For organizations growing larger by the day, network management becomes increasingly complex, and scaling to meet this growth can be a major headache. To battle such complexity without a graphic representation of a network is a tiresome task, which is where network diagram software comes in.
Network diagram software allows a network admin to portray the network clearly and legibly through detailed graphics. It also helps network administrators with network monitoring by providing a much larger picture of the devices and the network they are connected to. Here’s how network admins can leverage the pros of network diagram software to uplift their businesses while reducing their workload.
Data visualization through network diagrams
Network diagrams are a graphic representation of an enterprise network that gives the user an overall idea about the way the devices in the network are connected with one another. This helps in visualizing the enterprise network, which helps with network planning, expansion, and other critical activities.
Best practices to be followed while drawing a network diagram
Network diagram software helps network admins visualize their networks. But if not done right, it only adds more chaos to the existing situation rather than simplifying it. Below are some of the best practices that must be followed to ensure that the network diagram is as simple and as legible as possible.
- Make a rough sketch
Gather all the data and make a rough sketch of your network.
- Choose a template
Choose your pick from the wide array of templates and add it to your workspace. You can also create templates of your own.
- Use correct icons
Icons are the graphic representation of a device. Add the corresponding icons to the devices in your template.
- Label devices
Make sure that you label the devices correctly.
- Use connection lines
The labelled icons must be interconnected with each other with the help of connection lines. Make sure that you don’t overlap connection lines. Overlapping connection lines might make a network diagram look messier, making it difficult to gather insights from them.
- Use arrowheads
Mention arrowheads in the connection lines. Arrowheads must always be used from left to right and not the other way around.
- Make it simple
A network diagram must be as simple and as legible as possible. Avoid over-complicating network diagrams. This makes interpretation much easier.
- Clearly define the entry and exit points
The network should only have one entry point and one exit point.
Challenges faced while drawing a network diagram
Network administrators are responsible for the administration of the entire network comprised of many devices and even more interfaces. Managing such a large network can be tiresome, especially when the workload on the devices varies. Drawing a network diagram for a large network comes with its own set of challenges. Network admins have to make sure that all the devices, interfaces, and ports are mapped correctly, which can prove to be labour-intensive.
Since network administrators are responsible for such a large number of devices, drafting a network diagram can be very time-consuming.
Interface and port connectivity
Apart from device-specific information, network administrators have to get themselves acquainted with the interface and port-related connectivity to ensure that there are no issues with the interfaces and ports, since these could affect the entire functioning of the network. This is why network diagram software must provide a comprehensive view of the network that includes intricate details about the interface and port connectivity to make it easy to spot the needle in the haystack. Including these significantly intricate details in a network diagram can be labour-intensive and time-consuming.
What does ideal network diagram software offer?
Great network diagram software must:
- Follow the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) standards.
- Be user-friendly.
- Be able to import and export files.
- Be able to be integrated with other network monitoring tools.
How does network diagram software simplify your work as a network administrator?
Network diagram software primarily helps you with visualization. The herculean task of visualizing a large network is easy with network diagram software. These are the major advantages of network diagram software:
Network planning and expansion
Network diagram software can prove to be very useful in network planning and expansion. By visualizing the entire network with the help of network diagram software, you can visually gather critical insights about the network that can later help you with network planning and expansion.
Interface and port connectivity
A network consists of a large number of devices and even more interfaces and ports. Interfaces and ports provide a medium through which devices communicate. Any issues with the interfaces or ports will significantly affect the devices as well. Network diagram software provides you with a detailed view of the network, which is exactly what you need to quickly find any issues.
Virtual machine topology
Virtual machines are non-physical entities that act as virtual devices. Visualizing these non-physical entities can prove crucial to a network. Network diagram software serves that exact purpose. By visualizing these virtual machines, network diagram software helps you gather insights about virtual machines, which otherwise would not be possible.
In a business network, there are many different devices that generate different traffic in the network. With the help of network diagram software, you can look into the traffic a device generates and determine instances when the network may experience overload. Preventing overload can reduce network outages and reduce network operation costs. This business-oriented visibility offered by network diagram software helps you cut down costs and network outages.
Network diagram software provides you with a hierarchical view that helps you understand the way devices are connected to each other.
OpManager: Network diagram software to meet all your needs
OpManager, a holistic toolkit for network administrators, not only allows you to visualize your network with network diagrams such as business views, layer 2 maps, 3D rack views, and 3D floor views, but also allows you to monitor devices and raise alerts in the event of a malfunction.
OpManager also provides you with automated network diagrams, thereby making the overall process of network diagramming quick and easy. Learn more about network diagrams in OpManager.