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Five handy Mac apps for net admins

Brandon Carroll recommends five of his favorite apps that he uses on the Mac for routine net admin tasks.

About a year ago I did a round-up of the 10 Mac apps that I use fairly regularly. Well, here is a new list of five more tools and applications that are particularly handy for network administrators.

#1 TFTP by Fabrizio La Rosa

With the popularity of GUI device managers and HTTPS management, it's becoming less and less of a need to use TFTP to move files around a network, but when you need it, this app is there for you. What I like about this free app is the ability to change the path, view the IP that the server is bound to, and fix permissions, if that's an issue. I've been using this handy little app for a few years now. Maybe it's time you gave it a try.

Figure A

#2 SecureCRT for Mac

For years I used SecureCRT from VanDyke on my Windows devices. True, Putty is free, but SecureCRT has a ton of features. When I switched to the Mac the best alternative I could find was Zoc6, which i wrote about in my last App Roundup. While I am still a huge fan of Zoc6, I have to say that SecureCRT is another one of my favorites. The interface is very "Mac," it's extremely responsive, and one of my favorite features now is using it for my local shell. For some reason it's much faster than Terminal, iTerm, or Zoc6. SecureCRT can also connect to your Cisco CLI via serial connection. Use a standard USB to Serial converter and then a Cisco Rollover cable.

Figure B

#3 iTerm2

I'm also a fan of iTerm2. What I like about it is that you can use Applescripts heavily; I use it to automate tasks like logging into lab gear, testing connectivity with pre-configured pings and more. For the price you can't go wrong. Take a little extra time to customize the display and you can add images to the background. iTerm2 of course supports telnet, ssh, your standard bash shell and so on.

Figure C

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#4 Applescript

Yes, this is very handy for me. While I'm not even close to being a pro, I use some scripts to quickly set up my environment. The following script sets a background, opens a few of my applications, including one of my lab guides, my iTerm application and Camtasia so I can record the session. Using the scripts in iTerm, I can quickly access my lab network with just a few clicks.

Figure D

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#5 MTR (My Traceroute)

MTR is a great utility that does a traceroute, but doesn't stop there. It actually combines PING and Traceroute. MTR probes routers in the path and listens to responses of their expiry. It repeats this process by default, once per second, and keeps track of the response times of the hops along the path. A screenshot doesn't do it justice. What you see is the data dynamically update. Find more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTR_(software).

Figure E

About

Brandon Carroll, CCIE #23837, is an IT Director, Blogger, Podcaster, and Mac Enthusiast. Brandon has nearly 15 years in the networking industry consulting for large and small enterprise and service provider networks.

1 comments
djdawso
djdawso

I never hear anyone mention Kermit as an option for access to serial ports on the Mac, but it's free, easy to install if you use Mac Ports, works very well, and has a ton of features. I'm already reasonably satisfied with the Terminal app on the Mac so all I need is a terminal emulator, and Kermit fills that void nicely.