General Software

NetZoom 6 (First Look Review)

30 Sep, 2007 By: Ron LaFon

Network diagramming software helps create professional IT and audio/video (A/V) network designs and diagrams.

Highly RecommendedEarlier this year, Altima Technologies released NetZoom 6, the latest version of its software for creating professional IT and audio/video (A/V) network designs and diagrams. NetZoom provides intelligent equipment shapes for diagramming applications such as Microsoft Visio, AutoCAD, and netViz and also supports Microsoft Office applications.

NetZoom 6
Network Diagramming Software
Pros: Multiple views; variety of host applications; Internet services.
Cons: None significant.
Price: $700-$800

Altima Technologies

Central to NetZoom are intelligent, high-quality, manufacturer-specific shapes that people can use in the supported host applications. NetZoom offers multiple views (front, rear, blank, and 3D) that are of particular use for network professionals and provides tools that A/V and IT design professionals can use to create logical and physical network designs.

Network documentation is essential for managing network infrastructure and ensuring that the network can handle the demands of an enterprise. Such documentation can help to optimize network performance, aid in troubleshooting and security implementation, and assist effective project planning.

NetZoom 6 allows you to create IT and A/V network designs and diagrams and runs in numerous diagramming applications, such as Microsoft Visio.

Installation of NetZoom 6 is straightforward and gives users the opportunity to choose the symbol libraries they require, as well as the preferred host application and the location where files will be installed. NetZoom 6 presents a clean interface on startup and a great depth of tools pertinent to the tasks

The basic NetZoom 6 panel assists in setting up the parameters for a diagram.
at hand. The intelligent shapes are coupled with the ability to search for shapes by manufacturer, equipment type, model information, and project. You can design racks and data-center floors and manage custom equipment shape properties. You can update the NetZoom equipment library within the NetZoom application, and you can use the software to compare equipment from different manufacturers.

Of particular note is the application's ability to access NetZoom shapes and stencils on any Internet-enabled PC with Microsoft Office using the new Web Services capability. If you need to access or update a project while on the road, this feature allows you convenient Internet access to the equipment library when you cannot access the PC that houses the installed copy of NetZoom.

The system requirements for NetZoom 6 are a PC with an Intel Pentium 500 MHz or faster processor, 512 MB or more of RAM, at least 100 MB of available hard disk space (depending upon your library selections), and a DVD drive for installing the software. Selecting the optional installation files cache during installation is recommended, but it does require additional hard drive space.

NetZoom 6 runs under Windows Vista, XP with Service Pack 2 or higher, and Windows 2000. You will need to have Microsoft .NET Framework v2 or higher installed on your system. A display system that supports 800 x 600 or higher resolution is required, as is a dial-up or broadband Internet connection for NetZoom Smart Update and NetZoom Web Services. Also necessary is Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.

Finally, NetZoom requires at least one of the following host applications to be installed on your computer: Microsoft Office Visio 2003 or higher, Microsoft Office 2003 or higher, AutoCAD 2006, or netViz. These diagramming applications act as the parent application in which NetZoom is used. I did my NetZoom 6 evaluation using Microsoft Visio 2003.

Altima Technologies' NetZoom 6 is a very capable application that combines a lot of feature depth with an easy-to-use interface. Its use of intelligent object libraries based on real-world equipment is a real bonus for IT and A/V professionals. Highly Recommended

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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