Network maps are something that everyone needs.

The ultimate network map allows a system admin to find information about an organisations environment/infrastructure easily, solving problems in seconds rather than days.

When systems go down, some system administrators are forced to spend hours reading through endless technical manuals, written by previous engineers. When an engineer eventually finds a solution he/she has probably spent a lot of time time firefighting, answering phone calls from irate users.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Users require dynamic information to be displayed about office locations and about the equipment at each location.

System admins often wish to display:

  • Contact information such as physical addresses, names of key contacts, phone numbers.
  • Key hardware metrics such as CPU, disk space, memory, along with network utilisation.

Software engineers need:

  • Performance metrics for applications.
  • A method to easily confirm that applications are functioning correctly.

Yesterday, I designed a simple display for a large UK based customer. The display is mainly for contact information and key site information. Its a work in progress so we are going to decide upon the final information to be presented to our NOC users as we go along.

The information below has been sanitised for security purposes.

Map of the UK showing all the office locations with key information about the site presented on the left.
Information about the Glasgow office location.

As you can see we have location information and access information. This information will sit inside Solarwinds and will be accessible only by licensed users with permissions to see this NOC view.

When a user clicks on a location, the user is then taken into the operational display below, listing all the important devices showing their utilisation along with a (RAG) red, amber, green traffic light display.

The information below is based on the Basingstoke site.

As you can see we are able to quickly inspect all of our sites around the UK. These maps are all dynamic and will change as soon as an issue is encountered.

I am considering designing another intermediate view for sites with more than one data centre location within the geographical location.

We have alerts and colours setup to represent issues on site.

Red or amber would appear if an issue is encountered on the UK map and will allow issues to be easily observed.

An image could be designed to represent a town with multiple data centres or a data centre with multiple rooms in 3D, to show all of the key locations with issues highlighted in red.

We could show racks, with servers, virtual or physical and we can show the applications that are running on those servers.

We can display connectivity so that users can easily see if there is a problem connecting to a location.

The sky is the limit.

Utilise your creativity to design something great for your environment.

  • Make it clear.
  • Make it concise.
  • Make it visually stunning.
  • Keep it secure. (Do not display a business critical NOC in a public place).

If you would like to find out more about Network Atlas and Solarwinds, leave a comment below and Adam at ACMTIX will contact you.