Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Cisco Interaction Network

Any value in ‘Network Management’?

February 17, 2009
at 12:00 pm PST

imageWe are working on a new episode (TWTV44) that will focus on the value of network management. Our goal at this point is to take a 360 degree view of the options available from single element managers, through open source, non-Cisco (but Cisco friendly) options like SolarWinds and of course our beloved CiscoWorks. This is a lot of info to pack into a one hour show so we want to make it valuable -- we need your thoughts:What do you think of the topic in general?What is top of mind for you in this area -- i.e. “they better cover… X”What is your experience/reality with various networking management products -- pro and con.Got any tips, tricks or otherwise you would like to share? Upload a video, screen capture or whatever works for you -- be sure and put a link in the comments here. Perhaps you can shape the show and we can call you out and thank you on the air. Let us know what you think!

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.

24 Comments.


  1. I currently use Solarwinds Engineer’s Toolset and have recently purchased (but yet to implement) Solarwinds Orion product. I also get monitoriing output from my Packeteer (now Bluecoat) packet shaper appliance. What I don’t have experience with yet and would like to know more on is what can NetFlow data do for me and how do I implement it within my infrastructure.

       0 likes

  2. This area is very unconsolidated and out of control. It is difficult to keep all tha devices patched and userid’s secure. there is limited SSO. There is very limited acceptance of IPMI 2.0 SMASH 2.0, and each piece needs what it needs over SSH, SSL, telnet, or RS232, modbuss, and TCPIP. We use a combination of dozens of tools like ILO, RSA, DRAC 5, BladeCenter, Virtual Center, IBM Director, HP SIM, Dell Manager, IPMON, Ciscoview, Syslog, Kiwi, ASA firewall tools, Majic Helpdesk, Remedy, Carrier Bandwith Portals, Active Directory Replication Monitor, SMS/MOM, VMWare Ranger, APC Central, APC Infrastructure Manager, SiteScope, SAN Management Tools, SAN Replication Tools, Vertitas Replication Monitor, Honeywell Building Access Control applications, CRAC out of band RS232 Building Manager Software, Avocent DSVIEW, Landesk, Power Management Applications, ESX Resource Scheduler, and on and on because no unified console does everything for (i.) Event Monitoring (ii.) ALerting (iii.) Configuration and Change Management. Deploying and Rolling back a change management firmware update is a very manual process for the Enterprise. Hardware is very customized by all the vendors with 100′s of islands of technology and hands on process with limited automation.

       0 likes

  3. Robb Boyd

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing Integration Architect. Lots of tools to juggle there. Sounds like rollback and the traditional pain of multiple islands would be good to address where possible. EagleScout – good input on NetFlow. Sometimes it feels like that has been well covered in other places but the depth is amazing and worth digging into again.Thanks!

       0 likes

  4. We use PacketTrap Perspective and love it. We used to use MOM from Microsoft but it doesn’t handle multivendor sites very well. It’s cheaper than SolarWinds, has about 80% of the functionality and the people were easier to work with than WhatsUpGold – in fact, the support team never got back to me from IpSwitch during my trial. PacketTrap got right back to me. That means they’re either very responsive or have very limited amount of business, not sure which :)We also choose the PacketTrap Toolset pt360 over SolarWinds. SolarWinds has a few more tools, but who really cares about half of them anyway. PacketTrap’s GUI is a more intuitive and robust.

       0 likes

  5. RB, right, who has the time to juggle security updates or even do the SAS 70 type 2 yearly governance audits on all those tools? It is difficult to justify thier costs to non IT bean counters let alone keeping track of hostnames and physical rack/row/floor/site locations for all of them is difficult. A 3d Apperature type modeling provisioning tool (where do I have network/power/space/cooling surplus to provision a new server) that flows like Cisco works that is real time integrated with data feeds that could spawn a session directly to one of those tools is really needed. Without breaking the bank.

       0 likes

  6. We use EM7 from Science Logic. Interop has used them for the last couple of years as their offical network monitoring and help desk tool.It’s a great product and cheaper than the big boys.

       0 likes

  7. Robb Boyd

    Tell me what kind of problems these tools are solving for you. Are you getting systemwide view and control? CiscoWorks pro and con? This is great info – thanks for sharing!

       0 likes

  8. We have used Solarwinds and their Orion application most consistently to monitor all devices within the enterprise as it allows setup as a single interface, web interface that can also send us the alerts based on our rules. Solarwinds has been a good fit end-to-end in monitoring devices that support our entire enterprise network routers, switches, wifi APs, servers for CallManager and ICM Enterprise, etc.Would have liked to do this with an end-to-end Cisco platform set, but it was too componentized (not a real word, but works here) to provide the functionality to see at the 30,000 foot view and quickly drill down all the way to a specific device’s interface in the case of any alerts and troubleshooting. In addition, as this was attempted through the Cisco application set, costs quickly grew to beyond what should it should have been for a network management platform.Optimum Network Management in today’s world, for for multi-application, single vendor network infrastructures (such as our is, all Cisco) should be able to monitor the network infrastructure, all levels of the network data, voice and video application infrastructure and provide report sets that show real-time and historical statistical data at a reasonable cost. Solarwinds came close (doesn’t monitor Voice application itself very well, QOS, MOS very well though).That’s my 2 cents (not counting today’s inflation rate).

