Modern-day networks house a multitude of devices from various vendors, support an array of novel technologies, and transcend across boundaries spread over multiple locations. With networks becoming more sophisticated by the day, network administrators are finding it increasingly difficult to keep track of all the contemporary advancements and developments in the networking landscape, making network management more challenging than ever.

Visual representation of network topographies, device dependencies, structural arrangements, and cross-border network connections can tremendously help network admins manage complex business networks. With a flurry of network diagram tools cropping up in the market, manual diagramming has taken a back seat, and network admins are instead choosing from a deluge of online network diagram tools.

However, with the amount of diversity in business networks, zeroing in on the right tool can be quite daunting since there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, it becomes imperative for organizations to invest in the right network diagram tool that fits their business requirements.

Characteristics of an optimal network diagramming tool

Network Diagramming Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

Here's a list of characteristics an optimal network diagramming tool should possess:

  • Simple user interface: The best network diagram tool should feature an intuitive user interface that offers a seamless diagramming experience. Given the complexity of business networks, a smooth interface is vital, enabling users to effortlessly draw or map out even the most convoluted networks.
  • Availability indication: An optimal network diagram drawing tool should depict the real-time status or availability of all network components. This helps network admins quickly spot faults or outages, and expedite troubleshooting.
  • Virtual environment diagramming: With hybrid networks on the rise, an online network diagram tool should also be compatible with virtual machines (VMs) and servers, as they form an integral part of contemporary networks. The right tool should help network admins vividly visualize virtual environments, and map out their topographies.
  • Device dependency diagramming: Automatic mapping of device dependencies becomes imperative for environments where only the IP of the seed router is available, making automated network diagram tools the best bet for such circumstances.
  • Data center diagramming: The right network diagram tool must also be able to create virtual replicas of data centers. Visual construction of servers, storage devices, and network components housed inside data centers helps administrators keep an eye on their availability and health proactively.
  • Network topology mapping: An ideal network topology diagram tool must be able to chart out networks of all shapes and sizes, i.e., LANs, MANs, WANs, etc. However complex a network's layout maybe, the right tool must be able to accurately map it out.
  • Scalability: A robust network diagrams tool should be scalable to accommodate a business' network growth. It should seamlessly support networks ranging from small and medium-scale to enterprise-grade.
  • Customization: A single organization can host multiple networks, so the right network diagram tool must be able to compartmentalize network diagrams based on business functions, locations, subnets, and more.

OpManager: Network diagramming made simple

OpManager is a comprehensive network monitoring solution that offers network diagramming capabilities, enabling administrators to manage complex and distributed networks with ease. With OpManager's real-time network diagram tool, administrators can seamlessly construct virtual replicas of their network's topographies and data centers in no time.

How to create network diagrams using OpManager

Drag & Drop devices to create network diagrams

You can create network diagrams using OpManager's drag & drop network diagrammer in just 3 steps.

  1. You'll find the list of available devices from where you can drag and drop the required devices. OpManager's networking diagram tool also comes with an option to add devices in bulk which saves a lot of time. This way, you can choose the critical devices and keep an eye on them.
  2. Position the dragged devices as per your network layout to create connections between them by drawing links. This connectivity in a network diagram is important to understand how devices and components in your network is linked to each other. You can also label the links as per your convenience.
  3. Now, you can choose the background image of network diagrams from the default world maps available in the tool or you can simply upload and use your branch office layout. This helps you visualize your organization for real and locate devices easily to troubleshoot, in case of downtime.

Automate network diagramming with Layer2 maps

Automated Network Diagram Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

The Layer-2 discovery feature in OpManager's automated network diagram tool utilizes mechanisms including CDP, LLDP, IPROUTE, FDB, and ARP to discover devices connected within your network. All you need to do is to specify seed router's IP address and SNMP credential for the seed router to identify devices connected to it. You can also restrict your Layer2 discovery to certain IP range. Once discovered, OpManager automatically creates network diagrams with details such as nodes, interconnected layers and port-to-port connectivity in addition to interfaces. You can choose to view it in three different views: Radial Tree (default view), Node Link and Balloon Tree.

Schedule Layer-2 discovery:

Network diagrams become outdated with the constant addition or removal of devices to the network. To keep up with these network changes, you need to rediscover devices in a regular interval, which is a real task. OpManager's automatic network diagram tool helps you automate network diagramming process by specifying schedule interval during the initial discovery.

Set Up-link dependency:

With OpManager's Layer-2 discovery, you can automatically assign uplink dependencies to devices during discovery. This eliminates receiving multiple downtime alerts when a seed/parent device is down.

Network diagramming views

OpManager's network topology diagram tool enables you to visualize your networks in the following formats:

Business Views

Automatic Network Diagram Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager's network diagram software enables you to construct Business Views using a drag-and-drop diagram builder, offering you a seamless network diagramming experience. Business Views in OpManager provide a graphical representation of devices according to the business service they cater to. This ensures the availability of business-critical applications at all times, and helps in quicker troubleshooting.

Zoho Maps and Google Maps

Network Architecture Diagram Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

Using Zoho Maps, OpManager helps construct diagrams of distributed and enterprise-grade networks with its Maps functionality. You can use this feature to visualize your network by placing the devices on the maps according to their geographic distribution. This feature also displays the equivalent ground distance in kilometers using Zoho Maps. OpManager also lets you integrate Google Maps, and place devices on it according to their geographic distribution.

3D Floor diagrams and rack views

Best Network Diagram Tool - ManageEngine OpManager
Network Infrastructure Diagram Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager's network diagram map tool helps you create virtual replication of datacenter in rack views to enable 24/7 monitoring. These racks also can be loaded to create floor views. This helps you easily locate the rack/floors in which the faulty device is present and enable quicker resolution.

To learn more about how OpManager can help you with your diagramming efforts, download a 30-day free trial, or register for a demo.

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