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Know your network: How to gather better insights with 6 free HP tools

By Mark Pinskey,
Sr. Product Marketing Manager – Automated Network Management


The HP Network Management Center suite includes six network utilities that can help IT administrators manage enterprise networks. They are completely free to download and use.

Each of these tools was develop ped to help monitor, troubleshoot or report on activity on your corporate network, from scanning ports to analyzing router traffic.

This guide demonstrates how your organization can use them to gather better insights about the network and simplify network management.



1.0 Ping Your Network

Ping Your Network is an essential tool for managing your IP address inventory, tracking changes and determining whether IP addresses and hostnames are in use and reachable. This is important for identifying what IP addresses are available and assessing the health of specific nodes.

1.1 What it does

Ping Your Network pings each host in a given network and retrieves reachability and hostnames for network devices on any subnet. There is no need to build your own scripts, and this tool provides its own UI. It also attempts to provide round-trip time (RTT) for each ping, which can indicate issues with networks or servers.

Simply enter a network address (e.g. 192.168.1.0 or 192.168.1.100) and a valid subnetmask and press “Ping The Network”. The tool calculates all the IP addresses within that range and pings each of them, printing the IP address, reachability, hostname and RTT in a text-base table (Figure 1.1).


Text-base table

Fig. 1.1



Click the “Stop” button to end the ping operation before the entire network is covered.

Once the ping action is complete for a given set of network addresses and mask, you can export the results to a CSV file, so you can sort, filter or count it in software such as Microsoft Excel.

1.2 How it works

HP Ping Your Network pings each of the IP addresses with a default interval of 0.5 seconds and provides reachability (yes/no) as the output.

For each of the hosts calculated, it attempts a hostname lookup based on default name server configured on the system where it is running. The tool provides hostname.domainname.com as the output based on the response from nameserver. If there is no lookup for the particular host, the output is ‘NA’. If lookup takes longer than the default timeout of 1.5 seconds, the IP address is printed in place of the hostname. (You can configure the timeout in the PinYNT.conf file, located in <Install directory>\bin, which provides two entries for configuring timeout settings for ping interval and hostname lookup.)

RTT is also noted for each host and provided as an output. RTT is shown in milliseconds with an accuracy of %3.5f (3 digits before decimal and 5 digits after decimal).

RTT is also noted for each host and provided as an output. RTT is shown in milliseconds with an accuracy of %3.5f (3 digits before decimal and 5 digits after decimal).

In addition to the four outputs, the tool logs the four outputs (ip address, reachability, hostname and RTT) at: %temp%\HP_PingYourNw.log

Download HP Ping Your Network here



2.0 Monitoring Lync with the User Registrations Viewer

Microsoft Lync Unified Communications (UC) deployments on corporate networks require close monitoring. Administrators or operators who are managing Lync need quick access to information about configured Lync users, and the ability to check dynamic information about the users such as their registration and their Front End pool or server in order to track the changing distribution of user registrations.

HP User Registrations Viewer for Microsoft Lync gives administrators a clear view of activity across the Lync central site and associated branch sites. The Viewer provides insight into configuration settings of individual Lync users, and offers a quick way to compare the actual distributions of user registrations versus the planned capacity for the load balanced pools of Front End servers.

2.1 What it does

The Viewer has two main tabs, Configured Lync Users and Registered Lync Users.

Configured Lync Users (Figure 2.1) provides an inventory of all users, including information on primary registrar, voice and location policies and dial plans assigned to the user. This tab also includes a dashboard that illustrates the number of total configured users vs. unique registered users, which lets an administrator gauge overall Lync license and infrastructure usage and adjust capacity and licenses accordingly.


Configured Lync Users

Fig. 2.1



The second tab, Registered Lync Users (Figure 2.2), provides an inventory of all users who are currently signed in and using the Lync infrastructure. This inventory contains information such as the client version, IP address and the physical Front End server that the user is signed in to.

This tab also features a dashboard that illustrates:

  • Registrations by Front End pool
  • Registrations by Front End servers
  • Registrations by client applications and versions
  • Registrations by login type (Internal / External, ex. coming in via an Edge Server)


Registered Lync Users

Fig. 2.2



2.2 Working with the tool

When the user clicks on refresh, the tool uses a combination of Powershell and SQL to retrieve information about configured and registered users from all Front End pools of the central site that the selected Front End pool belongs to, and additionally from all the Front End Pools in Branch sites associated with the central site.

