What’s coming next?


FutureDear JDisc friends,

we just have finished our 3.2 release with its new licensing schema and we did a major redesign of our WEB page. Hope you like it!

Not it is the time to have a quick look on what we have on our plate for the next couple of months. Adding new devices as we find them is our daily business. Apart from that, we are working on two major topics in the next months. Topic number one is improving our dependency mapping add-on. So far we are able to detect the TCP/IP connections for devices on the network. Graphical dependency maps illustrate how devices communicate with each other within your network. Currently, the dependencies are limited to displaying TCP/IP connections between computers. The following image illustrates how computers communicate within your network. Knowing which TCP/IP ports offer what service already adds a lot of value when you need to understand the communication paths between servers on your network.

DependencyMap

But imagine if you would know that a process called “oracle.exe” on server A is communicating to a “java.exe” process that can be identified as a JBoss installation on server B! Including the processes within the communication paths enables to understand your distributed application topology! As you might know, we are working together with several CMDB and ITSM vendors. Those partners will definitely benefit from the new feature as they can automatically map your IT infrastructure to your IT services.

The second focus area for the coming months is identifying the SAN environment. We envision to implement a phased approach. Phase 1 will find the HBAs and their world wide names. In phase 2, we’d like to determine the connections between the servers and the storage switches. The last phase would add the feature to detect the zoning configuration and the connections between the storage switches and the disc arrays.

Stay tuned….

Thomas

New Logo, New Web Site, New Release, New Licensing Schema


NewWebPageDear JDisc friends,

our company exists now for more than 5 years and some things didn’t change as much as we would have liked them to change. Our WEB page is one of the things that we always wanted to modernize, but that always had a lower priority than new features, releases and projects.

1. WEB Page

However, in april we decided to create a more modern looking and technically up-to-date web presense. The new web presence has several new features:

  • Social media buttons that bring you directly to our social media platforms. Register there to follow us on Twitter and Google+.
  • Newsletter registration and deregistration for our quarterly newsletter
  • A new price calculator reflecting the new pricing schema

2. New Pricing Schema

So far, JDisc offered three different editions for three customer segments. This has been radically changed. The editions are history and are replaced by a credits schema. We introduced a tiering for different device types:

  • Tier 3: Unix computers (HP-UX, Solaris, AIX)
  • Tier 2: Linux, VMware, MAC OS X and Citrix XenServer
  • Tier 1: Windows computers, switches and routers
  • Base tier: All remaining (mostly SNMP based) devices such as networked printers, multifunktional devices and others

Each tier has a credit count assigned that defines how many credits you need to purchase in order to scan such as device. Of course, Unix computers require more credits than ordinary Windows computers. Once you have an estimate, how many devices fall into each tier category, then you can calculate a total credit count which then leads to the total price for the installation.

Checkout the new pricing and licensing options.

We believe, that this model fits better to our customers, than the model before and we are looking forward to your feedback.

3. New License Type: Annual Subscription

JDisc offered so far two license types. The perpetual license is designed for users that would like to use the software permanently. The project license is made for IT service providers and consulting companies. Those users normally use the product only for the project duration.

We have added the Annual Subscription as a third license type for users who would like to pay for the software usage over multiple years.

4. New JDisc Discovery Version

Of course, all those changes do not come without a new major JDisc Discovery release. The major change for the new release is the new licensing. However, as usual, we’ve added a lot of new devices and other features to our version 3.2.

Check out the development news.

  • New licensing schema
  • New Java Version (Java 8)
  • F5 Load balancer discovery scans load balancer pools and the pool members
  • Improved HTTP/HTTPS protocol based discovery
  • VMware ESX/Citrix XenServer operating system detection via HTTP/HTTPS
  • HP Blade server discovery
  • Windows 10 preview detection added.

We hope that you like the new web page, the new licensing and our new product version.

Arrest the Culprit!


dreamstime_xs_33986796_culpritDear JDisc Friends,

I would like to share a pretty nice story that illustrates the value of having an up-to-date network documentation.

Recently one of our clients contacted us and he said: “Look, we have some device on the network that uses the same IP address as our Microsoft Exchange server!”. Of course, that causes trouble and affects the Microsoft Exchange server’s operation. The only thing he knew is the MAC address that has been recorded in the Exchange server’s event log. But the question is how to find the machine with the MAC address! You might check out the ARP caches of your routers in case you have access to them. However, the suspect migth be already offline and thus the entry might have been already deleted from the router’s ARP caches. Finding the device is not so easy without having an up-to-date network documentation. With JDisc Discovery, the client could create a custom report including all MAC addresses and then easily find the device with the suspicious MAC address.

This is just another example why an accurate network documentation is so important…

See ya!
Thomas

JDisc’s new “boring traffic jam” marketing campaign…


JDiscMarketingIf you have every been in the Stuttgart area, you will notice that there is a traffic jam almost anytime. Doesn’t matter whether it is sunday or a weekday.

Normally, I use the time when I am stuck in the traffic jam to make some phone calls. Then I thought “Why not use the traffic jam for a second purpose?”.

