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Logical Map

Routing Map


Isilon Cluster

Mail Routing

Host Ethernet-IP

Power Distribution

Power Train in DC


IT Org Relationship

IT Support Relationship



If I can't draw it, I have difficulty trouble-shooting it, particularly when working with stuff which is effectively invisible. Because most of IT doesn't reflect light ... code executing on a CPU ... packets whizzing along wires ... I rely heavily on pictures for comprehending and managing an IT infrastructure. The diagrams on this page illustrate how I visualize the enterprise network which I help support. In general, I use ACD's Canvas to produce these maps -- Canvas has the data density features I want for this task. When I have a low-density relationship to portray, I tend to employ Microsoft's Visio.

Multilayer Maps

In these diagrams, I focus on transport, starting from a high-level, deepening, and gradually drilling into detail. These three diagrams portray aspects of the deep infrastructure behind an enterprise network (~10000 nodes). They employ the following conventions:

Connectivity:  Packets can flow across lines and through boxes.
               Thus, one can use this map as one would a road map,
               figuring out how to perambulate from point A to point B.

Bandwidth:     Indigo means gigabit ethernet, purple means fast ethernet,
               baby blue means vanilla ethernet.  Packet forwarding
               gear -- switches, routers, firewalls, etc. -- are colored
               according to the best case forwarding rate of their backplanes.

Server OS:     Popular end-stations (typically called "servers") are included,
               and they are colored by operating system brand/version rather
               than by packet forwarding rate.

I document routing using both concrete and abstract diagrams, combined with a textual version of how the design works.

I inherited this network and developed my own way of portraying it (as well as made a few upgrades along the way!)

I've learned from colleagues: here the invention of my boss and mentor Jim Chorey: Fiber Riser and Backbone diagrams illustrate how to document fiber optic cabling plants.

Also conceptual diagrams, illustrating how a product works rather than any specific instance: Isilon Cluster.

Application-Specific Maps

The Account Management diagram illustrates how account information flows from the HR systems into various IT systems.

The EMC Isilon OneFS: An Ops Manager's Introduction diagram provides a one-page overview of the Isilon system, from an infrastructure manager's point of view.

The Mail Routing map illustrates how mail traverses our environment.

The Host Ethernet/IP map illustrates how a complex host connects to the Ethernet/IP network.

The Power Distribution map illustrates, from an IT perspective, how power flows through our physical infrastructure.

The Example Power Train in Data Center map illustrates why a UPS often reports twice as much run-time as it can actually deliver, during a utility outage.

The Voice map documents call-routing and illustrates how services map to servers and locations.

These IT Org Relationship and IT Support Relationship diagrams illustrate how a decentralized company delivers deep infrastructure support to its various revenue-generating arms.

Last modified: 2017-06-03