We all create network diagrams. Network Engineers create network diagrams. But for who ? When ? How they are accurate ? Do we really need network diagrams ? Let me share my thoughts with you.
Network engineers have been creating network diagrams, physical diagrams, logical diagrams, showing Vlans , IP addresses , so many connections, switches, routers, firewalls, so many network devices for decades.
When I think about the consumers of these diagrams, they are mostly , if not all the time , are used by only the network engineers.
We have system admins , database , storage , security engineers, managers and many other teams in our companies.
When we think about the time and effort needed to create these network diagrams, there is significant amount of operational expenses. And when we think about the ROI (Return on investment), network diagrams are only used by network engineers.
You might think that, it is necessary to explain the network to other network engineers for documentation purposes, or when there is a newly hired engineer who can benefit from the network diagrams, but I would argue on these too.
The reason is, diagrams which you create today will probably not be accurate after couple years. Let’s admit that we don’t reflect every changes to the diagrams, we don’t update these diagrams every month , every quarter etc. Documentation and creating these diagrams is already a painful and boring task for the network engineers.
If there is no up to date diagram, what is the point of keeping it in the first place. When you leave your job and new network engineer joins, how he/she will understand the current , most recent network topology, protocols used in the network etc.
This process needs to be automated. There are plenty of great tools today which can create very detailed , very organized networking diagrams for you and in fact they can do it in couple minutes.
Source: IP Fabric NIMPEE Solution
We don’t have to be a Visio expert. As Orhan Ergun, I had to create these diagrams for the customers so many times. The time the tales for creating detailed, organized yet still understandable diagrams is huge.
With the NFV, many of the networking functions are virtualized and this makes drawing of the network diagrams more complicated and time consuming.
Automation is the future and future is now.
As I mentioned above, there are great tools which can create network diagrams in addition to things such as verification , network analysis , configuration repository, inventory management etc.
Last year I became an advisory to the board for one of these companies, called IP Fabric and the progress made by this company is great.
Start trying this tool in your network, have your dynamic, up to date network diagrams and many other automated functions for a very low cost. And please don’t forget to thank me later on : )
You can click here to understand their solution and talk to them to discover the functionalities which can bring benefits to your network operation.