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Archive for the ‘ Network Mapping ’ Category

By Alex Coco

In my current role I speak to a lot of network engineers trying to automatically map their network topology. Actually it’s more than that, they don’t just want to discover devices, the want a port level diagram of exactly how all their switches, routers, servers, workstations, phones, firewalls . . . you get the point. Some engineers I speak to practically ask:

“Can this tool provide a detailed topology and physical map illustrating the rack number and space in the rack for all the devices in my environment without configuring SNMP?”

Seriously? Really?? While I may be dramatizing a bit, the reality is that network engineers regularly walk into hostile environments where the responsibility for the documentation and organization of equipment on the network has been sorely neglected. In some cases these engineers are filling a role that never existed before so nobody took these responsibilities seriously, and in others . . . let’s just say their predecessor may have left in less than amicable circumstances. In these situations engineers need tools that will flexibly discover and map the environment by any means necessary and provide them with the information they need to make sense of this strange new world they’ve thrown themselves into.

I feel for these engineers. I’ve been one of those professional services road warriors walking into a new environment every week and seen everything from well organized, well labeled, cable managed, SAS 70 certified datacenters where the greatest risk is getting stuck in the mantrap or having your coffee confiscated when you accidentally carry it onto the raised floor, to the cable spaghetti general purpose wiring closets where copper network cables are picking up EMF cross-talk from 240V electrical wiring that was dangerously close to a leaky roof. That’s no dramatization, and the point I’m trying to make is no matter how well funded, organized, or configured an environment may be, without a map to illustrate the physical and logical relationships between systems every engineer I’ve met would be lost.

Getting those maps early on and keeping them updated is a critical part of every network engineer’s role and a tool that will automate the process of discovering and drawing those maps is invaluable. That said we can’t expect miracles, tool developers are not the brothers Grimm, there are no networking fairies that will console into all your switches while you sleep and enable SNMP/CDP. There’s always going to be some amount of legwork to enable the environment to tell you what you need to know and it will be an iterative and ongoing process to keep that environment properly configured, documented, and mapped. The tools that minimize that legwork and maximize the value of our efforts as engineers is something truly worthy of legend.

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By Sean Barry

Thanks to Chris Hampton of Realtime Publishers we have a few tips to make your life as a network admin easier.

Through automation and other efficient methods of network management you can make yourself the ultimate resource for network status and configuration knowledge, while at the same time alleviating your stress points.

One way to help yourself is to utilize tools that save time. Why waste time with manual network topology documentation when ARP Cache Discovery and Link Layer Discovery Protocols can do that for you? They query your devices’ Management Information Database files and collect extensive info to assist in building a network outline that is up-to-date in near real-time.

Another important ability is staying in control. Know your network: what devices are on your network and where they are located. You should know device interdependencies and how they are affected by changes to the network. In order to do this it is a good idea to track all changes. Collecting up-to-date status information with powerful scheduled discovery checks will allow you to do this. A network management solution that offers device configuration management from a central location would be a great asset to you in this situation.

With such a tool you can also enhance your ability to keep the network available by pinpointing issues quickly and reducing downtime. Pinpointing becomes easier when you have a network management solution that automatically generates network maps and map views and can export these maps to documentation tools like Microsoft Visio. Easily-retrievable maps provide you with insight into a network’s overall design.

Once you have these abilities at your fingertips, daily network administration tasks are a cakewalk. Plus, you’ve succeeded in making yourself the ultimate resource.

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By Sean Barry

Software should make your life simpler.

That’s been the mantra of our WhatsUp Gold developers from year one, nearly 20 years ago.Today, this dilegence and commitment to our customers was vindicated by NetworkManagementSoftware scribe, Aaron Leskiw.

Leskiw conducted an in-depth review of WhatsUp Gold Premium, focusing on the usability and simplicity of the product in relation to the robust feature set that it delivers.

Leskiw’s bottom line on the review of WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition was: “The big question is: Does WhatsUp Gold deliver on its promise of making your job easier? Yes it does – and very well! All of the features tested performed superbly and the software was simple to install.

