network protocols

It’s obviously easy to tell when two humans are communicating with one another. It’s not as easy for some folks to get how two machines communicate with each other. They do. It’s just a less obvious. Hint: they don’t Snapchat. Instead, components within your IT infrastructure, like routers or applications, use network protocols to chat with each other.

Network protocols get kind of important when it comes to their sharing information about your company. When machines don’t communicate with each other properly, vital information is lost.

Moreover, network protocols alert sysadmins to the status of IT health and performance. If you’re not paying attention to what your network protocols are trying to tell you, devices on your network could be failing and you don’t know about it.

In order to better understand the importance of network protocols, you should become familiar with the ones which are most commonly used.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

IT pros use SNMP to collect information as well as to configure network devices such as servers, printers, hubs, switches, and routers on an IP network. How does it work? You install an SNMP agent on a device. The SNMP agent allows you to monitor that device from an SNMP management console. SNMP’s developers designed this protocol so it could be deployed on the largest number of devices and so it would have minimal impact on them. Also, they developed SNMP so that it would continue to work even when other network applications fail.

WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation)

WMI is the Microsoft implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management, a software industry initiative to develop a standard for accessing management information in the enterprise. This protocol creates an operating system interface that receives information from devices running a WMI agent. WMI gathers details about the operating system, hardware or software data, the status and properties of remote or local systems, configuration and security information, and process and services information. It then passes all of these details along to the network management software, which monitors network health, performance, and availability. Although WMI is a proprietary protocol for Windows-based systems and applications, it can work with SNMP and other protocols.

SSH (Secure Shell)

SSH is a UNIX-based command interface that allows a user to gain remote access to a computer. Network administrators use SSH to control devices remotely. SSH creates a protective “shell” through encryption so that information can travel between network management software and devices. In addition to the security measure of encryption, SSH requires IT administrators to provide a username, password, and port number for authentication.


Telnet is one of the oldest communications protocols. Like SSH, it enables a user to control a device remotely. Unlike SSH, Telnet doesn’t use encryption. It’s been criticized for being less secure. In spite of that, people still use Telnet because there are some servers and network devices still require it.

Monitoring Your Infrastructure

Like almost every other IT team out there, yours probably is dealing with an infrastructure composed of a mish mash of servers, network equipment, mobile devices, and applications. Being able to automatically discover, manage and monitor this all requires unified infrastructure and application monitoring technology that uses all four of these protocols.




WUG_Bell_300dpiWhatsUp Gold v14 Premium was recently added to the U.S. Department of Navy’s Application and Database Management System (DADMS) list. Previous versions of WhatsUp Gold have been on the list since v11. As a member of the DADMS list, WhatsUp Gold v14 Premium has been rigorously tested to ensure compliance with the Navy’s application reduction initiative.

Other members of the WhatsUp Gold Family are frequently used by government offices and Federal agencies. For instance, WhatsUp Gold Event Log Management Suite is not only used by the U.S. Navy, but also the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and all branches of the U.S. military.

Having the newest and most up-to-date versions of WhatsUp Gold allows government organizations to be confident in the availability, health, and security of their critical infrastructures. It is our hope at Ipswitch to continue to provide powerful network management solutions that maintain the high standard of performance and adherence to regulations the U.S. Navy and other Federal branches have come to expect. WhatsUp Gold v14 Premium and WhatsUp Gold Event Log Management Suite continue this tradition.

I’m sure many of you opened your browser to Google this morning to see the capitol of Kansas replace the search giant’s name.

Screen shot 2010-04-01 at 9.16.49 AMIf you’re like me, your first reaction was something like “Really Google? That’s all you got? Topeka? Come on . . .”

Disappointing given Google’s past April Fool’s jokes, like Google Paper and that year they championed the existence of time travel.

Well, in honor of all the creative, well-executed April Fool’s jokes out there this year, we at WhatsUp Gold would like to share with you the top 10 April Fool’s jokes of all time. Well, the top 10 April Fool’s jokes according to the Museum of Hoaxes, anyway. I mean, they’ve got to know what their talking about, right?


