What's an Operation?

When building Orion IP SLA Manager 3.1, we implemented a couple of highly requested features around operation creation and configuration.  First, let me address what I mean by 'operation.'  This term has caused a little confusion, as it's used interchangeably with a few others.  Some people refer to them as probes, others as tests, but they're all synonymous.  Regardless of the term used, when we say operation, we mean the synthetic traffic generated from one Cisco IP SLA enabled device to another, usually measuring round trip time from source to target and back.  Each operation type does different things depending on the operation, but that's the general idea. 


What's are Source IPs and External Targets?

When creating an IP SLA operation on a device, you're looking for information on a specific network path; however, different interfaces on a device may go to different places, so specifying the IP for the operation is important.  Using Orion's default IP for the operation may not give you the data you need.  Many of you spoke up and indicated you needed to be able to specify a different IP or interface than the Orion default, so we added this functionality in 3.1.  Now, what about external targets?  You may be concerned about network quality between one of your remote sites and a website that you don't own, like SalesForce.com.  In this example, SalesForce.com would be the external target.  In IP SLA Manager 3.0 you could only specify an Orion node as a target for an IP SLA operation; however, we added the ability to specify an external target (like SalesForce.com) in3.1.


How Can I Specify Source IPs and External Targets?

I'm calling these out specifically because they're a little hard to find if you don't know where to look.  The first is the ability to specify the source IP for an operation.  Check out the screenshots below.

Here you see the final step in the operation creation wizard.  To specify a source IP other than the Orion default, select the operation then click Edit.

This will open the Edit dialogue.  Expanding the Advanced options will show you the field where you can specify the source IP for that operation.

The next feature I'd like to show you is the ability to specify external targets for certain operations (those where it is not implied that the operation will be bidirectional, like TCP Connect).  Let's say you would like to create a TCP Connect operation between a device on your WAN and an external website like SalesForce.com.  First, when creating the operation in the wizard, you need to select the Custom path type, as shown below.

Next, after selecting the node(s) you'd like to use as the source for the operation, select 'Yes, use one more external nodes as a target.'  Selecting this option will open a field that allows you to specify the hostname or IP of the external target, as shown below.

The last step is to specify the source(s) and target(s) for the operation.  In this case there is only one source and target to choose from, but we give you the ability to create more than one at a time through the wizard.

We have recently received requests to be able to specify the target IP or interface, which you can't currently do in IP SLA Manager.  We will be adding this functionality in a future release.