A couple of weeks ago we hosted a webcast called "Back to the Basics of Network Management". Our "back to the basics" webcasts are always a big hit but maybe not for the reasons that you'd think...

Yes, many folks that attend these webcasts are new to IT management and may be implementing the first network management system within their company. However, more and more we talk with people that are instead starting over from a network management perspective and want to be sure that they get the fundamentals down correctly before moving on to more advanced topics. Most of the folks that are starting over are either replacing open source systems, home grown systems, or traditional "heavy systems" like HPOV, Spectrum, and Tivoli.

During this webcast we covered the fundamentals, i.e. the basics of network management and how to get started with them. You can watch a recording of the webcast here or you can download the slides here.

As always, please let us know if you have any comments. We'll be expanding this with a "back to the basics of systems management" very soon.

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This morning I hosted a webcast on network management basics and I polled the audience to find out which of them were network engineers, network administrators, sys admins, infrastructure folks, and etc. The results to this question always surprise me as nowadays IT professionals go by so many different titles and labels. Even though the attendees for this webcast covered a broad range of specialties, across the board they expressed an interest in being able to analyze network performance.

Most of the time when we're looking at network performance we're looking at trends and analyzing historical data. However, sometimes you need to be able to analyze network performance in real time (or near real time) and that sort of analysis requires specialized tools. So, we decided to launch a new free tool to help with this - the Real Time Bandwidth Monitor.

The Real Time Bandwidth Monitor allows you to monitor bandwidth utilization on a network interface (both directions) at a very granular level, down to a 500 millisecond polling interval. Since most network devices (routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and etc) don't provide for sub-second MIB updates this is quite literally as fast as you can go. Often I find myself in a situation where I need to test how the network behaves, in real-time, under load and this is a great tool for doing this. Combined with the WAN Killer, a traffic generator found in our Engineer's Toolset, and the Real Time NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (another free tool) you can easily reproduce and diagnose congestion issues.

Check out this video to see the Real Time Bandwidth Monitor in use or download a free copy for yourself to try it out.



As always, please let us know if you have any feedback on the tool or ideas for our next free tool.

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My friend and colleague Michael Torok, our Director of Community, recently wrote this blog post. I liked it so much, and not just because I too ride motorcycles and love community, that we decided to re-post it as a guest post here. His original blog post is found on Riding and Community… stay with me for a few minutes?.



While I don’t really want to lapse into a long personal metaphor, I  was struck with a the strange cool parallel this morning as I sat in my  car and watched the motorcycle riders shoot past in the opposing lane.  Motorcyclists have an interesting code. You ride; you wave; you’re a  member. When I first started riding, it was one of the most inviting and  hidden benefits that I found. It is obvious that there is a freedom you  gain by the lack of metal around you. You gain a freedom, coupled with a  sense of exposure. But, you also join a family. And, yes, there are  people who play better than others… there are some riders that only  greet people on certain bikes, but there are the rest of us, the  majority, that don’t care if you’re on a Suzuki, a Triumph, a Ducati, a  Harley, a Honda, a Buell… whatever. You are on two wheels. You are one  of us. We are a family.

When I see the incredible activity, the  flurry of posts and replies, the content that gets shared, the scripts  people provide each other, it is the same exact feeling. I know there  are people who are more comfortable hanging out quietly in the  background, certainly feel free, and there are members who never post,  but there are also those members who share knowledge, post answers,  reach out to folks who are struggling – they wave to one another all the  time. Often you organize your own poker runs to support each other… I  mean, what else can you call this post in TIPS & TRICKS: Stop the madness! Avoiding alerts but continuing to pull statistics., other than a big thank you and give back? 

We  all get into tight spots. Like all the riders I know, I’ve hit the  ground. I’ve been rather lucky and, so far, only have a couple scars and  something to blame my future arthritis on. One of the most amazing  things that happened when I found myself along the side of the road was  the number of people who stopped as I waited for a tow. Motorcyclist,  car drivers, truck drivers… almost every one of them starting with, “Are  you okay?” and ending with telling me about when they dropped their own  bike. Everyone who stopped offered help. I see this same thing here in  the SolarWinds community. Sometimes the bike gives out unexpectedly;  sometimes you forget to turn the petcock on; sometimes you just can’t  figure out why the silly lights stay on. But someone out there has been  there. They’ve seen the same issue. They have a workaround. They have a  friendly reminder about giving SQL Server more gas or tuning the engine.  They stop to help.

I guess, in the long run, all I’m saying is  that it is a great feeling to be a part of this community. I appreciate  the feedback, positive and negative about your experiences here, and I  want you to know that my ears are open and my voice is yours here in  SolarWinds.

Please keep waving…


Great post Michael. Let's keep it rolling...

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