8 Best Private Torrenting Sites: This is Where You Need an Invite From

Torrents have become the default way of sharing large files. Whether you’re downloading entire e-learning courses or just a few HD movies, torrents are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get the content you need. Most torrents come from public trackers, sites like The Pirate Bay or Kickass Torrents. Others come from private, invite-only services that don’t allow just anyone to download. It takes a little effort to get into a private torrenting site, so you should choose your targets carefully. Below are some of the best private torrenting services on the internet.

Before You Torrent, Get a VPN

Even though private torrenting sites are safer than public ones, your data could still be at risk. Not only are you sending raw information to servers and users around the world, but each request you make is tied to an IP address linked to your identity and location. ISPs can log this and share it with third parties or even government agencies, turning your once-private downloads into freely available information.

Best VPNs for Torrenting

A virtual private network will encrypt your traffic and assign you a different IP address, completely masking your activity from third parties and keeping you safe. But, which VPN service is best for you? We made our selections based on the following criteria, ensuring you’ll be able to download anything you want using a fast, private connection.

  • No logging
  • No limits on bandwidth and protocols
  • Anonymous payment methods
  • Large server network size

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN works to keep your torrents anonymous by wrapping everything in strong 256-bit AES encryption.

DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch ensure your personal data never sneaks through, even in the case of an accidental disconnect.

If privacy is your top concern, ExpressVPN offers one of the most comprehensive zero-logging policies on the market, covering everything from traffic to DNS requests and IP addresses.

ExpressVPN’s network of over 2,000 servers in 148 locations in 94 countries means you’ll always be able to find a speedy connection in any part of the world.

And if your downloads feel a little sluggish, just fire up the built-in speed test to locate a better server in a matter of seconds!

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Reliable and fast connections
  • AES-256 encryption
  • No logs for personal data
  • 24/7 Customer Service.
Cons

  • Not much
  • Priced slightly higher.
BEST FOR TORRENTING: ExpresVPN is our #1 choice for torrenting. Get 3 months free on ExpressVPN’s annual plan & save 49%

2. IPVanish

IPVanish makes it easy to disappear online. The company’s network of 850 servers in 60 different countries is one of the largest in the business, and with over 40,000 shared IP addresses, anonymity is practically a guarantee! Data that passes through these servers is also locked down with 256-bit AES encryption and backed with a zero-logging policy on all traffic. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch even keep your identity safe in case you lose your connection.

IPVanish was pretty much built for online video streaming and torrent downloads. Fast servers give you the best connection possible, no matter where you live or where you’re connected, and features like unlimited bandwidth, no speed throttling, and no restrictions on P2P network or torrent traffic make it easy to sign in and get started. IPVanish even offers a few extra anonymity features to protect your identity, including an IP shuffling timer to change your IP address at regular intervals.

READER EXCLUSIVE: Get 60% off when you sign up for a year of IPVanish,just $4.87 per month! Each plan is covered by an amazing seven-day money back guarantee so you can try everything out with no risks and no worries.

Why Use Private Torrenting Sites?

Anyone who downloads files through torrenting service always has three things on their mind: privacy, speed, and availability. Public torrent sites use their high number of uploaders to ensure speed is rarely an issue, and thanks to a large audience they also have a massive selection of downloads. When it comes to privacy, though, you really can’t beat private trackers, as their gatekeeping system does a great job preventing spying third parties away from their files. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than an open door policy.

Another advantage private trackers have over public torrent sites is niche content. You’ll be able to find about 80% of what you want on the general web, especially if you’re hunting for a popular TV series or mainstream e-book. If your tastes are more obscure, however, public sites rarely have what you’re looking for. Going with a private torrenting tracker that caters to your niche is usually the best option in this case.

How to Join a Private Torrenting Site

Private trackers require registration before you can access their content. Registration isn’t as simple as entering your e-mail address and clicking the “sign up” button, however. Some restrict new account creations to one day a year, others even require interviews before access is granted. The methods can vary from site to site and often change as the years go by. Below are some of the more common methods you can use to create a membership with a private site of your choosing:

  • Open registration days – One easy method of getting access to a private tracker is to join on one of their open registration days where anyone can sign up and start downloading. These are rarely announced in advance and they can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Keep an eye on the tracking sites below for all the latest announcements.
  • Asking for invites – Some private torrent sites are invite only, meaning a current member has to grant you access. This means checking out an invite trading thread on a forum or simply begging for access. And if you know someone with invite codes, ask for one!
  • IRC or forum registrations – Some of the more exclusive private torrent sites restrict invitation codes and account creation to their own IRC channels or community forums. If you want to join the service, you’ll need to find these resources and follow the instructions within.

