To simplify the collecting and presentation of patching and equipment audit information.
To create an application to collect, correlate, be searchable, store and present the information online (and offline if possible).
Recently our company has undertaken several projects that require the collection of IT equipment and patching information. The challenge working with this amount of data is the guarantee of accuracy and the various perspectives of the device relationships.
Traditionally this information has been collected and presented using spreadsheets, however this arduous and ineffective.
During the last the survey NZ Data implemented a system of giving every device a code (QR Code). That QR Code is used as a reference point for with the collection of the data for that particular device. The QR Codes were categorized as follows
PPL - Patchpanels
SVR - Server equipment
NWK - Network equipement
CAB - Cabinet / Racks
PWR - Power related devices
OTH - Other
The QR Code categories prefix was then sequentially incremented (e.g. SVR-0001). Although not 100% required the categories provide a quick visual confirmation of the device type when looking through the documentation.
What has been noticed in the correlation of the data is inconsistencies of the data collected and errors (single ports appearing to be patched to disparate devices). Also to be considered is the confidentiality of the information being collected and thus not being able to access the information through an unprotected website.
So the first goal is to ensure that the information collected is accurate. I believe this can be achieved by having to follow a process were the information entered into the application from inception. For example..
You want to audit the patch on a network switch (NWK-0001). Before you can trace any cables you need to follow this order..
1. Enter the device details into the application
* Cabinet QR Code it is mounted in
* Location with in the rack (RU position front, rear, hot side cold side, left, right)
* Orientation (Vertical, Horizontal) **note** good time to mention default values
* Device Brand, Model, Serial Numbers
* Number of ports and type of ports (RJ45, LC, USB)
* IP Information
* Anything elseâ?¦
2. Enter in the details for the devices / panels connecting to the switch..
* The switch will attached to a patchpanel (PPL-0010)
* The switch will be connect to a power rail of power point (PWR-0002)
* The switch may have the console port connected to a terminal server (SVR-0007)
3. Enter in the details of those connections..
* NWK-0001 port 1 connects to PPL-0010 port 14
* NWK-0001 con 1 connects to SVR-0007 async port 3
* NWK-0001 psu 1 connect to PWR-0002 outlet 5
When entering the data although you can type in the results (for speed) the application will only allow you enter in an interface that is either already existing (from the device information) and has not already been allocated **note** mention it is possible to have single interface to multiple interface relationships, need to discuss how to tackleâ?¦
The idea behind using QR Codes was to add a technological advantage over our competitors. We had to give every device a reference number in order to make the connections between devices easy to understand. With the added ability of being able to use iPhone, or equivalent, to confirm the devices details which are embedded into the QR Code.
I would like to expand this further to have a URL embedded into the QR Code that would link the user to a database that will illustrate all the connections the devices have (from that device's perspective). We will still retain high level information embedded in the QR Code, but for everything else the database will be queried.
As I expect in most cases the clients are going to want to have it local to their secured networks. We will need to have a way of creating client by client urls to embe
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