The more complex your enterprise becomes, the more difficult it gets to create a logical, readable network and database diagrams, and the more important it is that those diagrams communicate ideas effectively. Your IT staff needs a powerful program that facilitates designing and documenting changes to your network, databases, software, and Web site - and Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition delivers the goods.
Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition, the latest product from Microsoft's Business Productivity group, offers a great combination of features at a competitive price, earning a score of Very Good.
Visio 2000 is geared toward IT professionals who need to map out and manage LANs and wireless area networks (WANs), database designs, software development projects, and Web sites. Visio 2000 provides a customisable library of symbols and connectors, a straightforward drag-and-drop drawing interface, and the capability of outputting drawings as Web pages, PowerPoint slide shows, and scores of other formats.
Two important new features in Enterprise Edition - AutoDiscovery and AutoLayout - make quick work of diagramming networks by automatically locating, identifying, and mapping common network devices. Enterprise Edition can also diagram directory services, including Microsoft Active Directory, NDS and LDAP.
If you've already invested in Visio, your staff will benefit from the Enterprise Edition's extended capabilities without experiencing training downtime and expenses. Companies that have not yet committed to a graphics-based drawing and diagram solution but want to maximise productivity should consider this latest version for their network managers, database designers, software developers and Web masters.
The program is very easy to use and will help maximise IT resources by letting co-workers collaborate on projects. For example, different members of a design team can work on individual views of a large project, and the various views can be merged into a single project later.
Microsoft's Visio is the leading drawing and diagramming program for business, in part because no other competitor offers the variety of features found in the $US999 Enterprise Edition, features such as AutoDiscovery and AutoLayout, Web publishing, database model diagramming and organisation, and flow charts.
Several competing products - including the $9995 NetCracker Professional, the $2995 NetFormx SE, the $789 netViz Professional, and the $495 ClickNet Professional - provide similar networking tools but lack database developer tools.
Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition is a powerful solution, but its installation requires little effort. It comes with a gallery of templates specifically designed for diagramming software development projects; designing networks and databases; planning and managing business processes and workflow; and creating project time lines, organisation charts and other standard business diagrams.
In addition, a library of more than 18,000 drawing objects representing manufacturer-specific network devices and networking symbols can be used to build network diagrams with drag-and-drop ease.
Furthermore, Visio's network, database, and software modelling solutions go beyond diagramming, offering a high-level view of the directory structure that provides a new level of visualisation, design, and management. And Visio's layouts have tools that helped me represent the conceptual, logical, and physical views of my designs.
The AutoDiscovery and AutoLayout features automate the process of creating network diagrams. Together they search a network, poll devices, then create a database with that information. I used the AutoDiscovery Wizard to specify the networks and devices to include or exclude and to indicate whether Auto-Discovery would use SNMP or PING to find devices. I was also able to limit the search to specific devices or discover every device on as many networks as I wanted. But before you start, take into consideration that searching an enterprise-scale network could take as long as several hours. Visio can search a small network in just a few minutes.
I also found it incredibly easy to create a basic database model from scratch.
I simply dragged tables onto the diagram, inserted columns into tables, and defined and configured properties for each database component.
In addition, the directory services importing function has been enhanced. Visio can import directory data from NDS, Microsoft Active Directory, and LDAP-based servers, making it easy to generate a diagram of users, groups and any other directory objects.
Web designers will appreciate the built-in support for Web publishing through Vector Markup Language (VML), an emerging standard for exchanging, editing, and delivering drawings on the Internet, and support for multiple embedded hyperlinks for SmartShapes symbols, which allows users to link a symbol in a Visio document to a related Visio document, Microsoft Office document, or Web page. Support for VML allows Web masters to pan, zoom, and navigate through multipage drawings using only the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser.
Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition is a dynamic, powerful, and easy-to-use diagramming and drawing software package that will meet the needs of your IT professionals, developers, and Web masters. Companies will save money by purchasing one package that all employees can use, whether expert or novice.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition
Busin-ess Case: This computer-aided design tool makes quick work of diagramming networks, databases, software programs, and Web sites, helping IT professionals plan and execute projects more quickly and successfullyTechn-ology Case: With added automation capabilities, 18,000 manufacturer-specific network shapes, and enhanced importing of directory services information Visio 2000 Enterprise is well-suited for quickly creating diagrams of networks and other IT projects Pros:- -l Network search and polling capabilities l Drawing objects for more than 18,000 network devices and symbols l Imports data from Microsoft Active Directory, NDS, and LDAP directory services l Web-publishing supportCons-: l Available only for WindowsPlatf-orms: Windows 95 or later, Windows NT Workstation, Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later.
Price: -$1658, upgrade $1165. Available now.
Microsoft: (02) 13 20 58 www.microsoft.com/australia/AMD's Duron beats Intel's Celeron on speedLast week AMD officially presented its new low-price processer titled Duron, the 600MHz to 700MHz versions of which were available for a thorough review.
The 750MHz version will be launched later this year. Conclusion of the review: this CPU scores success in all areas.
AMD's new processor clearly wins over the Intel Celeron, its main competitor, in terms of performance, and at the same clock speed even takes on the Intel Pentium III, which is much more expensive. The Duron is positioned as a processor for low-price PCs, after all, and compared favourably to CPUs that compete in the same price segment, such as the K6-2 550 and the new Celeron models with 566MHz and 600MHz. Moreover, it was also compared to Pentium III and Athlon processors at low clock speeds in order to be able to assess the Duron's performance.
When we tested the Duron at 600MHz and a memory clock of 100MHz under Windows 98 and compared it to its direct competitor, Intel's Celeron, at 600 MHz, the Duron offered a performance that is up to 25 per cent better than its Intel counterpart comes up with at the same clock speed and under standard applications. When compared to the Pentium III, the Duron even beats a 700MHz Pentium III in comparable configurations at 700MHz. Equipped with 133MHz memory, the Duron 700 even catches up with the Pentium III 800. Do not forget that the 700MHz Duron is only half as expensive for PC makers than a 800-MHz Pentium III.
As a processor designed for low-price PCs, the Duron actually does not necessarily have to prove the same performance under Windows NT or Windows 2000 as under Windows 98. The tests conducted, however, demonstrated that the Duron doesn't have to fear comparison under Windows NT. While it is true that the 700MHz version comes in second after the Pentium III, which also runs on PC100 SDRAM, the Duron's overall performance under Windows NT is highly convincing.
When compared to the Celeron at the same clock rate, it is again faster by 21 per cent.
In the games segment, which is key for the consumer market, the Celeron 600 is way behind the Duron 600, which scores an average performance that is more than 30 per cent better than Celeron's. When tested under applications that use computing power to the maximum, the Duron even outmatches Pentium III in a comparable configuration and at a comparable clock rate.
The test results speak for themselves: with Duron, AMD offers the fastest CPU in the low-price segment. The division of AMD's product range into "segments" has worked out nicely. AMD offers its CPU at the right price, the right performance and the right price difference, compared to its arch-rival Intel.