How would you go about documenting a server?

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How would you go about documenting a server?

Post by w00tburger » 2016/10/04 18:11:47

Hello all. I have been dropped into an environment where we have inherited a large IT operation which contains little to no documentation on our server environment. The general feel of the system is that its about 80% linux, 20% windows. Over the next few weeks, I have a colleague that is to parse through this entire system via SSH, and attempt to figure out what the system does from the inside out.

Now there are a hundred ways to skin a cat on linux. But I am wondering if there are ways that some of you have dove into a linux system and dumped the guts of what it is actively doing. I am curious to know if there are some methods that may speed up the entirety of the process as I have well over 800 to traverse through (granted, this can be automated but id like to see where you all check w/certain commands).

What are some of your methods?

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Re: How would you go about documenting a server?

Post by Clovis_Sangrail » 2016/10/27 21:54:14

Well, there's always the old "Turn it off and see who complains about what" method. :)

But (slightly) more seriously, I'd look at what's enabled in 'service' or 'systemd' as the case may be, What's writing log files, what's on top in 'top;, and finally what's not a system process in 'ps -ef'.

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Re: How would you go about documenting a server?

Post by wdsouth » 2016/10/30 16:55:30

From my experience it's also a good idea to come up with a way of easily updating the documentation as new discoveries are made or changes implemented, perhaps a PHP or HTML system would be a good idea as you can easily update the documents. Unless you are going to be using some easily accessible Word/LibreOffice document, for evergreen documentation I like either HTML or static text files stored on a server for easy access/updating.

Good luck and keep us posted, I enjoy reading about these sort of projects :D

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Re: How would you go about documenting a server?

Post by MartinR » 2016/10/31 14:52:33

I'm in the midst of migrating documentation for my cluster from various Open/Libre Office documents to Dokuwiki. It has the advantage that all storage is in ASCII text files, so backups and archiving are trivial. The basic Dokuwiki is in epel-6, I'm not sure of the epel-7 position. Plugins can be downloaded that enable you to generate standard format pages from forms - ideal for repetitive node documentation. All pages (including those so generated) can be edited through a GUI interface and there is provision for ACLs to determine who can read or edit what.

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