Logical map in netTerrain

Sometimes, we all want to see the kind of work we do up on the big silver screen. Although the life of a network engineer isn’t as glamorous as say, the life of an international spy….we still have those dramatic moments at work from time to time (hey: I’m sure there were some Hollywood-worthy lines uttered by your boss the last time the network went down, for instance).

So…are there movies out there that deal with something as exciting as documenting the network via network diagrams? No, sorry – I couldn’t find any. Good news: there are a lot of movies out there whose characters really needed some solid network documentation in the first place…

Whenever I watch Wargames, I think about network documentation. Why? If they had just documented the kill switch of the WOPR, everything would’ve been alright…IMHO. Ok, maybe they explained how it could not be turned off, so: maybe they should have documented the bad engineering behind the WOPR.

The Matrix
When I watch the Matrix, I think: “where is that Visio diagram of the Matrix that Bob did like 10 years ago?”. Truth is that a Visio diagram probably won’t be up-to-date — and it would be so big that it’s impossible to print out.

Office Space
Office Space — if only those guys had some network documentation, they could have found that red stapler for Milton and maybe they could have avoided the glitch in the first place…who knows?

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
If you’re old enough to have watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you may remember how handily Ferris was able to hack into his school’s attendance system. I got to say: some network documentation could have protected that network by alerting the techs to where the exists and entrances were — and maybe Ferris wouldn’t have gotten away with everything afterall.

Way back when, hackers used to be called ‘sneakers’ because they would ‘sneak’ into networks. Maybe you’re old enough to remember this one? In the movie Sneakers, if the universities that Martin Brice and Cosmo had hacked into back in the 1960’s only had some network documentation, they could have secured the network — and then Cosmo never would have gotten into trouble with the law in the first place.

And, finally, The Lord of the Rings. To be honest, I can’t even fully this trilogy. Why? If only someone put a GIS tracker on that darn thing, we wouldn’t be watching the movie in the first place. So, what will inspire you to document….

Unfortunately…it’s usually not because you think network diagrams are really cool and you enjoy creating nice-looking diagrams! It is usually because something is broken. Almost always… it has to do with an issue that has arisen and it took way too long to figure it out.

So, no matter what when you do take the plunge and document the network, make sure there is a good reason behind it (and there is also the man power to fulfill it). Important note: I don’t mean manual manpower but this: the will and management to really make it happen (aka the boss and boss’s boss).

Anyway, I am getting off track. Documentation is not about making a beautiful drawing, it’s about solving problems. Of course, it’s great when they look nice but really…it’s about having the information to solve a problem – whether it’s finding Milton’s red stapler or keeping track of the precious ring.

About Jason Sherman

As Graphical Networks’ Sales Engineering and Support Services Manager, Jason Sherman leads the pre and post sales cycle with the entire Graphical Networks software portfolio, and ensures current customers are able to use the software to its fullest potential.