SharePoint Topology Data Collection Walkthrough

Here’s a walkthrough of how to install, configure and use the great SharePoint Topology Data Collection and Visio SharePoint Network Topology Add-in provided by one very clever AravindKS.

The tool is designed to automatically collect topology data about from your SharePoint farm and to automate the creation of Visio diagrams that illustrate this topology via data connected diagrams – very cool!

Timer Job Installation

Step 1.

Download the SharePoint Topology Data Collection and Visio SharePoint Network Topology Add-in

Step 2.

Install the SharePoint Topology Data Collection Tool. Note: This tool required the .Net Framework v4 to be present on the farm:

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Once this tool has installed, check Central Admin for the following items. Under Monitoring > Timer Jobs you should see a new option appear on the monitoring home page called ‘SharePoint Topology Data Job Settings’:

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Additionally, under Monitoring > Review job definitions, you should see a new timer job entitled ‘SharePoint Topology Data Collection Timer Job’:

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Step 3.

Before we run the SharePoint Topology Data Collection Timer Job, we need to configure the timer job settings, so back to Monitoring > Timer Jobs > SharePoint Topology Data Job Settings. From here, enter a valid

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From here, pick a Web Application, Site Collection, Site, and List name to store the collected topology data. You don’t have to use central admin like I have done but you might want to so that access to the topology data is restricted. Additionally, note that the list name entered does not have to already exist, the timer job will create the list the next time it runs.

Step 4.

From Monitoring > Review job definitions, run the SharePoint Topology Data Collection Time Job. Once this job has run, you should notice a new list appeared in the location you specified in Step 3 and it will be populated with a number of different rows that the timer jobs has created:

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In my single server development farm the timer job created 45 rows.

If you see this list and it contains data, then the installation and configuration of the timer job is complete and you can move onto the Visio add-in installation

Visio Installation and Data Connection

Step 1.

Now that the timer job is installed and working, we can configure the Visio add-in. Install the Visio SharePoint Network Topology Add-in and note the installation directory. Once the installation is complete, navigate to the installation directory and locate the SPNetworkTopology.vsto file:

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Open this file and the Microsoft Office Customization Installer will prompt you to accept the package. Continue by accepting the package.

Step 2.

Once the package is installed, start up Visio and check the add-in is installed, File > Options > Add-ins:

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Step 3.

Create a new Visio diagram from the SharePoint Network Topology template the add-in has enabled. If this template is not immediately available to you, you should find it under the Add-Ins folder under the File > New options:

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Step 4.

When you open a diagram that has been created from the SharePoint Network Topology template, a new ribbon will appear called SharePoint Topology:

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We will use this ribbon to create our diagram based on the data collected via the timer job. From the SharePoint Topology ribbon, select the Link Data to SharePoint action, to access the SharePoint Network Topology Data Selector:

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Click Next, and then enter the SharePoint site url and link name we configured in the timer job settings:

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Click Next.

On the Column Selection screen, choose the properties (columns) you would like available in your diagram (I’ve chosen ‘Select All’):

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Click Next

Finally, confirm your selections and click Finish:

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Diagram Creation

Now that we have completed the Link Data to SharePoint action, our Visio diagram should have a data connection to the SharePoint list that contains our topology data. Now it is time to use this data.

Step 1.

Navigate to the first page that is created for us, ‘SharePoint Network Topology’:

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Step 2.

From the ribbon, select Generate Diagram:

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Now the magic begins! The add-in will use the topology data collected to automatically generate a diagram of your SharePoint Topology that is data bound to the topology data collected from the timer job. This means that once the diagram has been created you can refresh it at any time to review changes in your topology and its performance – very nice!

Step 3.

Navigate to the Service Details page and repeat Step 2.

Step 4.

The diagrams that were created in steps 2 & 3 for my single server farm are shown below. Obviously in a larger farm these diagrams will contain more servers and more details:

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I’ll publish some more complex diagrams once I’ve run the tool in my test lab.

Step 5.

Now the diagrams are available you can review the diagrams and decorate them with further data visualisations. See Display a data-connected Visio drawing in a SharePoint web part for more details on how to do this and how you can publish this dynamic diagram to SharePoint.

Enjoy!

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3 Responses to SharePoint Topology Data Collection Walkthrough

  1. BobC says:

    Have you run this on a production farm? I have not been able to successfully install this on our Foundation farm. Manually installing the wsp got it enabled on the wfe’s but lists never created.

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