So I decided to provide some input to the drivers behind me by giving them my link to the JDisc homepage :-). I found some really nice little shiny 3D letters and I attached them to my “JDisc Ente”…

So I hope that I get some new visitors to our homepage. And I find someone who thinks “Wow, a network discovery and inventory solution. That’s all I every dreamed of and I need to get it now!”… :-) But maybe I don’t… Let’s see…

I also would like to thank here Mr. Benz. He is as crazy as me about cars and his garage is full of Citroen. Don’t miss his web page and whenever you are looking for 2CV stuff, he is the man! I’d also like to thank Karl for maintaining my 2CV and let it passing the German TÜV. Karl is also one of the few guys nowadays that can repair a car without connecting a diagnose device to the OBD2 interface :-)

 

JDiscEnte

The “JDisc Ente” in its usual environment…

 

 

JDisc Discovery 3.1 – Build 3115 – Our way towards datacenter transparency…


dreamstime_xs_37045307_improveJDisc Discovery 3.1 – Build 3115

We follow an agile development process in order to provide new features quickly to our customers and to get early feedback for new features. Typically, we release a new builds every three to six weeks. Although the release number doesn’t change, this doesn’t mean that there are significant changes or enhancements.

The new build 3115 is a good example for new major features being added to the current release. We focussed on two topics within the last couple of weeks and together with the help from some clients, we could really do a major step forward.

Scheduled Reporting

Some of our clients requested a feature to schedule a report export to CSV or Microsoft Excel. Reports should be exported automatically to a specific network location. This feature really helps to provide non-IT people with the IT information they need for invoicing or troubleshooting purposes. Up-to-now, JDisc Discovery had the ability to export the reports, but this has been a manual process.

The schedule report export icon within JDisc Discovery’s reporting toolbar lets you schedule any report.

ScheduleReportExport

JDisc Discovery can export the reports to a local folder on the JDisc Discovery server or to a network share. Once, the report export job is defined, JDisc Discovery exports the report as configured to the destination folder.

Cluster Disocvery

We did improve our datacenter capabilities by adding the cluster discovery for VMware and XenServer environments. For both virtualization technologies, we do determine the clusters, the servers that belong to the cluster and special reports are able to list the virtual machines that are running in a specific cluster.

Database Archiving

So far, JDisc Discovery could archive its database based on a defined schedule. However, the archive had to reside on a local folder on the discovery server. Many customers use NAS devices in order to keep their backups. Therefore, JDisc Discovery can archive its database to a network share or NAS location.

 

What’s next?

What are our plans for the coming months? Well, there are four things:

  • Something called “Kehrwoche
    In the Swabian area, “Kehrwoche” means cleaning up areas in a house that are used by multiple parties in a house. In other words, we need to do some internal refactorings to keep up the pace of development. In my opinion, if a company says, that is does not need this kind of code cleanup and refactorings is either stupid or lying.
  • Improve our dependency mapping add-on
    Currently, our dependency mapping add-on finds what servers communicate with which other servers through which TCP/IP port. We would like to go one step further towards application discovery by finding out which process on what servers communicates with which other process on another server. Finally, the processes can be mapped to applications.
  • Improve our HP-UX Server Discovery
    Unfortunately HP has changed the commands in order to retrieve hardware information on a HP-UX server. We will add the new command line tools in order to ensure an accurate HP-UX server inventory.
  • Improvements in the SAN area
    The SAN area is a very important part of the datacenter. Therefore, we will improve the SAN discovery. As usual, we use an incremental approach and deliver the feature in multiple phases:
    • Detect hostbus adapters on the servers and get their WWNs
    • Find the connection between the server’s hostbus adapters and the SAN switches
    • Finally scan the disk array and collect the SAN configuration.

 

Security really matters to us!


Security really matters!security

 

you might know, that Germans are crazy about cars (no exception to me :-). We get crazy, when we see some scratches on our favorite vehicle! You as an IT administrator should be as paranoid about your IT infrastructure, as the Germans are about cars. Most network discovery tools require administrative or root access to the computers in order to get detailed information about your IT environment. If you don’t know the tool or the vendor. Would you really trust them and enter the crown jewels of your IT environement (e.g. root access credentials) without knowing what the tool is doing with it? Do you really know whether the tool is not connecting “home” and transferring data? Is the tool securing your essential access credentials well enough? What is the tool’s strategy when using the access credentials on your servers on the network? Does it perform read-only operations or is there a risk that it modifies a server’s configuration?

JDisc always wants to be as transparent as possible. Therefore, we created a small security whitepaper that explains how JDisc Discovery secures your information and how JDisc Discovery does everything to minimize the risk of failures when accessing computers on your network.

Feel free to contact us if you have further questions about JDisc Discovery’s security concepts…

 

 

JDisc’s way to China…


?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Of course, every software developer knows, that there are many different character sets out there. And of course, every developer takes actions to handle multiple character sets.

And of course, we do too. At least that is what we thought until some prospect tried our software on a chinese operating system. And unfortunately, some of our functionality failed. Up to now, we thought, that we are safe, because we were using UTF-8 encoding and Unicode whereever we handle strings. But the reality proved that we are wrong.

So we set up a chinese Windows server and started with our testing. And we had the same behaviour. Our remote login agent did not forward the information collected to the discovery server and therefore, there was information missing in the inventory database. After some sleepless and frustrating nights, we found out, that we used one function from the C-library that was supposed to work fine with unicode characters, but in fact, it didn’t… We simply moved to a different Windows API function and then it worked fine!

That little story is just to say “THANK YOU” to the chinese engineer. He invested a significant amount of time to test our software and thanks to his feedback, we were able to get ready for the Chinese market and I pretty sure that he knows that we are writing about him, when he reads this post…

 

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