Never Guess Again with Great Network Documentation
In networked systems everything is connected to everything else and the whole entity can be quite complex. While networking is required when working with a large number of machines, it also poses certain problems that need to be overcome. One of the main problems with networks is that a fault can arise anywhere in the system and affect the whole system but be very hard to pinpoint.
Manual monitoring of a network can also be tedious, time-consuming and fraught with errors. But at the same time networks have to be monitored and documented for them to function smoothly.
Network documentation is the practice of keeping a record of all the devices on the network. The documentation serves the important purpose of keeping the user informed on what is going on with the network.
What is Recorded During Network Documentation
- A map of the network, how it looks and what devices are on it.
- Server information which includes data records, backup schedules, location of different files, and so on.
- Keeping track of asset information like device types, serial numbers, licenses, versions, and more.
- Real-time reporting of infrastructure asset information.
- Refreshing data at every backup.
- Customization of fields to allow access to the required information when it is needed.
In effect network documentation gives the user eyes on the full network for more effective and seamless operations. Network documentation helps keep track of all the hardware and software on the network so that if a problem should arise, it is easier to pinpoint and solve. With automated network documentation the process is much faster and more effective.
Automated Network Documentation
Automated network documentation involves a software solution that can be uploaded to the system and then keep track of the network as mentioned above. The software also helps in inventory management so that updates and upgrades will no longer be overlooked. Dynamic information is regularly pulled up by the feature allowing the user to know exactly when backups were performed.
Network documentation can give users regular and current views on network performance. There is no more guesswork involved with dealing with the network because regardless of how vast it is, the automated network documented feature has all aspects covered. Everything from license renewals to a block in the network can be kept track of and sorted out if an issue comes up. There is no need to manually keep track of the network performance with an automated network documentation system in place.
Network Documentation of Connections Between Devices
On a network, the information has to flow between devices. Sometimes the information flow is hampered by congestion on the network. Data congestion is not something that can be visualized by physically looking at the hardware. It is also difficult to know which point of the network is congested so that information can be rerouted. With automated network documentation, it is possible to locate the congested areas on the network and to redirect the way the information flows for faster processing. Network Documentation saves a lot of time and effort and considerably reduces delays in completing projects.
How is Network Documentation Done?
The software produces diagrams in layers that cover the various aspects of the network.
- The first layer diagram usually depicts all the physical devices and the connections between them. This layer should also contain information on what kind of cables connect the devices, what is the speed, the types of links, and so on. Color charts are useful to show different types of wires, or thickness, and other information.
- The second layer diagram contains more information pertaining to layer one like VLAN numbers, trunk connections, and link aggregations. Any changes from the defaults need to be recorded in this layer diagram.
- The third layer diagram keeps track of routing and IPs on the network. All interconnections between devices need to be documented in this layer diagram. Relevant VLAN numbers with a short description will help every user be clearer on what is involved in the network. Firewalls and redundancy mechanisms should also be recorded in the layer three diagrams.
- The circuits number table is another aspect that has to be documented during network documentation. All circuits included in the network and where they go should be recorded. Circuit numbers can be documented in a table form.
- Another table can record the IP address allocation. All the various types of IP addresses, internal and external and whether they are private, or public should be made note of in this table.
There are several other aspects that can be covered in network documentation and a lot will depend on the size of the network and the user’s requirements.
Another way network documentation becomes useful is when handing over network details to another user, or when the original user is not around, and someone needs to figure something out.
Network Documentation and Security
Network documentation is also important for the security of the entire network.
All security devices also need to be documented along with their backup schedules and license numbers. A lapse in maintaining the security devices can cause unwanted problems on the entire network.
Monitoring the security devices and maintaining them correctly is essential for the healthy functioning of the whole network. Log servers and special security devices also need to be documented so that remote logins can be monitored and verified.
Getting Network Documentation Right
As you can see, network documentation can be a very complex process. Manually it is next to impossible to keep track of every single detail of larger networks. However, because networks are interconnected, every detail should be kept track of as one device going out of sync can cause a cascading effect throughout the network.
The best way to ensure that network documentation is optimized is by employing an automated software solution that takes care of all areas that the user needs.
Manually documenting a network can take months. However, the automated process can be done in a few hours. The automated network documentation is also far superior in accuracy and is a huge help in troubleshooting, updates, compliances and many other areas.