Visio Enterprise 5.0, from Visio, provides IT professionals with a comprehensive suite of development tools for designing and managing enterprise-level information systems across network, database, and software development disciplines.
I found that the features offered in Visio Enterprise - such as the Network AutoDiscovery tool and several time-saving development wizards - coupled with its tight Windows integration truly set this team-based development tool apart from competitors at this price point.
Visio Enterprise lets users easily map existing topology via its Network AutoDiscovery tool, which uses SNMP and a ping-based technology to discover devices without interrupting the IP network.
With Network AutoDiscovery, I quickly mapped my current network into a device and connectivity database that could further be supplemented with product-specific details.
In addition, the Visio Network Equipment library contains an impressive collection of 14,000 vendor-specific network, database, software, and general business shapes that can be built from scratch or associated with your autodiscovered database, thereby producing an easily generated and manageable networking diagram.
For Novell Directory Services (NDS) managers, Visio Enterprise supports NDS logical tree structure development and can import, edit, and export NDS databases. This version of the tool provides support for Microsoft Active Directory and Windows NT Domain structures.
Visio Enterprise offers a new Dynamic Connector to facilitate link building between network components, but I was disappointed that it was incapable of authenticating the appropriateness of that connectivity. And, although Visio offers several helpful utilities, many lack an intuitive cross-integration. The Network Database viewer, for example, provides a direct look into your network database, but its functionality is limited by its incapability to effect changes from within the Network Database viewer. Though not a major detriment, this feature would have been a time-saver.
Visio Enterprise provides a complete database management system, supporting both forward and reverse database engineering, as well as migration between management systems (including IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and Informix). Database development can be modelled logically, through relational disciplines and IDEF1X support, or you can employ object-role modelling.
Although this application comes with many routines to automate chores such as office layout diagrams and database-driven organisation charts, I found that Visio Enterprise 5.0 truly shines in its network management capabilities. This is truly a star product within its category and one well worth the time to explore.
The Bottom Line
Visio Enterprise 5.0
This design utility's capability in facilitating network management, database design, and software engineering makes it an affordable IT team development solution.
Pros: Large library of vendor-specific network devices; AutoDiscovery utility detects current topology; imports a number of popular frameworks.
Cons: No connectivity verification between devices; utilities could be better integrated with one another.
Platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT.
Price: Full box version: $1799 RRP.
Tel (02) 9929 2399