map hierarchy

  • 4 August 2021
  • 6 replies


Could anybody share some success story how to arrange a NetBrain map hierarchy for big sites?

When there is a huge site with hundreds/thousands of devices, it would be worth to start with a top level map showing how particular buildings are connected each to the others.

And then to go deeper to particular buildings, floors, racks …

I’d like to create site maps containing devices plus icons representing links to other maps. 

But with site maps restrictions like “any device can be visible in a single leaf map only” and “no device can be visible in a container site, just leaf sites” I don’t see any easy way how to create a site map hierarchy.








Best answer by Carsten.Schmidt 5 August 2021, 08:01

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Userlevel 4
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First of all, decide what the defining factor for your map and/or hierarchy should be.

For data centers, go for landscape, line of business, functionality or similar.

For office buildings, I went for a separation of region, country, city and building. Some buildings have more than 1k devices. In these cases, I left the main devices in the original map and moved all small compact switches, usually one per office, into floor maps. The L2 and L3 connectivity of these devices is not so important so they need not be all on the same map.

Go for a maximum of 50 devices per map and even that might be too many for an L3 or L2 overview that is still understandable.

Make use of the tags in Map Layout Manager, define your own layout styles and layers.

For site maps, the deciding factor was: where to the devices belong to. If you want to show how buildings are connected, you have to create your own, specialized maps and save them to the Files section where you can create your own hierarchy.


Hi Carsten,

let’s say I’d like to create a floor map showing just icons for each rack plus interconnecting links details.

And after clicking on the rack icon I’d like another rack map to get opened.

How would I arrange that even with own, specialized maps in the Files?

Regarding the layout tags:

My understanding is they are assigned only once in the Map Layout Manager?

If I want them to be assigned automatically to newly discovered devices, do I need to create a Qapp doing that possibly?








Userlevel 4
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I would do it this way:

In Sites, create a hierarchy according to your preferences, e.g.:

City (container)

 - datacentre building (container)

  - datacentre floor (container)

   - datacentre room (container)

   - datacentre row (container)

    - datacentre rack (leaf)


Datacentre01 (container)

- rack01 (leaf)

- rack02 (leaf)

- rack03 (leaf)


In Files, create a map. Then go to Sites and do "Draw Site on Map" for whatever sites you want to have on your map. Unfortunately, the icon used for all sites is a cloud. The icons have a small plus sign to select neighbours, click on that. Select "Sites" in the drop down menu and you can connect other sites no matter where in the hierarchy they are or whether they are container or leaf sites.

Regarding layout tags

I use tags according to functionality (router, switch, WAN, WLAN, NAC, FW etc.) and assign them to different layers in the map. I assigned the tags manually after discovery by using filter criteria in Map Layout Manager. I do not know whether a qapp can do tag assignments at all and even if, the qapp would have to be pretty well done to be able to distinguish devices and assign the correct tag(s).


Hi Carsten,

I followed your ideas with  "Draw Site on Map" and it worked.

I was even able to get a border device link to the map (while the border shown on other link than I’d expect).

But still I’m not happy with a must to use leaf sites for racks.

As the site definition is unique within the domain and other colleagues might not be happy with having the data center divided into hundreds of rack leaf sites.

So I’d like a possibility to create the rack maps under Files and put their icons into other maps under Files.

But I did not find any possibility to put into a map an icon representing other File map.

Is there such a feature available in NB?







Userlevel 4
Badge +1

Hi Milan,

defining racks as leaf sites was just an idea. You could also define rows as leaf sites or even whole data centres as leaf sites, using the stencils to draw separations. This will give you more devices per site and also the separations (e.g. rectangles) makes the overview easier.

You are right, there seems to be no possibility to link file maps, this only seems to work for site maps. Then you have to create all your maps in the site structure.


Hey guys, I’ve got an idea/feature request that I’ve been submitting to help with situations just like this.
I have been working with netbrain for the last year and I’ve come up with a lot of what I believe are useful ideas for it and I’m slowly putting them on this site.

If you don’t mind to go look at them and upvote if you like them. Or please- if I’ve explained them poorly, let me know so I can adjust them.


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