All of the above methods require a little bit of work, and in some cases, a little bit of luck, too! You can increase your odds by following the sites below for all the latest news on private torrent registrations and announcements.

  • Opentrackers – Private torrent tracker news, plain and simple. Opentrackers posts registration announcements on a regular basis. You’ll have to be fast to get your invite/application in, so if you’re interested in private torrents, visit the site every single day.
  • TorrentInvites – Website and forum dedicated to invitation swaps and open registration announcements.
  • /r/trackers – A subreddit dedicated to all things tracker related. Includes open registration days as well as general announcements.
  • /r/invites – A subreddit for requesting, offering, and trading private torrent site invitations.

The Best Private Torrenting Sites

Most torrent sites fall into a handful of categories, each centered around the type of content they offer. Some have a lot of music or movies, while others keep tabs on e-book releases or classic TV shows. We pulled together some of the most popular private torrenting sites that provide the best quality and largest selection in their particular niche. We also let you know how easy it is to get access to the site, as this is often one of the key stumbling blocks to using private torrenting sites.

IPTorrents – Generalized Private Torrenting Site

One downside to joining private trackers is that you need to remain an active user. Snatching, or the practice of downloading a file without seeding to an even ratio, is not only frowned upon but can often cost you your account. Unless you’re really into the content hosted by the tracker you’ve joined and plan on downloading dozens of files, your best bet is to pick a good generalized private torrent site and focus your efforts there.

IPTorrents is a well-established private tracker that offers nearly 700,000 different torrents. Its content covers just about everything you can imagine, from music to software, games to movies. Think of it like a privatized version of The Pirate Bay without the mislabeled files and dangerous downloads.

  • Site: IPTorrents
  • Content: A little bit of everything
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Easy

BitMe – All the Best E-Learning Resources

 

The internet is usually thought of as an entertainment resource, but it’s also perfect for learning new information. Access to e-learning courses has never been easier. BitMe was established in 2004 and continues to this day with over 32,000 torrents and 14,000 users, each of whom is just as addicted to learning new information as you are! Video courses, textbooks, and e-books centered around every topic imaginable are just a few clicks away.

  • Site: BitMe
  • Content: General learning content
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Average

Redacted – Private Music Torrents

Albums, individual songs, full discographies, Redacted has it all. Previously known as PassTheHeadphones, Redacted is a relatively young site that focuses on music of all types and genres. You’ll get a healthy number of popular hits along with classics and even international bands. Over a million torrents and 27,000 users makes it one of the largest and most active private music trackers, so if you can get an invite you’ll be set for songs!

  • Site: Redacted
  • Content: Music
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Easy

Bibliotik – Best Private E-book Torrents

Bibliotik has nearly 300,000 torrents and an extremely active community of 7,000 or so users. It’s been online with very few interruptions since 2009, so if you can get access, you won’t have to worry about hunting for other e-book tracker invites. Bibliotik keeps a great selection of mainstream, classic, and niche books of all types and genres. If you can’t find it on a public tracker, chances are Bibliotik has what you need.

  • Site: Bibliotik
  • Content: E-books
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Average

GazelleGames – Private Video Game Torrents

It’s easy to make the argument that finding a reliable gaming torrent site is like stumbling across a unicorn in your living room. Private gaming trackers are rare, and they seem to shut down after only a year or two of existence. GazelleGames is a notable exception to this trend. The site has been in operation since 2010 and offers over 65,000 torrents to 14,000 users, making it the largest private gaming torrents site around.

  • Site: GazelleGames
  • Content: Video Games
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Average

PassThePopcorn – The Only Movie Torrent Site You’ll Need

PassThePopcorn has been around since 2008, which is practically a century in online time. Its main focus is mainstream movies, classic films, and popular international releases, all presented in high quality whenever possible. Over 380,000 torrents and 35,000 users make it one of the largest private movie torrent sites on the ‘net.

  • Site: PassThePopcorn
  • Content: Movies
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Hard

BroadcastTheNet

Founded in 2009, BroadcastTheNet focuses on high-quality TV shows and full TV series releases, everything from modern content to classics and international releases. It’s by far the largest private TV torrenting site around. You’ll find over 200,000 torrents shared by 34,000 users.

