NetBrain has programmed the control plane logic of hundreds of network hardware models. Through this logic, any A→B path can be calculated end-to-end, across any complex technology including:
Mapping a traffic path is as simple as entering two endpoints (via IP or hostname). A hybrid L2/L3 map of the traffic flow is automatically calculated and drawn, in real time.
Path logic assess many traffic-forwarding characteristics across routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and more.
In addition, NetBrain’s enhanced path framework will automatically calculate based on the topology dependency of the outbound interface at each hop and calculate path types such as L2, L3, IPsec VPN, VPLS, OTV or VXLAN.
This feature can be utilized to isolate the critical network components to investigate network or application problems, as part of design review projects, or to proactively assure application availability.
The Search bar in NetBrain acts like a Google search for any data within your network. Search helps you leverage the power of big data to ensure you can quickly find and visualize any relevant network information. Simply entering a free text string into the bar will run a search across your domain for matching any data element.
Type hardware model number “Nexus 9000” to search for a list of existing Cisco Nexus 9k switches
Type IOS 15.5. to see all devices that currently run this firmware
Search “Area 0” to discover all area border routers.
Searching for an identified SDN Application will return all overlay and underlay dependencies.
You can also combine multiple search criteria to execute a complex search, like mapping logical groups of devices, or identifying underlay/overlay devices for software-defined solutions.
Once the search bar identifies a device, you can create a map of the device and its immediate neighbors.
To expand the field of view on the resulting map, simply use the red (+) sign on each device to add its neighbors to the map.
Sometimes you need documentation for an existing site or branch office. NetBrain can create these maps automatically. Once NetBrain has discovered and created a digital twin of your network, it can also automatically identify different geographic sites within your environment.
The logical relationships between sites can be visualized from a single overview map (e.g. North America → United States → Boston → Boston DC 1). You can then drill into any site by double-clicking the site name to see the L2 or L3 relationships of devices within that site.
Site maps are one example of a type of “context” map. You can access these predefined maps and immediately execute actions on top of them.
Selecting a device from the Context menu provides a list of maps that the device is associated with (e.g. a geographic site, an application path, or a list of vulnerable devices that require an OS upgrade). NetBrain provides several built-in context maps for devices, such as:
Every context map can have a context action associated with it, and this can be programmed through the Context Action Manager.
For example, if you have a context map of your backbone routers, you could have a pre-defined context action to highlight routing protocols on the device.
It was reported that 75% of network engineers use CLI (command-line-interface) as the only troubleshooting tool. NetBrain provides a Windows-based, Telnet/SSH tool that contains the flexibility and debug-level diagnostics of a CLI. It is capable of:
An effective map is essential when a network problem or change occurs. NetBrain can autonomously create a Dynamic Map of the problem area at the time of the incident via API integration with existing tools.
This is referred to as “triggered automation” – where any incident, ticket, or alarm can trigger an API call into NetBrain. Its input parameters are used to trigger map creation.
An Executable Runbook (See Section 3) can also be executed at the same time to automate the initial diagnosis of the issue.
Triggered Dynamic Maps enrich each ticket with a contextual map and collected diagnostics, which can significantly reduce the time spent troubleshooting and improve organizational MTTR.
Typical events which may trigger a map creation include:
One element that makes NetBrain maps dynamic is the amount of detail present on each device. Each icon on a map is actually a smart object, with potentially thousands of attributes associated with it. As a user zooms in on the map, more configuration data will be presented to the user beneath the device and on the links.
If a user hovers over the network element, a configlet will appear with the corresponding section of the device’s configuration file. This explains where the link information comes from.
Dynamic Data Views are customizable data containers, which can serve as an engineer’s primary tool for scaling diagnostics across an entire map, network, or site.
Dynamic Data View Templates offer users the ability to visualize network data on a Dynamic Map, compare data with established network benchmarks, and prompt alerts or drill-down actions.
For example, with access to a Data View Template, a user could highlight all routing protocols, and create alerts wherever BGP is not configured. A user could also overlay QoS policies per device, and drill down to each interface to see what traffic is being matched, and where.
Dynamic Data Views represent codified operational expertise that can be written once and executed anywhere, providing the collaborative framework to ensure that documented operational handoff occurs with any new technology or design implementation.
Use Static Data View to Document Network Design
Static Data Views are containers of device information that can be used to document and share data across different maps. This is particularly useful for decoding network design, such as identifying active routing protocols.
When a map is loaded, all static data views related to the devices are displayed within the Data View toolbar.
Each Dynamic Data View can also utilize NetBrain’s Golden Baseline as part of its execution. This can quickly reveal anomalies in network conditions related to the variables within the Data View.
When discrepancies are found, users will not only be given the live variable information but also historical data for the variable counter. This can be used to identify when an issue began.
Network Baseline assures that you will always know of any network deviation from healthy or nominal conditions. Over time, it is recommended to add more and more data variables to the golden baseline (e.g. after lessons learned in troubleshooting)
Data View Templates can be configured to interact with your third-party IT tools, via API. This enables you to pull any relevant data onto a Dynamic Map, minimizing the need to log into multiple tools to find the right information.
With NetBrain, you can truly map and visualize any and all data. In this sense, NetBrain turns its Dynamic Map into a Single Pane of Glass, acting as the primary user interface for accessing any network data.
When new elements are extended to the Dynamic Map, keeping the result in order is important.
NetBrain provides auto-layout topologies that will organize the devices into a clearly structured flow, such as hierarchical, orthogonal, or a custom style that the user creates themselves.
Users can save their existing Dynamic Map, and export it into Visio format with the click of a button. The amount of detail on the map at the time of the export will be reflected in the file.
Exports to Microsoft Word can also contain all associated design and inventory data with the map including diagnostic data, full configuration files, routing tables, etc.