For the tool to be able to communicate with the Lync server and retrieve all the required information, the user must configure the following using the Communication Configuration page (Figure 2.3), found in the Options menu:

  • FQDN of one Front End pool per Central Site — Although a single Lync server deployment or Lync site could have multiple central site Front End servers pools configured for user registrations, and Lync server deployment could also have associated branch sites and corresponding branch Front End server pools, the tool needs the FQDN of just one of the multiple central site Front End Server Pools.
  • Credentials of a user belonging to the RTCUniversalServerAdmins group of Windows users configured for Lync — User of the tool must be a domain user belonging to the RTCUniversalServerAdmins group, which must also be enabled to login to the RTCLOCAL database instance of each Lync Front End server with a specific set of permissions.

Communication Configuration Page

Fig. 2.3



Once configured, the Front End pools display in the drop down menu on the Configured Lync Users tab (Figure 2.4).


Configured Lync Users Tab

Fig. 2.4



Please note that there is no support for authentication and authorization of tool users. However, tool users must specify one of the Front End Server Pool’s FQDN and associated windows authentication credentials for the tool to be able to retrieve information about configured Lync users and their registrations.

Download HP User Registrations Viewer for Microsoft Lync here



3.0 Scanning Network Ports Quickly and Accurately

Scanning TCP ports on a target host goes a long way to help secure a corporation’s critical network service, allowing administrators to discover open ports on devices and close these backdoors that would-be attackers could exploit to gain access.

The new HP Network Port Scanner is a straightforward tool that clearly identifies used and unused ports on a target host. This data can then be validated against any internal policies concerning open ports an organization may have.

3.1 What it does

The network port scanner tool uses the connect scan technique, a standard method that attempts to establish full TCP/IP connections sequentially through all ports on a given host, and a very accurate way to determine which TCP services are accessible.

3.2 Working with the tool

The tool is distributed in the form of a runnable jar file, which should be copied to a folder and run by an admin from that location on a Windows platform by clicking on the jar. (On a Linux run the following command: <strong>java –jar ).

This will launch the GUI (Figure 3.1). The user enters the IP Address of the remote host that he or she needs to scan, selects whether TCP or UDP are to be scanned, and enters the port range (ex. 1 – 65535).


GUI

Fig. 3.1



By clicking the scan button, the tool generates two tables that list and identify the Used Ports and Unused Ports (Figure 3.2).


Used and Unused Ports

Fig. 3.2



Download the tool HP Network Port Scanner here



4.0 Reporting VMware relationships and events

The HP VMware Reporter is designed to improve the presentation of related data and help you save time by providing quick access to a complete inventory of virtualized network devices that are managed by a specified VMware vCenter Server. VM Reporter also reports on the relationships between the inventory items, as well as the most recent events associated with each entity.

4.1 What it does

The VMware Reporter tool provides a single interface for reporting on Datacenters, ESX Hosts, Virtual Machines, Virtual Switches and Distributed Virtual Switches that are managed by a given VMware vCenter Server. In addition to this inventory type of information, the tool details:

  • Container relationships between the VMware objects
  • Recent events associated with the VMware objects
  • The physical network connectivity for ESX Hosts that support CDP

The resulting report is presented as an interactive local web page (Figure 4.1) that allows users to scroll through results, sort table columns to find information quickly and drill down within a table to view related information.


Interactive Local Web Page

Fig. 4.1



4.2 Working with the tool

After downloading and extracting the tool (vm-reporter.zip), open a command prompt/shell and run one of the following commands:

  • vm-reporter.bat -host <virtualCenterHostOrIP> -u username

After the command completes, your default browser will automatically open the vm-reporter.html interactive local web page that resides in the same directory as the vm-reporter.bat script.

By clicking on a cell that corresponds to a related entity, a new tab opens along the bottom of the report with related details. For example, selecting a row from the HostSystem table (Figure 4.2) presents a list of related Virtual Machines.


HostSystem Table

Fig. 4.2



A user can then drill down further for information on an ESX host from the VirtualMachine table (Figure 3), for example, or select a row in the DistributedVirtualSwitch table, or view Event details by selecting a row.


VirtualMachine Table

Fig. 4.3



The tool also features several other optional parameters to the scripts, including:

  • -debug — prints results to the screen
  • -http — indicates http as the protocol to use to communicate with the vCenter host
  • -https — indicates https as the protocol to use to communicate with the vCenter host (this is the default)
  • -port — indicates which port to use (it defaults to 80 for http and 443 for https)

Download HP VMWare Reporter here



5.0 Inspecting and Comparing Network Device Configuration

HP Network Device Configuratiohttp://hpsw.co/Xr5q3F8 n Inspector (NDCI) is a free tool that displays the current configuration of a network device in a familiar local editor for easy searching, saving, and printing. HP NDCI also highlights the configuration differences between two network devices in the comparison tool of your choice, so you can verify that various aspects of the configurations match across network devices.

