[E-Book] Building a Topological Diagram

[E-Book] Building a Topological Diagram

This E-book will teach you how to build dynamic, live and informational diagrams based on the logical Layer 2 connections devices have.

Key Points Discussed:

    • Where & how to get started creating a new topological diagram
    • Flexible design options to best suit your device discovery needs & requirements
    • How to add nodes, maps, groups, links, interface links, placeholders, neighbours, subnets
    • Using opCharts as a complete dashboarding solution that visualises your infrastructure.

Get the E-Book

Performance & Fault Management for MSPs & Enterprise Class Business

Performance & Fault Management for MSPs & Enterprise Class Business

The primary objective of fault management and performance management for MSPs (managed service providers) and enterprise-class businesses is to reduce downtime, so the quicker a network manager can identify a network error, the better. In this blog, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of how you can optimise your performance and fault management services.


Packaging performance and fault monitoring as a service

In network management services, it’s vital to be proactive in order to maintain user satisfaction, so it’s a good idea to have separate requirements for your remote management, such as patching and remote desktop services.

When you’re offering your services to clients, it’s important to clearly define the assistance you provide in your service-level agreement. Place your focus on how your services can improve reaction times and reduce the amount of time it takes to predict outages and come to a resolution. The pricing of your services should be tied to their value, so ask your customers what the cost of 1 hour of lost network time will be and explain how you can amend it. In order to make sure that your services are always evolving and improving, ensure you review the results of your automated network monitoring services and the actions taken on a weekly then monthly basis.


Handling overlapping IP addresses and multi-tenancy

A case of overlapping IP addresses may be out of your control, but it’s critical for you to prepare for them, both between new and existing clients. Segmenting client data into separate tenants to ensure that your logical firewalls will prevent the exposure of confidential information to your other tenants.

Putting the control back in your hands Opmantek’s NMIS system handles overlapping IP addresses and multitenancy by providing support in the form of Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN), IP addresses for devices, metadata tags (such as department and customer) and tables. Opmantek’s system also provides network scalability by using opHA to deploy multiple polling services.


Leveraging trending data to intelligently adjust fault management

IT equipment requirements and functionalities can fall short in the ‘real world’ in comparison to a vendor’s best-case lab; which is why Dynamic Trending has now replaced static thresholds for alerting customers. This has been achieved by understanding what’s normal for each device. Opmantek’s opTrend has the ability to replace static thresholds with what’s normal, creating focused, purpose-driven dashboards by client and task through automation.


Customer portal with customized dashboards

Self-service dashboards reduce client interruptions while providing them with the feeling of control and transparency; for billable customers, it can be an up-sell or a service differentiator. An implementation of opCharts is exposed to the internet via a reversed proxy. Client accounts are then created within them, which can be scripted. Custom dashboards, maps, charts and business services are then assigned to that user, but they can only see the elements you give them access to.


Here at Opmantek, we have seen many IT departments transformed through the implementation of our automate network performance and fault management tools. To start making data-lead decisions book a demo here. and speak to one of our engineers about your next performance and fault management projects.

To hear more about how our automated solutions to help optimise your performance and fault management services, check out Senior System Engineer Mark Henry’s full webinar for further insights and downtime reductions.

A single pane of glass with opCharts and NMIS

A single pane of glass with opCharts and NMIS

What is a single pane of glass and why is it so important?

The phrase, Single-pane-of-glass is often used as a synonym for a dashboard, however, it is more than that. It is a dashboard that is able to summarise data from multiple sources and display it in a clear and coherent manner on a single screen (pane of glass).
There are a few benefits to using this type of dashboarding in your organization:
Increased visibility – Your operations team can ensure that the status of your network is always visible and issues are quickly noticed.

Reduced operational complexity – Your team will have the ability to see the complete operational environment in a logical display that will reduce any complexity within your infrastructure.

Reduced time to a root cause analysis – There are no silo’s within the organization, all technologies, vendors, operating systems are displayed in a single location.

A true single-pane-of-glass management system will support:

  • Multiple vendors
  • Multiple technologies
  • Multiple operating systems

This management system will also allow you to:

  • See the current state of all systems in one location.
  • See the full history of all systems in one location.
  • Provide operations teams with a single place to login and see live data.
  • Be flexible enough to incorporate new technologies.

