Out of date documentation is a bane to system administrators. Bad documentation can almost be worse than no documentation. One way to improve your documentation is to make it visual. This makes it easier to understand at a glance and also means there is less typing to document the information. I always find it helps to remember that documentation might be for you now or others in the future.
You can create a network diagram or a rack diagram to show how data flows or where your servers, switches, routers, UPS are located. To improve the quality of the diagrams, you can use official stencils of your hardware instead of the standard images.
To take advantage of these shapes/stencils, download the .vss files and extract a copy to the My DocumentsMy Shapes folder. You can create a folder structure below there to keep them organized. When you launch Visio and work on a new diagram, under More Shapes, you will see ‘My Shapes’ which pulls from that directory under My Documents.
Microsoft offers several stencils for Microsoft Visio that you can download freely.
- Network equipment shapes
- SharePoint Server, Project Server, Search Server, and Office posters
- IT Pro posters
- Visio Educational shapes
- Exchange Server 2007 shapes
- Enterprise Service Design template
- Data Center template
- Network Diagram template
VisioCafe includes a variety of free Visio stencils that are detailed to specific manufacturer equipment. You can browse by manufacturer and see various shapes within that category. The site also includes useful links to official stencils from manufacturers and organizations such as this link to Cisco’s collection or FireEye along with community sites and contributions.
ShapeSource is similar to VisioCafe but provides free and paid Visio stencils.