#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

#2: Sidd Finch

1985: Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. This was 65 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the “great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa.” Mets fans celebrated their teams’ amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. In reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the author of the article, George Plimpton.

#3: Instant Color TV

1962: In 1962 there was only one tv channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. The station’s technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.

#4: The Taco Liberty Bell

The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

#5: San Serriffe

1977: The British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic said to consist of several semi-colon-shaped islands located in the Indian Ocean. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian‘s phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Only a few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer’s terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that gripped the British tabloids in subsequent decades.

#6: Nixon for President

1992: National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation program announced that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon’s voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.

#7: Alabama Changes the Value of Pi

1998: The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the ‘Biblical value’ of 3.0. Soon the article made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly spread around the world, forwarded by email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by physicist Mark Boslough.

#8: The Left-Handed Whopper

1998: Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”

#9: Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers

1995: Discover Magazine reported that the highly respected wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo had found a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. These fascinating creatures had bony plates on their heads that, fed by numerous blood vessels, could become burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speeds. They used this ability to hunt penguins, melting the ice beneath the penguins and causing them to sink downwards into the resulting slush where the hotheads consumed them. After much research, Dr. Pazzo theorized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. “To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin,” the article quoted her as saying. Discover received more mail in response to this article than they had received for any other article in their history.

#10: Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity

1976: The British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

Twenty years and counting in business and WhatsUp Gold just keeps getting better!

We’re excited to announce our largest release in the history of Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold today – v14.2.

We couldn’t have done it without our customers – literally. You guys are responsible for the development and inclusion of four new major features:

–       Business hour reporting was the #1 requested feature

–       Blackout summary notifications was the #4 most requested feature

–       Errors and discards monitoring was the #6 most requested feature

–       PDF scheduled/email reports was the #9 most requested feature.

We are also releasing two new plug-ins:

WhatsUp Gold WhatsVirtual – Now you can monitor and manage both physical and virtual VMWare environments from a single console!

WhatsUp Gold Failover Manager – Keep your peace of mind that your WUG data will be safe with this secondary WUG Server in the case of a primary server failure.

In addition we’ve made many improvements to three of the four other plugins, WhatsUp Gold Flow Monitor, WhatsUp Gold WhatsConnected and WhatsUp Gold WhatsConfigured.

But I’ll let you hear about it from the Guru. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for a complete set of tutorial videos for this release!



As President of Ipswitch Inc.’s Network Management division I have had the opportunity to speak with many of our customers about their experience using WhatsUp Gold.

Now, because WhatsUp Gold can be deployed and utilized in a variety of ways, each new story I hear varies from the last. But I have noticed a few common themes over the years. One such theme sounds like this:

“The phones stopped ringing as soon as it was deployed on the network.”

In fact, a few weeks ago I had a new customer call up our sales team and rave about the silence he and his team have enjoyed since they implemented WhatsUp Gold on their network. No more phone calls about the network being slow, that this server is down, that the Internet isn’t connecting, etc.

Because of the powerful systems and performance monitoring WhatsUp Gold delivers, these guys are finally the first to know when something is wrong on their network. They can now fix an issue before it affects their users.careerbuilderweb

This latest customer interaction reminded me of our history with job-search-giant, CareerBuilder. As a longtime user of WhatsUp Gold solutions, our product has literally grown along with CareerBuilder’s company.

In its early stages in 2003, at a point when the job search site was just one-fifth the size of the market leader, they brought in WhatsGold to solve their basic monitoring needs. As they’ve grown and matured, becoming the nation’s largest online job site, WhatsUp Gold has stayed a step ahead to continue to provide them the tool-set and functionality they need to manage a network that now includes close to 1300 devices.

Despite the evolution of technology and the increasing complexity of networks and managing solutions, we know that with most of our customers it is still the little things that make such a big difference. Mark Fouraker, Technologist at CareerBuilder, touches on just that in a favorite quote of mine from this customer story:

“My favorite story about WhatsUp Gold is when I was in an important meeting and was getting silent alerts on my pager about an impending issue on our network. I was sneaking out at breaks to troubleshoot and address the matter, eventually resolving it. The bottom line is that no one outside of a few people in operations had any idea there was even an issue at all. It’s just a beautiful product.”