5.1 What it does

HP NDCI displays a device configuration file in a local text editor (Figure 1). It also invokes a local comparison tool to display the differences between the configurations of two different devices.

HP Network Device Configuration Inspector currently supports access to Cisco IOS devices over telnet. It uses the TFTP protocol to retrieve device configurations using pre-stored device credentials.

5.2 Working with the tool

Start NDCI by running the command <Run_HPNDCI.bat> The prompt will change to indicate that you’re running the tool—initialization occurs automatically.

In order to access a network device, the tool sequentially tries a list of passwords provided to it until it successfully accesses a device. You will need to specify the user names and passwords for accessing devices (commands are detailed in the Help documentation).

To use the tool, simply enter commands in the CLI (Figure 5.1). For example, to show the configuration for one device, use the command:
showConfig -device <device_ID>


CLI

Fig. 5.1



The selected editor opens showing the configuration for the specified device (Figure 5.2). Use the editor functions for searching, printing, and saving the device configuration.


Device's Configuration

Fig. 5.2



Similarly, to compare the configurations of two different devices, enter the command:
diffConfig -device1 <device_ID> -device2 <device_ID>

This feature highlights the differences between the two configurations, with functions to customize the output (Figure 5.3).


Configurations Differences

Fig. 5.3



Here are a few other options and features of the tool:

  • To list all available commands: listall
  • To open the tool help in a web browser: help
  • To exit the tool: exit or bye

Download the HP Network Device Configuration Inspector here



6.0 Analyzing application and router traffic on your network

When monitoring your network, it’s important to measure your network traffic in order to quickly isolate hotspots like top talkers, top applications and others.

The HP Network Flow Analytics is a free lightweight and flexible utility that provides a web-based console for viewing application and router traffic data in easy-to-understand Treemaps. This utility is useful to more accurately understand the traffic patterns of your enterprise network.

6.2 Working with the tool

After starting the utility (run TrafficLite\bin\startTool.bat), ensure that the router is forwarding netflow packets (version 1 or version 9) to the 9996 port on the machine where you have installed the tool. You can use Wireshark software to confirm if packets are coming to this port.

To launch the Performance View, use the URL http://<your machine>:8081/PV

6.3 Tree Maps

The Tree Map view is useful for identifying the top traffic contributors and hotspots. It color-codes and sizes elements based on two metrics.

The Application Tree Map (Figure 6.1) shows all the routers. The color is based on the number of in-bytes reported by the router while the size is based on the number of unique applications detected on the router.


Application TreeMap

Fig. 6.1



The Node Tree Map (Figure 6.2) shows all the applications detected in the network based on the destination port mapping. The color is based on the number of in-bytes reported by the router while the size is based on the number of unique flows detected for the applications.


Node TreeMap

Fig. 6.2



The Application for Node Tree Map (Figure 6.3) shows all the applications detected in the network on a per node basis. The color is based on the number of in-bytes reported by the router while the size is based on the number of unique flows detected for the applications.


Application TreeMap

Fig. 6.3



Several operations can be performed on the Tree Map elements, including:

  • Workbench launch— The operator can select a particular element and launch the performance workbench with the context set for that element.
  • Drill down— The operator can drill down by double-clicking on the element. If there is a second level tree-map available then it will expand the current element into the second level tree map. For example, the node tree map can be expanded by double-clicking on a single node to show the applications for the node.
  • Grouping— The operator can group by higher level entities. For example, in the Application Node tree map, the operator can group by routers which will show the application detected on that particular router. One can also switch between routers by clicking on the top hand right side.

6.4 Performance Workbench

This operational view provides the user with the ability to see all the entities being monitored.

The LHS Tree shows two primary sub-trees:

  • 1) Applications—this lists all the applications detected in the network by analyzing traffic flows.
  • 2) Nodes—this lists all the routers that are sending flows to the tool. Each node can be further expanded to show the applications detected on that node.

When an entity is selected, the metrics that are available for graphing are shown in the middle pane. To create a line graph of the metric for the selected entity, drag the metric into the graphing area on the right. The user can also draw graphs by selecting multiple entities of the same type, or multiple metrics for a set of entities.

Download the tool HP Network Flow Analytics here