People who invest their time producing technical documentation listen that phrase quite often. It’s always nice to have your life’s work summed up in four straightforward words.

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The truth is, nobody in their ideal mind sits in a comfortable chair through their favorite drink and also reads a technical hands-on from start to finish or glances with depictions of your company’s server rack because that fun. Nobody reads documentation—until they need to. 

But, together you’ll discover from this article, there are numerous circumstances whereby network documentation will end up being essential in your organization. Find out what you must start documenting and what worth you’ll gain from this resources.

What is network documentation?

Network documentation is a technical record of the hardware, software, servers, catalog structure, user profiles, data, and how that all works together.

Network records should include any type of information the helps administrators and also IT specialists to save the network up and also running smoothly. This information have the right to be in any type of format you want (although you’ll watch that we recommend diagrams and other visuals for rapid reference and improved interaction with non-technical employees). 

What matters most is that the details is easily accessible and can be construed by every who need to refer to it. Using network diagram software application can help visualize the current and also future state of your network and enables you to create network diagrams according to industry standards.

Why perform you need network documentation?

Consider the following scenario:

You have actually landed a an excellent job with a great company together the head of that after the previous the head left the agency to pursue other interests. When you start, you accomplish with your manager who tells friend what is expected of girlfriend in this role. Her predecessor had actually done most of the groundwork because that ordering new servers and software to run the network. You are expected to act quickly to complete the orders and also implement the network changes.

Back in her office, friend look because that documentation the will aid you understand the network’s existing setup. However, you quickly uncover out that there is not lot documentation various other than a couple of notes here and also there. There is no that plan and also nothing that describes existing resources and also architecture. Friend can’t uncover anything the justifies the inquiry for new hardware and also software.

It takes you much more than 3 months to draw up plans and also to number out where everything should go. Just how much much easier would your job have been if your predecessor had taken the time to develop network facilities documentation?

Network documentation is important for the adhering to reasons:

Proper documentation can save friend from time-consuming research to resolve recurring problems.When everything is in place and also everybody adheres to the very same processes and procedures, consistency across the network help to alleviate problems and errors.You i will not ~ lose essential information when a knowledgeable employee leaves the company.The documentation helps you come onboard brand-new hires much more quickly.You have the right to troubleshoot her network much faster when issues come up.

In addition to providing thorough documentation, you should also try to make it a practice to for sure that an ext than one employee has actually all the knowledge. The way, you space double-covered as soon as your knowledgeable employee leaves since you have actually a reliable set of documentation as your backup.


Need more convincing? See how visual documentation can help you far better understand and communicate her cloud architecture.

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What have to you document?

Proper documentation must be created as girlfriend work. Nothing wait until everything is in place before starting to record what did you do it done. The much simpler to document in the minute than trying to remember what you did later. Make documentation a habit and make it component of her process. Nothing risk potentially embarrassing situations due to the fact that of the lack of network documentation.

But, what have to you document?

Your goal v network documentation need to be to ensure the your firm retains all the expertise that walk into developing the network and also how to maintain and also upgrade it.

You have to seek entry from your IT team, various other network administrators in various departments throughout your organization, and managers to determine what you must document. The following are simply a few examples that the varieties of information you must record to aid your network to continue to be in an excellent working bespeak (plus you’ll find templates to help you begin your own documentation).

Network topology

The topology is the physical or reasonable map of her network. It allows you visualize how the sources in your network are connected. Discovering the topology help you to determine where brand-new hardware deserve to fit in her network.

Basic tiny Company Network diagram (Click on picture to modify online)

Cloud architecture diagram

Whether her organization offers AWS or GCP, this diagrams visualize the materials within her cloud architecture. Cloud design diagrams can come in handy as soon as explaining the present state of her infrastructure, planning a future state, troubleshooting, and demonstrating compliance.

AWS net Application Hosting (Click on image to modify online)

Server rack diagram

This kind of diagram shows the company of tools on her server rack, including contents such as monitors, hard drives, strength strips, routers, etc. Server rack diagrams can assist you recognize the dimension of rack you’ll need during the design process but also see where computers and also other devices affix to the server as soon as you’re troubleshooting.

Server Rack diagram (Click on picture to modify online)

Hardware directory

This directory documents the hardware piece of her network and also should include information around serial numbers and also descriptions of physics configurations. This info helps you to locate and fix hardware troubles that occur.

Software directory

This directory represents your software application inventory. It lets you understand where all of the software program applications that room authorized for usage in your company are located, what the names of this applications are, on which computers they space installed, proof of software license for each application, and also service level agreements for those applications.

In large organizations, maintaining a software brochure can be a complicated task. Yet if friend are ever before subject come a software application audit, you will be glad you took the time to record what girlfriend have, whereby it is, and also how plenty of licenses you have so you have the right to prove that your firm is in compliance.

Wi-Fi diagram

You may discover it valuable to record or diagram how your wireless network is set out. The diagram have the right to include:

The variety of routers, switches, and servers provided in her wireless networkA map that physical accessibility points to aid you track under problemsRadiofrequency patternsSecurity measures such as employee and also guest SSIDs

IP resolve allocation

You should keep a detailed list of internal and also external IP address assignments to assist as you style network expansions and also recycle IP addresses to be allocated to various other locations. Documenting your allocation procedure gives friend an expertise of subnet size, subnet assignments, and also the tools that have actually been assigned to particular IP addresses or to a dynamic variety of addresses. This documentation help you to specify allocation criter going forward.

An asset management diagram can provide you a bird’s-eye see of her organization. This customizable theme can give your the team a rapid overview the employee location, legacy tags, physical Wi-Fi access points, IP addresses, software installations, and so on.

Detailed Office Layout instance (Click on photo to modify online)

Cable diagram

Documenting where and also how the cables run v your building can aid when troubleshooting and also diagnosing network problems. The diagram should map jack number to physical locations.

Recovery plan

Do you recognize what you are going to perform if you should restore lost data? just how do you keep data native failing hardware? carry out you know where her backups space housed? You require to document details of where back-up data is located, how often backups occur, which type of data it s okay backed up, and also how backups room accessed and revived to those who need it.

A step past a restore plan, a fault-tolerant system is draft to give you uninterrupted business in the occasion that one or much more network component fails. Also if you endure a catastrophic failure, the fault-tolerant system should let her employees remain productive and also working without any type of knowledge that there has been a device failure. 

A fault-tolerance plan should include:

An analysis of the business impact in the occasion of a failure.Outline potential threats and the impact they may have on your business.Assess how likely the is that these hazards will occur.Consider the effects if girlfriend don’t have a fault-tolerant plan in location (lost sales, shed productivity, shed development, and also so on).Planned redundancies. Duplicating whatever in preparation for potential tragedies can it is in costly. Be certain to understand which business-critical assets and also systems have to start up immediately. Allow the data and also systems that space not mission-critical wait come come back online after appropriate fixes have actually been placed in place.The place of your fault-tolerant system, whether in the cloud or on-premises.

Improve your documentation process

While it may seem favor no one reads your network documentation, network diagrams are crucial to expertise existing technology, communicating with stakeholders, onboarding new employees, troubleshooting issues before they escalate, and creating a vision because that future innovation.

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Get began with the templates over or learn an ext about how the diagram device can help your team v understanding complicated systems.