  • Site: BroadcastTheNet
  • Content: TV shows and TV series
  • Ratio Requirements: No
  • Joining Difficulty: Hard

AnimeBytes

One of the more difficult semi-niche scenes to follow is anime. General torrent sites frown upon heavy anime and manga uploads, making it even harder to access Japanese exclusive and fan subbed content. AnimeBytes is a huge private torrenting site with 16,000 users and over 141,000 torrents to choose from. If there’s a series you’re looking for, AnimeBytes will definitely have it!

  • Site: AnimeBytes
  • Content: Anime and manga
  • Ratio Requirements: Yes
  • Joining Difficulty: Average

How to Keep a Good Ratio

A large portion of private trackers enforce something called a ratio. This number represents the amount of content you’ve downloaded compared to the amount you’ve uploaded. Ideally your ratio should stay above 1.0, indicating that you give back at least as much bandwidth as you use. Some private torrent sites set hard rules about ratios and will remove your registration if you drop below the limit for too long.

Ratios are also frequently used as a sort of application requirement for torrent trackers. If there’s an interview before you’re allowed to join, the number-one question is “How many private trackers are you a member of, and what’s your ratio with them?” Providing proof of a solid ratio is an excellent tool for nailing the interview and getting access to an elite private tracker.

Keeping a good ratio on a private torrenting site is a simple matter of constantly seeding your downloads. Don’t delete a file or a torrent once you download it. Leave it running and actively uploading for as long as you can. Weeks, months, even years. Depending on the specific site’s rules you may only get ratio credit if someone is actively downloading from you. If this is the case, grab a popular file as soon as it’s uploaded to drastically increase your odds at scoring a high ratio.

Another way to keep a solid ratio is to use a seedbox. These off-site services work like a paid version of a remote torrent client that constantly seeds each file, even when your computer is switched off. Seedboxes usually work on a subscription service and cost a few dollars a month to run. Not all private trackers allow them, so check with your torrent site before signing up.

Usenet vs Private Torrenting Sites

An extremely popular yet notably niche alternative to torrent sites and torrent downloads is usenet, which is sort of like a precursor to the internet. It was developed in the 1980s as a method of sharing messages across a distributed network, as evidenced by the old newsgroup and bulletin board systems early internet users will remember. In recent years usenet has become a haven for file sharing. It’s not difficult to use, but it does require a few separate programs and a subscription to access the service, which keeps it from hitting the mainstream.

Torrents work by distributing pieces of a file from every user who downloaded it. Usenet, on the other hand, delivers content directly from a server to a client. When a file is uploaded to a usenet group, every site that indexes that group will have access to the content, normally at very high speeds, as well. You can think of usenet as a sort of inverted torrent network. Instead of connecting downloaders and having them share files, usenet servers connect to each other to form the distribution network.

Usenet carries roughly the same risks as downloading torrents. If you’re not paying attention you could download pirated content or even viruses. VPNs and virus scanners are essential tools for usenet access, as is a subscription with a reliable usenet provider.

Share Your Favorite Private Torrenting Sites

There are hundreds of private torrenting sites out there, many of which purposefully hide themselves to avoid scrutiny. This makes it difficult to discover new sites, let alone join them! Which private trackers do you use for accessing all your favorite content? Let us know in the comments below!

Read 8 Best Private Torrenting Sites: This is Where You Need an Invite From by Diego Villena on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to check system logs on Linux

Want to access your system logs on Linux? All Linux system logs are stored in the log directory. Each one is an individual file, and everything is categorized and sorted based on each application.

System logs – Terminal

If you’ve had trouble with a particular program on your Linux PC or server, you’d navigate to the log directory and view all of the files inside.

Any user, root or otherwise, can access and read the log files /var/log/ directory. To get to /var/log/ launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, in the command-line window, use CD to change directories from the home folder (~/) to the system log directory.

cd /var/logs/

Once you’ve made it into the log directory on the system, you’ll need to make use of the LS command to view all of the individual sub-directories and files in /var/log/.

ls

LS will print out a complete list of all log files on the screen. From here, find a file you’d like to view and take note of the filename. Then, run the cat command to take a look at the contents of the log file.

sudo cat example_error_log

Or, if you need to view a log in a sub-directory, do:

cd name_of_program_folder

ls

sudo cat example_error_log

Copy error logs

For whatever reason, you may want to make a copy of a system log, for later reading outside of the /var/logs/ directory. To do this, you can make use of the cp command. For example, to copy a single error log file, do the following.

cd /var/log/

Then, create a folder to store the system logs on your system in the ~/Documents directory.

mkdir -p ~/Documents/system-logs/

Make a copy of your log file with:

cp example_error_log ~/Documents/

Alternatively, it is possible to make a copy of a log folder inside of the /var/log/ directory with cp and the “r” command-line switch. For example.

