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Does anyone know of a good program, web service, or CMS for documenting servers, IP addresses, logins, and network?

Only requirement it must run on and from Linux.

And it is just for a small network of 10-15 servers.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Could you provide a little more information on scope and size?

Unless you're talking enterprise-grade networks, a wiki might suit your needs. It'll also enable you to add more than just what you mentioned, like documentation for setting up whatever server(s) or application(s) you run.

Or are you looking for inventory software?

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Sure. It is just for a small network of 10-15 servers. A wiki sounds very good. I don't know inventory software. I was wondering what others do, because right now I use a spreadsheet, and that is not working well. –  Louise Hoffman Apr 29 '10 at 11:27
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A wiki will be perfect. At my internship we used one as well, probably a similar amount of servers but only 4-6 people working there (virtualisation testing lab). Right now we put everything in excel and word documents on a server... let me tell you, it's a pain in the ass to find anything, and most of it is outdated. We're moving back to a wiki in the near future, hurray! –  HannesFostie Apr 29 '10 at 11:32

This kind of thing normally needs more than one application or system but if I had to pick just one I'd always choose a database. Because I'm mainly Windows I use MySQL for the database, which can run on just about anything, with a Microsoft Access front end. I don't know what would make a good front end on Linux though as I've yet to see one I like.

The main reason I like to use a database is because of the tremendous flexibility if offers. Search, sort, do whatever you like with the data. You're also not tied down to any particular format. Simply create a structure that suits the way you want to store the data, rather than trying to shoehorn it into something unsuitable.

My second choice would be a wiki. In this case I always go for MediaWiki, simply because it's more flexible and better supported than anything else. Plus it's absolutely child's play to install and configure. This also gives good searching power but generating reports from a wiki can be a real pain.

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wikimatrix.org and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_software should help choose what wiki software to go for. You really do want to look at this before installing, because with mediawiki you can't deny certain people access to certain pages, for instance. At least not by default, and creating a secure solution for it yourself is hard enough as it is. –  HannesFostie Apr 29 '10 at 11:23
    
One of the many things I like about MediaWiki is that although it has some limits out of the box there are add-ons to add just about any functionality one might want. –  John Gardeniers Apr 29 '10 at 12:51

you could always try OCSInvetory-ng www.ocsinventory-ng.org in conjuction with the glpi www.glpi-project.org ocs inventory agent is easy to install and will collect all the information on all your network machines including software and registry details. this can all be synced into glpi which can provide a knowlegebase and helpdesk features.

plus its all prity well documented and open source. available for multiple platforms

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I had used Foswiki. Its really good documented, mature (fork of Twiki), have lots of plug-ins and my favorite, its a Wiki with WYSIWYG, which means that u obtain the benefit of a collaborative platform but without the hassle of learning some "wiki markup language" (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Formatting). If u really want people to help collaborate on the documentation, don't make them learn some of the many wiki markup languages, simply give them a easy to use User Interface!

Additionally, FOSWIKI provides great access control for users and categories. Totally recommended.

Hope it helps,

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I'll second the suggestion of a wiki. An alternative like setting up Drupal would also work, but is probably more hassle & complexity than it's worth for your use-case.

Since you have the requirement that it run on Linux, I'd strongly suggest that you use one of the wiki's that is already packaged for your distro of choice. MoinMoin and DokuWiki are very commonly packaged and as an added bonus have no database requirement (they work on flat files) which should make it very easy for you to get up and running quickly with minimal fuss. Moin is written in Python and Doku is written in PHP.

For a more involved set up, you could always go with MediaWiki -- it runs Wikipedia so it will certainly handle your needs, but it is also a lot more work to administer and is not always packaged for a given distro. MediaWiki also requires a database to function.

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