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Network Documentation

Noun
|
Sounds like: "net-work doc-u-men-ta-tion"

Network documentation is the information data center managers maintain about the devices in the data center and how they are connected in order to accurately plan capacity, perform failover analysis, manage virtual and physical connections, and quickly respond to outages. Network documentation improves uptime, increases the speed at which new equipment can be deployed, and enables data center managers to trace cables quickly via the documentation to determine the root cause of an issue rather than having to manually trace cables on the data center floor in the middle of an outage.

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model presents a conceptual framework that breaks down network communication into seven distinct layers. This model provides an organizational structure that is a helpful guide when diagramming and documenting the different functions and items in a network.

Layer

Function

Documentation

Layer 7 (Application)

Presents data in a user-friendly form

  • Applications
  • Version numbers
  • Support contracts

Layer 6 (Presentation)

Converts data from one format to another

  • Applications that require certifications

Layer 5 (Session)

Establishes, manages, and terminates connections between applications

  • SSL-enabled sites
  • Policies for enabling SNMP

Layer 4 (Transport)

Coordinates secure data transfer between end hosts

  • Firewall port numbers

Layer 3 (Network)

Routes data within the network and to other networks

  • Topology
  • IP addresses
  • VPN and RAN servers
  • WAN links

Layer 2 (Data Link)

Transfers data between two directly connected nodes

  • Topology
  • Hardware addresses

Layer 1 (Physical)

Physical devices and the connections between them

  • Topology
  • Devices (switches, routers, hardware, etc.)
  • Connections (patch panels and cabling)

Network Documentation with DCIM Software

Some data center professionals rely on outdated network topology diagrams and spreadsheets for their documentation, while Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software allows for more effective end-to-end network visualization to easily identify single points of failure and decrease troubleshooting time.

DCIM software makes it easy to document network items such as:

  • Carrier wide area networks
  • Core routing or switching equipment
  • Data circuits (ports, patch cords, and cabling)
  • Demarcation points
  • Edge switching (e.g., top of rack/end of row)
  • KVM and serial console ports and connectivity
  • Multiplexing equipment
  • Patch panels
  • Rack layouts
  • Servers with copper or fiber data connections
  • IDF closets

With DCIM software, network items can be married with other data center objects such as busways, cabinets, CRACs, environmental sensors, floor PDUs, power outlets, rack PDUs, and UPSs in a single pane of glass.

Want to see how Sunbird’s world-leading DCIM software makes it easy for you to visually document your network infrastructure in 3D? Get your free test drive now!

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WORD OF THE DAY:

Data Center Switchgear
A data center switchgear refers to the critical infrastructure component within a data center that facilitates the efficient and reliable distribution of electrical power to various equipment and systems. It typically consists of electrical switchboards, circuit breakers, transformers, and other protective devices, all designed to regulate and control the flow of electricity.
Learn even more about this term