Change is hard. I get it. I understand why most folks don’t want to make changes: whether it is staying in the same job even if […]

3 Reasons You Should Replace Visio Network Diagrams

Change is hard. I get it. I understand why most folks don’t want to make changes: whether it is staying in the same job even if […]

image of happy officeworkers throwing diagram printouts in the air, happy they are replacing Visio

Change is hard. I get it. I understand why most folks don’t want to make changes: whether it is staying in the same job even if you don’t love it, waking up at the same time, eating at the same restaurants, and for network engineers, hopefully updating their network diagrams using Visio software diagrams and spreadsheets, people like to stay in their comfort zone.

Why rock the boat, right?

So, you may ask, why is this guy writing about the 3 big reasons to replace say, Visio, spreadsheets, or fill-in-the-blank method for network diagrams and documentation? Sure, we are creatures of habit.

We all have jobs that are demanding and, for network engineers, managing the network is no easy task. It’s a living, breathing IT ecosystem in constant change: capacity planning, making changes (adding, replacing hardware for example), manage the cabling, ensure the network is up, and much more. So, where does the task of updating network diagrams fall into all of that?

Let’s be honest, this usually is not a priority on a daily basis (I hear that time and time again from the countless engineers with whom I speak). That being said, spreadsheets and Visio diagrams are becoming too much to update and so they stay out-of-date.

Ready to say goodbye to Visio? Do you think you need network diagram software…but you don’t know how to make the case to your boss?

Well, here are my top 3 reasons (drawing upon my many years talking with network engineers both before, and after, they’ve made the leap to network diagram software):

#1: Eliminate Guesswork with Network Diagram Software

Let me ask you this: when you look at a Visio diagram, do you have a hard time discerning when it was last updated? Does your organization have tens and even hundreds of Visio diagrams that were created by many different people? Is the information in them kept up-to-date? If so: hey, great job! You’ve joined the ranks of the very few that actually do update your Visio and spreadsheets in a timely manner. Maybe you can stop reading now…

For the vast majority of us, though, keep reading. Organizations need a better way to get information about their network…no, not a dowser (sorry) but a way they can trust. Afterall, up-to-date network maps help eliminate the guesswork.

As an example of how network diagram software helps, netTerrain’s Collector, included standard with netTerrain (Logical or DCIM), organizations get up-to-date network diagrams…without any guesswork.

netTerrain’s network discovery uses SNMP to discover devices and connections — down to the port level — with its upcoming netTerrain 8.6 release. netTerrain will also include the ability to discover using CDP and LLDP in its netTerrain 9.0 release (slated for the end of Q3 2020).

After the discovery is finished, you can see the network topology maps in netTerrain easily: just use your standard web browser. You can use this network information to reduce downtime, help plan and manage network capacity, to reduce any unnecessary spending on new equipment, and lower costs.

#2: Find Information Quickly with Network Diagram Software

netTerrain gives you a centralized way to bring in your network group to see network diagrams — instead of going through many Visio diagrams and checking to see which is the most accurate while also trying to correlate the Visio diagram with the right spreadsheet.

netTerrain has multiple ways to search for information, by IP address, MAC address, any
data field is searchable. netTerrain even has a feeling lucky search, multi-criteria search, and reports. Finding information fast will lead to a decrease in troubleshooting time

#3: Retain Valuable Employee Knowledge with Network Diagram Software

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this: the main person in charge of the network retired or left the company — and now nobody knows how the network is laid out or how it works.

It’s one of the main reasons behind why organizations are purchasing netTerrain. Many of the long-time network folks are retiring and companies want to retain what’s in their brains and start documenting in netTerrain.

With netTerrain, you don’t have to worry about employee churn. Instead of all the information living in Bob’s brain, you have just one place to view all of your network information.

Bottomline?

I hope the 3 reasons above can help you, or your boss, understand the power of having up-to-date network diagrams stored in a centralized repository. With proper network diagram software such as netTerrain, you can boost your organization’s network efficiency and manage the network more easily.

Fred Koh
Fred Koh
As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.

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