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

    Network Mapping


      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.

        • 1. Re: Network Mapping

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



          • 2. 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.



            • 3. Re: Network Mapping

              The problem is not that I dont understand the layout I do i can Login to the core and use CDP and user the CLI to see the flow of traffic and everything else. The issue is that my boss doesnt know it (he is new)  and we have no diagram of it so he put me over creating one. I can work just fine with out one. Before i got this job I worked in another dept and had access to the network and i would go out on it and explore the traffic route and the flow of everything.

              • 4. 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.

                • 5. Re: Network Mapping

                  Yes we are a fully cisco shop. We have solarwinds as a monitoring tool. And yes we have a inventory list of are data center. We also have some VMware in the racks from those belong to other depts. Our data center feeds a MAN so its pretty big thats why I was wondering what 3rd party tools I could use.  Visio must include layer one connections and layer 3 address of each device we have the only things i wont be able to see are the servers. Also will be doing this remotely. I think we have over 40 to 50 racks with our devices and the servers for the other dept. Its hard to do a task when you have limited tools. This place use to depend on one person to do all of this stuff and he had all the tools he needed to get the job done plus he was a major part of the network design.  But im the lucky one that got put over this task go figure.

                  • 6. 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?

                    • 7. Re: Network Mapping
                      Chad Spears CCNP CCDA CCNAS



                      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 walk-through....in your case you say you are remote...so this may not work

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



                      • 8. 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.




                        • 9. Re: Network Mapping

                          Thanks everyone for the great tips. I am able to do a walk through if needed data center is about 20min away. And we do have solarwinds I just got access to the admin account of if hopefully its not a limited account. And I do have port mapper tool. I also have Cisco Network Assistant. I've had to do this once already but it was for a new sites that i set up which only included a 6513 (MDF) and two IDF's with some ASW. And my document was created just as Chad.Spears stayed but never at this scale. Its hardy hard being the new guy in the dept at least I've should I can carry my weight, but alway have to prove something to someone. I guess its better with time.


                          Thank you everyone here. At least I know I have a place where i can ask some question and get some great help.




                          darren-carr the size of are network includes 2 data centers, 4 core sites, and about 265 remote locations that span across the city. Thanks everyone again.

                          • 10. 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.

                            • 11. Re: Network Mapping

                              Yea I have to play around with SolarWinds really dont know much about it have to do some research on it. Kinda hard sometimes since this is my first Job field but so far Im loving it.

                              • 12. 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!

                                • 13. Re: Network Mapping
                                  Bryan Middleton

                                  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!




                                  • 14. Re: Network Mapping

                                    Yea it does look pretty cool as far as the demos. I wonder if its worth it.

                                    1 2 Previous Next