Standard way of documenting switch port / patch panel connections.

Hi,
I visited an office setup by someone else and in there comms room I made a note of every port used on the patch panel and switches so we can work out a lot of things.

Right now this is all stored in pen and paper, but I of course want to transfer this data to an electronic storage.

I wondered, is there a standard way of representing the way ports are patched up, that is easy to document and update.  Of course a spreadsheet springs to mind and this will be the default choice, but I wondered if there is a better way.

E.g.

Patch panel Ports
1. Green cable plugs into Netgear swtich Port4
2. Green cable plugs into Netgear swtich Port4
3. Green cable plugs into Netgear swtich Port4
4. Red cable plugs into Dlink switch port2
Etc.

Netgear switch
1.empty
Etc.

And so on. Is there some industry recognised way of representing this data.

If necessary I will just do it in excel in the style above, but this must be something commonly done and perhaps there is a standard way or an app that makes it easy to generate and keep updated.
afflik1923Asked:
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giltjrCommented:
I personally have never seen one.

We used to use Excel.  Every cable was numbered and each station was number.  We would document what cable number was connected to which station number, and which switch, and witch port within a switch.

You can maintain online, but you do want to print a copy off every now and then and store offline.    There will be a few times where you need to know what is connected where and because of a network or server problem you can't get to the online doc.

I know of one place that documented the recovery process for their Sharepoint environment in Sharepoint.  Sharepoint went down and they needed to recover.  Wait, no access to the doc because .... you get the picture.  : )
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masnrockCommented:
I'd say use Excel and/or a program like Smartdraw or Visio. Excel stores data great, but visual diagrams that are well organized always are the best.
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Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Hi afflik1923,

I use MSFT Visio and download stencils. Most vendors provide them so you can import the exact models.

Let me know if you have any questions!
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afflik1923Author Commented:
Thanks so far for the input. I will respond properly in once I get to try and document it.
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Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Sounds good!

Also, I've heard a lot of good things about http://www.lantopolog.com/ but have not tried it myself.
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masnrockCommented:
There really isn't an industry standard, so everyone has their own conventions. You just need to make a point to document whatever that convention is. For example, I've done wiring where I would use different colored wires for different LANs (this applies in cases where an office has two separate LANs for different purposes, i.e. security monitoring, network, VoIP, etc).

I've seen some offices diagram their entire space and then chart out where the network and phone outlets are. This works great, especially when you're not adding wiring much or doing anything that causes frequent updates.
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giltjrCommented:
http://www.lantopolog.com/, along with other products like it, do nothing about cable documentation.  

They show you what IP addresses go through what ports.  This might be fine if you do not use virtual machines anyplace.  However if you use VM's and something like VMotion, VM's can move from one physical server to another and VM's don't have cables.
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afflik1923Author Commented:
I'll be updating on this soon.
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Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Have you found one you like yet? Do you have any more questions?
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afflik1923Author Commented:
not yet actually. Right now I still have a pile of hand written notes. It's on my list this week for sure to translate them to something electronic. If there is no objection, I'll keep this question open until I can report back what I used.
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Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Sure. We'll be here for you when you're ready. Keep up posted!
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afflik1923Author Commented:
Sorry for the on-going delay. It's to be done. IT's in my big xmas paperwork to do pile. Will update as want to nail a good system for various clients.
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Blue Street TechLast KnightCommented:
Thanks for the update!
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afflik1923Author Commented:
Something hopefully over xmas I'm going to give thought to and will update.
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afflik1923Author Commented:
Time just flies, and currently I still do not have a standard way of doing this, but it is on the high priority list. I would like to keep this open until we do this and let you know what we do.
I'm so surprised there is not a standardized way of doing this.
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afflik1923Author Commented:
I never mastered a great way, but you can consider that I will effectilvey be using spreadsheets to do this.
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afflik1923Author Commented:
Thanks for all the input
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