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Some of the coolest technology out there today is basically free - or at least something most of us have already bought and paid for but never used. I'm talking about Cisco's IP SLA which has also been called RTT and SAA. IP SLA is a feature within Cisco IOS that let's you use the router/switch as sort of a probe or agent out on the network. IP SLA can generate test traffic from these devices deployed out on your network to other devices out on the network giving you a sort of "fully meshed" view of network performance.

Some of the IP SLA operations include things like UDP Jitter, UDP Echo, ICMP, HTTP, and FTP. You can read about all of the different tests and features here. In situations where latency sensitve applications are deployed to remote locations - especially on for instance a fully meshed MPLS network - this information is a huge help.

We're planning a more detailed blog post and a short video on how to leverage IP SLA with SolarWinds tools. If you have some specific ideas or requests please send them my way.


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Josh

On Thursday (8/28/2008) we'll be hosting a webcast on ways to reduce network firefighting. We'll be covering some best practices for quickly solving critical network issues and we'll even do a sneak peak at the new Orion NCM and the integration between that and Orion NPM.

One of the subjects we'll discuss is network issues that we've seen caused by configuration errors. I certainly know that I've brought down my share of networks over the years with fat-fingered ACLs, bad route statements, and spanning tree mishaps. If you have a cool story of a network issue you've seen that was caused by a configuration error, comment below and we'll provide a free lunch for you and your team (up to 5 people) for the best story.

You can sign up for the webcast here. I look forward to talking everyone - and if you can't attend we'll of course be posting a recorded version on SolarWinds.com under Geek Central.


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Josh

Usually when I'm working with companies on their network management strategy, while fault and performance management are top of mind, configuration management falls by the wayside. Nearly everyone that I've worked with wants to have easy to use, effective, and integrated configuration management - but for the most part this has historically been just too much trouble to make it feasible with everything else we have going on.


I'm proud to announce that this situation has now changed. Tomorrow we're going to officially announce the new Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM). Orion NCM is a new and improved configuration management application that replaces our Cirrus Configuration Manager and offers tight integration with the Orion that everyone knows and loves - Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM).


More information will be available over the next few days, but you can watch a sneak peak video here.


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Josh

For those of you that haven't seen it, Orion Application Performance Monitor (APM) Version 2.0 is now officially released and early feedback is that it's a big hit. As you know, Orion APM v1 focused on ending the blame game and giving us as network engnineers enough visibility into application status and performance to know if the issue was the network, server, application, or database.


APM 2.0 goes well beyond that and offers us the ability to do extensive server and application monitoring through built-in monitors, WMI, and custom scripts. Virtually any script that you've written for doing application/server monitoring or even downloaded to use with Nagios can be used within APM.


Additionally, APM includes an "App Builder" which makes building and applying new application monitoring templates a breeze. Also noteworthy, APM v2 gives you the abilty to monitor any windows performance counter with Orion.


When the dev team here told me what was in the release I must admit I was a bit skeptical but after having played with it for a few weeks now I'm very impressed. You can download an evaluation version for free from SolarWinds.Com and if you already bought APM and have active maintenance this is of course a free upgrade.


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Josh

There's a pretty cool article on Networkworld.com focused on cross-platform tools - i.e. tools for Windows, Unix, and Mac. Definitely worth checking out...

Also, the author specifically highlights Orion for its ability to manage these multi-vendor, heterogeneous environments.


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Josh

I'm working from our Singapore office this week so not much time to blog. If you ever have the chance to visit, Singapore really is a cool place...

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Josh

As I've said before, Netflow is a must-have technology for most network engineers today. The insight that it can give you into the traffic on your network is priceless - and now you can get it for free...

We've decided to release a new free tool called the SolarWinds Real-time NetFlow Analyzer. It's a windows based application that allows you to receive and analzye netflow data right there on your laptop or PC.

You can download a copy of the new free tool from SolarWinds.com and you can watch this quick video to learn more about it and see a demo.

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Josh

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