Share in our success (afterall, it’s with your feedback that we’ve successfully developed our user-friendly IT Managemetn solution!) and check out the full review here: http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/whatsup-gold-premium-review

Check out the full review here: http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/whatsup-gold-premium-review

A recent review of WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition from Aaron Leskiw on networkmanagementsoftware.com poses the question: Does network management have to be complicated?

Obviously, we think it should be just the opposite, and build our network management solutions with the goal of making the life of a network administrator that much easier. Leskiw conducted a pretty in-depth review of WhatsUp Gold Premium, focusing on the usability and simplicity of the product in relation to the robust feature set that it delivers.

The bottom line on the review of WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition? Well Leskiw had this to say: “The big question is: Does WhatsUp Gold deliver on its promise of making your job easier? Yes it does – and very well! All of the features tested performed superbly and the software was simple to install.

Check out the full review here: http://www.networkmanagementsoftware.com/whatsup-gold-premium-review

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By Kaitlyn Myers

WUG_Bell_300dpiWhatsUp Gold v14 Premium was recently added to the U.S. Department of Navy’s Application and Database Management System (DADMS) list. Previous versions of WhatsUp Gold have been on the list since v11. As a member of the DADMS list, WhatsUp Gold v14 Premium has been rigorously tested to ensure compliance with the Navy’s application reduction initiative.

Other members of the WhatsUp Gold Family are frequently used by government offices and Federal agencies. For instance, WhatsUp Gold Event Log Management Suite is not only used by the U.S. Navy, but also the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and all branches of the U.S. military.

Having the newest and most up-to-date versions of WhatsUp Gold allows government organizations to be confident in the availability, health, and security of their critical infrastructures. It is our hope at Ipswitch to continue to provide powerful network management solutions that maintain the high standard of performance and adherence to regulations the U.S. Navy and other Federal branches have come to expect. WhatsUp Gold v14 Premium and WhatsUp Gold Event Log Management Suite continue this tradition.

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By Kaitlyn Myers

In early March, Alessandro Porro, our International Sales Director, traveled throughout Asia to visit some of our WhatsUp Gold partners.  The first two stops of this tour were Japan and Korea, where Alessandro met with Vinetech.  Next, he visited our partner ZeroOne Technology in both China and Taiwan.  ZeroOne Technology, recently named “Distributor of the Year” in Taiwan, hosted a reseller event in both China and Taiwan.  Alessandro was able to share the product management strategy, roadmap, and provide details on our exciting upcoming releases with resellers in these regions. Finally, Alessandro wrapped up his travels in Hong Kong with a visit to Asiasoft.  Also while in Hong Kong, Alessandro met with representatives from AsiaVAD (from Singapore) to discuss current business.  We are so fortunate to have dedicated partners who are committed to making our APAC visit successful!

This trip was a great opportunity to visit our partners at their offices.  It is always exciting to visit with partners and hear from their customers; it helps achieve our mutual success. This was a great trip and we look forward to future visits!

Alessandro Porro during his presentation

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By Ennio Carboni

AtlantaLogoWUGi

As President of Ipswitch Inc.’s Network Management division I have had the opportunity to speak with many of our customers about their experience using WhatsUp Gold.

Now, because WhatsUp Gold can be deployed and utilized in a variety of ways, each new story I hear varies from the last. But I have noticed a few common themes over the years. One such theme sounds like this:

“The phones stopped ringing as soon as it was deployed on the network.”

In fact, a few weeks ago I had a new customer call up our sales team and rave about the silence he and his team have enjoyed since they implemented WhatsUp Gold on their network. No more phone calls about the network being slow, that this server is down, that the Internet isn’t connecting, etc.

Because of the powerful systems and performance monitoring WhatsUp Gold delivers, these guys are finally the first to know when something is wrong on their network. They can now fix an issue before it affects their users.careerbuilderweb

This latest customer interaction reminded me of our history with job-search-giant, CareerBuilder. As a longtime user of WhatsUp Gold solutions, our product has literally grown along with CareerBuilder’s company.

