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Wireless Networks Thread, Network Documentation in Technical; When I started in my current post four years ago there was no documentation available - mainly because most things ...
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    u8dmtm's Avatar
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    Network Documentation

    When I started in my current post four years ago there was no documentation available - mainly because most things were run by the LEA (which we have since moved away from). I've noticed quite a few posts here on EduGeek which refer to the lack of documentation found when starting a new job.

    So my question is - what is a good but realistic level of documentation? I try to keep an up to date network map, domesday pack with passwords, parition sizes etc etc and some information about our ever evolving Intranet services. However is it really possible to pick up someone else's network from documentation?

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    Re: Network Documentation

    Where to start ...

    Do you want the BECTa list of documentation you should have or the ITIL list?

    How about having a realistic list of stuff to start with.

    1: Inventory. This should be a paper or electronic copy of every piece of hardware you have. It should contain the make, model, hardware specification, date purchased and where from, warranty information, location and configuration information (OS, other software installed). For servers it should also contain information about the roles that they do (eg DC, DNS, proxy, webserver, mail, etc)

    2: Users. This may sounds silly, but a list of users can be so handy. Include their general username (the one they log onto a computer too), their full details (number, rank, name), department / year / tutor group, additional usernames they have on other systems (MIS, VLEs, etc), and then groups that they are members of.

    3: Software. What you have, where it is installed, who has access to it, when it was purchased, where from and what media it came on.

    4: Network infrastructure (cabling and comms). Where possible, a physical and logical plan of the network topology, including IP addresses of network harware and information about routing, VLANs, QoS, etc

    5: Domain configuration. This applies to all OSes ... not just a Windows Domain. This section should include server roles, how users authenticate, where their data is stored, information about any scripts that run, information about security policies that are applied.

    6: Data. This expands on part of the above and much more ... account for every GB of data on the network, where it is stored, where it is backed up, who uses it, how long it needs to be archived for, how you archive it.

    7: Security. Again, an expansion on some previously mention areas. Work from the outside in starting with the internet connection (ISP, firewall), to the servers (Web servers, proxy), to the client (desktop lockdown, content filtering, mail filtering) and then back out again.

    8: Disaster Recovery. This is not just a list of what to do if the school burns down ... it should cover everything ... flood, fire, famine (I'm so hungry I could eat a server!) ... you know what I mean though. What happens if part of a wall falls down and takes out a run of fibre? What happens if asbestos is discovered and has covered all of your computers in 2 rooms?

    This is the bare areas that need covering.

    Things like helpdesk and problem resolution policies change from Network Manager to Network Manager and are usually based around the staff you have to work with or the needs of the school. This changes with time. Don't worry about them too much (but they are important to have anyway).

    Purchasing policies should be central to how the school runs and not just specific to the Support team ... if they are not there in the school in general ... well ... make them up and make everyone do it the way you do.

    The above is just my opinion ... but it is all stuff that I wish I had in writing when I took over ... I was lucky enough to at least get a few days with my predescessor to talk things through.

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