All of the configuration information that you gather or develop through the planning process must be given to the users so that they can configure their systems. You can distribute information with several techniques.
In Chapter 3 we discussed NIS, NFS, and configuration servers. All of these play a role in informing the user and in simplifying the configuration process. NIS supports several system administration databases that provide many of the basic configuration values. NFS can distribute pre-configured system files to client systems. Configuration servers, such as BOOTP and DHCP, offer every parameter needed to configure a TCP/IP system directly to the client. All of these are important, but they are not the complete solution.
The servers require that the client is configured to be a client. For NIS and NFS, the client must have a full basic configuration. Even BOOTP and DHCP require that the user know whether BOOTP or DHCP is being used so that he does not enter any incorrect values during the initial system installation. Therefore, the network administrator must directly communicate with the administrator of the end system, usually through written documentation.
To communicate this information, the network administrator will often create an installation planning sheet - a short list of information for the system administrator. A sample planning sheet for the workstation peanut, based on some of the topics we have discussed, provides basic configuration details. The planning sheet lists the name, address, subnet mask, the fact that DNS is used, and the fact that RIP is used on subnet 172.16.12.0:
Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
A similar sheet prepared for almond (see below) varies slightly from the planning sheet for peanut. The names and address are different, of course, but the real differences are caused by the fact that almond is a gateway. As a gateway, almond has more than one network interface, and each interface requires its own configuration. Each interface has its own address and can have its own name, subnet mask, and routing protocol.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP) (172.16.12.1)
Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) (10.104.0.19)
We use the information from these planning sheets to configure the systems in subsequent chapters. You may, however, want to format your planning sheets differently. In this book we configure the system directly. We use the configuration commands ourselves so that we can understand and master them. In reality many basic configuration tasks are performed by a network configuration script during the initial operating system installation. You may want to format your planning sheet to be compatible with the prompts of that script. One such script is netconfig, which is used on Linux systems.