It is always great to get feedback directly from our customers and I had the privilege of a good exchange of information with Matthew Almand of Texas A&M University. They have a big network, comprised of 25 backbone Catalyst 6500 routers at 10 locations, interconnected by 1G and 10G links. There are 340 buildings, outfitted with a variety of distribution switches, from Catalyst 6500s in the larger buildings to smaller switches like the Catalyst 3750, 3560, 3550, or 2960. The edge switches are Catalyst 2950s and 2960, plus some legacy gear, over 3000 in all.
The applications in a University are typically all over the map, starting with video conferencing, e-learning, and of course e-mail. Unofficially, there will also be some level of peer-to-peer networking of some sort. When I asked Matthew “How does NetMRI help you?”, he replied:
“It allows us to have a comprehensive view at the health, compliancy, “goodness” of the network. From this comprehensive view we can: – create and prioritize simple tasks (duplex mismatches, spanning tree priority, etc.) for a small number of devices
– create and prioritize and execute simple tasks (daylight saving time dates) for all devices
– create and prioritize complex tasks (IOS code upgrades in response to PSIRT announcements).
The point I’m trying to make is that NetMRI can produce the “hits” for a deficiency / inconsistency or that the data it collects can be used to produce other actions. This can be small precise strikes or could encompass a wide swathe.“
Matthew goes on to describe how the compliance and inventory functionality are big timesavers, checking for proper implementation of their own best practice configurations and tracking inventory for Property Management auditors and to accurately track equipment listed in Cisco’s PSIRT announcement. “We used to spend considerable effort just collecting the information on IOS levels, line card modules hardware revisions, etc before the actual work of installing new IOS could begin,” Matthew says.
Matthew and his team at Texas A&M have a compelling set of business drivers that matches well with NetMRI’s functionality. Thank you, Matthew, for sharing your experience.
Re-posted with Permission
NetCraftsmen would like to acknowledge Infoblox for their permission to re-post this article which originally appeared in the Applied Infrastructure blog under http://www.infoblox.com/en/communities/blogs.html