In its early stages in 2003, at a point when the job search site was just one-fifth the size of the market leader, they brought in WhatsGold to solve their basic monitoring needs. As they’ve grown and matured, becoming the nation’s largest online job site, WhatsUp Gold has stayed a step ahead to continue to provide them the tool-set and functionality they need to manage a network that now includes close to 1300 devices.

Despite the evolution of technology and the increasing complexity of networks and managing solutions, we know that with most of our customers it is still the little things that make such a big difference. Mark Fouraker, Technologist at CareerBuilder, touches on just that in a favorite quote of mine from this customer story:

“My favorite story about WhatsUp Gold is when I was in an important meeting and was getting silent alerts on my pager about an impending issue on our network. I was sneaking out at breaks to troubleshoot and address the matter, eventually resolving it. The bottom line is that no one outside of a few people in operations had any idea there was even an issue at all. It’s just a beautiful product.”

A story like this is really powerful, in my opinion, because it shows how technology can evolve and customer needs can change, forcing us to continually adapt and innovate our product to meet those changing needs. It also shows that business relationships can certainly last as long as it remains mutually beneficial, with a bit of give and take from both sides.

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By Kaitlyn Myers

Thanks to our partners we are able to reach a large and diverse number of international clients. This wouldn’t be possible without the exceptional help of our International Distributors of the Year for 2009:

Infinigate Deutschland in Europe, Middle East and Africa; ZeroOne Technology Taiwan in Asia Pacific; and LicenciasOnline in Latin America took charge in their respective regions and delivered impressive results.

The WhatsUp Gold Partner Program provides WUG ninjas such as these with resources, certifications, marketing opportunities, expertise, and training on the most up-to-date WUG products. Through collaboration like this, WhatsUp Gold stands to reach network managers in need of solutions in every corner of the world.

Want to learn how to become a WhatsUp Gold Partner? Visit our Partner Section.

Want to find a partner near you? Find one now!

WUG Ninja

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By Erin Hayes

Who Do You Browse With?

I wrote a blog nearly a year ago expressing my mistrust in Google Chrome and asserting my position that when Chrome became available for Mac (my preferred computer) I would not be jumping on that bandwagon.

Well, what a difference nearly a year makes. I did stay somewhat true to my word and I was not the first, the second, or even the thousandth to jump on the Mac compatible Chrome bandwagon last spring. But jump, I eventually did.

The bugs I encountered a year ago; the incompatibility with Google’s own commodities such as YouTube and Gmail, had been worked out. The browser offered a variety of sleek new skins with which I could customize it and the load time for my favorite sites saw a noticeable, albeit not huge, improvement from Firefox.

And according to the numbers released by W3School’s Browser Statistics Month by Month last week, I wasn’t the only internet user to take notice of Chrome’s advancements: Chrome was used for 10.8% of visits to W3School site in January 2010. A solid 3rd place after Mozilla Firefox (46.3%) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (36.2%).

Out of curiosity I used Google Analytics to get an idea of how the browser war was playing out with the visitors of WhatsUp Gold’s external blog www.whatsupgold.com/blog.

Sure enough, there was a marked upswing in visitors using Chrome to come to our blog in January as well. Our stats for January were about the same as W3School’s showing. Chrome rang in at 10% whereas Firefox held 33% of the use and Internet Explorer 51%.

But what was more interesting to me – and more impressive proof of this market trend – was the jump in Chrome use between November and December. In November Chrome barely showed up in our analytics. It was used for .03% of the visits, just coming in under Safari’s .035% share. Firefox counted for 22% while Internet Explorer dominated at an impressive 69%.

But December brought a noticeable shift; Chrome suddenly jumped to 7% of the use while Safari stayed around the same. Firefox stayed around the same overall percentage where Internet Explorer saw a drop off to 54%.

