Virtual Server Environments

For virtual servers the same rules apply as for active network components. The only difference is: When you have a cluster of virtual hosts, don’t try to copy the exact configuration into your documentation manually. If you have an automatic process that updates your documentation about what VM is running on which host – that’s perfectly fine, but do not try to do this manually. Things change too often and you will end up with an inaccurate documentation.

Information to consider when documenting:

  • The same as for Servers/Switches/Router
  • Which VM is running on which Host/Cluster
  • Virtual Switch configuration

Storage Area Networks

You definitely should document your Storage networks, but only to a level where the data is still manageable and useful for you. In most cases, you need information about which LUNs are accessed by which servers. Some people want information about the FC cabling, some people want detailed information about the physical arrays and harddisks. Most people don’t. But that’s your choice.

Information to consider when documenting:

  • Basics (Name, Location, Serial number)
  • Hardware (Vendor/Model and Hardware Information, HDDs and physical arrays)
  • Networking (IP-addresses, Subnets, Ports, VLAN, DNS, …)
  • Operating System (Type, Version, License)
  • LUNs and what accesses them
  • Contact persons
  • Accounting information
  • Warranty information / Support contracts

 

Datacenter/Server room equipment

Any other passive equipment in your datacenter is mostly optional to document. Except the location there is no real guideline on what your documentation should include. One thing we often see documented about passive components is maintenance schedule and maintenance results.

A minimum that I would recommend is documenting the racks. Here is some other stuff that could be useful to have in your documentation: 

  • Racks
  • Cooling Equipment
  • Fire Alarm System
  • UPS, Power supply in general

 

If you are in the datacenter business or just have a large DC, you might want to take a look at a dedicated DCIM (Datacenter Infrastructure Management) solution.

Software

The tricky thing about software documentation is the sheer mass of information. When you discover software with a tool, you get millions of unwanted information, such as all the Adobe Acrobat versions installed on X machines or driver packages.

 

Ask yourself what you need:

  • Information about licensing?
  • Information about installed software versions (for security reasons etc.)?
  • Information about what software is installed on what server/client?

 

Depending on your needs, you should choose a strategy that can range from manually documenting software (which is okay when you just need the number of Microsoft Office Licenses on your workstations) to a fully automatic discovering of the software installed on every machine in the network. In most cases, it’s the best idea to get rid of useless information such as the driver packages mentioned above. Remember: Too much information can prevent you from finding the information you need!