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Network documentation and cable management

VARs and networking consultants are often asked to make decisions for their customers that will have consequences down the line. Good documentation on these decisions, including the reasons behind them, can not only protect a channel pro's relationship with the customer, but also their reputation in the industry. However, keeping that documentation can be a difficult and time-consuming chore. Cable management software can make the process quicker and with fewer errors.

VARs and networking consultants are often asked to make decisions for their customers that will have consequences down the line. Good network documentation on these decisions, including the reasons behind them, can not only protect a channel pro's relationship with the customer, but also their reputation in the industry. However, keeping that documentation can be a difficult and time-consuming chore. Network cable management software can make the process quicker and with fewer errors.

Network administrator documentation

Most administrators -- especially those in small to medium-size businesses -- think of "documentation" as a diagram, usually in Visio, that depicts how servers and routers and switches are connected either logically or physically. This is the "who, what, when and where" documentation.

Notably missing, and critically important is the "why". In the future, VARs' decisions and designs will be judged based on the current environment, not the environment when it was designed. This can result in those decisions looking very poor.

When documenting the "why", be sure to answer the following questions:

  • What decision did you make and when did you make it?
  • What constraints played a factor?
  • What alternatives did you consider, and why were they not selected?

Read more on the benefits of good "why" documentation for channel pros.

Document your network cabling

Cable management software packages are designed to address the problems associated with careful documentation. They integrate information from the varying formats present (blueprints vs. Excel spreadsheets), maintain internal consistency of data and keep track of both individual and end-to-end connections.

Cable management software makes updating documentation a quick and easy process, increasing the likelihood that the task will actually be done. But don't wait for an emergency. The best time to install and begin using cable management software is when the network is first installed. If that time has passed, make the necessary effort now, before an emergency.

Read more on cable management software packages.


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