Jul 16, 2010

Create Active Directory Topology Diagrams Automagically

I just got a new boss at work the day before yesterday, and like a lot of small companies there is a serious lack of documentation. We have had a lot of turnover in the IT department, and things are constantly changing. I have only been at my job for just under a year, and I am already on my third boss. With each new manager or director comes a new way of running a network, so you can imagine the hodge-podge of systems on the network. Like many of the new bosses coming in, I had my own ideas on how things should be run, but ultimately it is up to the person sitting in the manager seat right? Therefore not much has changed... Until now.

One of the first things my boss has asked me to do is to create a map of our network topology so he can get an idea of how things are setup in the various domains we manage. That got me thinking of ways to automate the process, and lucky for me I found a nice little tool that does the trick. The tool is called the Microsoft Active Directory Topology Diagrammer, or ADDT for short.

What this tool does is, using either Visio 2003, 2007 or 2010, it scours Active Directory and spits out a fairly detailed topology of your domain, sites, trusts, Exchange, etc. All in a pretty, easy to understand Visio diagram.

Here is an Overview from Microsoft:

With the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool, you can read your Active Directory structure through Microsoft ActiveX® Data Objects (ADO). The Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool automates Microft Office Visio to draw a diagram of the Active Directory Domain topology, your Active Directory Site topology, your OU structure or your current Exchange 200X Server Organization. With the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool, you can also draw partial Information from your Active Directory, like only one Domain or one site. The objects are linked together, and arranged in a reasonable layout that you can later interactively work with the objects in Microsoft Office Visio.

Pretty cool right? Know of any other free tools that can easily, and automatically create detailed network maps of your environment? Let us know your favorite tools in the comments!

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