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Network Checklist

Posted on 2008-10-06
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I am trying to document a "Daily" checklist for the office and would like to know what should I be looking at on a daily basis?  I currently look at event logs and drive space as well as my backups, but I'd like to incorporate the Cisco Hardware as well.  Is there anyway to look at Active Directory health or anything DNS related that I can be checking on?  Any guidance from the experts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.
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Question by:VFtechnology
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by:VFtechnology
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Paranormastic,

Thanks for the quick reply, this is some great information. do you currently have a "hybrid" of the above or your own list that you've cultivated throughout your experience in IT?  I'm going to accept your original answer but I just wanted to see if you had any more recommendations......also we are using ESX server but we are a bit handcuffed as we were not allowed to purchase a SAN and therefore I'm finding it difficult to actually backup up my vmware server images.  Any recommendations?
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Every network has its similarities and differences.  Many of the companies I have worked for have set up heavy monitoring, but most of these are very large companies that can afford to through cash at MOM, HP openview, etc.  I have had checklists over time, but my current responsibilities are a bit more focused over the last year to a small group of servers that are pretty low maintenance.

I'm guessing that if backup space is an issue, you are snapshotting each individual server, maybe even multiple times, plus a couple sysprep base images to start from.  Depending on how heavy your usage is, you might be able to just go for a low end consumer-grade nas and just throw in a couple TB drives mirrored.  Either that or set up a file server that can use some of these huge drives in a mirror set or 0+1 if you need more speed - sometimes for environments where budget was a premium, admin stuff like that I would occasionally throw onto two lower end workstations with raid cards (if it didn't have onboard raid) and have a weekly script check the directory structure on it for an el-cheapo redundancy method, and just have it copy over the differences manually - there's probably better way of doing it now for the replication, but hey.  If you do that, you might want to set up a small backup network if you don't have one already, so users don't complain about all that getting transferred.  If its just a few systems used for backups and setting up a new box once or twice a day you should be fine picking up a netgear or something if budget is a concern.
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The problem with checklists vs. monitoring tools is that they only really work well when you are in charge of a specific thing.  Trying to be the all-in-one admin this gets daunting - that's way junior admins were created :)  You can script checking services on all of your servers, making sure that they all ping, and such.  You probably want to check out VBS scripts that are already created by people for whatever function - that takes a lot of the gruntwork out of it.  But you still need to review that data, and that can take a decent amount of time in itself some days.  You want to check more stuff, but at the luxury of time against other projects you probably need to do.  Monitoring tools take a lot of that reviewing time busywork and just alert you when things are wrong, and a good one will be able to print out a nice pretty graph for your boss to say nothing was wrong at the end of the month.  Some VBS scripts can be used for asynchronous monitoring, but that only detects things after they are broken, not when they are broken or breaking.
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