Network Operations Guide

Scott Francis darkuncle at gmail.com
Fri Aug 31 15:25:26 UTC 2007


On 8/22/07, michael.dillon at bt.com <michael.dillon at bt.com> wrote:
[snip details on keeping e.g. IP assignment data in databases]

> To an IT person this all may sound rather crude and hardly any better
> than just keeping a bunch of spreadsheets, but they probably never have
> to deal with the consequences of dirty and inconsistent data.
> Spreadsheets tend to breed. They get copied around in email and pretty
> soon, people make mistakes and throw away the updated version, not the
> old one. Or other people, building a new spreadsheet think that person X
> has the definitive spreadsheet with all the latest IP address
> allocations, not realizing that this is a second hand copy of another
> master spreadsheet, and person X only gets a copy whenever an upgrade
> project completes, every few months. Meanwhile, operations is busy
> rationalising PoP layout and all the subnetting changes but nobody
> writes it down except in the one project managers planning spreadsheet.

good suggestions, although I did want to point out that the
authoritative source of truth does not necessarily have to be a
database (at least not initially). Current $employer uses sharepoint,
and as distasteful as I find the borg-like tendencies of the MS
software environment, this tool actually seems to work fairly well
when used in conjunction with the rest of the MS toolkit. Single
authoritative location for information, supports revisions,
checkout/checkin, etc. We currently maintain IP allocation data in a
fairly involved spreadsheet, and while I can definitely see that we'd
have more flexibility if it were in a database with  some kind of CGI
frontend, this has served fairly well thus far ...

since everybody knows that there is only one place to find whatever
the spreadsheet is, they tend to just go check out the current version
through their web browser rather than trying to get a copy of whatever
from somebody in email (also helps that there's a fairly small set of
folks - less than 40   - that would ever have any interest in that
data). But then, we're also not an NSP/ISP, so YMMV.
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