many of the benefits of Exchange Server 2010 documentation are obvious
and tangible, others can be harder to identify. A key benefit to
documentation is that the process of putting the information down on
paper encourages a higher level of analysis and review of the topic at
hand. The process also encourages teamwork and collaboration within an
organization and interdepartmental exchange of ideas.
is developed with specific goals, and goes through a review or approval
process, is typically well organized and complete, and contributes to
the overall professionalism of the organization and its knowledge base.
The following sections examine some of the other benefits of
professional documentation in the Exchange Server 2010 environment.
In today’s world of
doing more with less, the intangible benefits of good documentation can
become a challenge to justify to upper management. Some key benefits of
documentation include the following:
Producing the documentation to support a good Exchange Server 2010
implementation requires input from departments across the organization.
This teamwork encourages deeper analysis and more careful review of the
project goals. With better base information, the project team can make
more informed decisions and avoid having to go back to the drawing board
to address missed objectives.
Implementation projects are composed of several different stages where
goals are identified and key decisions are made to support them. It is
important to make sure these decisions and their supporting arguments
are recorded for future reference. As the project moves forward, it is
not uncommon for details to get changed because of incomplete
information being passed from the design stage onto the implementation
Life is ever changing. That might sound a bit philosophical for a book
on technology, but when it comes to people, we know that some of them
move on to other challenges. And that is when good documentation will
become an invaluable tool to provide information to their replacement.
This is equally true for the executive sponsor, the project manager, or
the engineer building the Exchange server.
Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Management
right documentation enables an organization to organize and manage its
data and intellectual property. Company policies and procedures are
typically located throughout multiple locations that include individual
files for various departments. Consolidating this information into
logical groupings can be beneficial.
Place documentation in
at least two different locations where it is easily accessible for
authorized users, such as on the intranet, in a public folder, or in
hard-copy format. Also consider using a document management system such
as Microsoft Office SharePoint Services 2010.
A complete design
document consolidates and summarizes key discussions and decisions,
budgetary concerns, and timing issues. This consolidation provides a
single source of information for questions that might emerge at a later
date. In addition, a document that describes the specific configuration
details of the Exchange server might prove very valuable to a manager in
another company office when making a purchasing decision.
All the documents should be
readily available at all times. This is especially critical regarding
disaster recovery documents. Centralizing the documentation and
communicating the location helps reduce the use of out-of-date
documentation and reduce confusion during a disaster recovery. It is
also recommended that they be available in a number of formats, such as
hard copy, the appropriate place on the network, and even via an
Financial Benefits of Documentation
Server 2010 documentation can be time consuming and adds to the cost of
the environment and project. In lean economic times for a company or
organization, it is often difficult to justify the expense of project
documentation. However, when looking at documents, such as in
maintenance or disaster recovery scenarios, it is easy to determine that
creating this documentation makes financial sense. For example, in an
organization where downtime can cost thousands of dollars per minute,
the return on investment (ROI) in disaster recovery and maintenance
documentation is easy to calculate. In a company that is growing rapidly
and adding staff and new servers on a regular basis, tested
documentation on server builds and administration training can also have
immediate and visible benefits.
Financial benefits are
not limited to maintenance and disaster recovery documentation.
Well-developed and professional design and planning documentation helps
the organization avoid costly mistakes in the implementation or
migration process, such as buying too many server licenses or purchasing
too many servers.
Baselining Records for Documentation Comparisons
is a process of recording the state of an Exchange Server 2010 system
so that any changes in its performance can be identified at a later
date. Complete baselining also pertains to the overall network
performance, including wide area network (WAN) links, but in those cases
it might require special software and tools (such as sniffers) to
record the information.
Server 2010 system baseline document records the state of the server
after it is implemented in a production environment and can include
statistics such as memory use, paging, disk subsystem throughput, and
more. This information then allows the administrator or appropriate IT
resource to determine at a later date how the system is performing in
comparison to initial operation.
Using Documentation for Troubleshooting Purposes
documentation is a record of identified system issues and the associated
resolution. This documentation is helpful both in terms of the
processes that the company recommends for resolving technical issues and
a documented record of the results of actual troubleshooting
challenges. Researching and troubleshooting an issue is time consuming.
Documenting the process followed and the results provides a valuable
resource for other company administrators who might experience the same