Note: in some cases, you may not be able to copy logs out of the /var/log/ directory without the use sudo.

cd /var/log/
mkdir -p ~/Documents/system-logs/
cp -r name_of_program_folder ~/Documents/system-logs/

View system logs via GUI

The command-line way of looking at system logs on Linux is efficient and fast. However, not everyone likes working with the command-line. If you want to keep track of your Linux system’s error logs but would prefer a GUI interface to do so, there are a few good GUI system log reading applications out there for you to choose from.

One of the easiest application to install and understand is Gnome Logs. It has lots of great features, including sorting errors by category (application, security, hardware,) the ability to export logs to a file, and even a search button.

Install Gnome Logs

To install Gnome Logs, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, follow the instructions that correspond with your Linux operating system.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install gnome-logs

Debian

sudo apt-get install gnome-logs

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gnome-logs

Fedora

sudo dnf install gnome-logs

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install gnome-logs

View error messages

Gnome Logs is pretty straightforward. Just open it up and instantly you’ll see the latest system logs printed on the screen, sorted by category.

When the Gnome Logs application opens, by default it starts up the latest error log file. If you need to view older log files, click the arrow button in the center of the window UI. Then, use the menu that appears to select the error log you wish to view manually.

View logs based on category

One of the best things about Gnome Logs is that it sorts error logs based on several category types. These categories are:

  • Important
  • All
  • Applications
  • System
  • Security
  • Hardware

To sort logs based on category, look to the left-hand sidebar. Then, click on the category you wish to view. Soon after, Gnome Logs will display only system logs with that specific tag.

Search logs

Need to quickly find an error and don’t have time to wade through dozens of log files? Try out the search feature!

To search system logs in the Gnome Logs, click on the magnifying glass icon. Then, write out your search query. Soon, the app should show you some results that relate to your keyword.

Export logs to file

Gnome Logs makes saving error logs to an external file incredibly easy. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Select the log you wish to view with the Gnome Logs selection menu.

Step 2: Click on the export button to the right of the magnifying glass icon.

Step 3: Use the file browser to save the log file to your Linux system.

Read How to check system logs on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to download torrents from the command-line on Linux

Downloading data over the torrent protocol on the Linux platform can be done through the command-line. The advantage of using torrents in the terminal is that it allows users to download files to computers remotely, or even over the local network. Along with that, Linux users can easily seed files remotely, rather than having to have a client open on their machine all the time. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to get going with downloading torrents in the command-line.

Use a VPN when downloading torrents on Linux

Though downloading data through the torrent protocol has legitimate uses, most internet service providers don’t see it that way. Many block their users from even accessing torrent protocols regardless if the content is legal or not. So, if you plan to use this app to download torrent files, we highly recommend using a VPN.

ExpressVPN takes the top spot as the best VPN reviewed by our security experts. It works well on Linux and has an excellent client for download. Better still, they offer fast download speeds with 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy across 94 different countries. Also, they have an exclusive offer for AddictiveTips readers: 3 months free on the annual plan, a 49% discount.

Installing Aria2 on Linux

There are a few decent command-line only torrent clients for Linux. One of the best ones to use, however, is Aria2. The reason? It can handle torrent magnet links, torrent files along with other types of downloading types like FTP/SFTP, HTTP, Metalink, and more.

Installing the Aria2 client is possible on most Linux distributions quite easily. In this section of the guide, we will cover how to get the app set up and installed on Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, and OpenSUSE. We’ll also show you where to get the source code if your Linux OS doesn’t have a pre-built package available for easy installation.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, the Aria2 download app is available for installation in the “Universe” software repository. If you are using a version of Ubuntu Linux that doesn’t already have the “Universe” repo turned on, open up a terminal window and enter the following command.

sudo add-apt-repository universe

Next, run the update command to finish setting up the repository on Ubuntu.

sudo apt update

Finally, you can install Aria2 with:

sudo apt install aria2

Debian

Aria2 is on Debian in the “Main” software repository. To get it going, launch a terminal window and enter the following Apt-get command.

sudo apt-get install aria2

Arch Linux

On Arch Linux, you’ll find Aria2 in the “Community” software repository. To install it, ensure that the “Community” software repository is enabled in /etc/pacman.conf. Then, use the Pacman package manager to install the software.

sudo pacman -S aria2

Fedora

The Aria2 download client is in the primary Fedora Linux software sources, so it’s quite easy to install. To get it working, open up a terminal and use the Dnf command below.

sudo dnf install aria2 -y

OpenSUSE

All versions of OpenSUSE Linux have Aria2 available to users in the OSS software repository. To set it up, launch a terminal window. Then, use the Zypper package manager to download the app.

sudo zypper install aria2

Generic Linux

The source code for the Aria2 download application is available on the developer’s official website. To download it click here. For information on how to compile the program, check out the official documentation.