A story like this is really powerful, in my opinion, because it shows how technology can evolve and customer needs can change, forcing us to continually adapt and innovate our product to meet those changing needs. It also shows that business relationships can certainly last as long as it remains mutually beneficial, with a bit of give and take from both sides.

sony-playstation-3I had a few free hours yesterday afternoon inbetween Sunday obligations so I did what many people do when blessed with extra time; I powered on my gaming console and sank into my couch for a quick game or two.

I’ve been trying to wean myself from my “Little Big Planet” so I thought I’d download “Heavy Rain,” just to see what all the hype was about.

Unfortunately for me my gaming console of choice is PlayStation 3. (Don’t think I don’t hear you Xbox fanatics chuckling to yourselves that owning a PS3 is indeed unfortunate, but let’s save that argument for another post.)

Instead of “Heavy Rain,” I received this message:

8001050F Registration of the trophy information could not be completed. The game will now quit.

I tried three more times before I broke out my computer and did a quick Google search to see what the heck was going on. It didn’t take long for me to find other users experiencing the same frustration.

It was official; the PlayStation Network was down.  Network outage. Bummer.

And the outage seemed to be only effecting the older versions of PS3. Meaning Double Bummer for me. I don’t yet own one those new “slim” PS3 models.

Sony acknowledged the technical issue on their blog Sunday night and said it was working on a fix.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and genuinely appreciate your patience while we work to resolve this,” Sony social media manager Jeff Rubenstein posted on the PlayStation blog.

I wondered what, if anything, they use to monitor their network. I wondered if they had deployed WhatsUp Gold on the PS3 network whether or not I’d be sitting on my couch wondering what to do now.

I can’t help it. It’s the first thing I think about in these situations. I thought about the flood of phone calls those in charge of PSN must be drowning in at that moment.

In this world where nearly everything happens online network management software is no longer a Nice to Have. It is definitely a Need to Have.

If PSN does not have a Network Management solution in place I’m willing to bet they will have one in the very near future.

In the meantime they’ve released that the source of the problem has been identified as a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system. Sony says it hopes to resolve the issue in the next 24 hours.

If you, like me, own an older PS3, Sony advises we keep our consoles turned off until further notice.

Join Our 14.2 and WhatsVirtual TTP

Ipswitch’s network management division takes pride in developing software that keeps our users on the cutting edge of industry standards. You need a network management solution that will continue to evolve as the industry evolves.

The latest product we’ve been developing, WhatsVirtual, is an answer to the growing industry trend toward virtualization. It is now essential for IT professionals to have a tool that allows them to effectively monitor and manage their virtualized environments.

Join our WhatsVirtual Technical Preview Program and be the first to give us feedback on this new tool. We view our TPP participants as an integral part of WhatsUp Gold’s product developement.

The success of WhatsUp Gold’s Traffic Analysis tool late last year was without doubt due in part to your feedback and participation in our Flow Publisher TPP.

Netflow ScreenFlow Publisher is a lightweight complement to WhatsUp Gold Flow Monitor (Flow Monitor provides detailed insight into how your network bandwidth is utilized by collecting NetFlow, sFlow and J-Flow data) designed for those networks that don’t support flow data.

So cross Budget For Costly Upgrades and New Hardware off your To Do List: Flow Publisher; enables flow monitoring for every network segment and for every device whether or not they natively support flow monitoring. Flow Publisher captures raw network traffic and converts it into standard NetFlow records.

Here’s a quick 101 of network traffic analysis terms you should be familiar with in order to effectively get a handle on your network’s performance

* Top Offenders: The top offenders are those users, applications or hosts that are consuming your network bandwidth.
* BitTorrent: This is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used for distributing large amounts of data, which allows large files to be downloaded without affecting the performance of the network.
* WAN Data Traffic: This refers to traffic slowing down the performance of the wireless environments, usually consisting of FTP or copying files between sites.
* Security: Proper network traffic and performance monitoring allows you to detect DOS attacks and other rogue activity directed at your network.

