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Method for Automated Detail-Level Selection in Topology Views Disclosure Number: IPCOM000186228D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Aug-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Aug-13
Document File: 5 page(s) / 97K

Publishing Venue



This publication discloses a new method for visualizing the topology of compound and interrelated entities embodying a higher system like e.g. an IT environment. The entities are visually organized around a so-called focus entity shown in the center of the view. The visualization of directly or indirectly related entities is modulated in structure, detail level, shape and size depending on the kind and order of relation this entity has to the user-selected focus entity.

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Method for Automated Detail-Level Selection in Topology Views


Today's software (sub-)systems which deal with entities and their relationship among each other often have the requirement to visualize the various aspects of entity relationship. These relationships are referred to as "topology". The tools used to visualize such relationships are called "topology viewer". A topology is a family of sets with certain properties used to define a topology space.

Background and problem statement

Major requirement of a topology viewer is to visualize the topology of related entities and additional attributes and information of these entities. The visualization of such an entity relationship constitutes a network diagram consisting of nodes and links. E.g.: Topology viewer for SAN components have to deal with hosts, network adapters, tape libraries, disc systems, database management systems, etc., their relationships among each other and their specific corresponding attributes. Entity attributes can be simple ones or complex / composite ones. Simple attributes could e.g. be a name, a description, throughput, capacity, log file content, actual status, etc. Complex entity attributes are composition, aggregation and association relationships. Figure 1 below depicts an example of a SAN topology.

Fig.1: Example of a SAN topology


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Depending on the amount of entities and the amount of their corresponding attributes, the overall information to visualize can be quite large. Thus, one of the challenges of topology viewers are to condense the overall information in such a way, that all required information is accessible, but the user is not overextended with too much information displayed at once. The concept of visualization and navigation has a direct impact on the topology viewer's usability and thus affects overall customer satisfaction. The viewer's approach must be to define a compromise between the amount of information displayed and the overall usability of the information content.

There are various different approaches in order to condense the information to display. The subsequent list provides an overview of the most common concepts:

Selectable Attributes: Some topology viewers offer the functionality to select or un-select specific attributes. In case an attribute is selected, the corresponding information is displayed for each entity. Typical examples are "status", "name", "description", "vendor name", etc.

Filter: Filter rules can be applied to any entities and/or their corresponding attributes. Today's topology viewer allow to specify a set of user-defined filters for each available entity attribute. Examples of filter definitions are provided below:

All elements with "status equals


All elements with "status equals

" AND "latest log file...