In modern data center things like IPs, user accounts, passwords, and such that you used to keep in Excel spreadsheets should be rolled into the management tools. That way, you always have the most current information. Static word, excel and the like are old news. Today you can see those things start to get rolled up into vCloud Director, OpenStack and others. But for now, most people are still doing Excel spreadsheets.
This is stupid. Please, At least use a wiki. Catch up to 2005.
Media Wiki is one that I’ve used for years. Its easy to install and do stuff and the syntax doesn’t take too long to learn.
Here’s how I set it up:
1. Download Media Wiki on your Linux Server
Go to Media Wiki and download the latest stable.
rm -rf *
tar zxvf media*
mv mediawiki-1.21.1/* .
rm -rf mediawiki-1.21.1
2. Installing the Linux Environment
Get PHP and mysql installed on your server. My server is a Red Hat 5.5 (yes, old ) virtual machine that I’ve had for about 2 years. I haven’t updated to 6.x. The easiest thing to do would be to install a new server. CentOS 6.4 might be good, but a challenge every now and then is fun, yeah? So to get it working, you have to have at least php 5.3.x. To update I had to just update my OS. Since I didn’t get my subscription set up right with Red Hat, I just figured I’d use CentOS to update. That was pretty easy. I just did this:
rpm -ql -p centos-release-5-9.el5.centos.1.x86_64.rpm # just to see what was in it, yep, its got the repo!
rpm -Uvh centos-release-5-9.el5.centos.1.x86_64.rpm centos-release-notes-5.9-0.x86_64.rpm # install repos
From here, I removed my older versions of php. This is just:
rpm -qa | grep mysql
rpm -qa | grep php
Then I used some:
yum -y remove
Then I updated everything:
yum -y update
This took a while. Finished, came back. Everything updated. Now I installed the right packages:
yum -y install php53 php53-mysql msyql-server php53-xml
There may have been several other RPMs that you’ll need as dependencies, but that should get you started. That’s how we got up. Don’t forget to now enable mysql and restart apache:
service httpd restart
service mysqld restart
chkconfig –level 345 httpd on
chkconfig –level 345 mysqld on
3. Configuring via the Web Interface
Once there, go to http://<yourserver>/
You should see:
4. Creating Content
Going to the next page it’ll start asking you questions and eventually you’ll have yourself a wiki setup. The thing I first started looking at doing was adding a table for IP addresses. It ended up looking like this:
This is good and helps us to know where things are. I started to create several pages for different VLANs. It could be updated, but I wish it was update in place. Not the best, but ok for now.
5. Editing Help
Go here: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Editing to see all the syntax to use to do cool formatting.
Finally, now you have yourself a wiki to keep things in. Welcome to 2005. You are awesome. No shared Excel spreadsheet with multiple outdated copies. Now you just have to get everyone to buy into using it. To do that: Be the example. Use it, refer people to it. Pretty soon they’ll catch on.
But there is a better way right? What could that be? The truth is, to manage effectively, you really need to integrate the information into your management toolset. Much in the way UCS keeps track of BIOS versions, settings, VLANs, etc, you need some kind of tool that does that. Today you can do that with OpenStack, vCloud Director, and some others. I’m still not sold on any of them at this point but as I start to play with OpenStack more, I hope to give more guidance and thoughts.