Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Lets say I wish to put together some various kinds of servers that interact with one another with possible clustering. I have three "actors": general admins, developers, and the users the developers are developing for.

Are there any tools (free would be nice) that are for this particular purpose?

I've been trying to do it by adapting StarUML to my situation, but it feels like "using an English wrench on a metric bolt."

I'm looking for something a little more powerful than a drawing tool like Visio.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by HopelessN00b Jan 25 '15 at 0:45

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

i think you might be underestimating Visio; it does a heck of a lot more than 'drawing'. – Chris S Oct 1 '10 at 17:23
What exactly are you trying to model? I'm not certain I understand what you're trying to do with the "Actors". – gWaldo Oct 2 '10 at 23:04
It was sort of a UML reference. By actors I mean users the system is designed for. Looking to model the interactions between the servers in the infrastructure, the usage scenarios, as well as the compositions of the servers themselves - Basically how the infrastructure fits together from start to finish in a design. I might take a closer look at Visio. – Joshua Enfield Oct 4 '10 at 16:07
I cannot think of a single way that you could incorporate the kinds of data that will be useful to those three EXTREMELY different categories of audience into a single document. (Please tell me you're not trying to use one document for all three...) SysAds are going to care about systems info and dependancies; Devs are usually going to care about relationsships and a different kind of dependancies (Where is the DB server & what are the connection strings; What is clustered? Web Server info, etc). What are "The Users" going to need other than the domain name, Sharepoint, and Mail server? – gWaldo Oct 6 '10 at 14:45
I don't necessarily mean it for that audience in the sense of who the actual design is for. The design is for me, and future maintainers. I simply mean that such a design needs to take into account the needs of those three roles. It's not necessary a direct reference. I am just looking for a "correct" way to design how everything fits together while taking into account the needs of users, developers, and general administrators. – Joshua Enfield Oct 6 '10 at 16:04
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Visio is an excellent tool for drawing Flowcharts and Relationship models (as well as Network Topologies.) Really, Visio's utility is limited only by your imagination... (Wow. That was cheesy...)

SmartDraw is a similar tool, but it's not nearly as refined. (In fact, in my mind I can't sum it up in any other way than "awful".) (It tried to be Visio; I'm sure it gave it's very best...)

Dia and OpenOffice Draw can be used to do similar diagramming. It likewise is not as refined, but it's Free (-as-in-Freedom and -as-in-Beer!)

share|improve this answer

Visio is great. A free alternative is Dia, but depending on your needs it might be not enough. You should give it a try.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.