There are a lot of new features in the StifleR 2.0 generation. The 2.3 release is the first public release that covers this major overhaul. There are several new aspects that are not part of StifleR, and this release will be the foundation of many new features.
The biggest change is that we now store data in 5 different databases, allowing for less client-server communication, lower server loads etc. This also allows us to track all interesting data over time and report on it.
Improved Client Info
We built a new client dashboard page for individual client access.
Why? So it’s easier to find stuff about individual clients, both online and offline.
Where? Search is the easiest way to find a machine. You can search all of the properties using key=value syntax, like ip=192.168.138.6.
What’s next? More buttons to directly view, clear things on the client, like the CCM cache etc. The Shutdown/Disconnect etc buttons will come in first.
View Network Connections and templates
Why? To make sure the right templates are set when using LEDBAT ++
Where? The connections are visible from the list in Client Info, both server and clients shows the value. As LEDBAT++ is currently only a server side (sender) feature the StifleR client has to be installed on the server in order to show the connections and templates used.
What’s next? We will expand on showing more information from the templates and also setting these templates (prefix etc.) from StifleR.
Realtime Network Monitoring
Why? Allows monitoring in realtime from a browser to see all network access and traffic without leaving your desk.
Where? From the new client view you can view the active network connections.
What’s next? To allow new realime actions like CPU usage etc.
Windows LEDBAT++ Tracking
Track the network usage when using LEDBT in real-time and verify that the server connection is established using the right TCP Template (Internet Custom) and that the right congestion provider is configured for this template.
Why? Cause people want to know that LEDBAT is really enabled.
Where? On servers or on clients when viewing the dashboards.
What’s next? The ability to change edit the templates from the dashboards.
Improved Client Dashboard
The server now stores most static information for clients, which is great as statistics can be pulled regardless of when clients are connected. This is exposed in WMI under the Clients WMI class, the old clients class was a sub class of Connections and is removed. The old parent class Connection still exists and has all the properties that Clients used to have.
Why? So we can send less data and report more when clients are NOT online.
Where? It’s in a ESENT self healing database.
Whats’s next? More reports on what’s in the database and more things to put into the database, things like average WiFi signal strength etc.
Client Network Tracking
The new client database tracks when the clients are online, and which network it is available on. This will be used a foundation for the future PreCaching features coming in later releases. You can show when clients power up/connects throughout the day. More to come around this.
You can also track when clients are disconnected/off, roaming or roaming between different networks:
SQL Tracking for completed jobs
We merged in the old ‘BranchCache Reporting Toolkit’ functionality into StifleR. More on this in upcoming releases. StifleR now tracks completed jobs into a SQL table.
Why? To track jobs and P2P stats, post completion.
Where? We push completed jobs to SQL every 5 mins, in batches.
What’s next? Reports, reports, reports + more read only items that is part of StifleR will be moved to the SQL DB.
Examples? Nope, not yet.
We now send up each clients application/service top 20 apps for send/retreival.
Why? To track applications using too much bandwidth and allow for proper network tracking & monitoring.
Where? Under the System Resource Usage in the menu.
What’s next? More datamining on this data with canned reports.
BranchCache – verification of functionality
We now verify that BranchCache is working end to end on the network.
Why? Cause people have a hard time troublshooting BranchCache.
Where? In WMI currently.
What’s next? Reports on this data.
Updated charting system
There are new controllers and charts for easier export and saving datapoints for analyses.
Why? Cause the old stuff was pretty limiting.
Where? All over the place in the dashboard.
What’s next? A complete re-vamp of the dashboard using a more modern infrastructure.
StifleR now reports and tracks the wifi signal strength when connected to WiFi and sends this back to the server.
Why? So we can now if clients are on bad WiFi networks in order to disable/enable different P2P capabilities in the future.
Where? There are several places to check the average WiFi signal strength. Either per accessing the WMI or using some of our pre-baked reports.
IPv6 and DA support
StifleR now supports Direct Access VPN which uses as well as regular IPv6 connections.
You can now list the members of the local administrators group on machines.
Why? So you can see how has admin rights.
Where? If you search for a machine and then hit the “List admins”
What’s next? Triggers when Admins are added/removed and the ability to remove unwanted administrators.
Local Time zone in Locations
Why? To better calculate office hours etc linked to location.
Where? On the location item in WMI/Dashboard.
What’s next? A schedule of both bandwidth usage over time as well as a schedule of what throughput is allowed during the week.
Example: Well this is a pretty bad example, but it shows the client split over the evening hours on Sunday and Monday.
Perfmon Counters (Server)
Why? To enable better monitoring of the StifleR Server
Where? Windows Performance Monitor, your fav tool spot.
What’s next? Automatic performance tuning based on the figures.