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Using SharePoint 3 for Client Network Documentation

Posted on 2007-03-31
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I am trying to find a better way of configuring SharePoint to hold network documentation. I work for a company that looks after 25 small business networks, and we currently document all aspects of the network, i.e. servers, routers, firewalls, software, licensing, backup systems etc etc.

Currently we use SharePoint 2.0 to record the documentation, we have a custom list defined for each item we want to document, there is also a list called "Clients", and there is a "Client" field on each other list that allows us to select the client by way of a lookup field. This currently works well, however I am sure it could be done better, and it does have ite limitations...

I have recently discovered that the search functionality is somewhat limited in SharePoint 2, and have begun reading about SharePoint Services 3. I can see already that the UI is much improved, and also the search capability is much better.

One limitation of the current method is that you cannot select a client, then view all assets/devices, you must go to each custom list and apply a filter.

I am quite interested in the concept of "Content Types", and feel they could help me in some way. I want to ensure that I start this project properly with lots of planning as I do not want to ever have to worry about this again.

The requirements are:
1. Ability to search for client, and then display all assets/deviced entered for that client
2. Each asset type with have a cusom form to entrt information about that device (i.e. "server" will have different firm fields to "software"
3. Easy to mainteain (i.e. when we get a new client, I want there to be minimal configuration needed)
4. Logical and cross referenced
5. Ability to search fir devices (so that for example I can find all servers that are on 2003 SP1 and schedule them in for an upgrade to SP2)

At this stage I am considering creating a new site, with a list called "Clients" with the ability to create folders in the list, then in each "Client" folder, I will create another folder with the "Site Name" (many clients have multiple sites), and then all documentation will go in the site folder.

I will create content types for each device I want to record (servers, backups system etc) and allow that content type to be posted to the site folder.

Does this make sense? If anyone with experience with SharePoint 3 can make comment, or recommend another way I would be very greatful.
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Question by:unlocktechnology
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 18831308
I had been using SharePoint for the same thing on all of the SBS networks that I manage, but recently switched to use something that works much better, in my opinion, because it is fairly automatic.

Take a look at www.spiceworks.com.  It's free, and deploys with very little resource usage on an SBS.

I think you'll find that it does pretty much what you're looking for.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 18831316
By the way... if you want something that will allow you to have more management control over your various managed sites, look at Microsoft's new System Center Essiantials:
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/sce/default.mspx

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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