPM provides a dashboard with readings
for factors such as CPU load (say 25%), capacity utilization (e.g. 67%)
or network latency (350ms). It's often only by comparing two tools
that you get true understanding of what each can achieve,
evaluate the Network Performance Monitor (NPM).
Summary: Review of SolarWinds Log & Event Management
There are three important tasks that LEM can help you achieve, IT
compliance, computer security, and network management. Providing
you already have VMware installed LEM is straightforward thanks to the point and
Once LEM is up and running take the time to check the library of
filters which correlate the data recorded in your various logs.
combine business with pleasure and configure automatic outcomes for a
given combination of events as reported by the logs.
Free and 30-day Trial Virtual Machine Software
Here are my recommendations for additional handy
utilities. Many of these downloads are free, while others
are fully-functional, but time limited.
SolarWinds are happy to provide you with a free specialist tool, which is ideal for testing, and then
supply a more comprehensive suite for larger organizations. To let you
into a secret, for small networks, the free tool is all you'll ever need.