In this Top 10 Network Mapping Software review we will also focus on the relation with Microsoft Visio. Lets be honest: Creating and maintaining Visio diagrams is really time consuming. Especially in large and complex IT environments.
In this article we will focus on the commercial Top 10 network mapping software tools with a main focus on Layer 2 mapping. We exclude Layer 3 mapping for the moment.
- There a number of good open source mapping tools available but for this article it is out of scope.
- Alle monitoring systems that have a very basic integrated mapping facility.
There are basically two types of categories:
- entry level and
- enterprise level
Kick of with entry level
Most entry level Network Mapping Software relies on a few network discovery mechanisms and will create some very basic network diagrams. There are some problems with these entry level software tools. Just to name a few:
- If the Network Mapping Software creates Visio Diagrams, they have to be maintained manually.
- Creating different views of one set of IT components is not possible. E.g. just give me the fiber connections between all the core switch devices.
- Specific components in a switch or router are difficult to map. E.g. dual or multiple power supplies, specific cards (Fiber Optics, Copper, Gigabit).
- Network Mapping Software that do more becomes hard to handle, is very expensive and still shows a lot of gaps.
- Not integrated with cable management and other management systems like data center floor plans.
- Rich data of IT component (like firmware version, vendor, Status: test /live /development) can’t be added and therefore not made visible.
- Limited import and export possibilities.
Network Mapping Software review, entry level tools
A few basic Network Mapping Software tools:
- InterMapper from HelpSystems.
- Network Topology Mapper (NTM) from SolarWinds.
- TopoMapper Plus from ManageEngine.
- MS Visio (manual without additional supporting software)
Network Mapping Software, enterprise tools
We will be releasing a five page document with some very powerful options to create Visio Diagrams that can be maintained easily. See it as a Google Maps for IT infrastructures. We visualize the IT infrastructure, the components and their relations. We can zoom in and zoom out to get a global or detailed views of the IT components (or a specific filtered view of the IT infrastructure). In IT we call that drill down.
Compare with: Google Maps for IT infrastructures
Simply told: We are looking for a visual and flexible representation of the IT infrastructure. Just like Google Maps. Would it not be great to visualize the IT landscape and create dynamic views of IT building blocks and the relation with other IT components?
Zooming in, zooming out and creating flexible diagrams (views). Just image you can create an overview of all the houses in an area build after year 2000?
Translated to IT: Give me a network diagram of the core infrastructure where the components are not older than one month in production.
Relation with Configuration Management and Service Management tools
Network Mapping is related to Configuration Management and also to Service Management tools (e.g. ServiceNow). In a few other articles we will hook into the integration possibilities to get the most out of the tools without duplicating work already done.
More Network Mapping software tools?
If you have a tool that should be included in this article, please let me know.