What is Network Discovery and Mapping?
As networks are growing and getting more dynamic, mapping and documenting the devices that are connected to our network will be harder and much time consuming.
I know paper work and the network documentation are the two tasks most network engineers, including myself hate, but these are necessary steps, in fact, it is a must to have tool , in large scale organizations and thanks to some nice software which I will introduce at the end of this post, which will make our life much easier.
The Network Discovery and Mapping procedure helps you understand your network much better. You very easily can identify which devices are connected to which other devices and how they are connected.
With Automatic Network Discovery, network visualization could be easily done with custom dynamic network mapping.
It is required to log and track all the devices in the network. These information’s would be used for management and monitoring purposes, configuration management, security, capacity management and several other ITIL related procedures.
Manual network device discovery is rally a time consuming issue, plus there will be lots of missing devices that will not be seen by network administrators.
How to discover devices connected to your network
PING, SNMP and Telnet/SSH, ARP and also some vendor-proprietary mechanisms are some of the ways of doing Network Discovery of your network. With using these protocols, you can get a complete inventory information of all of your devices connected to your network.
Network Discovery output
The output of network discovery include hardware and software information of your devices, serial numbers on your devices, operating system and firmware, vendor name, interfaces and modules installed on your device and several other information related to your device.
Where to use these information
These information can be used in the following ways:
- Track your devices, modules, interfaces, operating systems and firmware’s used on your devices
- Monitoring updates and out of date firmware’s and operating systems used on your devices
- Generating 10’s to 100’s types of automatic reports to fulfill inventory audits
- Having up-to-date network diagrams and inventory lists
- easily display device performance metrics to visualize network performance
What to do for Multi-Vendor Environment
Some Network administrators use various software’s or vendor specific applications for the Network Discovery and Mapping procedures.
Although this type of network discovery and mapping gives you the specific features and benefits of each software, but it produces lots of simultaneous network discovery protocol traffic on your network and also makes your monitoring complicated with several software’s running on your network for this purpose.
There are some “Network Discovery and Mapping” software’s that are multivendor based and can discover and map the mostly used vendor devices in the network, so it gives you the benefit of using a single software for all of your vendors, while having the ability to Map your network topology, monitor and generate automatic reports.
These Network Discovery Tools provide visualization capabilities, so you can have a visual and graphical display of network layout.
One of the nice Software’s that support Multi-Vendor devices and does “Network Discovery and Mapping” is NIMPEE, IPFABRIC.
With this software, you can Search for all devices on the network, Create a visual network map/architecture/infrastructure, gather and create network/hardware inventory and provide data for network management, monitoring or audit.
- Intelligent Plug & Play Discovery
- Stop Current inventory management requiring manual data entry, error-prone, complicating operations, introducing errors.
- Intelligently discovering over 3000 devices per hour
- Identifying known and unknown devices
- Eliminating the need for manual data entry to CMDB
- Providing detailed asset information needed throughout network lifecycle(from technical projects to billing audits)
- Network visualization and dynamic network mapping for troubleshooting, assessment, and planning of your network
- Continuously mapping the network
- Maintain a detailed map of the entire Network
- Providing Detailed technology visibility and drilldowns in dynamic network maps, visualizing individual technology and protocols
- Providing in-depth technical inventory and documenting the Network.
- Finding any user, VLAN, module, or a protocol and have detailed state information.
- Plan changes, troubleshoot connectivity issues, and document the network.