One of my employees recently forwarded me a Reddit comment thread about network documentation. The original poster asked: what’s good for documentation software? A Redditor name-dropped […]

Network Documentation: Do You Really Need the Bells & Whistles?

One of my employees recently forwarded me a Reddit comment thread about network documentation. The original poster asked: what’s good for documentation software? A Redditor name-dropped […]

One of my employees recently forwarded me a Reddit comment thread about network documentation. The original poster asked: what’s good for documentation software? A Redditor name-dropped a big name company in network documentation software and said “don’t buy it.” They went on to describe having been promised many great things to come out of the purchase, and in the end, the software was so complicated that they ended up reverting back to spreadsheets and Visio for documentation…and they were out a whole lot of money.

Unfortunately, when it comes to enterprise-grade platforms like network documentation, DCIM software, or really anything that has the potential to be both transformational and complex, this isn’t all that uncommon of a situation. Companies end up spending a lot of money on shelfware…and end up using what they were using in the first place. Yikes.

So — when it comes to network documentation, what do you really need? Do you need all the bells and whistles that a larger company (that will remain nameless) may offer…. or do you need something that does less but what it does, it does very well?

So, what are the bells and whistles?

Some network documentation companies offer a complete solution that mirrors a network monitoring/management tools, with features such as:

  • Fault, performance, and network availability.
  • Network traffic analysis and bandwidth monitoring.
  • Server and application monitoring.

When does it make sense to get software like this? Monitoring and managing your network infrastructure are mission critical to your organization, as well as identifying any possible breaches to your network. These tools have its place in the marketplace and anyone needing a network monitoring tool, and depending on your requirements, well…it could be a good fit for you.

What if you don’t need that but do need documentation? Maybe documentation to help those who are new to the company onboard far more quickly, or to retain all the knowledge an employee has (who may retire soon)? Maybe you really just need to see is what’s on the network and how it’s all connected down to the port level. Your boss maybe would like to get a report of all network assets and schedule a network discovery every week or so. You don’t need to have the fault, performance, bandwidth utilization and monitoring….”Just show me what’s on my network!” This is where tools like netTerrain Logical come in handy…and without breaking the bank.

netTerrain, for example, offers:

  • SNMP network discovery to detect your network asset along with CDP and LLDP discovery to discover its connections.
  • Scheduler to automatically scan your network, based on your schedule.
  • Ability to connect to third party applications, such as AWS, Azure, Solarwinds, Service Now, VMWare to act as a central repository to view additional details of your network, public, hybrid, or private.

netTerrain’s Collector (included in the software package) houses its SNMP network discovery and Rest API connectors. After pushing the scan results, you can see your network topology diagrams in any standard web browser, where you can adjust the diagrams to your liking, add your own data fields to any asset or link (like tracking warranty, cost, maintenance, owners, etc.), embed/attach documents, and create other diagram views, such as data center and telecom room racks and floor plans too.

So, when does it make sense to buy software like netTerrain? When you need to get a picture of your as-built network infrastructure. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a network monitoring tool and need to find a network discovery to see what’s on your network, netTerrain would be a good fit. If you want to try netTerrain out for 14 days to run your network discovery, give it a try here: https://www.netterrain.us/.

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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