Resources, Tips and Knowledge

Introduction: Are Visio & Excel Driving You Crazy?

The need for a better solution

Visio, Excel, Bob, and not documenting the network clearly aren’t sustainable ways to document the network — especially as the network continues to grow.

Delayed troubleshooting times, rising IT costs because you can’t see what you have, and compliance issues…those also aren’t sustainable.

Is there a better way?

Yes! A small budget and some buy-in from the bosses upstairs is all an IT team really needs to get beautiful, real-time diagrams that don’t require you to reinvent the wheel at work.

Automated network mapping software (like our software, netTerrain) are able to afford you a high degree of detail (think: 1000’s of realistic devices to place in your diagrams and the ability to zoom up and down from the street to the port and card levels). With good network documentation software, you can automatically create links — and adjust them based on various parameters such as the type of a link or its status.

Many tools out there can help you automate network documentation. To determine what you need, however, you need to decide what exactly you need to document and what your goals are.

Once you’ve determined that, look into a documentation tool’s ROI. A Meta Group study around IT efficiency estimates that the average IT inefficiency rate is around 20% (cost of hardware times the percentage of zombie servers, ports, cables, underutilized routers and switches — which, on average, is 20%).

ROI is key. Will the tool you’ve selected pay for itself, and then some? if the ROI of a new tool doesn’t compute, go back to the drawing board.