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Using network diagram to trouble shoot

Started by parrottj, December 03, 2012, 01:48:48 PM

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I have been searching for software to not only diagram and help with cable/asset layout but to be able to trouble shoot connectivity issues. Here is the scenario:

device1-patch panel1-patch panel2-device2

Lets say my server(device1) connects to a port on patch panel 1 from patch panel 1 I am hard wired (not patched) to the same port number on patch panel 2 then on to my switch.

What I want to accomplish is this:
I would like to be able to click on any port whether it be on either device or port on a patch panel and be able to see the source(server) and destination(switch) along with the patch cable information from  device1-patch panel1 or  patch panel2-device2.

I have downloaded the new netzoom v.12 and it is very limited t o what I can use and test with so I can not test my scenario.
I have looked at Brady, Patch Manager, Rack Smith and several other softwares and they all fall a bit short.

If Visio is capable of allowing me to perform my scenario can anyone point me to a tutorial that could get me started?
Thank you for any help


The ability to gather data from a device (independent of what might be used to display it) is entirely under the control of the device and the network protocols that it might support. Thus the 'unintelligent' patch panels that are  merely hardwire anchor points are invisible from a network perspective. One can however write code to circumvent some of it by first saving connection information and then performing a path-analysis for 'active' endpoints (those that have a network awareness). Then all the programmer has to do is based on the selection of the shape, perform the necessary queries on the back-end CMDB to derive the view you desire.
Short answer you need some very sophisticated code and a comprehensive data plan to make it happen. It's a combination of connection and path-analysis.


thank you for the immediate response. I was hoping that there would have been an easier way. I am not a db person and our developement team is a project now that will not allow any additional tasks for some time.
What I am trying to accomplish is being able to have an "easy" way to trace a physical connection from source to destination to include any patch panels the connection will hit.
I was hoping that I could hover over a connection point on either a patch panel or piece of equipment and have an "info bubble" pop up with my desired information. Is it something I could accomplish by querying information from a spread sheet where all my patch panel connections are currently stored?
Thanks again


The problem that you're trying to solve starts with the understanding that for most real networks involved with rack diagrams we often have several objects between our server port and the router port (two patch panels, two patch cables, and an infrastructure cable (the one between the patch panels)). The formal way of describing these are called edges (our communications cables/links) and vertices (connection points / ports). The stringing together of these edges and vertices is called a "path". This kind of analysis is very common... We do it when we try to understand how a communications path works server to router, in piping diagrams, and understanding flowcharts. The pointer I referenced illustrates different ways to analyze paths (including a rack diagram). That's the first part of the problem, the second part is to identify what path a particular component is a part of (which might be solved by doing the first part twice, or once in each direction). In the code I wrote, none of this is based on what is on the drawing page but rather in the DB. You start with a naming plan for how to name a unique port (about 12000 in the sample) so that if someone writes it down you can find it.  If the VBA is a little daunting, I'd suggest Michael McMillan's "Data Structures and Algorithms usning Visual Basic.NET", chapter 16 "Graphs and Graph Algorithms".

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