A few weeks ago I wrote Cisco IP SLA - Cool technology for free... about some cool technologies including NetFlow and Cisco's IP SLA and provided some information on what IP SLA can be used for and how it works. Since then I've become even more convinced that IP SLA is a must-use technology. I guess you could say I've gone from being just a fan to being somewhat of a fanatic. Sort of like the way I feel about Mountain Dew, spinnerbaits, and bird dogs - I just plain love 'em.
Over the last few weeks I've really been able to get my hands dirty with this technology. I hosted a webcast -Deep Dive on IP SLA the week before last and in preparation I tested, and retested both our applications the leverage IP SLA and IP SLA itself. I learned several things...
First, while configuring IP SLA on a router or switch for a a few operations isn't all that much work, configuring IP SLA on a large number of devices or even for a single devices for a large number of operations can be quite a chore. There are easier ways to do this. Several applications including CiscoWorks, Orion NCM, and Kiwi Cat Tools can automate configuration tasks like rolling out IP SLA. Effectively, they automate the process of using telnet to connect to the devices and enter in the commands (yes, I'm way over simplifying this but I really don't like blog posts that go on forever even if I'm the one writing them). Other applications like the SolarWinds IP SLA Monitor (free) or the VoIP Module for Orion use SNMP to configure the devices.
Speaking of which, while testing our new IP SLA free tool last week we learned that the IP SLA parameters that we were adding to the devices weren't showing up in the devices' running configurations. However, if you did a "show ip sla config", badda bing - there they were. Turns out there is an option you have to specify when pushing out IP SLA parameters via SNMP to put the IP SLA config into the running config. So, being the nimble company that we are, we pushed out a new version yesterday that fixed a couple of bugs and also made it so that the IP SLA configs we enter appear in the running config therefore can be saved to NVRAM.
If you've never played with Cisco IP SLA, grab the IP SLA Monitor from SolarWinds.Com and use it to setup and monitor IP SLA on one of your Cisco routers and see what you think. It's a free tool and you've really got nothing to lose. Pull the running config from the router before and after you use the IP SLA Monitor tool to and compare them so that you can see the how the configuration is altered.
This is cool stuff folks. Give it a shot and next time you're in Austin stop by and we'll take the boat out to Lake Travis with a cooler full of Mountain Dew, some spinner baits, and my bird dogs Bailey and Pepper for company.
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