Introduction to Network visualization

Networks are complex entities and are predisposed to continuous evolution. With growing business requirements and needs, an organization's network can become increasingly sophisticated and complex. The composite nature of an organization's network can be attributed to the many network components it entails, its distributed topology spanning geographies, and the contemporary technologies it utilizes.

Such complexity makes it incredibly difficult for network administrators to monitor networks for performance, availability, and network faults. Businesses can circumvent these bottlenecks with vivid network visualizations. Graphs and charts representing networks in the form of topology maps, dependency maps, layer 2 maps and data center visualization diagrams are all key to managing networks at scale. This is why it's all the more important for organizations to invest in dedicated network visualization software to streamline network management.

Challenges in visualizing a network and its components

Networks are designed in many sizes, and they expand as a company grows. With so much volatility in play, visualizing networks and their components becomes crucial. Network visualization helps us contextualize and make sense of the metrics we monitor. The following are some of the challenges in visualizing a network.

  • Mapping - With manual mapping of networks, businesses can't monitor network devices for their status and availability. With network visualization, we can discover elements of the network we didn't already know and can communicate them effectively.

  • Network Operation Center (NOC) - To ensure quality of service 24/7, a network operations center (NOC) use network visualization solutions to display network maps and other business critical information.

  • Enterprise visibility - Network admins need to see into every corner of the organization. This means end-to-end visibility across your organization—from endpoints, applications and sites to tunnels, VPNs, and service provider transport SLA performance—all in one understandable and action-oriented view.

  • Alerts and alarms - When network conditions deviate from the baseline, alerts and alarms are crucial. Alerts are overlaid on top of the topology, site, and summary views for cross-team notifications so you can engage in incident response together with the same information. These alerts should present the information like the severity level of the issue, the trigger, or the cause.

  • Site views - Site-level insights are critical for gaining visibility into a specific site and to better understand and manage data interconnections and service provider performance.

OpManager: The network visualization tool your business needs

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

OpManager enables you to visualize your networks in the following formats:

Layer 2 maps

OpManager is a network visualizer that allows you to discover and visualize Layer 2 devices connected to your network. In addition to interfaces, this offers a comprehensive map of all nodes, interlinked layers, and port-to-port connection.

Network Visualization Software - ManageEngine OpManager

Virtual machine topography maps

OpManager visualizes your virtual networks. The virtual network topology maps in OpManager depict the relationship between hosts, virtual machines, and data stores. You may also track VM migration across physical hosts with OpManager.

Network Mapping Visualization Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

Business views

OpManager is a network visualizer that uses a drag-and-drop diagram builder to create business views. In OpManager, business views show devices in a graphical format based on the business service they deliver. This ensures the continuous availability of mission-critical programs and facilitates troubleshooting.

Network Visualization - ManageEngine OpManager

Zoho Maps and Google Maps

The default map source for the maps feature in OpManager is Zoho Maps. It can be used to visualize your network by arranging devices on maps based on their geographic distribution. The same ground distance in miles or kilometers can also be displayed using Zoho Maps. You can also use OpManager to integrate Google Maps and place devices on it based on their geographic distribution.

Network Visualization Tools - ManageEngine OpManager

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)

Hyper-convergence is an IT framework that combines storage, computation, virtualization, and networking into a single system to simplify data center management and boost scalability. OpManager's network visualizer enables you to discover the Nutanix cluster, which will automatically discover the hosts and VMs, and display their relationship by placing them on a map. You can add the Nutanix Prism Central to automatically discover all the clusters mapped under the HCI device. This will give you a detailed network map of each and every virtual machine in the organization managed by the HCI, irrespective of the number of nodes.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) - ManageEngine OpManager

Software-defined networking (SDN) infrastructure

SDN is a network architecture approach that allows networks to be intelligently and centrally controlled using software applications. Regardless of the underlying network technology, this allows operators to manage the entire network consistently and holistically. Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is Cisco's SDN architecture for data centers. OpManager's network visualizer automatically plots the topology map of your ACI environment for better visualization. This gives you a comprehensive look at the APIC controller, the spines, and the leaves available in your network and how they are interconnected. Click on a device and you’ll see its availability status too. The Topology tab is pretty much a network map with live status updates.

Software-defined networking (SDN) infrastructure - ManageEngine OpManager

Software-defined networking wide area network (SD-WAN) topology view

A SD-WAN is a virtual WAN that allows businesses to securely connect users to applications using any combination of transport servicesarchitecture, such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Long-Term Evolution (LTE), and broadband internet services.

OpManager's network visualizer's topology view option gives you a complete map-like representation of the various devices in each network of the discovered Cisco Meraki controller, which has built-in SD-WAN technology. This topology view option helps you know the interconnections between the various devices in the selected network.

Software-defined networking wide area network (SD-WAN) topology view - ManageEngine OpManager

3D rack and floor views

OpManager's network visualizer allows you to make virtual three-dimensional replicas of your data centers. You can build 3D rack and floor views of your server rooms with OpManager. These views assist network administrators in keeping track of server availability and status.

Software-defined networking wide area network (SD-WAN) topology view - ManageEngine OpManager

To learn more about how OpManager's network visualization capabilities can help in your network management efforts, download a free, 30-day trial, or register for a demo.

FAQ

Why you should deploy a network visualization tool

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