Let me admit the awful truth: I am a map geek. I love maps. I have maps of various types and vintages framed and on the walls of my house. When I was a young kid, the sure-fire way to entertain me was to hand me a copy of “Perly’s Map Book” for Toronto. I could lose myself for hours in those pages, examining how all the streets converged and diverged, mapping out the best way to get from “A” to “B.”
Maps embody two romantic notions over and above their natural utilitarian nature: The inexorable tug of human history on the landscape, and the mystery of possibility at the edges of the mapped area.
As I have gotten more involved in the IT world, map geekdom has followed me. Being able to plot all the elements of a network infrastructure in some sort of graphical form provides a different perspective on that infrastructure than a mass of tables and data. The notion of how neighbours are connected to one another, and how smaller networks interconnect can make it easier for humans to understand the criticality of failures and how vulnerabilities might impact the system.
Infoblox NetMRI has had a Network Topology viewer for many years, but it has been regarded as not useful by many users. With the release of NetMRI v7.3, we introduce a new and updated topology viewer. Built new from the ground up, the topology viewer removes the requirement for Adobe Flash to render topology. The new viewer is based on HTML5 technologies for rendering, which also allows for better user-defined layouts in the tool. Users can now customize the view of the network using simple drag-and-drop editing. The viewer also allows users to add missing elements (say an MPLS CE device that we don’t have discovery access to), and to add missing linkages between elements.
The new viewer also provides the capability to directly export views to SVG for later import into other documents as required without the use of any additional tools – that’s right, there’s now an “export” button right on the map in NetMRI.
Communicating how the network works becomes so much easier with a good map. Operators, auditors and end-users can all benefit from seeing your network in graphical form, and interestingly they all seem as captivated by a good map as I am! Want to see what the new topology viewer looks like? Drop me a quick email, and I’ll be happy to demonstrate it for you.