Finally, an SMB network monitoring solution that should be affordable yet fully functional!
What a great project this sounds like it will be. As a SMB IT consultant for the past 20 years or so having the ability to monitor and maintain a customer's network in ways like Thunderbolt has been described has been either nonexistent or a mishmash of products from various sources, none of which seem to do all of what we want and need. I've needed many times things like the ability to automatically check for firmware updates for routers, switches, and WAPs and then automatically deploy those updates after first seeking permission. Thunderbolt will do that! I've needed the ability to watch for "rogue" devices like unauthorized WAPs or laptops. Thunderbolt will do that! Thunderbolt will be able to backup configuration settings automatically and be able to restore them from a centralized location. Yes, current hardware has the ability to export settings, having to remember at each customer location where those settings are stored or, worse yet, having a VAR/Consultant store the settings for the customer on our networks is just a pain. Having a central secured location for this will be much better.
In the past I've looked at various "solutions" used by larger companies for this type of capability and have found they don't really exist as a single solution in any kind of price range that's acceptable to SMBs. If Thunderbolt ships with the capabilities I've been told it will have we'll be able to go to one place for both SMB network hardware and monitoring solutions.
I don't know what the roadmap for Thunderbolt is, but as Thunderbolt moves forward I encourage Cisco to quickly include support for more "enterprise" level products like ASA firewalls or Aironet WAPs as well as the Cisco Small Business line like the RV082 router. We have several locations using an ASA and Aironet for their main office and Cisco Small Business products at remote locations like sales offices or warehouses. The ability to manage that type of small business, especially if it can be done through a VPN tunnel, would be worth its weight in gold. I can also see a need for Cisco's Linksys line. While I'm sure this isn't going to be a top priority, the Linksys product line in SMBs are a fact of life. An SMB needs a WAP or has a router die or needs to quickly add a switch and they run to some big box store and grap what they have on the shelf.
Re: Finally, an SMB network monitoring solution that should be a
Thanks for the feedback Brian. Trust me, many eyes are seeing this :-)
As we discussed earlier today, configuration backups/restores and firmware upgrades are specific to the products listed in the brochure I sent with my Welcome package. Event Monitoring and alerting on the other hand, are available for any device that the Thunderbolt appliance (TB) is able to discover.
Certainly one of the things that we will validate during this exercise is how we should expand hardware support, and what is the real meaning of that support. Your proposed ideas are the type of things that we want to hear during this Trial.
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