Implement netTerrain: Avoid the ‘Shelfware’ Effect

Welcome back to the next installment of our weekly update in which we do something a bit odd for a vendor: expose holes in our product! Let’s be honest: nothing is perfect — and by discussing problems netTerrain users have encountered, we want to foster a collaborative environment, share some workarounds around common issues and — why not, poke a little fun at ourselves.


Whether it’s for DCIM, network diagrams or outside plant, the majority of netTerrain users get the software up and running fairly quickly.

Recently, however, I was in a meeting with a customer who bought netTerrain a year ago and haven’t really used netTerrain much yet. I asked, “why haven’t you used netTerrain much?”. Their response: “no time right now.” That was the short answer. They went on to explain: there was one person that was assigned to get netTerrain going and of course was simply too busy doing other projects. Out of all of our customers, do have one other customer bought netTerrain 2 years ago and is just going to start using it now…

I can’t say it enough that these customers are, by far, the exception to the rule (per our most recent survey most netTerrain users actually use it every single day and if not, weekly or monthly).

It did, however, make me think: why is it that documentation takes a back seat, until an audit occurs or a failed compliance mandate happens?

Well…let’s face it: network documentation isn’t ‘sexy’. It’s not your latest hardware with a big wow-factor, it’s not the latest tech gizmo such as Alexa, or a fun new game, the latest droid, and the list goes on…but you see my point.

Documentation and network diagrams is where you still stick with Visio, spreadsheets to document the network or data center and telecom rooms, and use a network monitoring solution, whose maps are less than thrilling.

An example of a network diagram in netTerrain

The initial manpower of undertaking of documentation, even with netTerrain, whether it is network diagrams, topology maps, , or DCIM, will take time, no question.

People ask me all the time: “I want to press a button and have all their documentation documented.”

…is it that simple? I wish.

You will need a point person to serve as your netTerrain admin. If you have the resources or time commitment at the beginning to deploy netTerrain, invest them! It will pay off in spades later.

The most successful implementations we have seen is when companies dedicate a person to serve as their documentation specialist (with commitment from management to get this implemented).

In today’s increasingly tech-driven (and tech-dependent) business environments, organizations need to come to a realization: documentation does not, and should not exist in a vacuum. Healthy documentation is critical to everything from keeping your infrastructure right-sized to troubleshooting and reducing downtime.

To get the actionable insights that documentation can provide, someone needs to be dedicated to the project, at least to simply get it up and going.

You can get your documentation up to the point of automation and ditch Visio and manual data entry for good. Automating and populating data from other applications can help with keeping diagrams up to date.Graphical Networks offers connectors – Web API’s that connects to third party data sources, such as Solarwinds Orion NPM, Service Now, AWS, VCenter, Spectrum, and others.


Example of Solarwinds connector, in action, in netTerrain

In addition to our connectors, we also offer a SNMP-based network discovery. It will go out and discover your devices that are SNMP-enabled and will discover Layer 2 networks — using CDP and LLDP too.

Bottomline?
Learn a lesson from previous users and pave the way to a successful documentation by making network documentation a priority. Join the ranks of the many successful netTerrain implementations stories — instead of the few outliers that really haven’t implemented netTerrain yet.

For more information about netTerrain discovery, collector, and data import, please visit our dedicated page on it.

And…if you simply don’t have the manpower to get this going, or if everyone is tied up, Graphical Networks has a full professional services staff to have a full turnkey solution, or provide implementation services in getting the project started, data import services, and training classes (onsite or online) to train your netTerrain administrator and users to learn how to use netTerrain.

For more information on Graphical Networks Professional Services, please visit our dedicated professional services page.

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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