Part 2: Documentation of IT networks
6 steps to IT documentation
In this second part of our series, you will expand the IT documentation to include networks.
In addition to covering Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks, we show you how to implement IP address 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 Networks, Servers, Clients, Software & Licenses and Services, demonstrating how i-doit can help you to fully document your IT infrastructure.
In the first part of the series we covered the topic “infrastructure”. We created cities, buildings, floors, rooms and server racks, which we will equip with devices in the following parts of the series. In today’s part we will build on the results of the first part and create our network. We will then install the first devices in our server rack and document the cabling from the Internet connection to the switch.
Complete network documentation is an important factor. It actively supports administrators in troubleshooting and in planning and expanding the existing IT landscape. Therefore i-doit is not just a simple documentation tool but a complete IP address management system.
Let’s take a look at it in the live demo.
Apply a network
Under the menu item “Other” we find both Layer-3 and Layer-2 nets. We start by creating our Layer 3 network as a base. After we have assigned a name to the net, we can create our net with the corresponding netmask. The address range is calculated and displayed automatically. With the “Check” button we can also check if this collides with another network.
In the folder “Net” we also find the category DHCP. Here we define a DHCP area in our network, from which clients are to receive an IP address. This is a multi-value category. This means we can create as many entries as we want in these categories. If you have configured several DHCP areas in your network, you can easily document them.
WAN Network: Create WAN & Router
We now want to document the connection between the Internet service provider and our switch in the server rack. To do this, we add the Location property to the WAN object type and create a new object after saving. We assign a name and define the room in which the TAE can is located as the location. Now we want to document the wiring. To do this, we open the Network folder and create a new port. We select “WAN” as the name and type and save the configuration.
A router is often used to distribute the Internet within the network. Therefore, we switch to the category of infrastructure and create it. After assigning a unique name, we configure the necessary ports. Here you should of course orient yourself to your respective router model, our router has one WAN port and 3 LAN ports.
We now connect the WAN Port of the router with the WAN line we just created. i-doit automatically creates the necessary cable object. In the left navigation we can also enter the “Host address”. For this purpose we select our network, define a static IP and check if it is available. Since our router is the gateway for our network, we configure it as this. Since we want to install the router in our server rack straight away, we still have to determine how many rack units the router needs in the server rack. In the last step, we select our server rack created in Part one as the location for the router.
Create a switch
Our router is again connected to a 24-port switch in our server rack, which our systems will later be connected to.. We have to create this first to be able to configure the cabling. After we have entered a name, we go back to the Network folder to create the 24 ports. Here we can choose between a simple object counter or our own naming system. We choose RJ-45 as our plug and save our configuration.
We now open one of our ports and connect it to a free LAN port on our router. For the switch we would like to assign an IP in the network again. To do this, we open the navigation point “Host address” and select a free static IP in our network. In order to be able to install the switch in the server rack, we set the required rack units to 1 under the item, “Form Factor”. We choose our server cabinet as the location here as well.
Server Rack: Install devices and cabling-addon in Server rack
We have now added our first devices to the server rack. This gives us new options, because we can now define in which slot the devices should be installed. We switch to our server rack object. Here we find our router and switch for further allocation. We select a device and position it in a free slot. The device is installed in the server rack and can be opened from there at any time to obtain detailed information.
By installing the free “Cabling” add-on via the administration area, you can have the cabling of devices displayed visually. To do this, we now open up our router once again and click on the “Cabling” folder. We now see all the ports created on the router and which devices are connected to their respective ports.
IP address management
i-doit can also support you in planning your network. We have added the first devices to our network. Let’s see what’s changed in our net. We can see that both the router and switch have been captured with your IP address. Since we configured the router as a gateway, it is also highlighted in color. Our configured DHCP area does not contain any devices at this time, but it is still highlighted.
Wireless Access Point
“Wireless access points” are being used increasingly in the design of networks. Since these are often installed out of sight, it often makes sense to precisely document the location.. i-doit can be expanded free of charge with the Floorplan add-on to extend your IT documentation with buildings, floors and room plans. Creating new room plans is quick and uncomplicated. We select a building, floor or room, save the plan, add a background image and position our objects on it.
Not only can we determine and visualize the exact location but also, for example, the range of the wireless access points. This allows you to detect gaps in your illumination and reposition the devices if necessary. By configuring different profiles, you can select which object types should be displayed on the plan.
By changing the profile, we can easily switch from the display of access points to fire protection to see where fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are located. The profiles prevent the overloading of room plans and allow you maintain an overview.
In the first video we already covered the 4 standard navigation elements: Infrastructure, Software, Other and Contact. We would now like to show you how you can adapt them to your own requirements. In the administration area you will find the “Quick Configuration Wizard” in the CMDB settings. With this you can not only adapt existing object types and categories, but also create completely new ones.
Our goal now is to create the object type group “Network” and add the used object types Router, Switch and Layer-3 Net. To do this, we create a new “Object type group” and add the desired object types. The new group now appears in the upper navigation bar and contains the defined object types when opened.
Let us summarize the contents once again.
Today we created the network and defined an IP and DHCP address range. For this network we have documented the cable connection from the WAN line to the switch in the server cabinet. In the network overview we were able to check which IPs were already assigned in our network and which areas are used to assign DHCP addresses.. With the Floorplan add-on we can visualize our IT infrastructure and even show the WLAN coverage. Finally, we demonstrated how to create your own navigation elements in order to optimally adapt i-doit to your needs.
I would be happy if you join us for the third part of our series, where we will be focusing on the topic of server documentation.
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.