The Basics of WMI and Why You Need to Monitor It

WMI is short for Windows Management Instrumentation. The technical definition for WMI is the infrastructure for management data and operations on windows-based operating systems. It is based upon the Desktop Management Task Force (DTMF) standard and is a specific set of extensions to the Windows Driver Model that provides an operating system interface through which instrumented components provide information and notification….

I know, that seems like a whole bunch of technical jargon that still sort of leaves you wondering, what the heck is WMI and why is it important?

Basically, the purpose of WMI is to define a  non-proprietary set of environment-independent specifications which allow management information to be shared between management applications. It prescribes enterprise management standards and related technologies to work with existing management standards such as DMI and SNMP, and compliments them by providing a uniform model. Based on the Common Information Model (CIM), which is an open standard that defines how managed elements of an IT environment are represented, WMI includes most of the Microsoft applications available today such as SQL Server, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and others.

So why is the ability to monitor WMI enabled applications and devices? Well due to a constant increasing exposure of management data through WMI in windows, more and more IT administrators and managers started to develop scripts and automation procedures based on WMI. This has since lead most management software companies in the world to become WMI-enabled and capable of consuming and providing WMI information through various user interfaces.

WhatsUp Gold was one of the first network and application management solutions to fully support WMI and offer complete monitoring capability for WMI enabled desktop and server OSs and applications. Using WhatsUp Gold WMI monitoring capabilities, network managers can immediately understand the health of their servers and applications to pro-actively understand and resolve issues before they become real problems.

Here is a useful list of tips that network administrators can leverage in their everyday travails.

1. Assume nothing. Where does the real fault lie? Is it really the network or something else? Go to #10…

2. Is IP addressing correct? Proper subnetting and VLANs?

3. Conduct a visual inspection of the equipment.

4. Validate proper device power-up after a power failure.

5. RTM or Read The Manual (polite version); believe it not, the manufacturer release notes have valuable information.

6. Configuration of equipment. More often than not a change, that is either managed or not, has a cascade effect. Check settings for auto negotiation, for example.

7. Check MTU settings. This is the cause of most black holes.

8. Are the router tables correct? Is the gateway correct? show iproute is a useful tool.

9. If using a service provider/telco. Are your PE routers setup correctly and with the right MTU for WAN links?

10. Leverage network management and monitoring tools to rapidly and preemptively locate issues and to get 360o visibility into, actionable intelligence about and complete control of your IT infrastructure.

Daily Network Monitor SoftwareIpswitch has been working hard on a new release of their network monitoring software and it is finally here. So without any further delay, let me highlight a few of the 20 new features of Whats Up Gold v12.0 that bring 360o visibility, actionable intelligence and complete control to network managers.

  • Split Second Graphs – bring real-time information to network managers with 13 new reports that can be configured and added to any of the Top 10 or full reports. With Split Seconds Graphs network managers can simply enable Split Second Graphs on any monitor and can now have up-to-the-second data to quickly pinpoint an issue.
  • InstantInfo – presents instantaneous access to utilization data on a highlighted interface. InstantInfo is enabled in WhatsUp Gold by default. Data is presented to the network manager by simply hovering the cursor over the enabled interface description. This is especially valuable when trying to locate intermittent issues without having to access reports. Similar to SSG embedded in reports, the data is transient and is not stored in the WhatsUp Gold database.
  • New SNMP MIB Tools: MIB Explorer, MIB Manager and MIB Walker – MIB Explorer simplifies the chore of identifying and figuring out what MIB variables are available to be monitored directly on the device. MIB Manager enables drag and drop addition and validation of MIBs, all before you enable a monitor and then find out that the MIB is incorrect. And finally, with MIB Walker directly view the variables in a MIB to understand what parameters the MIB contains.
  • Upgraded WhatsUp SQL database and Vista Support.

As a limited time offer, try WhatsUp Gold and you’ll be entered to win a Nintendo® Wii Fit & Wii Game System Console ($550 Value).

Also, if you haven’t already, please take the time to visit and download a v12.0 product demo. While you’re there you might notice that the site is completely new, providing in-depth information about the whole WhatsUp  product family and associated technologies.