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I started a new job about a month ago and I am trying to get a handle on the local network. There is very little documentation and the previous IT department personnel have all moved on, our "old-timer" has been here about 6 months and is mainly a programmer. The setup is basically an elaborate peer-to-peer with about 50-60 computers connected to 8 servers with about 5-6 switches. I still find computers sitting in closets running as print servers, being used as gateways of sorts, etc.

Where do I start? Are there any software, forms, databases, spreadsheets, anything, where I could get a feel for what I need to start doing?

I do realize a big start will be finding everything touching the network and documenting it. Any other suggestions?

Thanks for any help,
Tim

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Last Post by Bamahonky
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There is "OCS INVENTORY" which is a database type application. Also, GLPI, and I do believe these are free. These allow you to document, and/or add an agent to a machine which will document the services, packages, and other things on the server to the database. I'm sure that there are more things out there, but that's all I can think of atm from personal experience.

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This is not unusual as it may seem. I would recommend that you start with a high level diagram of the network by including the connection to the internet, router, switches, servers, then workstation subnets. Once you have the high level, connect to each system document a more detailed diagram. Continue this process through the network devices, as you move through you get more and more detailed finding additional systems.

Solar Winds has a free free tools to help you start, and of course, they have management tools, that are actually very good, for a fee. For such as small network, I wouldnt spend too much as this can all be documented with Visio and a spreadsheet.

I would view this as a great opportunity. Aside from the doucmentation, this is a great way to bring in standards, procedures, etc... into this organization.

With 8 servers and 60 computers, you should consider moving the management of the Windows network into a Active Directory.

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Thanks for your advice. Most of the tools I have looked at seemed to be geared toward domains and AD but maybe I can use some of the tools provided to get ideas what I should be looking for. We have discussed moving into a domain-AD type setup, when we get a better idea of where we currently are.

Jorge, I do think this is a great opportunity. The other two guys here feel the same as me, this can be a great thing if we can get our feet under us. We seem to putting out fires instead of moving ahead. Hopefully a little time to get things running smoothly and we can start making progress. For all three of us, this is our first, "real" IT job out of school. We know how we were taught to do things, now we get to figure out how they "really" work.

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I envy you. Those are the best types of projects. Once everything is working as it should, its no longer a challange, at least not for me. good luck.

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My first IT task was about the same. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. It was a little time consuming but all the sweat was worth it. After I collected all the data I used Solar Winds and Packet Tracer. Packet tracer was very helpful, if you have cisco products.

I may have over collected data, but I recorded everything down to the MAC address. Solar Winds also allows you to track uptime and downtime. Get a really good baseline of your current uptime. Then track the uptime weekly or monthly. As you change up the network it allows you and your bosses see the increase in uptime and cost savings. This data is also helpful when you go to your boss for a raise.

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