How get a good overview and how to manage with graphical view
Posted on 2008-10-04
I've inherited a small LAN to administer, which has multiple 2900 series catalyst switches (3 total) and a 3524xl as the main. The configuration is highly suspect in causing various internal outages and slow communications. I am trying to get a good mental picture of how this LAN is configured, but can't make out full details.
Is there a halfway decent graphical tool that can give me an idea of how things work at the switching level? There is VLAN1, where mgmt interfaces exist, along with the primary client/server network running at 192.168.1.0/24. There is also, apparently, a DMZ sort of VLAN that hosts a few servers that are exposed to the internet, with limited connectivy back into VLAN1. I'm not even sure which ports connect up yet, to the various devices, still doing discovery. There's also a Juniper firewall/gateway in the mix, bringing in two T-1 circuits.
Some of the servers within VLAN one have multiple NICs plugged in, and some servers with single NICs have multiple IP addresses. DNS is a mess, as is WINS, with no really accuracy of which hosts are which. I'm beginning the cleanup of the WINS/DHCP/DNS to try to get that back on track.
I've also found many auto negotiated ports for speed/duplex that I've corrected that were getting tons of collisions and other error packets.
When I do a sho cluster, only two of the switches show, the 3523 and one 29xx. The other two don't indicate cluster membership.
The switches are interconnected via fiber Gig, daisy chained from one to the next.
I'd like to make sure that there aren't any looping conditions going on that may stop or break or significantly delay communications. Frequently, users are disconnected from their server drive mappings, and sometimes, outgoing emails take hours to reach their destinations, including emails destined for internal deliveries (like NDRs)
When doing SHO int on each switch, most ports indicate multiple interface resets throughout a day, and frequently, PCs/Servers indicate a physical disconnection then reconnect, with anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes before reconnection.
I'm hoping to find a graphical mapping tool that either simply will display the logical/physical layout, and maybe something that will show problematic situations like a port going offline or a loop taking place. It'd be really nice to be able to manage the group of switches as a single, whole unit, to where I didn't have to think about each switch as a separate object. I'm not that familiar with IOS, have picked up a few commands over the years, but no real understanding of portfast, spanning tree, etc. I do understand IP routing and do have a solid understanding of TCP/IP and services/tcp/udp ports, etc, and significant experience in packet analysis. I have collected many captures that show definite issues where communications enters one NIC on a server but then leaves out of a 2nd nic to go back to the client.
Also, any recommendations of online reference material that'd be good to start with in trying to understand this fabric.