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TOPIC: Network Documentation

Network Documentation 9 years 5 months ago #22281

  • skepticals
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How does everyone document their network configurations, topology, devices, workstations, etc.?

I have used Microsoft Visio to create rack drawings for documentation. I thought about using Visio to draw all the workstations as well, but I am looking for a better way to document my network.

I would like a database (or something) that will allow me to search and edit information with ease.

I want to keep track of all the devices plugged into each port of my switchs, room location, etc.

Excel, Visio? I have used OCS Inventoty before, but it does not have a place for switch ports as far as I know.
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Re: Network Documentation 9 years 5 months ago #22285

  • TheBishop
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If you're using Visio it's useful to also have a topology drawing of your network, i.e. you'r T1 connected to your router to your switch etc. Include on this all your main devices such as servers, firewalls etc but not your user PCs unless your network is small. Show everything you'll need to troubleshoot a major outage - IP addresses of each interface of each device, the port numbers these key connections go into on your devices, types of cable (crossover/straight, fibre etc). If you have several rooms or locations divide the drawing into these and position the devices in the correct place.
Along with this you need a patching record to show where less important devices such as user PCs are connected. Use Visio if you want but I find a simple spreadsheet more than adequate and very quick to amend.
Finally don't forget to make your network self-documenting as far as possible - put descriptions on your switch/router ports and stick physical labels wherever it is sensible/helpful to do so
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Re: Network Documentation 9 years 5 months ago #22286

  • toddwoo
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http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/directory/cat/43

There are a TON of fun/intresting/usefull vitrual appliances here. A few network management/documentation type things. And there pre-made VM's you can see if you like it before you invest time becomming an expert.

I can't suggest one specifically... i've only tinkered about.. but there are a few there to try out.
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Re: Network Documentation 9 years 5 months ago #22287

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Thanks for the replies.

Have you used any of the virtual machines on that site? I am interested in a network monitoring IDS type system as well. Which ones have you played with?
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Re: Network Documentation 9 years 5 months ago #22298

  • toddwoo
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Unnoc network and Nagios, but I didn't work with them enough to get a real opinion...

I'm still getting my Lab up and running. But take a look at..
http://www.opennms.org/index.php/Main_Page
and
http://www.zenoss.org/

both are particularly nice in there own ways... Nothing much in the IDS area as my lab isn't now.. and won't likely be in the near future connected to the internet.
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Re: Network Documentation 9 years 5 months ago #22304

  • d_jabsd
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Unnoc network and Nagios, but I didn't work with them enough to get a real opinion...

I'm still getting my Lab up and running. But take a look at..
http://www.opennms.org/index.php/Main_Page
and
http://www.zenoss.org/

both are particularly nice in there own ways... Nothing much in the IDS area as my lab isn't now.. and won't likely be in the near future connected to the internet.

Having tested both OpenNMS and Zenoss, I have to say, don't waste your time with OpenNMS. Configuration is a nightmare. It is filled with great ideas, but the implementation of those ideas is poor. It relies on Java, which can be a pain to troubleshoot and forces you to restart the whole shebang when a config change is mad, and the XML config files are extremely strict on formatting- they include an xml formatting tool to help, but when editing many files, it is easy to forget to reformat some. Wrong format=many errors.

Zenoss is the way to go. It is the only NMS that bridges the gap between the Network Monitoring and Server Monitoring. It does both very well, while the competition seems to make sacrifices on one side or the other. Most everything is configured via the web interface. It is SOAP based and contains its own copies of the required components so there is no need to delve into dependancy hell to get it installed.

I would grade them as follows-
Zenoss: B+ to A- excellent product, easy to use. Still some kinks to be worked out, as the project is somewhat new still. Equally capable of server/service monitoring and network monitoring. Remote pollers allow for extreme scalability.

OpenNMS: C- This project is old enough to be better than it is. Config is complex and troubleshooting requires more Java knowledge than most non-developers have. Most of the config is via the config files and requires you to format it perfectly and restart OpenNMS to enable the change. The project developers mean well, but I think it has become a victim of scope creep and it ended up becoming a very complex Nagios.



My $.02
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