Keeping Documentation Straight – The What (Spoiler: It’s Evernote and RackTables)
So in my previous post, I talked about the “why” of keeping documentation straight. You don’t want one person being the link in the chain that would cause a serious headache if they weren’t there when you needed important information. So now let’s talk about what we use to keep our documentation straight.
In a world where Google search reigns supreme, we often no longer think about documenting things because they are just an internet search away. But what about those things within your company that only a few people really know how to do, or the tricks that make things work? Neglecting those types of this can be dangerous.
For Data Cave, we have to keep extremely good notes about how everything in our facilities realm works along with stellar notes about all of our various networking. This task can prove to be very tedious, but has saved us more than a few times.
For general notes and documentation we have turned to Evernote, a cross platform (for the most part) note taking and syncing app that has really found a place in the corporate world as of late. The Evernote team seems to work very hard on making things work the way that most people would want them to. Having a good work flow while trying to get everything in your brain on to paper is VERY important and evernote does its best to help.
I’ve been using Evernote for several years personally, which is free to do and only has a monthly syncing limit. Other than that you can sync as much as you’d like to the Evernote servers, where the data is stored and backed up. So when we decided to move to Evernote Business I was already familiar with the interface and enjoyed using it. We keep all sorts of facilities and networking notes in there, as well as many networking diagrams. And a beautiful side effect of documenting is that your entire team ends up having knowledge beyond their scope of work. But drilling down into specific network devices and keeping all of our IP addressing and other various networking world items straight we use an open source application called RackTables.
Racktables has gotten better and better of the last few years and proves to be the easiest way to keep every bit of the network side of our facility straight, especially for the price! We can select a device or circuit and trace every stop it makes on its way to an end point, which can be very helpful when you’re trying to hunt down a problem. It also keeps a lot of information about various hardware which makes tracing down a stray MAC address as simple typing it in the search box and hitting enter.
The importance of being organized and streamlined in a data center can’t be over-stated. We try our best with the tools we use to make the most of every bit of knowledge we have, and we’re always open to suggestions on how we can do stuff better. Leave a comment and let us know what you use for the various aspects of your business life!