Network Documentation

What is the best way and/or software to document a small network?
Who is Participating?
Erik BjersConnect With a Mentor Principal Systems AdministratorCommented:
Use VISIO if you have it or some other diagram app to create an accurate diagram of your network, there is also network mapping software out there that can automate this (google network mapping)

You should document IP scheem, firewall policys, maitanance tasks, backup plan, server and workstation config...

aucklandnzConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can download some samples from here

This should give you an idea what you should include:

IT Infrastructure documentation template
This document is best viewed with the document map feature turned on. Highlight the comments and type over.
1      Administrative
The function of this section is to provide administrative information about all aspects of the organizations IT infrastructure.
1.1      Domain name registration info
Enter here all information relevant to domain registration for all domains administered for this company.
Make sure to note both registrant and domain information, as most registrar will have those separately.
1.2      Phone provider
Phone service provider, PBX box maker/installer/maintainer/supporter with appropriate support phone numbers account information etc. Keeping this information will become more and more important with emerging services in voice data integration and voice over IP. As a network administrator you should take ownership of this information
1.3      Network Cabling
Cabling was done by [company name/date account info/phone]
1.4      Internet access provider
Every piece of relevant information on account, support, configuration, important terms of the agreement
1.5      Web hosting
Service provider, account info, rights, and limitations.
1.6      Web design
Names of designers and administrators. Relevant information about configuration. People with right to publish to it and edit it. Administration and configuration of special services (as in secure pages or encryption) If necessary, link to a document with more detailed description.
1.7      Third party internet services
If there is foreign media content, advertising agreements, counters, shopping cart software, etc.
Name parties, contract terms, etc
1.8      Internet mail hosting
See some of the information at Internet access
Mail service provider is Echo Online 
1.9      Hardware vendors
This is not a system support database, enter information about support in general:
If there is an account for support, phone numbers, support site URLs
•      Dell Canada
•      Compaq Canada
1.10      Network Support
•      Your company name and info.

2      Network
2.1      Protocols
What protocols are running and why (if more than one)
2.2      IP addressing and subnets
192.168.x.0/24       network address
192.168.x.1-25       for servers and network devices
192.168.x.100-200      for systems (IP=100+inventory number)
2.3      Connectivity
Name and describe the services
2.3.1      Internet
2.3.2      RAS
2.3.3      VPN
3      Systems
Information in this section should describe general state of the systems such as brand commitment (if there is any,
3.1      Devices
3.1.1      Hubs, switches
Brand, capacity, available capacity, access rights, management software location, vlan configuration if there is any.
3.2      Servers
General description of the servers and their functions. Give a list of the important services that are running on them
3.2.1      Server 1
3.2.2      Server 2 etc
3.3      Workstations
For details on workstation configuration see the inventory public folder on the xxx
Here you should only give a short, general description. Detailed information should be kept in a database
4      Services
4.1      Domain configuration
Domain is named
4.2      DNS
If the domain has its own DNS, mark the fact and give address, describe configuration
4.3      WINS
If WINS is used note the fact and give address
4.4      Backup
What is the backup program used, how is it configured, what agents are installed. Does the server back up anything beyond itself? IS there IDR configured? This is about the program, not configurations of the jobs. You can detail that in 8.2
4.5      Disk imaging
If there is any, what software is used, what is in the images, how many of them are there, etc.
4.6      VirusScan
Software used, options installed.
4.7      Firewall
Brand, version, if hardware, than firmware version, web address for upgrade.
4.8      VPN
If it is configured, describe it.
4.9      Printing
4.10      Terminal server
4.11      Exchange
4.12       SQL
4.13             UPS
Configured? Tested? When?