An example of a well-designed dashboard is displayed below:

Note the clear layout of all the dashboards, all of the elements are clickable to retrieve live data and be further inspected.

opCharts A Well Designed Dashboard - 700
This can be built for free today using NMIS and opCharts
First, install NMIS, there are two choices in going about doing this:

1. Install NMIS from scratch. Here is a link to an NMIS installation guide available on the Opmantek Community WIKI.

2. Install the Opmantek Virtual Appliance that has NMIS and opCharts already installed and configured, here is the Virtual Appliance Installation guide.

If you installed NMIS from scratch then you need to Install/upgrade opCharts
Install/upgrade opCharts – opCharts Installation Guide
Get a free trial license key for opCharts –  here


How much data is the right amount, and how much is too much?

Before getting into creating a dashboard you should understand what goes into designing a useful dashboard.
1. Limit each dashboard to 5-7 groups of data.
2. Group layout should be organized by data, time- period or visualization.
3. No group should have more than 5-7 data sets.
4. Each data set should be easily distinguishable from the other data sets in the group.
5. Similar data sets across groups should use similar colours/icons.
6. Colours and shapes should be used with purpose and definition.
7. The entire dashboard should be visible at one time, as should each group.

While looking at the image below, we can understand why the dashboard is poorly designed:

opCharts Bad Dashboard - 700

Creating your Single Pane of Glass Dashboard

Now that you understand what separates a well-designed and useful dashboard from a poorly designed one it’s time to create your own.

Start by creating a new dashboard:

Navigate to menu -> Views -> Dashboards

opCharts Create New Dashboard - 700
On the following screen, click the blue “+” icon to create a new dashboard

From this screen you can add data in one of two ways:

1. Give your new dashboard a name, description, and assign it to a dashboard group if required. You can begin by adding components to the dashboard by clicking the add component button. A new component info box will open up and you can select the data you wish to display, change the size of the window and design the dashboard in a way you see fit.

opCharts Save Dashboard - 700

For example, you may want to add a Map you have created to your dashboard, you can do so by navigating to Menu -> Views -> Maps then selecting a previously created map. When the map has been loaded, click the drop-down menu on the top right of the map and select Add to Dashboard.

opCharts Add Map To Dashboard - 700

The add to dashboard menu will open up, select the dashboard name from the drop-down menu that you wish to add the nap to then click save. Once you navigate back to your saved dashboard this map will be displayed. You can follow this same process to add any components to your dashboards.

2. The second way to add data is from the new dashboard screen, click the add component button. This will open up the component info menu allowing you to adjust the width and the height of the component you are adding to your dashboard. After selecting the size, click the data source type drop-down menu to select the desired data for the Dashboard. Once the Data Source Type is selected, another drop-down menu will appear allowing you to choose the specific data point you want to display on the dashboard. You can repeat this process to organize and add as many Components to your Dashboard as you want.

opCharts Add Components - 700

Watch our webinar on dashboard design:

Building a Topological Diagram with opCharts

Building a Topological Diagram with opCharts


Please ensure either opCharts or the Opmantek Virtual Machine are installed to use the below feature.


The Topological Diagram style of Map allows you to dynamically build live, informational diagrams based on the logical Layer 2 connections devices have.

A menu listing of all available Maps can be accessed by selecting Views -> Maps from the opCharts menu bar.

Creating a New Topological Diagram

Join Paul McClendon, an Opmantek Support Engineer, as he demonstrates how to create a topological map in opCharts.

For the letter lovers amongst us

A Topological Diagram must be created before it can be used or added to a Dashboard. To create a new Map, Click the blue button with the “+” icon in the top-left corner from the Maps screen (Views -> Maps).

newmap - 700
Next, select Topological Diagram from the Map Type drop-down located in the top-left corner.
Topological Map - 700

Assign your Topological Map a Map Name – This must be unique; no 2 maps can have the same Map Name. You can also provide a Description of your Map. This will be displayed on the Maps View page, and also when adding a Map to a Dashboard.


Title – This is what will be displayed in the Component window’s title bar.

