As I discussed in a recent article about tracking changes in the network, keeping your network diagrams up-to-date is critical to fostering greater adoption and usage […]

DCIM & Documentation Software: Easily Import Your Data

As I discussed in a recent article about tracking changes in the network, keeping your network diagrams up-to-date is critical to fostering greater adoption and usage […]

image of VMware discovery in netTerrain network diagram software

As I discussed in a recent article about tracking changes in the network, keeping your network diagrams up-to-date is critical to fostering greater adoption and usage of a network documentation and/or Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution.

With a proper change management solution in place, you can ensure your documentation will be up-to-date (and, for a more in-depth example, click here to check out how our IT visualization software – netTerrain – can be used as a change management solution).

To keep your diagrams up-to-date, having the ability to automate the data collection is essential. In netTerrain, for example, this is where the Collector comes into play; netTerrain’s Collector houses both netTerrain’s network discovery as well as connectors to third party applications such as ServiceNow.

The Collector is a standard feature included in netTerrain — it does not cost extra and it’s the only piece in netTerrain that needs to be downloaded (as it’s a thick client that can be installed on as many different networks inside your organization so that you can just point them to your netTerrain server and view your network maps).

image of netTerrain's Collector, showing a list of possible connectors

“What type of network mapping/discovery does netTerrain provide?”

netTerrain provides network mapping/discovery via SNMP, NMAP, and WMI.

netTerrain’s network discovery primarily uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), discovery via Network Mapper (NMAP), and captures Windows information via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).
netTerrain SNMP is easy to set up: enter your IP Address ranges, the version of SNMP, and your credentials. Once you’re done, just click ‘Scan’. This goes out and discovers your SNMP enabled devices and will display the results in a table format. Once the discovery process is complete, just click ‘Push’ to import the discovered data into your netTerrain server.

NMAP is another tool that network administrators use to discover their network; WMI provides data about your Windows hardware, system components, and software environment.

”Does netTerrain provide Layer 2 discovery?”

Yes. In its basic form, netTerrain uses ARP and MAC routing tables to find the connections between devices and ports. Currently, Graphical Networks is working on adding CDP protocol in its upcoming netTerrain v.9.0 release — with LLDP to come soon after.

image showing netTerrain's collector options, such as SNMP settings

image showing connected devices in a network

”Can netTerrain see and provide status if a network device is up or down?”

Yes! With the Collector’s new polling service, you can view which devices are online and offline.

image showing netTerrain COllector's polling settings, a simple box that is user-friendly

image showing network device statuses, online or offline

”Does netTerrain discover virtual and Cloud Infrastructure?”

Yes! You can visually see your Azure, AWS, and vCenter infrastructures with netTerrain.

Here is a good illustration of an AWS view in netTerrain:

image from netTerrain showing AWS connector

…and an example of a vCenter discovery:

image showing vCenter discovery in netTerrain

With netTerrain’s Collector, organizations can bring in traditional management systems, their virtual environment, and their Cloud infrastructure.

“What are the out of box connectors that netTerrain Collector provides?”

Here is the list of the connectors:

list of Collector connectors in netTerrain, from AWS to WMS

Most of these connectors are done via Web APIs. netTerrain also provides comprehensive SOAP and REST web services APIs, which customers can use to connect to other data sources and enhance their discovery efforts.

So…how is the netTerrain Collector (and its connectors) helpful? With pre-built connectors, organizations can save time, effort, and costs. With up-to-date diagrams, you ensure your network documentation solution is current and, more importantly, can be used as a trusted source of all of your data. To read more about the netTerrain Collector, click here.

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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