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7575 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Dec 2, 2010 8:17 PM by mickey61 RSS 1 2 Previous Next

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Network Mapping

Dec 1, 2010 2:10 PM

mickey61 75 posts since
Nov 3, 2009

Can anyone give me some advise on what is the best tool to use to auto map a network. If im working with limited resources. Lol ive only been here 5 months and have been given the task to create a visio network map of our data center. I know I can do it view cdp, but was trying to find an auto way to do it. And since the task was given to me the person that does not have the lastest and greatest tools I must figure out the best way to do it myself. Thank you any help would wonderfull.  Man was I wrong I should had just finished up my CCNP before getting this job lol I got some many things going on have not had a chance to study for the TSHOOT.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 1, 2010 2:49 PM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    This will go in and map out the network for you and even draw the Visio diagrams for you too.


  • jamesh 149 posts since
    Nov 1, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Dec 1, 2010 2:54 PM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    Heya mickey,


    It's funny you ask this, because I have been in numerous situations attempting to TS a customer problem while having no understanding of the physical topology. Where I work, the guys that know IP's and devices in their head have been their for five years, so it's easy for them. When I ask for a map they look at me funny.


    Anyway, IMHO, I would physically find all of these devices. I know that sounds like a pain, but it helps me tremendously. I really have to see what it is to help me understand. Also, CDP is great if it's turned on, but can also be somewhat of a problem. I have seen CDP enumerate a device with goofy info(a non-cisco device). I guess some vendors products will show up with CDP, but it doesn't function as well in a non-Cisco product(i'm assuming that's why the funny info).


    I guess what i'm saying is that it's probably best to use as many things/tools as possible to increase your understand ot the physical.


    If you happen to come across a tool outside of CDP and physically walking the floor, let me know, because I have been persuing this myself. It seems as though some people think you should be able to map on the fly, with just the logical available to you, but I liken that to getting behind the wheel of a car with blinders on.



  • darren-carr 49 posts since
    May 4, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Dec 1, 2010 3:10 PM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    Hi Mickey,


    Do you at least have an inventory of all of the network hardware? I would start with this before attempting to make use of CDP, etc? Best to try and understand what is out there first, especially if you aren't a complete Cisco shop? Do you have any virtual switches in place (VMWare). 


    Do they have any monitoring in place? Really need to understand what your environment is first.

  • darren-carr 49 posts since
    May 4, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Dec 1, 2010 4:20 PM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    Wow. Big old task on your hands here.

    I guess the tools you are seeking are going to be constrained by what you have configured on your network (routers/switches). By this I mean you can only make use of tools that are able to probe using services currently enabled on these devices, assuming you are not going to be enabling anything else? So you will be looking to use CDP, SNMP, SYSLOG, etc.

    A free tool I have used before, but this was in a smaller network (still not sure of the exact size of your network here), was the Cisco Network Assistant. This gave a graphical view of your network. You could list the devices by SNMP community (I seem to recall), I think it also used CDP, and showed you VLANS, device names, MAC-ADDRESSES, etc.


    In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, I think it might be worth making use of these 'limited tools' to give you a better understanding of the network? If you don't have this understanding at present, and simply rely on an automated tool to find this for you how could you be 100% sure of it's findings? I personally, and if you have the time, like to make use of the likes of CDP to gather this information. You will then learn as you go. Are you time constained? i.e. you have one week to gather this information? or do you have time to do a proper audit/assessment?

  • Chad Spears CCNP CCDA CCNAS 752 posts since
    Jul 27, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Dec 1, 2010 4:21 PM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping



    I personally agree with pretty much everything everyone else is saying.  I would go with the following:


    1. Create an inventory of all devices, if you are using Solarwinds NPM it should be able to pull an inventory  report for you of the devices that are checking in.

    2. Do an initial Layer 1 your case you say you are this may not work

    3. Use CDP to crawl the network; yes this is tidious, and time consuming is the best way.

    4. Use a switchport mapper to map the servers to the correct switch ports at your Data center access layer, and all access layers.


    Normally in my diagrams I include 4 documents; Inventory, L1, and L3 Diagrams, and IP Address Charts.



  • Brian 2,971 posts since
    Aug 17, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 1, 2010 8:46 PM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    Aloha Mickey61,


    Two good tools are Solarwinds NPM and IPSwitch's What's Up Gold.  I have not used Solarwinds myself other than to play around.  I have used What's Up Gold and we actually used this to "map" our network.  It works great.



  • Jared 5,498 posts since
    Jul 27, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Dec 2, 2010 6:01 AM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    I thought that Solarwinds would have some kind of mapping tool.  It's been a while since I played with it.  I know that Ciscoworks LMS does.  It uses CDP and creates a graphical map in the Campus Manger tool.  It's pretty nice.

  • Jared 5,498 posts since
    Jul 27, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Dec 2, 2010 7:39 AM (in response to mickey61)
    Re: Network Mapping

    I played with solarwinds a long time ago...I think orion and Ciscoworks LMS are both good products.  Each has its pros and cons.  The day may come where I switch over to Orion, but that day hasn't come yet.  I really like their flow collector!

  • Bryan Middleton 51 posts since
    Sep 4, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Dec 2, 2010 9:32 AM (in response to Erick)
    Re: Network Mapping

    HI Erik,


    Just had a look on the Netbraintech website and it looks pretty impressive, just wondering if you have actually used this before and what the quality and accuracy of the diagrams it automatically produces was like if you have?


    Could be a real time-saver!





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