Happy new year….it’s back to work again for most of us lucky enough to have had some time off for the holidays, and that means it’s back to the grind.
If you’re a network engineer without good and up-to-date network diagrams and documentation, that probably means you’re back to fielding the daily headaches that go along with it: outages you can’t pinpoint, dependencies you can’t identify, crucial license and update information you can’t find, capacity issues, power costs skyrocketing, and management that wants everything you do in a day, week, month, and year boiled down into neat reports you don’t have the time or the insights to create. Happy new year, and bah hum bug!
Since it is the beginning of a new year, I’d be remiss if I didn’t blog about how network documentation and diagrams are far too often one of those things departments always say they’re going to get around to doing…and then don’t actually do them. Ooof.
Network diagrams and documentation are kind of like getting into shape: you have to commit, you have to make it a habit, you need the right tools to pull it off successfully…and, if you don’t achieve it…it’s not exactly the end of the world — until it is because your network (or health) is in a crisis.
If I could encourage everyone reading to make just a few work-related resolutions to really make it a happy new year going forward, these are the ones I’d choose:
#1: Enough Not Having Network Documentation & Diagrams
“No more wondering where my stuff is and how it is all connected. I will endeavor to have good docs to help me get things done more efficiently and effectively.”
#2: Ditch Excel and Visio
“I will implement a better solution if my Excel and Visio are not up to the task. I will journey down the path to a tool that will really help me keep up with my documentation tasks.”
#3: Create Sustainable Processes for Documenting & Diagramming
“I will build processes that will ensure my documentation is up to date and stays up to date.”
#5: Get a Six Pack
“ I will lose weight and exercise….” Ok, I threw that in to see if you were paying attention. Let’s not get crazy – you can make that a six pack of beer, soda, seltzer, kombucha, chocolate milk…if you make all the other resolutions on this list, you deserve it.
Bottom line? It’s a new year, and if you want to turn over a new leaf for your network, network diagrams and documentation are essential. Identify issues quickly (and prevent them in the first place), know what you have and where it’s all at (plus what’s attached to what), optimize power and capacity, and take back some control over your ever-growing IT ecosystem. It’s a jungle out there…arm yourself with some good network maps and documentation.