Its one of those things that the entire department, from CIO to the tech support guy, know is essential. Yet often system diagrams and documentation are either outdated or non-existent. That one day when something in the network goes south, everyone is scrambling for the recent documentation and it becomes the centre of attention.
Proper network documentation is essential for IT operations. This is more true as enterprise architecture grows larger and more complex. But even for SMEs with moderate IT budgets, the IT department can put together a very detailed and flexible document. The documentation should be a reference and guide to help the company in many ways:
- Train new recruits;
- Analyse and troubleshoot networks;
- Better capacity planning;
- Report underutilized resources and improve efficiency of the network;
- Less downtown.
What to include
Here are some of the important aspects to keep in mind while documenting networks and systems:
- Keep it simple and clean.
- Use standard equipment images to depict each device in the network.
- Label each device (Hostname, IP address, Date of Manufacture, etc.).
- Clearly mark different network location on the diagram with location addresses and IP scheme.
Let’s think of it from the client’s perspective. When you get in touch with you IT service provider to sort out an issue, all you need is immediate resolution. Your business is slowing down because of a system that is not working and all you care is that it be up and running ASAP.
On the IT side, if a network diagram and documentation of all configurations of the client’s equipment is available, all you need to know is what the trouble is. With all relevant information available in documentation, you will be able to troubleshoot in much less time and minimise potential losses. Sort that out, call the customer back and things are back to normal. Happy customer, satisfied you…
The value this brings to the customer is tremendous in terms of low downtime and hassle-free experience. As the IT side of the business, anytime an audit happens, having all those documents and diagrams will help deal with network compliance issues easily. And as you update and grow the documentation, it will also become a guide in finding unallocated or underused resources and help make efficient technical and business decisions.
Examples of Network and Systems Diagrams that we have prepared for our clients: