Part 6: Documentation of Applications & IT services
The sixth and final part of our series “6 steps to IT documentation” shows you
how to document IT services and business applications in your IT documentation with i-doit.
“I can’t send e-mail!”
“I can’t access the network drives!”
As an IT administrator, you are familiar with these statements. You will hear them almost every day in your organization. But do you know off the top of your head which devices, people and software are connected to the failed service?
You can find out how to map these services in your IT documentation in the sixth and final part of our series “6 steps to IT documentation”. The documentation of services is not only helpful when one of the services fails. It is also essential for precise planning. In case of maintenance, a device must be switched off. With the information from the IT documentation, you can plan which replacement systems will take over for the time of the outage in order to provide all users with the required services.
But service is not just service. While a user understands an IT service to be everything he needs to work, the service provider (including you as the IT administrator of your company) sees the technical part of what is available to the user.
This sixth and final part of the series deals with these IT services. Our experts show you how to document services in i-doit. We will show you how to distinguish between business IT services, application services and infrastructure services, how they are connected and how they can ultimately be assigned to specific assets.
Welcome to the video series “6 steps to IT documentation”. My name is Rachel Hutchinson and I will be guiding you through the Services section in the final part of our series.
Users speak in terms of Services. None of your employees will say “I think the service or server XY has a bug”. They say, “My Internet is not working or I can’t send emails”. But what do the services Internet and email consist of? A clear definition not only supports you in troubleshooting but also helps you to plan for changes. You know which services are dependent on which server or switch, for example, and can inform users in advance in a targeted manner or set a maintenance window outside of business hours if business-critical processes will be affected or severely impaired.
With i-doit you can document your services down to the smallest dependency. But here again, it is important to proceed in a goal-oriented manner and it is advisable in the first instance to define only those components for the service that are also essential for it.
Let’s take a look at the possibilities of Service Design in the live demo.
We have already prepared the “Internet” service. To ensure the function of the service “Internet” we need the following components. Our created router from the second part of the series, a service contract with our Internet Service Provider and our WAN line. If these three components are free from faults, the operation of the “Internet” service is guaranteed. Should a restriction nevertheless occur, contact persons should be stored under “Contact assignment”. Ideally, you should also enter the support phone number of your Internet Service Provider.
If the service is disrupted, we can use the service logbook to track which changes were recently made to the devices. In our example, we recently made a change to the router’s IP. Since the new IP is outside our network, devices and users cannot access the Internet.
Under SLA we can provide information on minimum availability and define service times. Administrators can use this overview to easily determine at which times maintenance can be performed. Ideally outside the service times shown.
In addition to the pure recording of services, their control is often an important factor. It is recommended to check the most important services regularly and to document the results. i-doit already has a corresponding category for this purpose in order to record the audit carried out completely.
To show the dependencies of the service we can open the CMDB explorer. It shows the connections between the service and its components. If we need additional information, we can either open the object directly, or double-click on it to display the further relationships to other devices and objects.
Of course, services can also be dependent on other services. Let’s take a look at the “Email” service. For this service we need our Exchange Server as well as the service “Internet”, because without “Internet” no emails can be sent or received.
This kind of documentation saves a lot of time, because you don’t have to determine all the devices for each service, but simply refer to the respective services.
We already saw that the modelled Services helps Administrators to plan maintenance for systems and devices. i-doit can also be used to simulate failures. This enables administrators and IT managers to identify weak points in the infrastructure at an early stage and create redundancies where necessary.
To start a simulation you first need the “Analytics add-on”. After the installation you will find it under the menu category Extras ->to “Analytics”
We want to simulate the failure of our router. To do this, we select our router, define a service filter and start the simulation. We can now see which services are affected by the failure of the router.
In addition to performing failure simulations, the Analytics add-on also shows you whether your IT documentation is complete. For each object type, the configured properties are displayed and whether information has been entered is checked. By clicking on the Search Icon all devices where information is missing are displayed. This helps you to complete your IT documentation and thus increase quality
Additionally we can check what individual services cost us. In addition to information on investment and ongoing operating costs, costs from contracts and licenses are also taken into account in the calculation. This not only gives you the opportunity to get all the information about costs but also to check if there are cheaper alternatives on the market.
Rights system / Service owner
The definition of services has another advantage. Thanks to i-doit’s extensive system of rights, you can specify that only those devices for which you are registered as a service owner can be viewed by the logged-in user. All other objects are not available to the user. This makes i-doit even clearer for your employees, as all devices for which you are not responsible are hidden, and also prevents accidental incorrect changes being made to devices.
Let us summarize the contents of the series again. In the first part of the series we covered the creation of the basic infrastructure. We created buildings and rooms, configured a floor object, imported parts of the infrastructure via a CSV file and presented to you the possibilities of spatial visualization with the floorplan add-on.
In the second part we covered the design of the network. The focus here was on setting up the network and the cabling from the Internet connection to the switch in the server cabinet.
The third part was about server configuration. In addition to physical servers, we also created and linked virtual machines. We also looked at the Documents add-on that allows you to create emergency manuals and handover protocols.
In the fourth part we focused on client management. We created templates and showed you how to create your own user-defined categories, for example . to document accessories. We also created a maintenance contract.
The fifth part covered the extensive topic of software & license management. In addition to the documentation of applications, databases and licenses, we also presented the JDISC discovery tool, which allows you to automatically discover devices in your network with all the associated information and import them into i-doit. The notification function also allows you to inform people and groups when the defined threshold values are reached. With the Report Manager you can design and evaluate all information completely according to your requirements.
Today we covered the topic of services. We demonstrated how to create and manage services, how you can improve your existing data quality in the long run and get information about the running costs of your services with the Analytics add-on. Using a practical example, we demonstrated how you can use failure simulations to check which services are affected if a system fails.
We hope you enjoyed our series “6 steps to IT documentation” and that we brought you a step closer to your goal. If you have any further questions, the i-doit team is at your disposal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you every success for your documentation projects.
Other parts of this series
6 steps to IT documentation
6 Steps to Successful IT Documentation is a compact guide and supplement to the six videos in our series “6 Steps to IT Documentation.
Never lose your bearings and get to the complete documentation of your IT landscape in a targeted manner.