It’s my opinion that Chrome’s market increase is largely due to frustration with Internet Explorer. Security issues aren’t anything new with the browser, but renewed concern over it’s security led the French and German governments to advise people to switch browsers last month.

While IE still dominates the browser space, its market share has seen a steady decline; from 68.5% last March to 62.12% in January. Firefox hasn’t seen too much change in their market share over the last year; Mozilla’s browser suffered a one percent drop from their 23.30% in March mid year but caught back up to 24.43% last month. Chrome, however, held 1.62% in March 2009 and can now claim 5.22%. Google’s browser owes most of its jump to OS X users who did not have access to it until last spring.

I’d like to see Google Chrome’s market share continue to grow and challenge Microsoft to create a more user and security friendly Internet Explorer. While in corporate terms the Internet giant and computing czar are on a level playing field, Google’s Internet browser has a ways to go to catch up to Microsoft’s institution.

Google’s scrappy little browser could be the motivation Microsoft needs to create a level browser one should be able to expect from a company with resources like Microsoft.

It’s my opinion that the best thing to happen to any big company is a little competition. It keeps them from getting away with laziness and keeps prices and expectations in the market fair.

But then again . . . my opinion on the matter may be a little biased.

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By Erin Hayes

About a month ago we posted a blog with a link to a white paper on the top ten requirements for a network and systems management solution.

Not long after it was posted a WhatsUp Gold user commented and told us he was disappointed with our list. It didn’t provide him with the broader information of the Network Management universe he had expected to find he said. Instead he said he felt like our paper read a bit too much like marketing material for WhatsUp Gold.

Now, of course we’d love to see every network in the world monitored by WhatsUp Gold because we know the strength and versatility of our product and firmly stand behind its functionality across the board.

But . . . we’d rather have our customers leave a conversation with us, leave our web site, our blog, our community site, feeling like they got more than a sales pitch from us. We’d rather a customer, or a potential customer, leave with more knowledge about the NM space than they came in with than leave with a WhatsUp Gold service agreement.

And so we went back to work. We took a second look, a third and fourth look, at our Top Ten Requirements list and we added to it and altered it until we felt we had something you would be able to use a resource when researching the best possible Network Management Solution for your network.

FlyingNinja

Click here to check out our new and improved Top Ten NM Requirement List.

It’s completely free to take look, so please do. And as always, feedback is more than welcome!

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By Sean Barry

Never Navigate Your Network Without an Accurate Map

So an important aspect of monitoring your IT infrastructure is having an accurate map of the network telling you where each device within the network is located, allowing you to make any changes, updates or repairs on devices faster and easier. It used to be that network managers had to manually map out their networks, which was obviously a long, tedious process. Be thankful that today there is software available to you today that automatically discovers and maps your network, saving you the hassle of having to walk around your office drawing a map of your IT infrastructure by hand. I mean, you didn’t go to school to study art,  did you?

One of the plug-ins that we offer with WhatsUp Gold, called WhatsConnected, is designed to make your life as a network administrator that much easier by automatically discovering and mapping your network. It uses powerful discovery tools to locate every device on the network and to visualize device connectivity down to the individual port. On top of that, you will be able to determine critical device interdependencies.

Obviously, as technology has advanced at such a rapid pace, creating and enhancing IT networks has become a much simpler task. However, the downside of that is that, with that advancement, it has gotten more and more difficult toaccurately map these networks out. This can certainly create problems for network administrators and managers because if you can’t understand how devices in your network are connected, their interdependencies and their location, then locating and resolving problems in a timely manner is simply impossible to do.

With an accurate map that visualizes your network in a true-to-life way, that visualizes device connectivity and interdependencies, and that shows you the real-time status of all devices within your network, your job becomes much less stressful. I’m sure the thought of seriously decreasing the amount of reactionary e-mails to devices not working from employees and getting less flack from your boss for sub par performance from the network is a pleasant one. And really, you wouldn’t embark on a long road trip without a proper map of your route, so why risk monitoring and managing your companies network without an accurate topology in place?

Here is a quick video highlighting the benefits and features of WhatsConnected.

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