In this blog post, we give a short summary of this week’s webinar about automated server documentation with SysKit.
Webinar hosts Frane Borozan and Silvio Rahle explain how to audit IT assets, generate detailed server documentation, and track system inventory changes with our server monitoring and administration tool.
Silvio, the SysKit product marketing manager, will guide you through an overview of SysKit and hold a demo presentation explaining SysKit’s Automated Server Documentation feature. For those of you who are new here, be sure to view the Features Overview part.
For a more detailed overview of all SysKit features, refer to Introduction to SysKit 2016.
Table of contents:
The webinar was led by Silvio Rahle, product marketing manager, and questions were answered by Frane Borozan, SysKit product owner.
Server Asset Management
Without an automated server documentation tool, tasks like keeping up with server inventory can become a nightmare.
The main reason why a lot of sysadmins consider server documentation a hassle is because if done manually, it requires a lot of hours.
Things get slightly easier if you can write your own PowerShell scripts and retrieve the information you want. However, that also takes time and a certain amount of effort. With each new addition to system inventory, keeping track of IT assets and auditing their changes become harder and more time-consuming.
Audit Hardware and Software Inventory
Struggling with keeping up with your IT assets? Whether you have a Citrix, Windows or VMware environment, here’s what SysKit can do for you!
SysKit covers four large segments of server inventory, as follows:
- Hardware: Track hardware assets, such as CPUs, disks, network adapters, printers, etc.
- Software: Track software IT assets and security updates installed in your environment.
- Local Users and Groups: List all Local Admins on your server.
- PowerShell Reports: Use PowerShell scripts to generate more specific server documentation reports.
How to automate your server documentation with PowerShell
SysKit has numerous reports that are able to retrieve documentation specifics, and those are only the ones we have built in.
You can download more scripts on our SysKit repository, or you can write your own PowerShell script and import it to SysKit.
Combine SysKit and PowerShell to get the most out of your server documentation!
How can you import a PowerShell script? Click the PowerShell tab and select Create; copy and paste your script and—voila!
Now, if you really like this SysKit feature, here’s another video that might interest you—Frane Borozan explains PowerShell usage management in full detail in the how to automate your server environment with PowerShell management demo.
Detect System Changes and Compare Server Inventory
Be aware of what’s going on in your environment: any changes made to the settings, your upgrades status, and if there are any Windows updates available.
So, here’s a familiar scene:
The servers on which you have been working for the last couple of days stopped working for no apparent reason. Oops . . .
How can you tell why it stopped working and what caused the malfunction? Someone changed something, and you have no clue what. Without server documentation, you’re going to have to grease up your elbows and get to work.
But. . . if you have SysKit, navigate to Compare Wizard and compare two different inventory snapshots or two different servers.
Compare two different inventory snapshots if you are interested in changes that might have occurred in your system over time. For example, check if hard drives changed in the time between the two snapshots. Were any updates installed that might have compromised the server? Or maybe some wise guy though it would be a good idea to disable the Windows Update service on all computers.
Compare two different servers to track whether different computers have the same configuration or not—that way you won’t go bananas trying to trace any differences. Instead, SysKit will highlight any differences between the SP1 and SP2; for instance, if SP2 is missing certain security updates.
Here’s what else SysKit can do for you:
- Track all system changes in your server environment.
- Compare configuration and documentation on different servers.
- Send alerts when potentially harmful and undocumented inventory changes occur.
Q: What are the requirements for the PowerShell scripts to work in SysKit?
A: You need to have the PowerShell remoting option enabled. Check that on the Administration tab in SysKit when adding a server. The application will list whether the PowerShell remoting is enabled. Once you enable this feature, you will be able to have full control over that server within the SysKit interface.
Q: Where can I find the predefined SysKit reports?
A: Start SysKit and navigate to the Inventory Reports section. Among these reports, you can find hardware reports with all disks or partitions installed on every server, their size, and free space as well as network adapters and printers. Also, there are software report listing installed applications on each server with their version, publisher, and installation date. SysKit can list all Windows updates that are installed or available for installation on your servers. The Services reports all services on your servers, stopped or running, with all the needed details, like Startup type, logon type, and service description.
For more information, refer to the Inventory Reports help article.
Q: Will I receive an alert if a PowerShell script is executed successfully?
A: Not at the moment. However, the SysKit product team is working on this, and it will most likely be available in the next release. You will be able to receive an alert if you script returns or if the job is taking too long. Basically, we’ll implement all sorts of alerting options when it comes to PowerShell.
In the Q&A section, Frane mentioned an interesting question regarding alerts on tasks you perform with PowerShell scripts.
In the next few weeks, with the next SysKit release, you’ll be able to create your own alerts about PowerShell scripts; for instance, if a PowerShell script fails to return data. Imagine you’re monitoring SharePoint sites with a custom written PowerShell script, and the sites are loading more than fifteen seconds, due to rendering and the network. In this case, SysKit will send you an alert.
Another example is the monitoring of the SharePoint search service. You can get a report if the crawl takes more than fifteen minutes. SysKit will send you an alert that the crawl is taking too long and that you should check it out.
That’s it for this week’s webinar!
If you have an eye on a specific feature, download SysKit and check it out during a 30-day trial. Also, if you wish for certain features to be explained in detail, leave a comment in the comment section or send us a suggestion, and we’ll make a special webinar to cover that topic.
Or, even better, we’ll arrange a personalized demo just for you, for free.
Since this is a complex topic, we’ve written a bunch of stuff on the matter of automated server documentation—check it out below!
- Server Documentation with SysKit (video)
- Change management using Automated Server Documentation (blog post)
- 5 ways SysKit helps you monitor server inventory (blog post)
- Remote Server Management with PowerShell (blog post)