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Network Change Control System

The most boring, but also the most important task of a network administrator is documenting the network. Documenting your network can save you an enormous amount of time and money. The time it takes to document as you go along will be made up for many times over with time saved in the future. It is very difficult to troubleshoot a network while searching for the information you need to figure everything out.

A properly documented network consists of the following:

  • Floor plan and cable plant diagram
  • Equipment configurations
  • Installed applications.
  • License, warranty, and service contract information

Maintain a documentation database that can be accessed by technicians over the network. The documentation should be stored both electronically and in hard copy form. If you are having a new network installed, have the network installers include the cost of documenting their work in their bid.

The floor plan should document the location of every piece of equipment. The Cable plant consists of all the wiring. Develop a consistent numbering system to identify equipment and cables. All cables should be labeled and their location recorded on a floor plan.

Configuration Management

Configuration Management is maintaining records of equipment status and configuration. Equipment status is the tracking of which network components are working and which are not working. Some equipment may be sent out for repair. Other equipment may be serviced in-house and waiting for parts.

Configuration includes recording network adapter card types, resources settings such as IRQ I/O DMA, MAC and IP addresses, network protocols and binding order, server user accounts, groups, profiles, and passwords. If you document the configuration of you network equipment they can be restored in a minimal amount of time in the event of a crash.

Change control

Change control means keeping a record of every change made to the network. Changes include installation or replacing a network adapter, installation or removal of software applications, and applying software updates or service packs.

In larger network environments there is a change control group. You have to fill out a Change Request Form to be evaluated by the group. On a Change Request Form you enter the reason for the change, the date and time you plan to make the change, and what parts of the network will be down and the amount of downtime.

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