enterprise architecture documentation tool

Subject: enterprise architecture documentation tool
From: Carol Chung <cch5ng -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 11:48:13 -0800 (PST)


I'm writing documentation for an IS group. I've been
asked to look for the following:

"I would like you to look into software vendors that
offer configuration management solutions that include
a sql db backend, some type of front end for entering
software/hardware information for servers and the
network topology, and if it even exists, a way for the
data to translate as system architecture diagrams in
Visio automatically."

The end-goal is to be able to start and maintain
documentation for multiple servers (machine level and
application level) with information such as the
following: server name, hosted applications,
application database connections, latest Win service
pack info, application interface diagrams. The
environment is mainly Win NT with C++, .NET, BizTalk,
SQL Server applications and services.

Has anyone worked on a task like this (for a few
hundred servers or more) and do you have any tools to
recommend? Any advice (other than run for your
life...) for the least painful way to embark on such a
task and recommendations for how to best maintain such
documentation? What format of deliverable did you use
(my feeling is that if this info can be captured
dynamically, a web page is better than a document)?
How much of this information did you find could be
captured by writing a program versus manual


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