If the monster in your closet is a jumble of network cable and blinking equipment, perhaps it's time to bring the beast down to size in a Visio diagram. Among the earliest adopters of the Visio application were IT professionals and network administrators who discovered how easy it could be to create a picture of their network. Shapes that represent network devices snap together to show you what you have or to demonstrate the system you would like. With Visio, you can create network diagrams that provide necessary documentation for training, proposals, troubleshooting, planning, and so on. Network diagrams easily integrate with documents that you create in other programs, such as budget and asset worksheets you create in Microsoft Excel or presentations you deliver in Microsoft PowerPoint.
Visio Standard includes basic network equipment shapes. Visio Professional expands the equipment collection and provides additional shapes for diagramming local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) as well as additional templates for detailing a directory services schema. Shapes from either version of Visio can be data-driven—that is, linked to your spreadsheet or database of asset information—so that your diagram provides an accurate and up-to-date picture of your network. This chapter describes how to use Visio to create logical and physical network diagrams and directory services diagrams.