Product review: eTelemetry's Locate: DNS for People

It solves the anonymous IP address problem and more

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If you are having trouble with a particular switch or port, you can go to that port and kill the sessions that are active, or you can bring up your switch's management interface and do further diagnostics. You can even do some neat tricks such as fire-up a remote desktop Windows session with the particular user and take control of his machine to really resolve issues.

The product's reporting interface isn't flashy, but it's functional and down-to-business, and you can quickly run the requisite reports and access some of these features with a couple of mouse clicks.

Product review: eTelemetry's Locate: DNS for People

This graphic shows another report, showing the different places that a single user has logged into over the course of two weeks. You can click on the particular IP address at the bottom of the screen and get further information for that as well.

(Click image to see larger view)

The hospital IT manager told me, "You don't know how much you really need something like this until you have gotten used to it and now depend on it to do your daily job." For example, he was able to track down infected PCs that were being controlled by a botnet and clean them up. He could also find users who continued to run peer file-sharing despite his repeated attempts to quash such applications. He even found one user who had been terminated earlier in the day but was still accessing the network at night before all of his credentials had been revoked.

The company calls Locate "DNS for people," and that is very apt description. Locate should be part of any network manager's bag of diagnostic tricks. One downside is that it may be difficult to deploy on large networks, and if you have more than 2,000 nodes, you may have some issues with its performance.

When you consider what the product does, it is well worth the investment. If you have a single, centralized authentication server, you'll only need the primary server version for $7,495. If you are running with multiple authentication domains, you'll need to add a separate collection node license, at $5,995 each, for each domain.

David Strom is a writer, editor, public speaker, blogging coach and consultant. He is a former editor in chief of Network Computing and Tom's Hardware and has his own blog at http://strominator.com. He can be reached at david@strom.com.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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