Documenting data center infrastructure

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I am getting a better picture of the overall environment at my new contract, and realizing there is a dearth of documentation. What does exist is a smattering of Word docs and Excel spreadsheets, only some of which are reasonably up-to-date. It’s a common situation I’ve seen in many companies, where the network/IT personnel are over-worked or not motivated to maintain updated documentation.

So one of my first mini-projects is improving the network documentation. I’m using a variation of this Infrastructure-focused taxonomy, originally designed for my personal knowledge base Wiki-

Knowledge Base Site Map

The first section titled “Tech Info” is key, and reflects my break-down of critical Infrastructure into –

  • Networking
  • Operating Systems
  • Infrastructure (now renamed to Utility)
  • Security
  • Applications
  • Data Center

With this information design in place, it’s relatively simple to create matching section pages in your favorite wiki or knowledge base tool, and add links or embedded documents at the bottom level in the hierarchy.

Your mileage may vary depending on your environment.  But I have found that conceptualizing a documentation system in advance, allowing flexibility for added categories and sub-categories later, is incredibly helpful.

You can download the source file (Word .docx with embedded Visio ) for your own use here .

Finally, I’m a big fan of the Socialtext wiki system, which hosts my personal wiki. I’ve found Socialtext to be easy to learn, feature-rich and stable.