Google maps is breaking exciting new ground in Cisco network management

Who hasn’t looked for their home on Google maps? It is amazing how fast we can zoom in on the homes of our friends and relatives from around the world, but what practical applications are there for using Google maps other than snooping? Well to find out, just navigate to Google maps, click on "My Maps" and check out the Real Estate Search or the Gas Prices from The applications springing up that integrate with Google maps are impressive and largely free. Why free? Because if a vendor plans on integrating with Google maps and charging for it, Google charges the vendor, so many companies are integrating and not charging. Take for example, Scrutinizer NetFlow Analyzer from Plixer International. Scrutinizer's Google map integration allows Cisco network administrators to place Cisco routers and switches on a Google map and the icons change color based on whether or not NetFlow or sFlow is being received.

Scrutinizer's Google map
Servers and other devices can also be placed on the map and clicking on them can launch any URL. IP addresses can be passed in the URL to bring up favorite applications for a specific device (e.g. webcam or WhatsUp Gold from Ipswitch). Groups of Cisco network gear can be represented on the map and if something within the submap goes down, the group icon in the Google map turns red. Clicking on a group icon allows the user to drill in and display subsets of Cisco equipment.
If something within the submap goes down, the group icon in the Google map turns red
Below a third party mapping tool written in flash displays WAN and LAN links which change color based on utilization.
Third Party Mapping
Because Scrutinizer is a NetFlow analyzer, when you click on the links above, the top conversations for the most recent 5-6 minutes are trended in 1 minute intervals as seen below.
Top Conversations
Look amazing? Well, all the above is free for unlimited Cisco routers and switches. Plixer International didn’t think their customers would pay for the Google map integration so they opted to simply give it away in their free version of Scrutinizer which drops nearly all data at midnight.

Marc Bilodeau
"We are not a venture capital funded company and we needed away to get the word out in order to compete." "Thousands of companies are using the free version." "It helps spread the word and many companies still purchase the commercial version," said Marc Bilodeau – CTO of Plixer International.

Zenoss is another network management company that has integrated with Google maps.


Erik Dahl
"The addition of Google maps mash up with Zenoss Core demonstrates our continued commitment to deliver advanced features to our Open Source community," said Erik Dahl - CTO and founder of the Zenoss Project. Perhaps cross integration between vendor applications has a future in network management where companies can more freely purchase best of breed solutions in lieu of all in one solutions?

What network management applications have you seen that integrate with Google maps?

Contact Brad Reese

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10