Everything A Network Administrator Should Know About Network Diagram Tools

Network Diagram Tools

With networks becoming more feature rich, the number of components in them significantly increases, making the network more difficult for network administrators to monitor.

When organizations grow, they often spread across borders, making it even more challenging for network operators to track devices.

In these cases, network administrators often prefer a visually represented version of the network to make it easier for them to understand what’s happening in it.

This is when network diagrams come into play. With the IT market filled with sophisticated network diagram tools, it’s important to choose the right one for your organization.

This article will help you learn everything you need to know about network diagram tools to make your choice easier.

Why Is A Network Diagram Tool Important For Network Administrators?

Network Diagram Tool

Network diagram tools are essential for network administrators for various reasons. Here are a few important ones:

Network visualization: Network visualization is one of the major reasons why network administrators require a network diagram tool. It helps visualize the network devices present in the organization along with the network connections.

A bird’s-eye view of the relationship between devices helps administrators understand the network’s architecture at a glance.

Capacity planning: Well before setting up or restructuring a network, network administrators draw visual network diagrams in order to understand how exactly the network should be organized.

Any challenges that arise in the diagrams will be addressed before setting up the network. These diagrams help network administrators understand the network’s current resources and capacity, enabling them to restructure the network efficiently.

Network planning: Network diagrams play a huge part in planning the actual network.

Be it planning capacity or knowing the IP addresses, the number of devices, the relationship between the devices, it’s easy to look at the diagrams to implement changes or troubleshoot the network.

Network troubleshooting: Network diagrams greatly help during network outages by enabling network administrators to refer to the diagram and quickly troubleshoot potential network problems to lower the impact on the end user.

Network diagram tools help network administrators to make critical network-related decisions, leading to a well-managed network infrastructure.

Characteristics Of A Good Network Monitoring Tool

A comprehensive network diagram tool will offer the following to network administrators.

Simplicity: Who doesn’t like tools that are easy to use? The tool should have intuitive features that allow the network administrator to create complex network diagrams with simple drag-and-drop mechanisms.

Scalability: Scalability is a must. Admins need tools that can grow with their environment and visualize large organizations, so a tool that can’t scale up is going to present issues following business growth.

Availability: It should be easy for network admins to understand the availability of the network just by glancing at the network diagram.

Real-time availability helps admins troubleshoot the network following any outages.

Virtual environment visibility: One part of the network that is often overlooked is the virtual environment.

A tool that is able to provide visibility into VMs and servers will greatly aid admins in gaining complete visibility into the network.

Device dependencies: Yet another challenge with networks is being able to draw dependencies between the devices in a network.

A tool that can associate devices automatically based on the IP input will help keep the network diagram updated.

Integration: It’s important for the tool to be compatible with any network monitoring tool the organization is using.

If the network diagram tool works with the network management software, integration will be seamless and importing or exporting the diagrams will be simple.

Customizability: Since the network is an ever-growing entity, it’s essential for the diagram to be customizable. Adding and modifying new network components with well-defined network symbols is essential.

How OpManager’s Network Diagram Tool Makes Diagramming Easy

OpManager is an integrated network monitoring solution that helps manage and provide visibility into the entire network. It offers extensive network visualization techniques, enabling admins to manage complex networks in just a few clicks.

OpManager supports two types of network diagramming: drag-and-drop and automatic diagramming.

Drag-and-drop builder

The drag-and-drop builder is designed to simplify the process of creating network diagrams. Available devices get populated in a list where you can drag and drop a single or multiple devices.

This allows you to track various critical devices or all devices at once.

OpManager allows you to position the devices based on your organization’s network layout and define the connection between the devices.

You can then label the links to help you understand the links between the devices even better. You can also choose background images for the diagram, creating a virtual replica of your enterprise.

This allows you to troubleshoot the network as and when network issues arise.

Automatic network diagramming

The Layer2 discovery feature in OpManager helps create automatic network diagrams using discovery mechanisms like CDP, LLDP, IPROUTE, FDB, and ARP.

Specify the seed router’s IP and you will be able to discover all the devices connected to that router. Get details such as nodes, interconnected layers, and port-to-port connectivity and interfaces from the automated diagram.

Automate the Layer2 discovery process by scheduling it and setting up link dependencies between the devices in just the click of a button.

Further, visualize your network using business views, maps, and 3D floor and rack views, using which you will be able to visualize your network in different formats based on your requirements.

To learn more about OpManager’s capability in network diagramming, download the 30-day, free trial and give it a try youself.

Daniele Besana

Daniele Besana

Daniele is a freelancer consultant with 15 years of experience in network security, customer support, Linux and Salsa. He worked for Juniper Networks in Netherlands, providing support and consultancy on security projects across Europe and Middle-East.

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