       0 likes

  9. I’ll put in a good word for the SolarWinds’ products since theirs was one of two mentioned in the original post. I find that their Orion suite is very good and with the latest versions integrate reasonably well. What started out as a simple monitoring solution has grown up into a well-rounded solution for monitoring utilization, system stats, netflow data, etc. and now offers a decent management option as well.Sure, Openview and similar products are the defacto standard where customization is concerned but ever try to get an HPOV system setup in a week? Never happen. And then there is the issue of requiring a full-time position just to manage the system. Try getting that approved through HR and/or management when that position was never needed before.I’ve setup and managed Orion systems for both large networks of thousands of users down to very small networks of a couple hundred and never been disappointed. I also find CiscoWorks to be okay but I’ll take Orion over it any day, even for Cisco gear. CW has evolved into a much better product than it was years ago but still and all, I don’t find it to be on par with Orion. There are other NM systems that I’ve found valuable but no other with the same combination of value, functionality and user friendliness that Orion has. That said, the *ultimate* value of an NMS such as Orion isn’t how powerful or flexible it is, but rather how quickly and efficiently the system can be turned up and moved into production so we can move on to the next project.

       0 likes

  10. Robb Boyd

    RGuyler – great points. These are very useful in the episode prep. As Jimmy Ray and I are working with the CiscoWorks team, we are finding quite a few surprises. We love the SolarWinds guys, Josh Stephens is a friend of the show and has been featured as well…but it really is looking like CiscoWorks has a number of features and capabilities that many may be overlooking. Our goal on any show is to try and find the meaty, overlooked ‘aha’ moments that can impact our audience (you) in a positive way and this is warming up to be one. I don’t think CiscoWorks has ever gotten much love – a less than great reputation has persisted over the years and perhaps ALL of it may not be justified. We are going to keep culling comments like these to shape the content. For any of you who would like a shout out if we can use your opinions, please shoot us an email and let us know at techwisetv@cisco.com.Keep it up!

       0 likes

  11. Hello and congratulation for the showI would like to ask some question or to make a comment about the Network Management show Could you please take a look abouta)cluster server, fault tolerance load balancing b)services ownership and impact of login account on the running servicesc)directory integration between Ms Echange Server and Active directoryd) how far can we go inside Vmware for simulating network environment Regardsps By the way could you work on a show Regarding Cisco call manager anbinteraction with voice gateway

       0 likes

  12. Jimmy Ray Purser

    Hey Y’all,Thank you for the awesome feedback. NMS is a really hot topic out there for sure! Stay tuned for more info on the NMS based show. Should be a really tight one!Jimmy Ray Purser

       0 likes

  13. Very interesting. Also we use EM7 from Science Logic.Well approaches under the price and quality.Thanks

       0 likes

  14. Well, EN& can be use fromScience Logic as the commenters pointed out

       0 likes

  15. Lee Calcote

    For those using EM7, I’m very interested to learn of your experiences with EM7. We’ve been heavily using both G2 and G3 for a couple years now. Please contact me at the link given above.

       0 likes

  16. Thank you for sharing this valuable piece of information. We are just starting our company and would love to find out more info about Network Management.

       0 likes

  17. i am not very much into networking, so i don’t know exactly about network management system, but i am using linksys wireless router at my home but i would love to say that its interface for setting up everything as a quick or advanced is very easy and user friendly and i am totally in love with it. i think in future i will always use sisco products for any kinda networking. but i am also looking into this blog post for new information regarding these systems.bookmarked and waiting for more comments. cheers

       0 likes

  18. I’d really like you to cover the AirWave management platform. I know it’s owned by a competitor, but in light of the fact that your biggest customers (including us) use it to manage our wireless networks, I really think it would be of value. And if you have a solution that is comparable or better, this would be a great chance to show it…

       0 likes

  19. First off, I’d like to say your approach to creating a show that adds true value is really smart. It’s a tough product/service it seems to me, I’m not all that familiar with it myself, but do experience the angst that can come with technology and communication. On one hand we scream for innovation, and it indeed drives the market, but also creates the complex integration/collaboration issues. Managers and other clients want a cockpit, a drivers seat if you will, and your approach is probably the best way to create it. A candid dicussion with client across the board is so powerful (an idea only possible in scale because of technology itself)It seems the further we go collaboration seems so much more intelligent than competition, yet both need to be maintained for everyones benefit, which actually adds more complexity to the solution, huh?Thanks,Good LuckJ.Crawford

       0 likes

  20. I second John’s comment above mine. I’ve been learning more and more about the technical side of the technology I use. Best way is to ask so here I am asking!

       0 likes

  21. I think EM7 is the cuting edge of the learning factor.

       0 likes

  22. Can you tell what the difference between EM7 and G2 or G3..

       0 likes

  23. First, about cellular generations. Having worked in the industry for a while, I have a narrower view what 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, etc. mean. First 1G service was based on a TDM voice infrastructure — built around class x switches and 64 kbps slots. It had data, but circuit switched over a 64Kpbs voice bearer.Second, 2G service had the same switched TDM backbone, but added a true Data Bearer and a digital voice bearer. Data rates were still limited to the max 64kbps of a single time slot.2.5G added a packet bearer to the mix, still limited to 64kbps slots.Third generation (3G) changed the backbone slightly to allow a full T1 or E1 or J1 to be consumed by a data sub-scriber, but is still based on an ISDN style backbone. Sure you have packet switched data, but its carried over a traditional TDM backbone. There still a circuit voice backbone and while the data rates are high enough for VoIP, the latency of the data service is to great to base all of the earer services”" on it, so you still have circuit voice, circuit data and packet data bearers.i don’t know about EM7, try to google it.”

       0 likes

  24. Evgeniy, where are you from? Use also for us EM7. (Ukraine)Sorry to my English

       0 likes