Leadership

Video: Three tools that network administrators can't live without

Network administrators are always looking for tools that can save them time and help them optimize and secure their networks. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler discusses three net admin tools that our TechRepublic authors and members say they can't live without--PuTTY, Wireshark, and Nessus.

Network administrators are always looking for tools that can save them time and help them optimize and secure their networks. I'm sure most, if not all, of you have your own list of favorite tools. In this IT Dojo video, I talk about the following three net admin tools that our TechRepublic authors and members say they can't live without:

  1. PuTTY
  2. Wireshark
  3. Nessus

After watching the video, you can learn why TechRepublic author Justin Fielding picked these applications as his favorite network tools in his article, "Three network tools I couldn't live without"--the basis for this video. For more network reviews and opinions of popular administration tools, check out the following TechRepublic Resources:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

89 comments
brad
brad

Information transfer in video is slow and serial - hard to find something you are looking for. Reading is 3 to 5 times faster than listening, plus it is searchable, and you can skip over and jump back and forth easily. I have to really, really, really want to know about something before I will waste the extra time to get the information through video. I'd rather just google search for the same informaiton from someone who respects my time. I'm BUSY! How about you?

axelcwb
axelcwb

Yes, it's true. Very good tools! I can't live without Putty and Wireshark, but i can survive without Nessus. Good video and good job! Thanks

achapman
achapman

Great free tool. Similar to Operations Manager from Cisco.

loubrand
loubrand

Are there any network adapter requirements? (such as the ability to support promiscuous mode?) (nova.it@gmail.com)

burtonsound
burtonsound

Saying that admins can't live without PuTTY is like saying that human beings can't survive without Cheetos and Dasani. It's simply more false than true. PuTTY just emulates the various terminal environments usually present in the operating systems that real network admins are already using. This should say either that "Command-line terminal environments" are a tool admins can't live without (umm, duh), or that the tools listed are handy for admins who are only capable of using Windows.

klewis
klewis

A must have if you enforce a Windows password expiration policy or are under PCI / SOX requirements. Makes life easy. www.sysoptools.com Second is AD Query, it is free and is like ADSIEDIT but more friendly to use. Invaluable for troubleshooting user or computer object issues.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Don't listen to the naysayers; look at the 100+ votes on the clip; that should tell you were it's at!

bernalillo
bernalillo

Nice little free tool, removes unnessesary files quickly and easily. Great for recovering space and speeding up defrags (if run before the defrag). Check it out.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Simply put, it's that right there; OpenSSH. Putty is well and good if you have to connect through a Windows client. Wireshark does your traffic watching. Nessus does your security testing. SSH though, that's telnet, ftp, rcp, rlogin, tunneling and remote GUI all in one. Recently, it's even picked up NFS/Samba replacement functions using sshfs and fuze on client systems. (I mount my pda using sshfs giving me a complete directory tree under the mounted folder. Move music or images; not a problem. Sync PIM data out of the pda home directory; it's right there. Backup your entire PDA image; unison is your friend.) I keep putty, winscp and other portable apps handy for working from Windows clients. I've even a build of OpenSSH for Windows though I've only made use of the client functions.

kak1004
kak1004

I think spiceworks is a very good software.

jonathan.ludwig
jonathan.ludwig

Apparently i can't live without a flash player. When is tech republic going to realize professionals don't like this video garbage?

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

I have no audio so the video is of no benefit. My loss. However, don't forget about nslookup( it's deprecated now ) and dig. Extremely valuable!

savvaman
savvaman

i agree all, three are very good.

jmlaz06
jmlaz06

I use putty all the time for windows. No problems what so ever out of it. Wireshark can be a little touchy but when it runs it works great for sniffs.

Donald Barbas
Donald Barbas

I found the video informative, and I look forward to learning more in order to make better use of the changing technology. Donald Barbas www.linkedin.com/in/donaldbarbas

sharrahl
sharrahl

Great video but I use something called SmarTerm. Is is a windows telnet/ssh client that will run other protocols as well. It also let's you create scripts that can be launched at any time to do large taks. It's a great program-check it out!

aaron19953
aaron19953

Don't forget look@lan (network & port scanner) and netstumbler .. -= Aaron =-

oz penguin
oz penguin

I am interested in what the video has to say, but the flash streaming sucks so bad that it is UNWATCHABLE

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I don't have time to watch video either so I just read the articles text copy. The three tools discussed are listed right there near the top.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

So if your connecting into a remote system over ssh from a Windows box; Putty is what you probably want to be using unless you go with one of the two cli ssh options.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I have time to quickly read an article and they usually work fine for viewing with sound muted. When I do have time to watch the videos, I usually don't remember to go back for them.. booo Not a complaint about the use of video. Just my own limitations.

