Many of you have some type of Voice Over IP (VoIP) deployment, which begs the need to monitor your VoIP sites, Call Managers, and other information that helps you manage your VoIP network.  The old Orion VoIP module provided these features, and Orion IP SLA Manager still does today.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we took the VoIP module, added a bunch of features around IP SLA, and renamed it IP SLA Manager.  We did this because VoIP is just a subset of all the cool things you can do with Cisco's IP SLA technology, and it just didn't make sense to call the module 'VoIP' anymore.

This becomes clearer when you take a closer look at IP SLA.  IP SLA is part of the Cisco IOS, so the devices in your network most likely already support it.  This is an important point: you don't need any additional hardware investment to utilize the benefits of IP SLA. When IP SLA is enabled on a device, it acts as a responder that helps measure data across your network.  This is another important point: because your remote devices can act as responders, you can use IP SLA to monitor the health of your network from the perspective of your remote sites, not just from the perspective of where your Orion or network management system sits.

Let's take a simple use case as an example.  Let's say your headquarters are nestled in the beautiful hills of Austin, TX, and you have a remote office in Seattle, both of which connect to SalesForce.com.  Connectivity to SalesForce.com is critical for both your Austin and Seattle offices because your sales reps can't close deals as quickly without it.  From the perspective of headquarters your connectivity to SalesForce.com is just fine, but you're getting complaints from your reps in Seattle that they're having trouble getting to the site.  With IP SLA you can test the connectivity between your Seattle office and SalesForce.com by creating an HTTP test that originates from your Seattle site, even though your Orion sits on a server in Austin.  This is the beauty of IP SLA.

Let's take this example a step further.  Without Orion IP SLA Manager, you would need to telnet into your Seattle device, and manually configure the HTTP test (we also call it an 'operation') through a command line interface (CLI).  If you're not familiar with the CLI syntax necessary to do this configuration, then you're stuck.  This is where Orion IP SLA Manager can help.  The arduous process of logging into the device, and using cryptic commands to create and configure the operation are all greatly simplified through the easy to use web interface in Orion IP SLA Manager.  Not only does IP SLA Manager simplify this process for you, but you also have Orion alerts, reports, and charts available to you to start tracking historical IP SLA data for your network.

I'd like to address one last point on licensing.  We wanted to make licensing simple, so it's based on the number of IP SLA source devices you're managing in Orion IP SLA Manager.  A source device is a device on which you create an IP SLA operation. Even better, we only count devices against your license if you've created operations on them.

You can download and try Orion IP SLA Manager for free here.