5      Security policies
5.1      Users & groups
5.2      Special accounts
Describe administrative accounts that were created for or by applications such as backup/virus scan/SQL etc. Try to use as few as possible
5.3      Policies & security
Provide here a very short description, emphasizing the business reasons for the establishment of the policies. Whoever is interested in more details should see the policies themselves.
6      Administrative data
6.1      Software installation points
6.3      Utilities, tools
7      Applications
When describing applications, what you need is a general picture. The function of this is preparation. We should know what we are dealing with.
7.1      Standard applications
These would typically be office productivity applications, Virusscan and backup clients,
7.2      Mission specific applications
This would be Dr tax for accountants, Mr law (or whatever for lawyers) and a CRM application for salesmen. Quite a few of these are using some sort of client server back-end, it is very important to understand the implications of the setup.
7.3      Mission critical application
A mission critical application is something that would prevent people in the office from working. The CRM program in a sales office or a call center, a stock monitoring program for brokers, or even PowerPoint for an instructor.  
7.4      User specific applications
The payroll program for the bookkeeper, PalmPilot software for the boss, the graphics application for the marketing person, etc
8      Data security
8.1      Virusprotection
Give short description of configuration and u[grade procedure
8.2      Backup
Rotation scheme; person responsible for changing tapes, location of tapes, off-site procedures
8.3      Archival procedures
Is there any? If yes, how often is it done, who is doing it, on what kind of media; where are the archives kept, is there an online catalog (such as WhereIsIt), how can data be accessed when it is needed.
If not, is there any need?
9      User data structure
This is probably the most often

Hope it helps

umm..... how small?
Improve Your Query Performance Tuning

In this FREE six-day email course, you'll learn from Janis Griffin, Database Performance Evangelist. She'll teach 12 steps that you can use to optimize your queries as much as possible and see measurable results in your work. Get started today!

depends on you network and needs i would say
WrathyimpConnect With a Mentor Commented:
there r many softwares through which u can monitor activities of users in your network & they also have the ability to document all those monitoring u can fing some good softwares on this site.
hope this might help you
mystasmConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I have had to do this myself in the last 6-8mths.

Have a look at this site:
There is a good service desk tool that allows you to keep track of inventory and also manage help desk activities....and it's free for up to 25 nodes.

Good documentation makes the network more sustainable. To be able to create the documentation you need all you have  to do is ask yourself this question: "If I were new to this business (where you work) what would I need to know to be able to provide the service that is outlined in my job description?".

Simple doco to start with:
1. Letter that is kept in a data safe detailing admin passwords (passwords are hand written) and location of documentation.  
The letter is used in case of emergency (ie you get run over by a bus).

Here is a comprehensive list provided by tech republic:
1.      Identification of servers, workstations, printers, routers, switches, etc.
a.      IP addresses
b.      NetBIOS/Host names
c.      MAC addresses
2.      Description of each device on the network, including make, model, serial number, and printouts from system inventory software (such as Belarc Advisor)
3.      Network topology diagrams, including placement of servers, routers, switches, firewalls, IDS, etc.
a.      Physical and logical diagrams
b.      Layer 3 networking diagrams, including backbone and WAN links
4.      Internet provider information
a.      Description of link(s)
b.      Contacts and support numbers
c.      Terms of service
5.      List of supported network operating systems (Win2K Server, NT4, NetWare 5, Linux, etc.)
6.      List of supported client operating systems (Win2K Pro, Win98, MacOS, Linux, etc.)
7.      List of supported network protocols (TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, AppleTalk, NetBEUI, etc.)
8.      DHCP server settings, including scopes and options
9.      Network security settings
a.      Firewall configuration (including TCP and UDP ports open)
b.      Router access lists
10.      Troubleshooting history/administrator's activity log
a.      Common problems and resolutions
b.      Installation history
11.      Network baseline information
a.      Traffic flow and network utilization
b.      Bandwidth utilization
c.      Percent of collisions
d.      Average server and workstation CPU utilization
e.      Average server and workstation memory utilization
12.      Fault tolerance mechanisms in place
a.      Disk redundancy (e.g., RAID arrays)
b.      Tape backup plan, including rotation and off-site storage
c.      Clustering and failover systems
13.      Physical location documentation
a.      Building map
b.      Room numbers
c.      Availability of access keys
d.      Unusual configuration information
14.      Policies and procedures
a.      Naming conventions
i.      Workstations and servers (NetBIOS and host names)
ii.      Network equipment (e.g., routers and switches)
iii.      Active Directory
iv.      DNS
b.      Points of contacts (IT director, administrators, help desk, etc.)
c.      Disaster recovery plan
i.      Vendor phone numbers for support
ii.      Remote access plan for administrators
iii.      Higher-up administrator or consultant on call
iv.      Virus prevention/recovery plan
d.      Copies of maintenance plans, warranty agreements, and tech support contacts
e.      Software licensing information
f.      User rights policies, including Internet and e-mail usage

It's a lot to do I know, the harder part is keeping it uptodate. But good documentation is a necessity. Always use murphy's laws. Cover your back side.

SembeeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Also take a look at the scripts on this Sourceforge project. They will give you a lot of the information that you need from each server.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.