JCitizen
JCitizen

that product by Faronics will keep the garbage off the computer in the first place!

pgit
pgit

I was using OpenSSH, and watching it get older and older without any development. I stumbled across copSSH and it was love at first sight. Try it.

achapman
achapman

Great examples, esp wireshark. But some tutorials on how to use Wireshark would be great. Like how to extract data and show exactly what it is you are looking at.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Can you give some examples of how you use Auto Hot Keys? I just read their home page and it looks like it has great potential, but I don't know where I would start using it.

mboyd
mboyd

Unable to view this flash video over the web. Is it possible to download?

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

The video seems fine to me. It's not like I am sending it to some huge HD TV and entertaining with the video. It is just a way to spread information. Someone needs to take a chill pill.

JugglesXP
JugglesXP

Guys.. what do you have againdt flash? Surely that is an essential for web?? And teh pause button does wonders for streaming... press it, read a few emails, than press it again after a few minutes! Works for me! :)

JCitizen
JCitizen

I just happened to have the time to watch it; when I don't I just delete the story entirely. I don't think this is an age thing; it really is how much time you have on your hands at any given moment. I have a fantastic TV enternaiment system at home that I hardly use, because I feel working on the computer is more enjoyable and productive. Plus I don't like listening to noise all the time.

babycody
babycody

I would like to see a poll where you entered your age group, type of connection, and whether or not you like receiving your information via videos. I'm wondering if there is an age gap between the yay and nay sayers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I thought OpenSSH was still doing it's thing but it may be worth checking the package versioning across a few distro versionings to see.

bpate
bpate

I use auto hot keys to automate typing lengthy commands when I am troubleshooting something. Really you can use it for anything you find tedious... I also use it to copy and paste with one key instead of crtl-c & crtl-v....

oz penguin
oz penguin

not everyone is in the US, and these streaming servers dont seem to serve us all at the level that you get. And before you ask, not all streaming servers are this bad in Australia, just this one

JCitizen
JCitizen

and see if there is any industrial packages that can be adapted over. I've used some pretty cool stuff for designing hydraulic and electrical circuits/conduits that worked very well. (edited)hopefully I won't have to join the IEEE to gain access to one!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm not adverse to cutting a whole in the side of this case and hacking in my own additional fans though I'd rather keep it factory fresh (Antec P180). It may be overkill but I'd use an airflow sim if it had my components in the library.. Imagine building your entire machine in a sim to confirm fit, flow and power consumption before you even go to the store. Heck, my parts inventory spreadsheet includes ports that the components attach through, power use, heat limit, cache memory, storage memory, bus throughput. I'm such a geek. I just have to stop looking at the cost total when filtering on the machine name.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I would agree it is unnecessary. Industrial circuits and controls are exposed to greater forces and heat than a home/office computer ever would, and thermal plates, pipes, cooling vanes, fans, ect. were plenty enough to keep things running very well.. But there again, I must admit planning for airmovement in the system unit has me vexed. It is very easy to get conflicting airflow depending how the direction of the cooling units vector their air. Ha! I got it; we builders need a wind tunnel like program to plan our cooling devices! =) Plug in the product in the virtual system unit and see how the thermal waves move through the box! I know, WAY OVER BOARD!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm still not ready to put water in my machine. it's time to drag my rig off the desk and go see my hardware hacker. I'm good but I've seen him take saldering irons to motherboards and adjust them to work better. If we can't figure out where the heating issue is, we may have to underclock the ram and overclock the cpu to get the same performance putting the heating stress elsewhere. I've also heard a lot of people are adding small fans to the chipset cooling pipes on the Asus boards so that's worth trying first. Bah.. I've not had this much grief from a machine in years. For me, it's usually a software screwup. At least I do those myself and can fix them pretty easily.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I don't know enough about the thermal dynamics of the various elements in a modern build to get the cooling done properly. Just buying a Masscool system unit case isn't enough, of course. I've burnt up a couple of XFX GeForce cards in my old junker, despite adding a rear ejection fan right next to it. I smell things getting hot around my entire LAN all the time, it's a wonder the whole thing doesn't go up in smoke! :(

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My hardware wishlist right now is a tossup between a server box for the house or a pure NAS appliance. The second option is a little more important but I'd love to start dumping the family library onto a server i can feed into the media center. It'd help with kids gooey fingers requiring a DVD cleaning before watching anything my little one chooses (she helps get the disk out of the case; without breaking them in half now too). My grief today is from my workstation returning to it's glitchy habbit of freezing for no aperent reason. It's harware, not software; that's all I can figure. Bad ram has been replaced. Now it seems to be a cooling issue but I can't figure out what block of chips is doing it. Of the two thermometers on the Striker2, the cpu temp is nice and low and the only one with a clear location. Is there anything more infuriating than a toy behaving broken with no detectable reason for the issue? Bah.. (that's my venting for today, thank goodness the notebook managed to boot today because every other machine seems to be taking Saturday off.)

JCitizen
JCitizen

Maybe I'll have the space to collect DVD libraries now that I'm in more permanent digs than I have been for 20 years. I spend more time making videos of my own - of some of the tests we have now. I really do need to get a new system unit so I can get a decent DVD/BlueRay burner!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The decked out entertainment centre is for the wife and kids. I spend my TV watching time mucking with my machines in another room. I've also noticed Linux.com posting more videos as time goes on which means I dump fewer text articles to PDF with my daily reading. That's a media type and time thing. The HOPE 2008 talks are another example. The audio is available and I can listen to that most anywhere even during real work. The video will become available on DVD but then you have to be at the dvd reader to watch it or loose details using a personal video player in transit. But, on the TV point.. there's not a show on TV right now I have to see each week. I seem to have unconciosly been weened off the brain bubblegum with the writer's strike and that nosedive in the storyline that House took. (I hear it's gotten better again but it'll have to be a "watch in order on DVD" series like most other TV series are for me now).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I like the video sometimes for a walkthrough but don't always have Flash handy. When I always have flash handy (work), I don't have the time to watch the video or have to mute the sound. On the other hand, I commute and am loving MyTube on Maemo (download youtube video, watch it later). I still read more often than watch video when in transit though so the text walkthrough would win out here and remain in my PDF library for reference The video would give me the demonstration and walkthrough. The text howto gives me return reference and detailed walkthrough. As for learning between doing, seeing, hearing, understanding; I'm a doing learner so in the end, I have to break a VM figuring it out anyhow. (hearing and understanding are different; I once had a student you could simply tell how to do a phisical action and they would be able to do it. Another student spent half an hour on the hill learning to snowboard and could figure it out with me explaining every possible way until we sat down and went into the technical details and physics and with "understanding" rather than just hearing, they suddnely had no problem translating that too physical movement.)

brian
brian

People learn in different ways - auditory, visual, tactile, spatial, sequential. Imagine learning how to play baseball, and never having seen/played/listened to a game before - Drop a rulebook in someone's lap, they'll have a guide on the mechanics of the game. Watch a stolen base in action, and you may see the strategy within the game. Pick up a bat at Wrigley Stadium, and hit one over the wall - Priceless. I digress. Without the rulebook, you may not understand why the person has to go back and touch the base if the pop fly is caught. Without the video, it'd be hard to gauge what's risky for a lead off of second base. I know I certainly would like a transcript of the discussion, so I have a useful reference to work from - It's obvious that the video is scripted, so how hard could it be to deliver? I also enjoy having the video available, as a visual walkthrough on steps taken is much easier to follow than Start> Control Panel> blah,blah,blah.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Ever have that thing where the answer is so obvious you can't see it right in front of your face? Right Click in text field, select "Dictionary", select "English" instead of "Dutch". Sometimes the last thing the computer genious checks is the power cord.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I am one of those types who can't usually wait for the bleeding edge folks to find the real big show stoppers. I'm going to roll my own 2008.1 over to 2009.0 once it's more stable but if it chews the install, I'm happy to do a clean build. I'll keep that in mind though, I wouldn't think of doing a production machine update until the new version stabalized. My FF dictionary has been ok other than adding a few incorrect worlds (Add New Word is so close to the list of correct spellings). When booted up with One on the notebook, I'm out of luck though. It seems to have a different language as the default there. No strange behavior out of it though.

pgit
pgit

Important thought for another thread, but this came to me just now while perusing this one... Vis 'rolling distribution' concept and Mandriva: Imperative: before changing your repositories and running urpmi --auto-update, monitor the forums and wait until any show-stopper bugs are squashed first. (many masochists make light work) Mandriva does not attempt to maintain the OS as a "rolling distribution," I've certainly seen no official proclamation to the effect. Rather, due the nature of the wares involved, both soft and hard, this method has been working very well lately, and all involved improves consistently. But take notice: the cat can knock a glass of water into your keyboard, as happened to a .net programmer friend of mine. Meteors happen. So what could possibly go wrong manually changing your media sources and updating everything... ?! ps - am I alone in observing the firefox spell check and history functions slowly going insane? My history just told me there was a 100% probability the AE-35 unit will fail in the next 24 hours. (actually I wish it were that simple) Spell check has been like a precocious nephew at the family reunion lately. I originally mistyped "imperative" above; "impreative," and it came up with "Nutrient," "Neutral," "entropic" and some other laughable oddities, the caps included. Is "nutrient" a proper noun?

pgit
pgit

OpenSSH is alive, well and prospering. It's openSSH FOR WINDOWS that hasn't been updated in several years now. copSSH is the replacement for that. It's a windows implementation.

Editor's Picks