Cisco voice monitoring tool updated by SolarWinds

SolarWinds Tuesday announced an updated product that the company says will enable IT departments to use Cisco IP SLA to better manage WAN connections, router performance statistics and VoIP metrics.

View SolarWinds' Orion IP SLA Manager in Network World's Products of the Week slideshow

SolarWinds' Orion IP SLA Manager replaces the vendor's Orion VoIP Monitor and combines capabilities to track voice metrics such as jitter, latency and packet loss with visibility into Cisco's IOS IP SLA. According to Cisco, IOS IP SLAs  "use active monitoring to generate traffic in a continuous, reliable and predictable manner, thus enabling the measurement of network performance and health."

SolarWinds says it decided to monitor the Cisco technology with a commercial product (the vendor already made a free IP SLA monitoring tool available) because enterprise IT managers are overcoming the traditional barriers to such Cisco tools as IP SLA and NetFlow, for instance.

"Traditionally there were key barriers to the deployment of IP SLA in customer environments. It could potentially have a pretty negative impact," says Josh Stephens, head geek for SolarWinds. "That has changed a lot over the past few years and now you can configure devices in such a way that IP SLA and NetFlow don't impact the operation of the device, but still add value when it comes to network performance monitoring."

The software, targeted at network engineers ideally, can understand from every point on the network how voice applications, for instance, are performing, Stephens says. The product can help network managers get from one tool metrics on how each site is operating from a WAN perspective as well. Because IP SLA is already built into Cisco routers, network managers can quickly generate network and services performance data to identity site-specific or WAN-related performance issues. It tracks edge-to-edge router performance statistics that can be exported into a dashboard for quick reference as well, SolarWinds says.

"Performance can vary greatly across sites," Stephens explains. "This product helps to make the process of collecting this data simple and helps network engineers better understand the performance of the networks, applications and services."

Competitive products include CA's eHealth, which CA obtained via its Concord Communications buy, and tools developed by InfoVista.

SolarWinds Orion IP SLA Manager pricing starts at $1,495, including first year maintenance. Orion IP SLA requires an installation of Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM). Pricing starts at $2,475 for Orion NPM, including first year maintenance. A free 30-day trial of the product is available for download here.

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