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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 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.

Prepared by:
Stuart Kendrick

Last modified: 2016-January-05