Free Network Management Tools are just tools without the network management.

Network  management tools are just that, tools… They do not manage your network, just like a hammer does not drive a nail into a piece of wood all by itself. They are designed to make the task of network management easier. When a customer recently asked us to help them determine what was causing their Internet pipe to become saturated throughout the day we proposed using one of our Protocol Analysis tools to help them. They did not want a  permanent solution, instead they wanted to identify the traffic, determine if its legitimate, take action and then move on.  When the customer came back to us to say that they are looking at another solution that would do the same thing at no cost I was of course skeptical. The solution was the Solarwins Application Monitoring tool free 30 day trial.

“What is your differentiator?” the customer asked.

“People” I exclaimed. “Highly Trained Technical people who can set up, analyze, troubleshoot and recommend”.

If I could find a hammer that would drive the nails in for me I would get it – even if it wasn’t free. So, if the customer chooses the Solarwins option, they will have the following tasks to complete.

  1. Download the Software
  2. Find a server and install the software
  3. Set up and configure the software
  4. Set up SNMP for the Routers and Switches they wish to report against
  5. Set up span ports for monitoring traffic
  6. Hope that all of that works
  7.  analyze the data and determine its legitimacy
  8. Track down the source of the data and take action

If the customer chooses our option, they will have the following tasks to complete.

  1. Sign our Statement of Work
  2. Read our findings and recommendations
  3. Take Action.

I know we all like free stuff, but at what cost. You may not be paying for it with hard cash, but you will pay for it.

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