[K12OSN] Documenting the Network

j.w. thomas jthomas at bittware.com
Thu Mar 19 16:13:11 UTC 2009

How do you guys document your networking environment?

I am the sole admin of a small system, and it just seems bad practice 
for the sole repository of all that info to be my head.  For one, my 
head is notoriously unreliable for that sort of thing.  Also, it can't 
be backed up.

Right now I have a small setup with a firewall, an ltsp server, five 
clients, a wireless connection, and a stand-alone workstation.  More to 
come later (printers, more services, etc).

I'm planning to fire up an svn server to use as a repo for all the /etc 
directories on all the machines.  I also have a text file with 
descriptions of every technical detail I could think to put in it:
equipment specs, models, location, function, wireless encryption keys, 
power feeds (i.e., ups or not), ip addresses, services, etc.

I intend to draw a network map tonight, and I'm going to print that and 
the text file out and keep them in the network closet, maybe hanging on 
the wall.  I'm also thinking that I will write the root passwords down 
on a piece of paper, seal it in an envelope, and put it in the network 
closet.  That might seem like a bad idea, but if they can get in the 
network closet, they can already pwn the system.  A sealed envelope 
would provide for an easy way to get the info should something happen to 
me, and would provide a pretty decent indication that the info had been 
accessed.  Kind of an "In case of emergency, break glass" approach.

Is there a better way to store all this info?  Maybe some software 
(FLOSS only please) has been written to deal with this already?  What do 
you guys do?

Jim Thomas            Principal Applications Engineer  Bittware, Inc
jthomas at bittware.com  http://www.bittware.com    (603) 226-0404 x536
The sooner you get behind, the more time you'll have to catch up

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