Booth #931
Free swag (T-shirts, USB keys, geek pins)
Free geek drawings (yeah, like my avatar but of you)
Free Mountain Dew (hey, we all get thirsty)
Technology presentations every half hour by yours truly (hence why I get so thirsty)
Follow the event thru Twitter if you can't attend in person (trust me, it'll be worth it)

Enough said?
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One of the things that I tend to talk alot about is how to raise the visibility of the IT and network engineering groups within your organization. If you get this right, not only will your job get easier but you'll find that getting budget approved for projects, staffing, and even pay raises takes a lot less effort.

Calvin Sun over at Tech Republic makes some great points in his recent blog post on this same subject and with the financial crisis that is occurring right now there couldn't be a better time to start thinking about how to raise your visibility within your organization.

Tomorrow I'm going to be speaking on this topic at the Austin Tech and Job Expo. Specifically, I'm going to highlight some cool new technology (like Cisco EnergyWise and Virtualization) that can significantly reduce your companies expenses. The presentation starts at 2:15. If you're going to be in Austin tomorrow stop by and see me.

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Over the last few days I've been writing and talking a lot about NetFlow. This is a smokin' hot topic for network engineers nowadays and so we've created some new videos and webcasts to help explain the technology and how you can leverage it. One of the subjects that kept coming up is how to get NetFlow data from your Cisco ASAs. I had to do some research to verify my understanding of how this worked but now that I'm done I thought I should share it here.

When most of us think about NetFlow, we think about traffic analysis. When you enable NetFlow on a router or switch and send it to a NetFlow collector like the Orion NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) you're going to be able to analyze your network traffic in terms of applications, protocols, sources, and destinations. If you've never seen this, it's pretty cool. You can click here to see the traffic on one of our links here in the lab.

While traffic analysis is still the primary use case for NetFlow, in some cases it's starting to be leveraged as a transport protocol as well. On the Cisco ASA for instance, you can leverage NetFlow as a method of transporting security events. Additionally, in some of the new IOS beta code Cisco has started sending NBAR information within the NetFlow PDUs. As the adoption of flexible NetFlow (either NetFlow v9 or IPFIX) increases we'll see an increase in the types of data that are being sent within NetFlow packets that are not traffic analysis related.

This has caused confusion among network managers that are trying to analyze the traffic flowing through their Cisco ASAs because they're reading that these devices now support NetFlow. It's important to understand that they support NetFlow as a transport mechanism for security events but they don't support NetFlow for traffic analysis. If your desire is to utilize NetFlow to analye the traffic flowing through your ASAs you'll need to get that information from an adjacent device.

Hopefully this will help to clear up some of the confusion.

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This Thursday we're hosting a new webcast on some of hidden secrets of Cisco IOS. Specfiically, we're going to dive into Cisco IP SLA, NetFlow, and EnergyWise. I'm pretty excited as my buddy Jimmy Ray Purser (co-host of Cisco TechWise TV, Network World Blogger, and Security Expert/hacker extraordinaire) is going to be co-hosting and when you get two redneck supergeeks like us together it's bound to be interesting...

You can sign-up and read the full description of the webcast here.

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In case you haven’t seen it yet, the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset version 10.1 is now available and includes some pretty cool new stuff. One of the coolest pieces of technology that 10.1 added is the new and improved traffic generator, WAN Killer. I recently had a chance to chat with the Toolset engineering team about this new application and so I thought I’d post our discussion here.


Josh – So Steve, I know that we’ve been chatting about a new and improved traffic generator for a while. What can you tell me about the new version of WAN Killer?


Steve – Well, the first thing that you’ll notice about the new WAN Killer is that it’s not only offered as a classic Toolset tool but it’s also now a gadget within Workspace Studio and can be saved as a part of your custom tabs and workspaces.


Josh – That’s cool. I can imagine creating some specialized workspaces for doing load testing with bandwidth gauges, WAN Killer, CPU and memory charts, and etc. What else is new?


Steve – We also added the ability to tweak the types of traffic that you’re generating with WAN Killer so that you can not only generate more traffic but you can also specify the source port, source address, DSCP, and ECN parameters.


Josh – That’s wicked! So I can generate/simulate traffic with specific QoS parameters to see how the network performs with different levels of those specific types of traffic?


Steve – Exactly. Then, once you're generating traffic you can use our NetFlow applications to verify the traffic that's on the line by protocol, address, application, DSCP/ToS, and etc.


Josh – Sweet. What can you tell me about what you guys are cooking up for future releases?


About this time Floyd threw something at me (I think it was that old can of Spam what we keep around the office) and Greg threatened to shoot me (which he could do either on purpose or on accident as we’re going skeet shooting on Saturday morning at a club up in Dallas) so I backed off that part of the conversation. I will say that I saw some pretty cool stuff that they’ve been working on and that they’re now letting me test.


So, if you haven’t renewed your maintenance and downloaded the latest Engineer’s Toolset you’re missing out on some pretty geeky stuff… I'll also be posting a new video demonstrating the new traffic generator - WAN Killer, so stay tuned for that.








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