Rack Diagrams: What is needed in Visio?

Started by Visio Guy, March 30, 2009, 07:45:11 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Visio Guy

Thought I'd start off with a "wish list" for doing rack diagrams in Visio.

Food for thought:

  • What works well right now?
  • What could be improved?
  • What is missing?
  • What would be the answer to all my network fantasies?

What improvements would you like to see?
For articles, tips and free content, see the Visio Guy Website at http://www.visguy.com
Get my Visio Book! Using Microsoft Visio 2010


questions, questions, questions.

How dynamic is the environment?
   Is it stable, or is it a data center move with "rack-and-stack" happening daily? Even in stable environments the change rate turns out to be about 2% per month, so at the end of the year a quarter of the drawings will have changed...

How many racks am I working with?
   A half dozen racks at each of a thousand locations (major retail environment), or a single data center with several hundred racks (and scenarios in between).

Do I require simultaneous front and rear views on the same page (netzoom does a nice job of this, but has some issues and with there lack of x64 support???)? The multiple simultaneous views of a single component means that you have to build a set of shape naming conventions that links to the component identification but is not identical to it.

Do I require detail vendor drawings, or can I get away with the generic stuff that MS uses?
   I need the vendor specific (different sizes, different slot counts (some count from the bottom, some from the top), orientation of slots (vertical vs. horizontal))

Is the data they are based on in the drawing or external?
   Where datarecordsets and linking are neat, performance is poor-refresh is problematic-data security is ????
   Late in build cycle data attributes for the rack components can get really ugly as platform teams start to move system loads around to meet 'unidentified requirements'
   If you start with the approach that all of the drawings are disposable the data management process becomes a lot easier, but then you're into drawing performance.

How many shape properties do I really need?
  Goes to which attributes must I track (config, asset, network, environmentals, software, etc. etc.) and can we ease the process of applying them.

Would I like to take advantage of DataGraphics?
    Another set of issues on demoware vs real world in a detail environment. I am in favor of the dgHost option where a datagraphic master is applied to a surrogate shape, rather than the target shape, for the reasons I sent to you offline.

Managing connection points in the shapesheet...
   Recognizing that not all shape developers have the same thoughts and requirements almost always forces me to have to manually go in and name the connection points manually so they are consistent across providers. This get's into the discussion of naming requirements "slots (a tuple definition), ports(technology issues), and connectors (a special case of ports)".



Altima Technologies has released a version of NetZoom9 that runs on x64 systems (resolving my most recent concern about the product).
tks to the people over in Lisle,


Apologies to all, I have been remiss in not following up on my last post. I have tested (and spent the money) on NetZoom 9. I have tested it on both Vista x64 and Windows7 RC. So far I have been pretty happy with it. I really like its function of showing associated components when building a rack (i.e. select a Cisco 6506 switch and have it automatically search for the related cards.)
have a great one,


For those that might be interested, here are the video pointers to some of the discussion items.

Visio Network Drawing Requirements
   Stage one - Link to data
   v2007 Professional, SDK, David Parker's book ("Visualizing Information...")

   Stage two - RoundTrip information (visio as input)
   SDK (vb.net port over on Chris' site)

   Stage three - Interact with Device
   Examples on Chris Roth's site (www.visguy.com)

   Stage four - Drawing via automation
   SDK, David Parker

   Reference - DataModel


For those that may have been following this thread, I've uploaded the work products to Microsoft CodePlex (http://www.codeplex.com) so to get a better handle on some of the source control issues.

Three projects to highlight datacenter detail data visualization. The visRackLinkAttr project is new and was not posted on your site.

One project to illustrate using Visio as a front-end to interface with
network devices.

Two projects to demonstrate using Visio for drawing automation.

There's four others that I am working on. This is mostly porting existing VBA to VB.NET
a.)   The CMDB project which is just putting all of the SQL server stuff in one place. The above project have been getting pieces of it where necessary to support the import of data.
b.)   A web app (Silverlight) to access the database tables manually
c.)   The core drawing code that takes the user from site selection => rack/row drawing => allow for the drilldowns. You see this in the associated video for the link attributes project.
d.)   Finally using the Visio page for data entry.



Added two vb.net projects to www.codeplex.com to support visio data center rack drawings.
These are :
which is the data layer of the application and
which is a skeleton silverlight application for data entry