Tutorials Overview

So you’ve downloaded the Device42 appliance and fired up the application. That was easy. Now you see the dashboard above. Zero buildings, zero rooms, zero devices, and so on. You wonder what to do next. The purpose of the Getting Started section of the documentation is to help you understand how to navigate the device42 system.

Below, in this document, is a section explaining device42 terminology and the device42 object hierarchy. Then there is a section giving an overview of the various ways to get data into device42.

The last section in this document explains the two tutorials that are available and helps you decide whether to follow one or both of them.

The device42 Hierarchy and Terminology

First, let’s define some terminology. Buildings, room, devices, and so on are device42 terms that we will collectively refer to as objects.

At the top of the object hierarchy are buildings. In device42, buildings refer to physical buildings that house one or more computer rooms. Each room contains racks (a/k/a cabinets) plus unracked objects (more on these shortly). There is no higher-level object than a building in device42. For example, if you have a campus with multiple buildings, you have two options: The most straightforward option is just define each of the individual physical buildings as device42 buildings. If you want, you can name each building starting something like ‘East Campus / 151 Main St’. Alternatively, you can create a device42 building called, for example, ‘East Campus’, and treat it as if it were a single building, adding all the rooms in all the physical buildings on the East Campus to the device42 East Campus room. Perhaps you would name each room starting with the physical building name (e.g. ‘151 Main St / 2nd Floor’).

Everything that you place inside a room is either a device or an asset. The main difference between a device and an asset is that devices have IP addresses. Devices include physical devices (e.g. servers and switches), virtual devices (virtual machines), cluster devices (e.g. disk clusters), blade devices (that go inside a chassis), other devices (includes IP-addressable UPS’s, PDU’s, …), and unknown devices. Unknown devices are sometimes created by the device42 autodiscovery processes (see below) when devices are discovered that have an unknown type. Assets include CRAC’s, Breaker Panels, Cable Modems, Fax Machines, Monitors, Scanners, Shredders, Speaker Phones, Software, Filler Panels, Patch Panels, AC’s, Fabric Extenders, TAP’s, and DMARC’s. You can also define other asset types.

Other device42 objects include:

  • Permissions : Each of the 100+ device42 object types (e.g. rooms, physical devices, patch panels, and so on) has add, change, view, and delete permissions. These 400+ permissions can be assigned to both individuals and groups of individuals.
  • Customers : This object holds owner or user of a device or asset. You can use this object to define actual customers (e.g. if you are a service provider), corporate entities, corporate departments, or any other organizational entity.
  • Vendors : Providers of devices, assets, and services (e.g. Dell or HP).
  • Passwords : Device42 can track service passwords (e.g. database passwords) and offers individual and role-based authorization for each password that is independent of the individual and role-based permissions that can be applied to the various Device42 objects.
  • Hardware Models : There are numerous attributes that can be assigned to each device. However, if we had only individual attributes for each device, and a site had, for example, 80 Dell 1950 servers, then one would be required to repeat the attributes of the Dell 1950 server 80 times. For this reason, we have a hardware model object. You define the attributes of a particular hardware model once and then just add the hardware model to the device.
  • PDU Models : Similar concept to Hardware models (see above) but for PDU’s.
  • Operating Systems : Similar concept to Hardware models. Enter information about an OS once and add the OS to a device.
  • Parts : Most companies maintain an inventory of spare parts (e.g. disk drives, RAM, cpu’s, and so on). These are tracked in device42 as Parts.
  • Purchases/Contracts : Holds basic purchasing information for devices and assets. Also HW support warrant and other contract info.
  • Circuits : Track telco, internet, or WAN circuits.
  • Cost Centers : Cost centers can be assigned to purchases and purchase line items.
  • Service Profiles : Stores Cisco UCS service profiles
  • IP Addresses : Track IP addresses. Related objects tracked via device42 are Subnets, VLANs, VRF Groups, MAC Addresses, and IP/NAT records.
  • DNS Zones / Records
  • Switch Ports: Track connections to switches, TAP’s, patch panels, and devices
  • Application Components : Application components (e.g. web server, Oracle server, and so on) are assigned to devices and dependencies between application components are defined to enable impact charts.

Getting Data into device42

There are numerous ways to data into device42. As a best practice , we suggest that most users start with the various auto-discovery tools available in device42. These auto-discovery tools can be run in any order, most can be scheduled, and Device42 will take care of correlating the information found to eliminate duplicate data (where possible). For example, if one auto-discovery tool discovers a server, its serial number, its IP, and its mac address and another auto-discovery tool finds a mac address to switchport connection, all of these will be reconciled.

Another way to get data into device42 quickly is by use of the device42 API’s. Using the API’s, data can be easily transferred from disk files, spreadsheets, and other applications on a one-time or recurring basis. All API’s are RESTful which means that only a minimum level of programming is required. For companies that don’t have programming skills available or just want a simpler way of entering data in bulk, all of the API’s are available in spreadsheet form. In other words, you just load the data into spreadsheets which automatically load the data into device42.

And, of course, there are forms available for screen-based data entry.

The auto-discovery, APIs, spreadsheet imports, and screen-based data entry methods can be used in any combination.

The Tutorials

Three tutorials are available to help you understand the Device42 system.

The Loading Data Using the API Tutorial uses the API to load a fairly robust set of data into Device42 system. Don’t be concerned if you are not a programmer. The script used in this tutorial is a very simple bash script. Please send us a note if you would like a sample in powershell, python or other languages.

The Loading Data Using Spreadsheets Tutorial uses spreadsheets to load data. There is no scripting involved. If you are fairly certain that you will never script API calls, this is the tutorial you should use.

It is probably not necessary to do both tutorials but we do recommend that you do at least one of them. Many users will want to follow both tutorials. If you do this, we recommend that you do not try to load the data from the second tutorial into a system already populated with data from the first tutorial. Instead, start with a new copy of the device42 virtual appliance.

If you don’t have time to create your own data, you can request a sample spreadsheet of data by emailing support@device42.com. This sample spreadsheet will load a wide variety of data in device42. You can load the data by following the instructions in the Loading Data Using Spreadsheets Tutorial.

The Navigating The Device42 User Interface Tutorial explores the device42 core features using the data you just created.