Redmine - concepts of maintenance SA docs

Sun 15 January 2012 by admin

It's nice to have an easy way to document and track our SA activities. Moreover for me easy means semi or full automated tasks, how we can do that ?

In my previous company I was working in small SA team, we were responsible to maintain over one hundred servers located in whole country. Installation of these servers was mostly automated but documentation about hardware configuration and some specific software installation was preparing manually. One of the approach to replace manual preparing documentation is to use some project management software, which consist of issue tracking, wiki, calendar, documents, git integration etc. One of my favourite software in this area is Redmine [1]. It gives me ability to put some automation via Redmine API [2] or send email to convert it into issue [3]. Let's define a simply scenario of  installating and maintaining server:

You create simple script to add new issue related  when you install new server, it will fill up all necessary fields ( or add some custom fields [4]), puts report of hardware configuration (gathered by i.e. lshw [5])  and vendor user manuals to git repository. Status of the new issue is set to new, after delivering and installing server at client site, you can close this issue. Redmine automatically associate this issue with previous git commit of docs files [6]. When you get service request with this particular server, you start with looking for issue and reopen it. You will get all service history related to this server, after acomplished request you put some notes and once again close this issue. It gives you consistent way to maintain request with time tracking feature.

Redmine also provide some other useful features like wiki documents which i.e includes some of your knowledgebase. You can setup in Redmine couple projects, one for dev team and second for SA team, so you get only one tool for all your IT stuff ;)

I’m curious which other solutions are in use to help maintain documentation ? ;)