Managing Server Team documentation

We are quagmired in documentation right now. Documenation in different formats, multiple locations, and simply lost is one of daily concerns. One area specifically ailing is the server documentation. We have close to 400 servers, and every time a new server comes up we are supposed to update 3 or 4 different locations: rack layout diagrams, DR documentation, network equipment database, etc. Needless to say it is already a very manual process, and often it is not done 100% to standard. In addition to this documentation, we have application and change documentation spread out acrossed our shared directories. All-in-all, it is a mess.

Having an automated solution, like Ecora or Bindview, tracking changes and server additions is not within our budget at pricetags of over $200000 to handle all our servers. I am therefore looking for a better solution to handle our manual entry or programmatically-generated (WMI-scripts or SYDI) documents. Our current contenders are:

  • Lotus Notes, web enabled database
  • Wiki solution, like MediaWiki, PMWiki, or twiki
  • CMS Solution, like OpenCMS

At the moment, the less hand coding the better as this is supposed to be a quick and dirty project, or a proof of concept for more development in the future. The requirements for the solution are:

  • Web enabled
  • Journal or dated entry for each server to track admin changes / problems / etc.
  • Config data for each entry, preferrably accepting proprietary file (Word, Excel)
  • Allow for quick imports from csv or similar formats

This solution should get fun before it is over. Any first hand experience with CMS or Wiki as server team documentation management solution, would be appreciated.

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  • Mike

    Any luck with this?
    While we don’t have one site with 400 servers, we do manage 50 clients with close
    to 200 total servers. We’re starting to standardize documentation and obviously want
    to make this as simple as possible from the start.

  • Not yet… It did make it through the budget cycle, so for us it will be project with dollars behind it. Perhaps we will move to something beyond just a runbook (at best) on our servers.

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