So it’s been a while since I had to build out a network of any complexity, but if the neurons in my head fire in the right sequence I do remember a time where I terminated cables, hooked up switches, and did a little switch config, and of course the true joy of believing it would all work the first time - I like to think I was good, but the belief that everything would work the first time was just wrong.  Then came the hours trying to fix it – this usually involved tracing cables and a lot of trial and error.

Of course now networks are a lot more complicated and if you’re managing them the demands are higher with the resources lower so you need better tools.  It’s one such tool I want to talk about today – User Device Tracker (UDT).  As the name suggests it tracks users and devices, a simple yet tremendously powerful concept. 

If you have a big network it’s hard to know where things are connected, you have an IP address but how to go from an IP address to a location?  Maybe you have a good inventory system if you have a very static environment, but who has that any more.  Maybe you bought a switch port mapping tool like the one in SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset, but then you’re tracing one switch at a time, and who has time for that?  What if you could simply type in an IP address and find not only the switch, but the exact port it’s connected to anywhere on your network?  Wouldn’t that be cool?

The second thing that’s hard is finding users.  Why do you care about users?  Well if you’re looking for a device there’s probably a reason (i.e. it’s doing something you don’t like) and right after you find the thing you want to know who’s the person behind the device.  This is especially true in shared environments, but even then if you need proof of which user is causing issues you want to know what user was logged in to what device at a specific time.

And there you have the third thing – time – it’s one thing to trace a device right now, and find the person connected to it right now, but what about last Tuesday at 9 a.m.? 

It’s these 3 things that we combined in the concept for UDT – it takes 3 hard to do things and packages them up into 1 easy answer. 

One request from me – share your stories – tell us how UDT helped you, feel free to comment here or on thwack, our community site.