Untangling the ball of wool
Computer networks can be complex, messy things. Difficult to get your arms around. Difficult for project managers to get simple answers to simple questions, such as, “So, if we change this what will it effect?” or “How are Server A and Server D connected?”
There are different potential ways to answer this question:
- Spreadsheet: Perhaps you have a spreadsheet of applications, servers, port numbers, network connections, IP addresses and the like. This is the worst possible way to try to answer the question. You can probably understand first order dependencies pretty easily but what about when you need to understand beyond that. If A is connected to B which is connected to C which is connected to D then D is potentially effected by a change to A. Good luck working that out from a spreadsheet!
- Whiteboard: If a project manager asks the question to an Architect in a meeting room with a whiteboard then they will get up and start drawing. This is a good start but also only reflects what’s top of mind for the architect and may not reveal the complete picture. For example, they may be unaware of a legacy application relationship that was established long before they joined the organization.
- Picture: What typically happens is that whiteboard picture is then redrawn in a drawing package such as Visio or EA Sparx. It is then circulated, extended and elaborated upon based upon feedback. This gives a fuller appreciation of the network and works well for a small simple network. Most people think that this is the best way to answer the question.
- Visualization: Not so, a picture is a picture and cannot easily be changed, extended or interrogated. Imagine a network visualization where you can:
- Animate flows between servers A and D (including intermediate nodes and relationships)
- Filter the network so that you can only see the flows that you’re interested in
- Add a new server to the network and automatically redraw the visualization.
- Show only certain kinds of network relationship
Hubscope enables you to do all of these things and more. Hubscope provides the simplest and most powerful way to answer the Project Managers questions via a dynamic, auto-layout, data driven visualization.
To see how, check out the video below which shows you how to elaborate relationships and visualize flows in Hubscope.
Using Hubscope on your project.
Powerful stuff! Perhaps you’re starting a new project? Perhaps there’s some confusion on your current project? Perhaps you’d like to impress your project manager?
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