Friday, August 12, 2016

Documenting a New Server - Part 1 - When You Order Equipment

The next several videos I'm going to post are related to server documentation.

The first video in the series talks about what you can do before the equipment arrives.

What Do You Need To Document?

That's a great question. The answer comes from looking ahead and trying to figure out what you might want to know in the future. For example, I have a basic Server Spec Sheet in my Network Documentation Workbook that lists things like processor, RAM, number of hard drives, address of the NICs, etc.

Think about what you start looking at when you walk into a prospect's office and look at their server. What do you care about? What are you going to look for? That's what you need to document.

You do not need to document all the patches that have been applied, the DLL versions, or the rev on the graphic card bios. All of that is irrelevant to backing up the system, running remote monitoring, and doing regular maintenance. All those things are might be useful in some one-in-a-million troubleshooting job are thing you do NOT need to document.

... Having said all that . . .

Once you've decided on a server, received payment, and ordered it, you have a LOT of specs right in front of you. Print out the server description from the distributor. If you order something like the HP Smart Buys, you'll have a system with lots of details. If you have to configure to specs, or add all the pieces separately, then the details will be displayed as a series of line items.

Either way, you'll have a great piece of server documentation there. In fact, it will be filled with a lot more information than you need. But it will have the most important information.

Pretty much the only things you won't have at checkout will be the serial number of the machine you're going to receive and some details for accessing customize components such as the Integrated Lights Out MAC address, username, and password.

Now Add Your Own

We buy 1" manila folder pouches for each piece of equipment we sell. These are easy to organize. They also make it very easy to have all the related information, paperwork, and software at your fingertips when you're building the server or onsite at a client office.

Since you know the client's name and the scheme for naming machines, you can start now. Assign a name and IP address to the new server. Label that folder with the server name (the one shown here will be named Clapton). I made three labels: One for the folder, one for the machine, and one for the documentation spec sheet.

You might also print out a Network Spec form because it has a place specifically for the local admin password, IP addresses, and other information that's not part of the distributor's machine description.

Next week we'll talk about executing the New Server Checklist. That's your tick-by-tick list of procedures for everything from opening the box to delivering it to the client office.

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