Visio believes its resellers can sell a copy of its diagramming software onto every corporate desktop. And what better way to gain a foothold than by selling the technology into its IT department.
Tools for documenting networks and software modelling have typically been expensive, niche products sold by niche value-added distributors, according to Visio. It claims that with the release last week of Visio Enterprise 5.0, it has brought that technology to the mass market and the broader channel. Enterprise 5.0 bundles together a suite of diagramming tools for documenting networks, software engineering and database modelling that sells for $1999. Each of these individ-ual components would previously have typically sold for upwards of $5000 according to Angus Robertson, Visio's director of sales for Australia and New Zealand.
To whet the appetite of it's channel, Visio officials told ARN that resellers and integrators who contacted the company could purchase a Not For Resale (NFR) copy for around half price.
Building on the success of its Visio Professional product, the network design and documentation product incorporates auto-detection technology it acquired when it purchased network management company Kaspia. The software uses SNMP-based probes which go out onto the network and "auto-discover" the configuration of a network. It then matches that information against a database of 14,000 shapes representing networking hardware, to automatically diagram the network down to port-level detail. The product also automatically charts Novell Directory Service (NDS) trees, and will do the same for Active Directory when that is released, Visio officials said. In the meantime, it has manual diagramming support for NT Domain structures.
However, Visio Enterprise is not just designed for the network administrator. A database modelling tool allows forward and reverse engineering for easy maintenance and updating of popular databases like DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Informix and Microsoft's SQL Server. For developers, Visio supports the full range of UML 1.2 diagram types and can reverse engineer Microsoft Visual C++ and Visual Basic code into UML models.
The product will be attractive to many resellers and integrators for internal use, but also represents a significant selling opportunity on to the end user, Robertson said. He argues that this product is another step in establishing Visio as a de facto standard in diagramming.
"We're trying to make sure customers can come to one vendor and get everything they need in this area," Robertson said. All Visio's products use the same diagramming engine, "facilitating communication within an enterprise", he said.
"We think Visio has the potential to be on every desktop. There aren't too many pieces of software other than Microsoft Office that you can do that with. But there's a big gap in diagramming," he said.
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