Why you should automate IT documentation

Too often I catch myself and other IT guys creating manual documentation. This implies taking screenshots of remote desktop sessions, getting all details correct, wrestling with Word layouts etc. Putting this information on a paper is passé and… a waste of time. Time you could spend on your actual job. Besides, will anyone ever use it?

When somebody needs to verify how a configuration is set, I see very few people searching for the documentation. Instead, most of them are digging into the actual configuration and it makes sense.

In most cases the documentation is outdated. Even after a little configuration change without updating the actual documentation, the document is no longer trustworthy.

Creating an installation and configuration document is like taking a picture of the environment. The information is correct at a certain timestamp. Since we create live workspace environments, the configuration is always changing. But our documentation remains static… You can see the problem…

So, what should your IT documentation look like?

  • Easy to create
  • Updated on the fly or at least at a certain frequency
  • No burden, you should focus on the actual implementation

In other words, let’s automate IT documentation!

Since every IT professional is a victim of documentation every now and then, I am definitely not the first to come to this conclusion. Carl Webster and his contributors for example, spent numerous hours working on the many documentation scripts, which are freely available, for both personal and commercial use.

Carl Webster made a great collection of scripts that cover a lot of ground. I didn’t make any static overview of these, which would clearly not support my point here 🙂 But, I can assure you that there are documentation scripts available for the following vendors:

  • Microsoft (AD, DHCP, DNS, SCCM, GPO,…)
  • Citrix (XenApp, XenDesktop, PVS, Storefront, Netscaler, …)
  • Nutanix
  • VMware (vSphere, …)

Go and have a look at his website: http://carlwebster.com/downloads/

If you’d like to say thanks, please consider making a donation to keep them going! Or contact them to contribute your own scripts!

2018-03-29T08:53:50+00:00 March 29th, 2018|

About the Author:

Stefan Rasschaert, Consultant at SecureLink Belgium
SecureLink Belgium