Managing IT infrastructure is not an easy task: change is constant when it comes to your IT (as you already know… all too well!). Because keeping […]

Simplifying IT Changes: How Network Documentation & Visualization Software Can Help

Managing IT infrastructure is not an easy task: change is constant when it comes to your IT (as you already know… all too well!). Because keeping […]

computer keyboard that has a special key which says change, symbolizing IT changes

Managing IT infrastructure is not an easy task: change is constant when it comes to your IT (as you already know… all too well!). Because keeping track of all the changes happening within your IT landscape is nothing short of a juggling act, having a solid IT change management process in place (and the right tools) can relieve some major headaches and allow you to respond to issues much faster — or prevent them in the first place.

Solution: Automatically Map Your Network

Network diagram/documentation software (like our software netTerrain) is a game changer when it comes to visualizing your network infrastructure. With netTerrain, you can view your network topology diagrams and if you’d like, create your physical network diagrams so you can also see your data centers, telecom rooms, lab, and even your office space — in a few clicks.

Because, with netTerrain, your documentation is all stored in one central application, there’s no more need to find the right spreadsheet or Visio diagram (which will save you time – just login from any web browser, get your network diagrams, and search for anything, like an IP or MAC address to find your network device in seconds). You can automatically discover the network — and connect to any third-party applications through the REST API (as well as your database) in a matter of seconds. netTerrain can be used to store documents and files, embedded with any node in the project.

Solution: Automatically Track Changes

With your diagrams all set up and ready-to-go, one of the items that seems to be a roadblock is “well…we spent all this time getting our documentation done…now how can we track changes that were made to the diagrams and data?”

This is a great question!

I can fully understand why people stop here and decide to just keep doing what they’re doing. What’s the point of trying to document the network when the network is always changing — and there’s no sensible way to keep up with all the change. The good news: there are features in netTerrain that help you automatically manage your changes — so, if you’re using software like netTerrain, your diagrams will stay current and reflect the current state of the network.

Solution: Establish Change Management Processes

Does your organization have a change management process and tools in place that ensures information is current and accessible? Many companies don’t: the tool they were using has become outdated, they’ve been using a hodge podge of tools like Visio and spreadsheets, and/or they’re concerned about having enough manpower to onboard an IT documentation solution.

Easily Add Pending “Add” or “Delete” Tasks to Racks in netTerrain

A network documentation tool, like netTerrain, can help with the following:

  • Make network documentation a regular part of your change management process: this should be a top-down decision. When making any changes to the network, make sure to update the network diagram as a final step.
  • Have a dedicated network documentation specialist: his person should be responsible for making changes to the network documentation. Check out my next article for more information on this idea.
  • Use Work Order Tasks: when making changes to the network, assign tasks through completion and track them using work orders. This way, you can keep track of all the steps and identify any issues that may arise.
  • Utilize the netTerrain Collector: this tool allows you to schedule regular network discovery so that you always have the most up-to-date information. You can also see when each device was last updated.
  • Use Audit Trails: netTerrain has an Audit Trail feature that allows you to view all changes made to the network. You can even check changes made in the last 24 hours or track who made specific changes.
  • Check In & Check Out Documents: netTerrain allows you to embed documents to any device object and includes features such as versioning, locking, and file history. This means you can control the change and flow of documentation within your organization.

Check in and Check Out in Clicks with netTerrain

Results: Organizations Can Transform Change Management

Over the years, netTerrain has helped numerous organizations streamline their change management process easily and efficiently — from a one-person team to some of the globe’s largest organizations. Acciona Energía (a global renewable energy provider), for example, uses netTerrain to manage its large, constantly moving inventory. They were able to integrate multiple data sources and unified the inventory in both its data center and control center — within six months! Similarly, the University of Calgary started using netTerrain after their previous network visualization tool was phased out. netTerrain seamlessly integrated with ServiceNow and now helps filter important network information and changes (while filtering out data that wasn’t needed).

To sum up: change management is a crucial aspect of IT infrastructure management. Instead of trying to keep your IT up and running using outdated or inadequate tools, consider network documentation software like netTerrain so you can effectively manage and track changes, automatically document the network, and get a handle on work order and task management. With netTerrain’s ability to integrate with multiple data sources, netTerrain has helped organizations of all sizes manage changes with ease and efficiency.

Sick of dealing with IT change management headaches? Give netTerrain a try!

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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