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Dynamic Rack Diagrams pulling data from Access or SQL

Started by rjeffsmith, April 07, 2011, 08:49:29 PM

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rjeffsmith

Hi All,

I have a database of all of my servers (currently in Access, but porting to SQL soon).  My boss wants Visio rack diagrams drawn up to show what equipment is in each rack (we could be looking at 100+ racks worldwide).  He would like to be able to click on any server in Visio and see all of the relevant details such as Make, Model, specs, etc.  Most importantly, each server record in the DB has a unique rack position (eg, Toronto office rack A1, 'U' 25 would be "TORA125").  This database feeds into a number of front-ends such as various Excel spreadsheets, etc., so any informational changes would have to happen in the database, not in Visio.

It's easy enough to manually add a stencil to a rack in Visio and then attach the appropriate database record to it.  I've even imported the manufacturer supplied stencils for visual appeal (eg. the Dell R610s are shown using the R610 stencil).  Unfortunately we are constantly changing the physical location of devices as they are moved between offices, departments, etc.  So keeping the static Visio diagrams current will be a nightmare.

So my question is... is there a way to set up Visio to read the unique rack position value from the database and automatically stick the appropriate stencil into the appropriate spot on the diagram? In other words, when someone moves a server, or adds a new one, he then opens up the database and changes/adds the Rack Position value, then somehow magically my boss's Visio diagram re-adjusts to show the server's new position.  Flashing lights and fairy dust optional, of course.

I have a feeling that this is beyond Visio's capabilities, but certainly not beyond the capabilities of this forum!

Thanks,
Jeff

aledlund

a.) there are commercial products that deal with some of this.

b.) It can be done, here are some starter videos (if it says visRack then there are starter projects over on codeplex)
http://www.youtube.com/my_playlists?p=BAFAAC68D36484CA

Come on back if you have more questions.

al

ps 100 frames isn't that hard, we had 200 frames in just one room, check out the visRackLocations demo for drilldown.

aledlund

apologies for not including my friend David Parkers excellent book "Visualizing Information with MS V2007"
al

rjeffsmith

Thanks, Al, for getting back to me so quickly.

Regrettably, the link you gave didn't work (the error message on YouTube was "You do not own this playlist", which seems to suggest that the videos are on your own list but not shared?).  I did do some searches and found a few useful videos but I want to be sure that I see the one you were suggesting.  Is there another link, or a precise search term?

Thanks!

Jeff


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