A few weeks ago I visited the glitzy town of Las Vegas for the Interop Conference 2008. While I’m not much of a gambler, the lure of technology was more than enough to get me excited about the trip. Pack thousands of tech-heads in a luxurious hotel, present information about new technologies, and now you’ve got a hot time in the dessert.
I don’t know if they do word counts on submitted Power Point presentations, but if I had to guess, both UC (Unified Communications) and Virtualization would be at the top of the list. And both technologies have a direct impact on the future of Network Monitor.
In terms of Virtualization, there are many challenges. The host machine can now house dozens to hundreds of virtual servers which means the backbone connection to the host machine requires a quick link. This means a 1 gig or even 10 gig network connection may be the norm for these configurations. Making sure we can support these environments from the host machine and hosted VMs is going to be an important scenario to understand and support properly.
For Unified Communications, the range of devices expands as your phone/pc/video conference merges. And as wireless environments with remote users becomes the norm, trouble-shooting connections for voice and video become incredibly important in this domain. And finally, interoperability between multiple devices and infrastructures requires a tool that can easily determine where interoperability problems may exist.
The Interop Exhibition Floor is a microcosm of the hosting city, Las Vegas. Sounds from various booths ring out like slot machines and shows start on the hour as vendors attempt to garner your attention for longer periods of time. Booth babes and circus-like performances try to steal your eye away, in hopes of attracting you to their line of products. For me, however, I was curious about products that compete with or compliment Network Monitor.
What I found is that in general the protocol analyzer type tool that seems to be popular is more a of an aggregate tool that tells you where your network is sick. It may not tell you what the exact problem is, but it helps you monitor your network as a whole. I suppose that is where our tool would come in. Network Monitor is more targeted for solving specific problems and diving deep. Our conversation tree and soon to release process tracking creates a unique way to take a lot of data and filter down to a specific problem.
As I introspect over my trip I try to find connections between our product’s future and the current state of technology. I realize that as things continue to accelerate, the need for a way to drill down from the very large to the very specific is of vast importance. And while we can continue to do general things, it will be more and more important to provide technology specific tools to help troubleshoot the dizzying array of protocols, devices and network mediums. As we continue to reach forward in this regard, we should be able to use our community to understand and provide tools to help us all solve difficult networking problems.
We’re very excited about showing off the beta of NM 3.2. Watch for it on our site, (http://connect.microsoft.com), in about a month! If you register into our community we’ll send you a note when it’s ready.