What makes a network map good? Useful?
Usually when a customer asks me about the Scrutinizer network maps, I start by saying something like, “We are not a netw+ork map company,” and then I answer the question. Why do I say this? After all, most of our customers like the presentation of our network maps and their unique diagramming ability. I think this is primarily because we have good third-party integration and because the connections between devices change color based on utilization. Connections can change color for more than just Cisco NetFlow; they can also change based on nearly any SNMP OID value like IP SLA MOS (i.e. Mean Opinion Score) values. I’ve also seen NBAR and port errors used to change the color of a link based on a threshold.
Today’s networks are more reliable
I think that’s true; most networks today aren’t seeing the outages we witnessed in the mid-90s. I can remember sitting in tech support at Cabletron Systems telling people to reset the IRM or EMME in the MMAC hub to get the network back up. I think back then people generally accepted the fact that the network was kind of finicky. Today, users don’t take outages in stride as much. This has led to boring network maps with icons that seldom leave the color green.
The largest networks in the world
One of the things that we’ve learned from working on some of the largest networks in the world is that administrators want to be able to answer the question, “Why is it so slow?” Scrutinizer maps outline link by link the major paths through the network, and highlight congested areas of the infrastructure better than most tools on the market. So what is missing?
No auto discovery
Scrutinizer maps are manually created. There is no auto discovery to create the links between devices for you. I encourage customers to limit Scrutinizer maps to the backbone. However, I often witness diagrams with connections to every end user switch. I’ve asked why they put in the time and usually hear something like, “It doesn’t take that long, and my manager loves the maps in Scrutinizer.”
Expect more in Scrutinizer v7
Because of positive customer feedback, we will pour more engineering into Scrutinizer maps in future releases. This will include greater third party integration, which I will extrapolate on later.
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