No job is complete until the documentation is done. That is just as relevant in corporate world as it is in consulting (and often just as ignored by some **ahem**). The de facto standard for producing network documentation has been Microsoft’s Visio. This program is part of Microsoft’s Office suite and lots of vendors make network templates for Visio. Until recently there wasn’t a good alternative and then came Gliffy.
Gliffy is a cloud based alternative to Visio. The web based program is easy to use, comes with good templates, and best of all the free version is good enough to get you started. It’s user friendly and the API is extensible to other web apps. There are plugins for wordpress, jira, and confluence available now using the Gliffy API. Even though Gliffy considers their application beta software, it’s better than a lot of companies release products.
I’ve used Gliffy drawings at GeeForce.net, for clients, and to document my own networks. It’s not a total replacement for Visio but for a majority of the documentation that I do Gliffy fits the bill. Visio offers more templates and when one is planning and laying out a rack environment it’s almost impossible to beat Visio, especially when the vendors provide Visio templates for their equipment. Other than that niche, Gliffy is replacing Visio for producing network documentation, flowcharts, and basic room layouts (floor plans and data center space planning).
Bottom line, Gliffy is a great program that is easy to use and exports documents in either png format or as a Visio file. You can use it just as easily for a quick “back of napkin” drawing to throw into an email or for a full blown Enterprise wide planning document. The only thing missing is vendor templates and that is minor, more of a nice to have, not a must have feature. For five dollars a month you get the pro version and it’s worth every penny.