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We are working on a project that will require the creation of new file servers and a migration of countless years of legacy data. Part of that legacy data is this random collection of IT staff files and folders that were used at one time (perhaps nine years ago). Before we move these items, we were looking for a way to create a new/better file and folder organizational structure on the new file server. This would allow for easier maintenance of the files over the next number of years and help new system administrators coming into our team understand where this software utility is stored, where a particular script is located, or that random operating system ISO. I have read some about some ideas from this posting, but they do not seem to fit the needs of what we are looking for. I was curious what type of folder and file layout structure that you all have found to work the best in your organizations. Thank you in advance.

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I guess what I was really looking for was an example layout of a directory structure that people are using and what they would change with it if the could, etc. We are starting from ground zero and needs some ideas for best practices on layout and design. Thank you for all of the ideas so far. –  John Mar 5 '11 at 1:19
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You should consider leaving the existing structure intact, as links (and references to files and folders in existing documentation) will be invalidated if things get moved around.

I'd recommend ghettoizing that whole tree into something like an /oldstuff folder, and use some indexing/searching software to build a search engine for it instead. You can copy/link things from oldstuff into a logical location outside the ghetto once you are sure all the documentation refering to the files by path have been updated.

Of course, place all the new stuff into a well organized tree.

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+1 leaving the existing structure intact. Consider using hard links to instantiate the files in your newly chosen organizational scheme. –  AndyN Mar 4 '11 at 17:47
    
We do not have any formal documentation that references these old files. The documentation issue is a separate project that I am working on. I guess what I was really looking for was an example layout of a directory structure that people are using and what they would change with it if the could, etc. We are starting from ground zero and needs some ideas for best practices on layout and design. Thank you for all of the ideas so far. –  John Mar 4 '11 at 22:28
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Actually one of the answers on that link makes perfect sense.

documents/
incoming_downloads/ (before you ask.. yes.. _legit_ downloads)
media/
media/video/
media/video/movies/
media/video/tv_shows/
media/video/tv_shows/some_tv_show/
media/video/standup
media/video/etc..
media/music/
media/images/
media/images/various_subfolders/
code/
virtual_machines/
tmp/
backup_links/
backups/

But, I would add sub-folders for other things you mentioned like scripts and ISO's.

Also another folder I would add is an Archive, within it, I would again make all of these folders for the really old stuff. Some people even make year folders under the archive, this can help as well. Other then that, making folders with distinctive names or even better making a text file within each folder naming and describing the contents would help with quicker seachers.

HTH

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This has worked well for the small business that I work at.

  • IT Data
    • Clients
    • Configuration (ex. static IP address assignments)
    • Credentials
      • External (ex. vendors)
      • Internal (ex. local admin passwords)
    • Development
    • Inventory
    • Projects
      • Complete
      • Current
      • Planned
      • Somebody
    • Software Licenses
    • Strategy Plan
    • Website

YMMV.

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It's sometimes a hassle to maintain, but we try to keep two folder heirarchies:

The first one is, roughly, current reference information:

  • information on servers
  • current versions of software we use
  • network documentation

The second one is stuff that's naturally date-dependent:

  • project plans
  • budgets
  • notes on work done
  • meeting minutes

When we can, we copy of some of the reference documents into the date-dependent directories so that we have snapshots of how things were. We try to do this once per year so that we have e.g. a snapshot of our PC inventory each year, a snapshot of our license documents, etc.

So for your situation, I'd just stick all your current files in a directory called something like "IT files from before 2011" and leave them there. Maybe even mark them as read-only.

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