Download torrents from the command-line

Aria2 handles torrent files by specifying the magnet URL or torrent file. To start a download, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T.

Once a terminal is open, you can add a torrent in the following ways:

aria2c 'magnet-link'

Or

aria2c 'web-link-to-torrent-file'

Or

aria2c -T /location/of/torrent/file.torrent

When the download is complete, press the Ctrl + C keyboard combination. Pressing it will end the download and print a message letting you know where your file(s) are on your computer.

Download multiple torrents at once

Aria2 can let users download many torrent files at one time. To do it, launch a terminal like usual. Then, use the touch command to create a blank text file.

touch ~/aria2-torrents

Using the echo command, add the torrent Magnet links, Torrent file links or local files to the aria2-torrents text file.

Note: be sure to replace the torrent link with the Magnet link or Torrent file location.

echo 'torrent-link 1' >> ~/aria2-torrents
echo 'torrent-link 2' >> ~/aria2-torrentsecho 'torrent-link 3' >> ~/aria2-torrents

When the desired amount of torrents are added to the text file, start the download with:

aria2c -i ~/aria2-torrents

Press Ctrl + C to stop the client when the downloads are done.

Clear the text file

After downloading, it’s a good idea to clear out the text in the aria2-torrents text file. To do it, enter the following command.

echo ' ' > ~/aria2-torrents

Read How to download torrents from the command-line on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager – REVIEW 2019

Virtualization has been taking an ever-growing place in many organizations. And with that have the needs for management tools grow too. Although all major virtualization suppliers including VMware and Microsoft offer management tools, many users prefer to turn to third-party applications for their management needs. This is particularly common in businesses that are using multiple virtualization technologies from different vendors.

SolarWinds, one of the best-known makers of network and system administration tools has a great offering for those looking for a vendor-agnostic virtualization management tool in their Virtualization Manager or VMAN. Today, we’re having an in-depth look at this excellent tool.

Before we get to examine what the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager has under the hood, we’ll first discuss virtualization management and try to define what it is, exactly. Then, we’ll talk about virtualization management tools and their main features. After that, we’ll introduce the VMAN and talk about what it can be used for and what makes it unique. We’ll also briefly introduce SolarWinds, in case you’re not already familiar with the company, We’ll then have a tour of the product’s main features—and there are lots of them. The Orion Platform will be our next order of business as this is the underlying platform of the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager. And we’ll finish by discussing the product’s hardware requirements and its pricing structure.

Virtualization Management In A Nutshell

Virtualization vendors such as VMware have traditionally focused their development efforts on their core products. While this was likely a sensible decision, it left the door open for third-parties to develop virtualization management tools that addressed some of the shortcomings in management and usability that existed in the virtualization vendors’ offering.

Today, there are many third-party vendors delivering feature-rich virtualization management tools and software that pick up where the main vendor’s tool stop. They go well beyond the basic tools supplied by the virtualization vendors and include security, monitoring, reporting, backups, and automation. The primary goal of most virtualization management tools is to help make virtualization management easier.

About Virtualization Management Tools

Defining virtualization management tools is difficult because there are about as many definitions as there are vendors. And there are a lot of vendors. Generally speaking, some of the most essential tasks these tools perform are to ensure that all virtual machine software and hypervisor versions are up to date. Most will also establish and maintain connectivity across the environment and monitor the state and performance of each virtual machine. Some of the best tools will even ensure that everything runs smoothly by adjusting memory or processor allocation on the fly so that each machine get optimal performance.

Virtualization management tools and software can also often be used to help identify the root cause of issues. This task can be accomplished by analyzing the application, server, virtual, and storage layers to troubleshoot issues. One of the latest trends on the market is to let virtualization management tools handle more strategic management tasks. For instance, they can be used to identify usage patterns and help predict future virtualization infrastructure bottlenecks and resource limits. This makes them excellent as capacity planning tools.