Background Image – Disabled for Topological Diagram style Maps

Layout – Provides auto arrangement of the icons and their connections. Each has pros and cons, depending on the network architecture, number of devices, and types of connections found

Apply Layout – Applies the currently selected layout to the Topological Map

Auto checkbox – When checked will automatically apply the selected Layout option to the mao and continue to update the layout as new nodes, neighbours, or subnets are added. Checked by default.

Add Node

The Add Node button allows you to add an individual Node to the Map. You may assign a Display Name, separate from the Node’s internal name, or leave this field blank and no label will be displayed. A specific icon may also be assigned or will be auto-selected from the built-in icon options based on the type of equipment.

Link to Map

If set, the Link to Map option will open a new URL when the link is clicked. You can select either a Map on the current server or by selecting Custom use any URL (even to other software/sites). This is especially powerful – allowing you to drill down from a top-level abstract diagram to more in-depth levels of detail.

By default, the Link to Map / Custom option opens the target in the current browser window. However, you can force opCharts to open the link in a new tab/window by enclosing the link URL in double quotes and following it with target=_blank i.e http://someserver.com//en/omk/opCharts/dashboards/myawesomedashboard” target=_blank

link_to_map (1)

Once the node is added it may be moved around the Map by left-clicking and dragging it into position.

Add Group

The Add Group button allows you to add all nodes contained within a Group at one time. The Display Name field has no effect on the individual nodes being added.

Add Link

Note: Links may be added manually. However, the true power of a Topological Map is in dynamically drawing the connections between devices and subnets. See Building the Topological Map below.

The Add Link button adds a physical connecting line between 2 Nodes or 2 Groups. You can assign the Link a Link Name, which will be displayed within a bordered box at the centre point of the line between the 2 Nodes. These links are convenient ways to show relationships between components, without linking those relationships to specific interfaces or data patterns. A link can be deleted by right-clicking on the link line and selecting Delete from the pop-up menu.


Add Interface Link

The Add Interface Link button allows you to add an interactive Link representing an interface’s flow traffic between 2 Node or Group icons. Select your Link Source, the Node providing the Interface, the specific Interface that handles the link, and the Link Destination.

Interface Link - 700

The resulting link will be anchored to the 2 Nodes/Groups and display both the inbound and outbound link speeds as a percentage of the available interface speed. The link is also hinged in the middle, allowing some modicum of adjustment for readability.

link_sample (1)

Note: Link sources and Node/Interface is not required to be the same, the GUI fills out the node name as a suggestion as it’s the most likely scenario.  If required, the link source and/or link destination can be left blank and the endpoint will remain open for moving to a convenient location.

Add Placeholder

The Add Placeholder button allows you to add an icon to the Network Map that is not linked to a specific Node or Group (like “the Cloud”). Similar to both Nodes and Groups you can assign a Display Name, select a Display Icon, and Link the icon to another Dashboard.

Building the Topological Map

While you can manually add links and Interface Links to a Topological Map, the true power lies in using the logical information the network contains to create those connections.

Add Neighbours

Right-click on a node and select Add Neighbours.  Neighbours are direct connections found between devices but can also be virtual machines hosted by a VMware host.


Add Subnets

Right-click on a node and select Add Subnets.  Subnets are a logical connection between nodes and not a direct “physical” connection but help to organise and understand logical layouts.

Editing a Node

Nodes on the Topological Map can be edited. Simply return to edit mode (open the Map by selecting Edit from the Map view or by clicking the Edit button in the top-right corner of the Component window) then RIGHT-click on the Node you want to edit, select Edit from the pop-up menu.

opCharts 3.3.2 New Release

opCharts 3.3.2 New Release

opCharts is now more powerful than ever. The recent release now contains a new node editor that will support SNMPv3 credentials, WMI credentials, bulk updates of nodes as well as creating new nodes. Adding these features into opCharts will make your life much easier and we have made the whole process simple and intelligent, editing the nodes in opCharts will, of course, update opEvents and opConfig nodes collection.

There are numbers map improvements that will help with rendering speed as well as refocusing the map if required. There are new components that are available to be added to dashboards as well, the Metrics and Health component from NMIS is now available.

Download the latest version of opCharts and see how amazing it is for yourself.