Part 4: IT documentation of client systems
In the fourth part of the series we show you the IT documentation of clients
and take a look at the mapping of the entire life cycle of IT assets.
What equipment does an employee have in use? What work equipment do we have to provide a new colleague with?
These are questions that you, as the person responsible for IT in a company, always ask yourself. An IT documentation can answer these questions. Assign devices to new employees quickly and generate the required documents such as handover protocols directly from the IT documentation. In the fourth part of our series we will deal with the IT documentation of client systems and workstations.
Another topic in this fourth part of the series is the documentation of the entire life cycle of IT assets. Our experts will demonstrate how you can use your i-doit IT documentation to map responsibilities and generate important documents directly from the documentation. On- and offboarding of employees is also addressed in this video.
Mice, keyboards and memory components are often neglected as “low-value”. In fact, depending on the size of the company, these assets can quickly make up a larger part of IT assets. However, no IT administrator wants to see these “mass assets” listed individually in their CMDB, but these devices should also be part of the IT documentation. We’ll show you how to handle these assets from a documentation perspective.
In the third part of the series – “Documenting Servers” – we showed you how to document the software installed on servers and the corresponding licenses. Of course, this also applies to client systems: the installed and licensed software must be recorded in IT documentation. Here we are already anticipating the next part of our series, which will deal specifically with license management.
Welcome to the video series “6 steps to IT documentation”. My name is Rachel Hutchinson and in the following videos I will guide you through the areas Clients, Software & Licenses and Services to demonstrate how i-doit can help you to fully document your IT infrastructure.
In today’s part we will build on our existing documentation and focus on the topic: clients. We will not only show you how to document workstations completely including small parts like adapters and power supplies, but also how to import information automatically using the discovery tool JDISC.
A classic workplace usually consists of a PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse and a telephone. So this is what we focus on in the first part of this video: client documentation.
Let’s have a look at the live demo
Create a workplaces
In order to document workstations, it is advisable to organize the devices into “workplaces”. Particularly in rooms with many PC workstations, it can quickly become confusing if all devices are simply placed underneath the room. We create a new “workplace” object and add it to one of our rooms. Whether you name the workplaces directly after the employees or assign an internal name depends on what is easiest for you as a company. The only important thing is again that you assign a unique name.
Adjusting the object type
Before we add our client to the workstation, it is recommended to adapt the object type client in advance, so that only the relevant information is documented in the end. Properties that we do not need can be deactivated simply by removing the cross. If you have already created a documentation plan, you can now use it to make the necessary configurations.
Create custom category
To document small parts we would like to present two possibilities. The first method would be to create a separate object type for each mouse + keyboard, adapter and so forth. However, this is often over-dimensioned as accessories are in most cases only checked for completeness and no detailed information is required.
We are now going to create a new Custom Category, where we will include all accessories and special features. To do this we go to the administration area, “CMDB settings”, and then “custom categories”. By clicking on New we can create a new custom category, and name the category “equipment”. In this case we do not want to create multiple entries but a simple overview page where we can click on our accessories together.
We now need four user defined fields. We use the first one to select our accessories. We can use this information later as a checklist for the handover of IT equipment. For this we use a Dialog+ (Multiple selection) field. In the second field, we would like to determine whether private use is allowed. For this we configure a “Yes-no-field”. We use the third field to document defects, using “Textfield multiple rows”. We want to use the last field to determine if and how the hard disk is encrypted. For this we use a simple “Dialog+” field. After we have saved our category, it appears in the Client object type.
Now we create our first client. To do this, we assign a name, determine whether the device is a notebook or a PC and give details about the CPU, the number of cores and frequency. Then we enter the size and type of both the memory used, and the hard disk and define who the user and administrator of the device is.
In addition, we select our supplier and their hotline for support requests. In the category “host address” we select our created network, but this time we will not assign a static IP. The clients obtain their IP from the DHCP server, so we now select DHCP under the “Address allocation” category.
In the overview we also find our newly created user defined category “Equipment”. We now place our accessories here, such as the mouse, keyboard, HDMI adapter and note the defects we found.
On the overview page we can now display all properties of the object again to check our configuration.
Create maintenance contract
Often our IT or certain services thereof are bound by contracts with companies, manufacturers or service providers. By documenting these contracts in i-doit, you not only have access to the relevant contract contents at any time, but you are also automatically notified, for example, before the end of the cancellation period. You will also receive a detailed overview of which devices are bound by the respective contract.
In our example, the equipment from the department managers is equipped with a special maintenance contract. This contains all the information regarding costs, contract duration, cancellation period and the agreed response times. It is advisable to define the responsible persons in order to be able to answer questions quickly. To link this contract with our client we select the category assigned objects and add our client.
Use of templates
If you want to create many new devices of the same type, we recommend using templates. The first step is to determine which type of device is involved. From then on, all the specifications for this device can be configured as usual. You can use this template afterwards to create as many objects as you like and even combine existing templates. All you have to do is assign a title, specify the number of devices and select your template. The combination of templates is a great feature.
We will explain one possible combination: You have defined a software package that is installed for each client. However, depending on the person or department, additional software is required, for example, for accounting, marketing or project management.
By combining the standard software template and the extended software package for the corresponding department, clients can be documented quickly and easily according to your requirements. In addition, we can then automatically add a maintenance contract to our clients. As you can see, the possible combinations are almost unlimited.
Of course, a workplace does not only consist of one client. Our final workplace has two monitors, a notebook , a telephone and a printer. The cabling view also shows us exactly which network socket and power strip it is connected to in the office. If the employee moves with his IT device because, for example, he changes department, we simply have to change the location of the workplace. All other devices then move with him.
Other import options
i-doit offers extensive possibilities for documentation, so why not automate at least part of it? Through various interfaces, i-doit can use discovery tools such as JDISC to analyze networks and import the clients, servers, virtual machines, IP telephones and many other devices located within them. However, not only the devices but also the software and associated licenses are determined.
Devices that are discovered can be imported into i-doit and created there as new objects. To do this, simply store the JDISC server in the interface and you can control which data you want to import using various profiles. This means that not only can new devices be created but they can also be updated at any time. In the 5th part of our series, we will demonstrate an application case.
You are also able to connect your directory services such as Active Directory to i-doit via an LDAP interface to import computers and users.
Today we focused on the topic: Documentation of PC workstations. To do this, we created a workplace, added a client, explained possibilities for using templates and contracts, presented the discovery tool JDISC and implemented the import.
In the next part of our series we will show you how you can implement a complete software & license management with i-doit.
I would be happy if you join us for the fifth part of our series, where we will be focusing on the documentation of Software and licenses.
If you have any questions about i-doit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.