SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset

Back in 1998, a little company came out with products that allowed a test engineer to hook up with a router over an SNMP connection and run community string attacks, analyze the data held in the router and map the network. That doesn't seem like much today, but back then it was a very big deal because penetrating routers was the leading way to map a network if you were a hacker. So, if you were a network protector, you wanted to be able to ensure that the bad guys couldn't get in that way.

In addition to displaying the network mapping information, the SolarWinds tools of the day could run a very credible cracking program that could recover a Cisco password or could crack community strings using a variety of methods. For me as a consultant, this was a very important tool in my kit.

Today, SolarWinds is a publicly traded company and it has the most complete network management tool kits available. Still, though, these tools focus on network performance, configuration and compliance. Still around is my favorite tool kit, the Engineer's Toolset. Today, though, the functionality of that product so far outstrips its predecessor that it is almost unrecognizable. Of course, after 10 major releases one would expect that.

Today, it consists of monitoring, discovery, diagnostic and Cisco-specific tools. The product's strength back then is its strength today: comprehensive visualization of the results of various tests. Toolset's displays are as different as they are comprehensive. If you can measure it, you can see it in a simple-to-interpret display. I liked that then and, were I still consulting, this would be in my tool kit yet, largely because it was (and is) quick, easy to use and results are simple to interpret. Add to that the most comprehensive suite of SNMP-based testing tools and you have - then and now - a killer of a network analysis tool for both network performance and security.

If you are managing networks, including security management, you probably need this in your bag of tricks. The price is right, the capabilities are strong and it has a long heritage of excellence.
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SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset
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