Can I see your network diagram?


What is the first question you ask when you start a new network project or start a new job as a network engineer?”:

– Can I see your network diagram?

Lucky you if you get it right away and in the “right” format (Visio?) but in my past I remember places where it took me weeks to find the right person who

had that diagram, which was very often not up to date or did not contain information I needed or was only showing application layer components and

I still had to spend hours doing “show cdp nei” and re-creating drawings the way I like it with the information I needed.

I always wished there was a magic tool where I can just click one button “Generate Topology” and get it auto-generated with the information I wanted to see.

Shouldn’t be that hard to do, right? Well, finally I found a perfect one.

I got a demo copy of Nectus from and its simplicity and effectiveness made it my number one network

software tool (ahead of my long-standing love for SecureCRT). The main reason for its beauty is integration with Network Discovery functionality.

Nectus does discover all the devices and all the interconnections, and uses that information when generating a network topology.

As a Cisco-centric tool, it relies on CDP to build its interconnection dataset so one of the main requirement is operational SNMP and

CDP protocol on every link you want to see on your network diagram. But that is the only manual work you have to do.

After initial configuration is done, the only part that separates you from your network diagram is a single click of a button.

Right click on any device in GUI and select “Create a Network Topology” – BOOM!

It took 10 seconds to generate complete topology of our Datacenter of 350 Nexus switches with all the interface names and IP addresses,

and I could even overlay real-time traffic utilization info over each link. No more aligning shapes in Visio (even though you can export Nectus diagrams to Visio).

No more changing font size one line at a time. No more hard manual work.

Here is an example of what one button click can produce:

It may need some device aligning, but I will take it. It is almost ready for consumption.

I didn’t have to worry about keeping track of changes: Discovery module is configured to run every day and all the changes are automatically

stored in DB so I just press “Refresh” on existing topology…. ah forgot to say.. and these features are in your browser.

No software clients to install. I use it every day now. Honestly.

Jeff Woss, CCIE