Limited Custom Fields in DCIM Software ?

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again now, and we’ll say it again later: successful DCIM software must be flexible. We’ll look at some use scenarios in this blog (and video) to explain why it’s crucial to have flexibility when building custom fields, as well as how they work in netTerrain DCIM.

Any node and link type in netTerrain can have an unlimited number of custom fields. In the catalog, users can assign objects or links to custom fields, which come in a number of flavors. After they’ve been assigned, a user can quickly access the custom fields by clicking on the objects in the diagram and filling out the data. In the example below, in addition to the fields for name type and ID, there is an object (the building) with five custom fields (included for any type of object).

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Any netTerrain user with catalog access can create a new custom field, which will then be replicated across all instances of that type. If you assign a new custom field to a building object type, for example, that custom field will be available to all other building types. netTerrain is essentially a class-based modeling tool: the class in this case would be the building, with its attributes (aka custom fields), behaviors, icons, and other features.

Head over to the catalog and create a new custom field called “Contractor Name” for buildings.

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You can set a default value and a font size that corresponds to the size of the diagram shown field (if select that field to be displayed). You can make the field necessary and mark it as “displayed” if you want, including the font and fill color.

Aside from making a field necessary or providing a default value, you can control a variety of other custom field properties. You can specify whether a field appears in the hierarchy tree and convert it to a dropdown or a combo box with visual overrides. For example, the status field is a visual override that accepts two values: “OK” and “Pending.” The building is blue if the value is “OK.” Aside from that, it’s all black.

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These overrides can propagate upwards: for example, you can make an object blink, then the parent, then the parent / grandparent, and so on, all the way to the top level.

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When it comes to list fields, you can lock them so that only the values set by the power user and the list of items are permitted. You can make a field unique for the type or even for all types, meaning that the value is unique across the entire database. When these custom fields are presented, you can employ a variety of visual cues, such as specification, font color, fill color, font size, and so on.

Beware of DCIM systems with hardcoded fields

If you now go to the project and click on the building, you will see the field “Contractor Name” that you created appear: it only takes a few clicks. What is the maximum number of custom fields you can have? It’s limitless! I would argue that a system does not permit or allow the creation of an infinite number of custom fields. While this may appear to be an exaggeration, it is not: seriously, flee to the hills.

What is the explanation for this? It’s very likely that the database contains certain hard-coded fields with names like “Custom1” or “Custom2,” and so on. Be cautious: this is a really poor building. The database structure of netTerrain is unique in that there are no hard-coded custom spaces or placeholders for your custom fields in any database. Instead, meta data in a number of properly connected tables allows for a very efficient, rapid, and flexible method of field assignment.

A field can be anything other than text or a combo box: it can also be a hyperlink. These are, in fact, hyperlinks. You can convert a field to an IP address so that you can ping or telnet the object when you click on it. The system will automatically parse any field that is an IP address and provide the choices that an admin defined for how IP fields should act, such as remote desktop, trace route, and so on.

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As you can see, there are a variety of different types of fields that you may define, and you have a lot of control over how they operate. You can use them as visual overrides to change the color or shape of objects based on the values in those fields, and there are also special fields like hyperlinks and IP addresses that can be simply adjusted in the system.

To summarize, it’s likely that you’ll require the ability to add custom fields when utilizing DCIM software. Keep an eye on your step if you’re testing software with only a few unique fields. Not only will you be unable to generate the custom fields you require, but you’ll also likely find up acquiring DCIM software that isn’t built to provide users with the flexibility they require to ensure that the tool does not obstruct the task at hand.

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