Dynamic Network Mapping Solutions Overview
In order to understand and track changes to network topology and design, enterprise network management teams will create maps and diagrams of the network. Network mapping is usually a manual process that requires time and resources to initially create and then maintain the maps. Some organizations may have a network mapping solution in place and a typical solution may include: network discovery, network map creation in Visio, network mapping updates and route analysis based on the network mapping results.
For network engineers working in a large enterprise, network mapping is not a simple effort; it requires thorough knowledge about the network design and configuration. Without an effective network mapping solution in place, network engineers need to devote a lot of time to understand network complexities and then manually convert that knowledge into paper diagrams. From initial data gathering through generation, it can take several weeks to finish rough diagrams for a medium size network. Usually, the rough diagrams have limited data in them and may lack some devices or have incomplete L2 connectivity.
When a network changes, through the addition or removal of devices from a network for example; network engineers need time to accurately update any network diagrams that are impacted. Otherwise, any operational engineers relying on the diagrams for troubleshooting will be unable to pinpoint and resolve network performance or similar problems.
How can network mapping efficiency be improved? While there are a number of innovative solutions available. Most of them only marginally improve the current static network mapping model and fall short in key areas including; automated network mapping, map-based troubleshooting, self-updating L2/L3 maps as well as integrated routing and configuration management. NetBrain's Operator Edition changes the static network map model with a state-of-the-art automation solution that focuses on simplifying and reducing efforts associated with designing, documenting and troubleshooting enterprise networks by employing a tool everyone knows how to use – a map. The powerful network mapping capabilities, in combination with over 1,000 additional features make NetBrain Operator Edition Workstation the most innovative solution available. NetBrain’s Operator Edition was recently recognized by Network Products Guide with the presentation of the 2010 Product Innovation Award in the network management category.
Network mapping solutions are undergoing a number of advancements, most significantly, moving from static network mapping to a dynamic network mapping model.
NetBrain's dynamic network mapping is the third generation of mapping solutions and is totally different from existing static network mapping solutions. For dynamic network mapping solution, a network diagram is an "actionable" diagram which means that it can be created and updated automatically.
For example, you can drag and drop a set of configuration files into the workspace and create a network map automatically. Once a map is created you can launch a network discovery to find additional devices in the operational network and then add them into the current network map in seconds. With NetBrain’s self-updating maps, when a network change occurs, any changes to devices are "highlighted" in the map the visually. You can then choose to update the map with the most current information, as required. All L2 and L3 maps support zoom capability to view more or less network data. You can zoom in or zoom out to view the network data embedded in the map.
As enterprise networks undergo changes to accommodate more and more applications and traffic volume, the complexity of mapping and documenting then increases exponentially. By implementing automated network mapping and troubleshooting solutions network professionals can reduce or eliminate much of the manual effort and time involved in creating and maintaining accurate network maps. NetBrain believes that tools which focus on automated network mapping and automated network discovery provide higher value and will stand out in the competitive market.
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