SolarWinds announced the Switch Port Mapper on Feb. 16 for IT professionals to obtain detailed connected device information for each port. With the Switch Port Mapper, IT teams can also identify port speed and any erroneous port connections, Josh Stephens, SolarWinds vice president of technology told eWEEK.
IT teams spend a significant amount of time tracing cables to figure out what is connected, identifying duplex mismatches and investigating spanning tree issues, Stephens said. When there is a networking issue, administrators have to know which port to investigate, rule out a bad cable and ensure the network interface is working properly. Not being able to identify the port and cable in the switch "lengthens mean time to resolution," Stephens said.
It's not unusual for the IT staff to launch an IT project in order to document the ports, and it is usually a very manually intensive task, he said.
"Switch Port Mapper dramatically simplifies what's historically been a manual and time-consuming procedure, saving network engineers countless hours in the wiring closet," Stephens said.
With the Switch Port Mapper, IT professionals can remotely discover which users and devices are connected to each port on the Ethernet switch. The mapping tool also provides detailed device and port information such as the device's MAC address, assigned IP address, the hostname, port speed, and duplex information, Stephens said.
It's not just information, as there tool gives administrators some control over the switch, as well. The interface allows IT staff to enable or disable ports with a single click.
SolarWinds also built in multi-vendor support for manageable switch to ensure the tool would work with any Ethernet switch in the customer's data center, Stephens said.
The Switch Port Mapper is one of the most popular tools in the company's Engineer's Toolset, Stephens said. By making the Switch Port Mapper a stand-alone tool, customers who were deterred from downloading the full set of tools can now get the port mapper for "less than $200," he said.
"Every network engineer or system administrator needs a number of affordable, go-to tools in their daily arsenal to help troubleshoot and repair network problems," said Stephens.
It's a very individual tool, Stephens said, noting that IT administrators can download and install the port mapper on their laptops and have a view of the network. With the lower price tag, it fits the budget-conscious customer, he said.
Switch Port Mapper is available for $195 and is generally available.
To support the release, SolarWinds is holding a contest to find the most "clean, catastrophic and creative" cabling closet, Stephens said. IT teams are encouraged to submit photos and videos of their wiring closet using the official contest form as well as to share it on social networking sites. Submissions will be accepted until Mar. 9 and the winners will be selected by Stephens and announced on Mar. 16, he said. The prizes will be an assortment of SolarWind gear.