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Well, the news is out. The geeks from Tek-Tools have joined the team here at SolarWinds and as usual, I'm pretty freakin' excited.


If you want the details you can go here, but in a nutshell - you asked and we're delivering. The need for comprehensive management of networks, systems, applications, storage, and virtualization has never been higher and with the addition of the Tek-Tools stuff we're stepping up to the plate to deliver. Just imagine us standing at the plate and pointing the bat out towards the bleachers - sort of like Babe Ruth in his prime - but that the bat is now loaded with all sorts of cool technology around managing virtualization and storage.


My good buddy and our Chief Product Dude Kenny Van Zant gives a great insight into the "big picture" here. I highly recommend checking it out and sending your boss there if they're asking questions about what this all means and especially if they're asking them in CIO lingo.


Stay tuned as over the next few weeks and months we'll have more information to share about how our technologies will be integrated to deliver more of what you've been asking for and what we all need to be successful in today's networked infrastructures.


Just remember, we're successful at making you successful because you tell us what you need and we bring it. So now more than ever - keep telling us what you need. Talk with our product managers on the forums, on the Orion Blog, or to me here on my blog. Keep chatting with us on Twitter and keep sending us those e-mails.



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Josh
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Sometimes doing things the hard way can get a bit tiresome. Don't get me wrong, I love the CLI. I love the God-like power that I feel when I'm sitting in front of a router and the entire team is standing behind me watching while I bring forth the magic. I love the fact that I've memorized all kinds of IOS syntax that that my skills when invoking this knowledge can bring young network padawans to their knees, bowing in homage to the network jedi that I have become... Of course, not everyone has an ego as large as mine and that needs such constant nourishment and so, thankfully, there are easier and better ways to configure your network devices.

One such way is the new Network Config Generator free tool from SolarWinds. This great new application will help you to build config scripts that be used to do common configuration changes like setting up VLANs, deploying NetFlow, or updating ACLs. It comes with several pre-written scripts and makes it really easy to edit or create your own. Additionally, the new Network Config Generator has a cool community feature which integrates the tool with a special area within the Content Sharing Zone of our community site thwack.com. This way you can share all the scripts you've created or download scripts from other users.

This new free tool is available as of today and can be downloaded from SolarWinds.com. Check it out and let us know what you think.


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Josh
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Well, it's that time of year again. It's starting to feel like spring here in Austin Texas, the Super Bowl is only weeks away, the World Cup is only about 141 days, 5 hours, and 9 minutes away, and I'm packing for Barcelona for Networkers at Cisco Live. This year not only will SolarWinds be hosting the coolest booth at the show and giving out tons of free swag but I'll also be presenting within the Cisco Theatre.

So, if you're going to be in Spain stop by and see us. And if you're not planning to be in Spain next week, does anyone really need an excuse to go to Barcelona? C'mon...


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Josh
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I'm sure you've heard the term "drinking from the firehose" used to describe being fed information at an insane, maybe even overwhelming rate. For most people this is probably a bad thing, but for geeks like us sometimes it's just what the doctor orderred. I'm sure you've been there. It's the night before an important meeting and you're going to be expected to be an expert on some cool new area of technology. Problem is, you've never worked with it before and you need to find a firehouse to start guzzling information from ASAP.

I remember this one time when I ran a consulting firm up in Tulsa. We had an opportunity to place a high-end network security engineer within a large company that we'd been trying to find a way into for years. The project was to re-architect and streamline their very large Cisco PIX implemenation. This was our chance. So, I grabbed my good buddy and "go to guy" Chris and we headed off to the meeting with the customer. The meeting went great and the next day my buddy was set to show up onsite and fix all of their problems.

On the way out of the meeting Chris leans over and says "You know I've never worked with a Cisco PIX before, right?" Holy smokes man!!!

I can't tell you how many times I've been faced with this same situation personally. To add a little more stress, imagine that a few hundred people are going to be sitting in a theatre the next day to hear you speak about this cool new technology that less than a week ago you'd never even heard of... So what do you do when you're faced with coming up to speed on a new techology really quickly and you're under the gun? Well, here's this geek's top 5 list for doing just that:

Head Geek's Top 5 Tips for Coming Up to Speed on New Technology in a Hurry

#5 - Get your hands on it. There's no better way to experience technology than to get your hands dirty. This isn't always feasible, which is why I made it #5 in the list, but even if you can just play with it for a few hours in your home lab having some practical experience with the technology will do wonders for both your knowledge and more importantly, your confidence level i.e. technical mojo. Yeah, that's an Austin Powers reference. Deal with it.

#4 - Find an expert and pick their brain. The cool thing about most geeks is that they like to show off how much the know. Yeah, egos don't run small around this crowd. Sure, sometimes this can be just about as annoying as that old lady sitting beside you at the IMAX while you're trying to watch Avatar in 3-D but she keeps elbowing you and making weird snoring sounds (yes, this was my Monday afternoon this week). However, when you're in a pinch and need to learn a lot in a hurry these are the people you want to seek out (the technology experts, not the annoying old ladies). If you can't find one, try doing some Twitter searches to see who's been talking about what you're needing to learn.

#3 - Visit the vendor's websites. Yeah, most of them make finding useful information about as easy noodling for catfish in a hurricane but if you skip all the marketing crap and head straight to their user forums and tech support pages you should be able to find some good stuff.

#2 - Go to the community. Not all new technologies have strong community followings but if they do this is a fantastic place to get information. Chances are you might even be able to get someone to either join your meeting or provide you with some pre-prepared content. Thwack.com is a great example of this within the network management space. If you can't find a community focused on that technology try looking for a parallel or competing technology and you may find something there.

#1 - Find a website dedicated to giving out technical information and education and start guzzling. If it's something within the network and systems management space there's a good chance you'll find videos, webcasts, and blog entries about it on the educational site at http://solarwinds.com/geek. Otherwise, try visiting a site like IT Knowledge Exchange.

Dont' see your favorite tip here? Tell me about it. I'm always looking for more ways to avoid looking stupid...


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In case you've been locked in a cave somewhere for the last couple of years and haven't noticed, here at SolarWinds we've been creating some great, free learning material for network engineers, network administrators, system administrators, and IT managers of all types. We've hosted and recorded dozens of webcasts, a myriad of videos, and several cool whitepapers among other things such as our Geek's Guides. To be honest, we've produced so much learning content that sometimes it's become hard to find the right content for the right situation. The answer - the new Geek Speak site at SolarWinds.Com.

Now officially launched, if you go to http://www.solarwinds.com/geek you'll see the new Geek Speak website in all it's splendor. Whether you're looking to learn how to enable NetFlow on your Cisco routers, debating the pros and cons of flow-based analysis vs. probe-based testing (like with Cisco IP SLA), or looking to find out the best ways to monitor applications on your Windows Servers, this new site was built for you - the network engineers and system administrators that keep this world spinning on a daily basis.

As you begin using the site you'll notice that we've organized the content by type and by category. So whether you're looking for bit of information via one of our Tech Talk videos or looking to learn a little more by watching one of the recorded Geek Speak webcasts.

This new site is one important piece of how we're going to be helping people like you and me to find the information that they need, when they need it, as quickly and effeciently as possible. Please check it out and let us know if you have any suggestions for making the site better.


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Josh
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