As your network grows, it helps to have an up-to-date map of all your routers, switches, firewalls, servers, desktops, and workstations. However, manually discovering and mapping your network devices is time-intensive—particularly if you’re diagramming it all out on a whiteboard.
SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (NTM) can automatically discover and map the network through a variety of discovery methods like SNMP, CDP, ICMP, WMI and more. Also, the maps can be exported to a variety of formats including Visio, PNG, Network Atlas and PDF for easier documentation. NTM helps you create reports that are compliant with PCI, FIPS 140-2 and HIPAA regulatory standards.
Automating the creation and maintenance of network diagrams is easy with SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper. Network Topology Mapper, or NTM, allows you to scan and map your IT infrastructure, including network devices, servers, virtualization hosts, and anything else that responds to a variety of discovery techniques.
NTM includes an easy to use wizard that walks you through the process of setting up a network discovery scan. We'll start by clicking new scan. First, we're prompted for our credentials. These can be read only. We'll add an SNMP community string by clicking new credential. You can optionally store credentials and automatically use these credentials for future discoveries.
After adding our WMI and VMWare Credentials we're ready to identify the networks to be scanned. One really great feature in NTM is the concept of a seed device. The seed device can save you a bunch of time by querying a device that is central to your network and creating a list of subnets to scan. If you want NTM to exclude certain devices from discovery, you can do so by listing them under the Do-Not-Scan List tab. We'll name our scan, we can leave the rest of these advanced options as they are now.
Finally, we'll kick off our scan. So the moment you've all been waiting for, your new map. As you can see, there's a ton of information. All the notes you have discovered are listed on the left. In small networks, all of these notes will be automatically placed on your map. In large networks, only networking devices will be placed on the map by default. You can add or remove notes from the map individually or as groups. Notes can be grouped by role, vendor, subnet, and many other options, making it easy to add and edit notes on your map. You can also change which links are displayed. Layer two, or layer three. We've got all the tools you need to make your map look just right.
Most environments can't be fully documented with a single map. With NTM it's easy to create additional purpose-filled maps that give you different perspectives on your network. Let's create a new map that focuses on the network gear at a specific site. Click new map and we'll drag and drop the required routers and switches.
Now that we have the maps just the way that we want them the boss has asked us to publish the maps to SharePoint. Let's quickly export the map to Visio and then we can publish it to SharePoint, as requested. Perhaps your boss wants raw tabular data to go with the map, let's generate an inventory report and export it to CSV. Since we have this just the way we want it, let's save. As you can see, automated discovery and a purpose built tool can really help you make diagrams fast.
As battle hardened IT pro's know, the next challenge is to keep them up-to-date. NTM can be configured to periodically re-scan your network. The newly discovered topology information can be handled a couple of different ways depending on your goals. The first option allows NTM to keep its topology database up-to-date and ready for you to manually update your maps when you choose. Optionally, NTM can be configured to intelligently merge newly discovered topology information into your existing map using filters.
If you need a complete history of your network topology for compliance or other reasons, NTM can save a point-in-time representation of your network topology each time it re-scans. Now you can impress everyone with your stunning new maps.
For more information and to download a free trial of NTM, please visit solarwinds.com, or the network topology community on thwack.com.