Main Features Of Virtualization Management Tools

While each virtualization management tool is different, some features are found across a number of them, including, of course, the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager. The important features include virtual machine administrator alerts. Another common feature is the automatic allocation of processor and memory resources to virtual machines with some tools even do it on the fly, effectively offering dynamic resource allocation. Another important offered in pretty much every product is performance monitoring, although this can have a different meaning depending on the vendor. Monitoring is, for many administrators, the main reason why they use virtualization management tools. Available APIs which allow the control of the management tools from your in-house products is also a popular feature, as is the prediction of future resource requirements and, consequently, capacity planning.

The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager (FREE Trial)

The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager (VMAN) provides multi-hypervisor alerting and remediation in a single pane of glass. It features built-in management actions which allow you to instantly remediate virtualization issues from within the product. Using the tool’s AppStack dashboard, you can automatically map relationships between applications, servers, hosts, and data stores, and isolate real hot spots.

The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager also provides tools for troubleshooting virtual environment issues faster with its intuitive dashboards for performance, capacity, storage, and configuration. It will allow you to save virtual resources and cut down hardware costs with virtual machine sprawl and virtual machine rightsizing. VMAN also provides configuration management and alert remediation. All these features are combined into one product that is easy to download, deploy, and use.

Orion Platform - Dashboard Summary

About SolarWinds

SolarWinds has been around for some twenty years. The company provides powerful and affordable network and systems management software to customers worldwide. Its customer base includes all sizes of organizations from large Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, managed service providers, government agencies, and educational institutions. SolarWinds is famous in part for having made some of the best network and system administration tools. SolarWinds delivers products that are easy to use, maintain but also to find and buy and that can easily scale as your needs grow. Most of its products will cover any of your IT assets, regardless of where they or their users and managers sit. Both on-premise and could-based environments are supported by most products. SolarWinds is also known for making a few excellent free tools, each addressing a very specific need of network administrators such as the Advanced Subnet Calculator or the Kiwi Syslog Server.

One of SolarWinds’ strength is how it targets exclusively Information Technology, Managed Service Providers, and DevOps professionals, and it strives to eliminate the complexity that we as customers have been forced to accept from many traditional enterprise software vendors. This focus, as well as the company’s commitment to excellence in end-to-end hybrid IT performance management, has established SolarWinds as one of the worldwide leaders in both network management software and MSP solutions. SolarWinds’ THWACK online community is used by users to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly participate in the company’s development process.

Some Issues VMAN Can Help You Solve

It would likely be an exaggeration to say that this tool can help you solve any issue but it is almost true. And to prove our point, here are some of the main pain points and issues that the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager can help you with:

  • Do you need to have complete visibility over your virtual environment (both VMware and Hyper-V) to troubleshoot issues faster?
  • When troubleshooting virtual applications, do you wish you could exactly pinpoint where the issue stems from—application, virtual server, host, or data store?
  • Do you suspect that many—if not most—of your Virtual Machine resources are under-utilized or over-utilized, and want to be able to verify if they are?
  • Do you want to remediate VMware or Hyper-V issues right from your monitoring tool without actually logging into vCenter?
  • Do you wish you could receive timely alerts that can help you prevent performance issues or address them before they impact applications?

What Makes The SolarWinds VMAN Unique

Although the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager offers the same basic features as some competing products, none offers the same unique combination of features and capabilities. It does, for instance, offer multi-hypervisor monitoring, letting you monitor and remediate both VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments from a single pane of glass. The tool also has predictive and active analytics-based recommendations with built-in remediation actions and steps to quickly fix active issues and prevent new ones. This is also a tool that will facilitate resource savings through VM sprawl and rightsizing. This product offers hundreds of out-of-the-box reports helping make informed decisions and eliminate assumption-driven ones. Finally, the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager seamlessly integrates with other SolarWinds products to provide a comprehensive picture of overall IT health. The Application Stack dashboard, a feature of the underlying Orion Platform, gives instant visibility across the infrastructure, from application to storage.

A Tour Of The Virtualization Manager’s Best Features

Let’s have a closer look at some of the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager’s important features. As extensive as this list can be, it’s only an overview of the tool’s best and most significant features. It will give you a pretty good idea of what the tool is capable of.

Unified Summary Dashboard

Managing different monitoring tools for your virtual environment can be very tedious. SolarWinds Virtualization Manager provides a single view to monitor both VMware and Hyper-V environments. The summary dashboard enables you to get a quick view of all key virtualization metrics in your environment. The hypervisor and virtual issues are neatly categorized into “All Active Alerts” and “Potential Issues” so you can act faster.

