SolarWinds have just launched their latest product in their Admin focussed line of tools and while the underlying focus and data is bread and butter to the network admin , the usage seems focussed towards a more security admin / HR role.
So , why the departure from the more conventional monitoring and management toolset? The first point Josh Stevens , SolarWinds “Head Geek” made was that the Community asked for it. One of the things that impressed me about SolarWinds when I saw them as a presenter at Tech Field Day was their attention to the IT community – through programs like thwack.com they keep a finger close to the pulse of what admins and other IT Pro’s are actually using their toolsets for and more importantly , what they would like to use it for. I’m a big fan of end user driven development – give the community some option / say in how you evolve after all without users/customers where will you be ? The best example of this would be the user driven feature set of dropbox – see www.dropbox.com/votebox for more details ! Much of the work of a system admin is driven by compliance requirements , be it within a security or regulatory context. The Device Tracker fills a niche currently only occupied by CiscoWorks in terms of tracking connected devices , but adds historical data tracking.
UDT Constantly scans your network devices for connected MAC and IP addresses, keeping a record of what is connected to what – this allows the tool to do a few neat things such as.
- Tracking down problem users / machines : you know the IP of the machine that violated your AUP , but not sure where in the building they were at the time ( handy if you hotdesk ) , if you know where your switch ports go to , then this tool could help you match up who was sat at what desk.
- Capacity Planning : So you’ve cabled all of your switch ports to your structured cabling , but how many are you really using over a given period ? Identify unused ports and spare capacity at the access layer.
The product seems pretty well integrated with the Orion NPM toolset – using the same interface and familiar look & feel so Admins will be able to pick it up and play right away. The only missing piece of the puzzle is a closer look at clients connected via a wireless network but I’m assured that will be in future version.
SolarWinds are offering some hefty pre-release discounts on User Device Tracker – which starts at $1700. For more details , head over to the SolarWinds Website