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As many of you know, the process of mapping out all of the connections to your Ethernet switches is a tedious and time consuming project. Sure, if you have  a newbie network administrator on your team it’s a great way to break them in but otherwise it might just fit into the category of “cruel and unusual punishment”. Using telnet or SSH to pull the CAM or MAC tables from your switches, doing the same for the ARP tables on your routers, somehow matching them up and then trying to add DNS information, duplex settings, and etc can take forever and by the time you get it finished things are likely to have changed.  To add insult to injury, you probably won’t take the time to do this until you’re troubleshooting an issue and so you’ll be rushed and probably only partially complete the job.

 

To help make this easier and because we know that budgets are tight out there, we’ve updated the SolarWinds Switch Port Mapper and made it available as a low-cost, standalone tool for everyone out there. There’s a free evaluation version that you can try out and then you can purchase the licensed version online. The first time you use it it’ll more than pay for itself – trust me.

 

Additionally, to help kick off this new product we’re sponsoring a photo and video cabling contest through March 9. “What’s Hiding in Your Closet” is contest for those of you that have the best Clean and Creative cabling jobs and those of us (like me) that have the most Catastrophic looking wiring closets in the world. We’ll post the submissions on SolarWinds’ Facebook page, and announce the winner in each category on March 16. For more details regarding the contest instructions, and terms and conditions, please visit SolarWinds’ Facebook page.

 

Whether you decided to enter the contest or not, download the Switch Port Mapper and try it out. I think you’ve be impressed with how easily it maps out your LAN infrastructure and the details that it provides on a port by port basis.

 

Flame on…

 

Josh  
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Last week I was over in London at Cisco Live (Cisco Networkers for any old timers like me out there) speaking and meeting community members at the SolarWinds booth. It was a great event by all accounts and especially timely with the IPv4 address depletion which occurred last week.

 

One of the most common things I was asked about was configuration management. How to backup the configurations from all of your network infrastructure devices (routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, VPN concentrators, and the like), how to validate that the configurations comply with all of your standards and any mandated policies that apply to you, how to detect configuration changes in real-time, and most of all – how to push configuration changes out to your devices.

 

Configuration management certainly isn’t a new field but for many of us the tools that have been available to help with these tasks have lacked a lot in terms of usability and device support – especially in heterogeneous environments. This has forced many of us to create our own scripts for pushing out changes or backing up configs or to leverage free tools and open source tools to help close the gap.

 

This Thursday at 1100 CST we’re hosting a webcast to talk about the top 5 configuration management tasks and how to actually accomplish them using the SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager. This free training will be helpful to anyone in a network administrator role – regardless of whether or not you use SolarWinds applications.

 

Some of what we’ll discuss will include:

 

- Backing up the configurations of all of your routers, switches, and firewalls   
- Setting up automated configuration management jobs    
- Configuring and using real-time config change detection    
- Managing configurations against policies for compliance

 

You can go here to sign up for the event and I’m looking forward to collaborating with you.

 

  
Flame on…   
Josh   
Follow me on Twitter

It's been a great few days here in London at Cisco Live. Cisco Networkers has always been one of my favorite shows to attend and to be invited to speak at the event again this year was a real honor. It's been wonderful connecting with customers and partners that I've known for many years and meeting new folks that are interested in learning more about SolarWinds. For those of you that I've had the pleasure of meeting these last few days, I hope to see you again soon - either at Cisco Live in the US or sometime at our home offices in Austin Texas.

The theme for SolarWinds this year was the expansion of our focus and our offerings from network management to include all areas of IT infrastructure management - network management, system and application management, storage resource management, and virtual infrastructure management. The theme fit well with what we heard from people at the show - that more and more the silos are dissolving and traditional roles like network engineer, system administrator, SAN manager, or virtualization administrator are being replaced by roles like infrastructure manager, infrastructure engineers, and infrastructure specialists. The days of only needing to understand one of these 4 core infrastructure areas are gone, along with the viability of management tools that fail to provide visibility into each of these areas.

Here at the show there was a lot of buzz around IP based video, Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS), VCE, and of course with the recent news lots of talk about IPv6. Obviously, these are all areas of focus for SolarWinds as well. I was invited to speak at a VCE event a few weeks ago and it's just another great example of the need for IT practitioners to broaden their skillset. There's some fantastic new technology out there to be explored and leveraged and it's going to take a new breed of IT infrastructure specialist to effectively deploy and manage it. Step up, and the rewards will be plentiful. Don't, and well, this industry may just leave you behind...

Flame on...
Josh
Follow me on Twitter

This week I'm at Cisco Live in London and I've been amazed at the number of people that have stopped by the SolarWinds booth to inquire about configuration management. It seems that a lot of folks out there are still manually backing up their router, switch, firewall, VPN concentrator, and load balancer configurations and rolling out changes by hand. There's a better way folks, and that better way just got even cooler.

Today we officially released version 6.1 of the SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager. This new version has all the great features we've been shipping for years like real-time change detection, automated config backups, scheduled and ad hoc configuration changes or config pushes and more but this new release also has some great new features. Most notably, we've significantly enhanced the compliance reporting features within the Network Configuration Manager. These features are instrumental in validating your configurations against policies and regulations like Sarbanes Oxley (SOX), HIPAA, and PCI. Additionally, we've made some new compliance reports available for commonly requested compliance management requirements like DISA STIGS.

We've also added full IPv6 support in this latest release, as many of us are preparing to rollout IPv6 in our environments with the shortage of IPv4 addresses that are now available.

Like all of the products from SolarWinds, you can download a free copy of the Network Configuration Manager to try out for 30 days from SolarWinds.com and have it up and running in under an hour.

Flame on...
Josh
Follow me on Twitter

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