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager - Summary Dashboard

Recommendations

Predicted and active recommendations are calculated to optimize virtual machine performance and placement. The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager’s analytics engine uses four strategies—storage capacity, host performance, workload balancing, and virtual machine sizing—to evaluate the situation and make recommendations. These recommendations can then be sorted by their type or severity to allow for the quick resolution of active problems and to proactively prevent new ones.

The Recommendation Detail view shows you the steps to perform, and the statistics of the virtual machine or host with the issue and its related infrastructure. Recommendations and remediation steps can either be performed now or scheduled for a later date and time.

Hyper-V and VMware Dashboards

As nice as it is to have a unified dashboard, there are situations where it can be desirable to have different dashboards for different technologies. This is the case, for instance, when different teams are managing different technologies. For that reason, The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager also offers separate dashboards for Hyper-V and VMware.

Cloud Summary Dashboard

Virtual environments are not always on-premise. In fact, it is more and more common for organizations to revert to using cloud-based virtual infrastructures. If it is your case, the SolarWinds Virtualization manager has gotten you covered. It will monitor and manage your Amazon AWS (EC2 and EBS) and Microsoft Azure cloud instances from the same console as your on-premises virtualization environment.

Storage Summary Dashboard

All virtual environment issues are not related to the actual virtual machines of their hosts. In fact, quite a few bottlenecks in virtual environments stem from the underlying storage layer. As such, it is essential to keep a close eye on storage as much as virtual metrics. The Storage Summary Dashboard of the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager provides key storage metrics across the entire virtual infrastructure. The dashboard displays datastore and CSV performance metrics as well as information on dependent virtual machines. Using the capacity dashboard, you can track resource consumption in real-time and more accurately predict when additional resources will be needed.

Furthermore, from the Storage Summary Dashboard, you can drill down into the Datastore Details view to get all the relevant contextual information that will help you diagnose and troubleshoot storage performance and capacity issues.

PerfStack Dashboard

Using the PerfStack dashboard, you can cross-reference performance data and metrics across your virtualization, storage, applications, systems, and networks systems, allowing for quicker problem identification. This feature is particularly useful when using several Orion-based tools as it will integrate data from all the tools.

Capacity Planning Dashboard

The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager Capacity Planning feature helps you predict CPU, memory, network, and storage needs for both Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere environments. The product features a built-in what-if analysis model that provides upfront answers to key questions, such as “What if I add more virtual machines, hosts, or storage?” In addition, you will be able to analyze virtual machine placement within or across clusters to optimize which cluster would deploy virtual machines most efficiently.

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager - Capacity Planning

VM Sprawl Dashboard

Virtualization sprawl is a phenomenon that occurs when the number of virtual machines on a network reaches a point where the administrator can no longer manage them effectively. It is the most common problem in any virtual environment. Using the VM Sprawl dashboard, you can view oversubscribed and undersubscribed resources, idle and powered-off virtual machines, and orphaned VMDK files. Having this knowledge will allow you to take steps to free up virtual machine resources, allowing you to proactively avoid virtual bottlenecks in your infrastructure.

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager - Virtualization Sprawl

Alerting

The tool’s All Alerts view will list down all possible alerts that need your attention in your entire virtual environment. Based on these alerts, you can investigate virtual issues and take the necessary actions instantly. In addition, the Alert Detail view gives you comprehensive information about the alert such as its history, definition, etc. This view also provides some recommended actions.

Reporting

Reporting is always an important yet often overlooked aspect of virtualization management tools. The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager provides numerous out-of-the-box reports. Contrary to generating a report from the VMware or Hyper-V consoles which is not only time consuming, but cumbersome, doing it from within VMAN eliminates this longwinded process with quick report generation. The tool’s reporting engine also lets you go back in time, collect past data, and generate reports for root cause analysis.

About The Orion Platform

The Orion Platform is a proprietary platform on which many SolarWinds network and systems management software products are built. The platform provides a unified base that allows seamless integration between different products. The main objective of this platform is to facilitate end-to-end IT monitoring with absolute ease. The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is built on the SolarWinds Orion Platform. As such, you will be able to easily integrate VMAN with other IT management tools from SolarWinds such as the Network Performance Monitor, the Storage Resource Monitor, the Server & Application Monitor, the Web Performance Monitor, and more.

Benefits Of The Orion Platform

Here are some of the main benefits of using the Orion Platform as the foundation for the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager.

  • End-to-end monitoring of IT infrastructure
  • Single, unified platform supporting the varied needs of multiple IT teams (network, systems, virtualization, etc.)
  • Centralized management and administration
  • Consolidated monitoring data and context across various IT layers
  • Drag-and-discover network performance charts

Orion’s AppStack Dashboard

The AppStack Dashboard which is a component of the Orion Platform can give you complete visibility of storage across all layers, as well as extended visibility into virtualization and application layers. With AppStack in place, you will be able to drill down deeper across layers and instantly identify the problem root cause and take remedial actions.

SolarWinds Virtualization Manager - AppStack

System Requirements

Like most products based on the Orion Platform, the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager requires two servers. One hosts the application while the other hosts the SQL database. Although both servers could be virtual and run on a single physical host, the SQL server’s database must reside on a separate, physical drive.

Hardware requirements for the application server are as follows. You need at least a dual-core processor running at 3 GHz. It must at least 8 GB of RAM and between 20 and 40 GB of hard disk space, depending on the number of virtual machines monitored. As for the server’s operating system, SolarWinds recommends Windows Server 2016 as the discontinuation of Windows Server 2012 has been announced.

For the database server, it needs to be running one of these versions of Microsoft SQL Server:

  • SQL Server 2017
  • SQL Server 2016
  • SQL Server 2014 SP1
  • SQL Server 2014

Pricing And Acquisition

Pricing for the SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is based on the number of processor sockets on your physical hardware. The product is available in nine licensing tiers that support between 8 and 640 processor sockets. Prices start at $2 995 for up to 8 sockets. If you need to manage very large environments with more than 640 processor sockets, custom licenses can be arranged by contacting SolarWinds. You also have the possibility of taking the product for a test run before purchasing it as a free fully-functional and node-unlimited 30-day trial is available.

Read SolarWinds Virtualization Manager – REVIEW 2019 by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome

The Chrome Web Store has come a long way since its early days. Hardly anyone compares it to Firefox’s add-on market place any more. The extensions have also improved in quality and you will find extensions that compare to those for available to Firefox users. In fact, there have been attempts to run Chrome extensions in Firefox. If you’ve never tried an extension out, or you don’t know where to get started, you’ll be surprised to know how easy it is to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome.

By default, extensions only run in the normal browsing window. If you want to run extensions in Incognito mode, you’re going to have to enable them individually.

Install extensions

Chrome extensions are mostly available in the Chrome Web Store. You can search the store, click an extension. and click the Add to Chrome button.

The extension will show you the list of permissions that the extension needs in order to work and you want to pay attention to this list. Make sure that the extension isn’t asking for permission it doesn’t need. Once you give the extension the permissions it needs, it will install in Chrome.

Extensions install on a per-profile basis so if you have multiple Chrome profiles, the extension that you install will only be installed for the current installation.

Side-loading extensions

While most extensions are available in the Chrome web store, some aren’t. These are mostly extensions that are still under development and in some cases, they’re extensions that may not be approved in the store. You can still install them but the process is different.

Before you install an extension from outside the Chrome Web Store, make sure that it is safe. They can be malicious.

To side-load an extension, open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. Go to More tools>Extensions. On the Extensions page, you will see a switch at the top right called Developer Mode. Turn it on.

Download the Chrome extension and then return to the Extensions page in Chrome. Click the Load Unpacked button and select the extension that you downloaded and it will be installed in Chrome. Again, it will be installed on a per-profile basis.

Uninstall extension

There are three ways to uninstall an extension. You can uninstall it from the Extensions’ page in Chrome, or you can uninstall it from the extension’s page on the Chrome Web Store. If an extension adds a button next to the URL bar, you can uninstall it from there.

To uninstall an extension from its button next to the URL bar, right-click it, and select the Remove from Chrome option. Accept the confirmation message and it will be uninstalled.

To uninstall an extension from the Extensions page, click the more options button at the top right in Chrome and go to More tools>Extensions. Scroll down the list and find the extension that you want to uninstall. When you find it, click the Remove button, and confirm that you want to remove the extension.

The third way to remove an extension is to visit its Chrome Web Store page. The Add to Chrome button that you clicked to install it will be replaced with a Remove from Chrome button. Click it, confirm that you want to remove the extension, and it will be uninstalled.

When you uninstall an extension, all its data is also removed with it.

Read How to install and uninstall extensions in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter