As many of you have pointed out it’s been a while since the last version of SYDI was released. Darrin left a comment saying that the world will need an updated SYDI for new products like Windows Server 2008, SQL 2008 and Exchange 2007.
I have some good news, some bad and some thoughts of the future.
The Good News
First of all the good news, I’m still developing SYDI. I’m working on SYDI-Server 2.1, most of the work is concentrated on the sydi-overview script. I’ve added a service comparison tab where you can compare all services on your machines. I have planned to include installed programs as another tab. Another feature request I’m often asked about, which I want to include in 2.1 is scheduled tasks.
The Bad News
The bad news (from a SYDI point of view) is that my time is very limited, and I’ve chosen to spend my free time in other ways than to code on SYDI. Another issue aside from lack of time is that when I started writing SYDI back in 2004 I was working mostly with Microsoft technology. Though I still work with Microsoft, these days I spend most of my time working with Cisco products. In terms of scripting I’ve written a few cool tools for Cisco devices. So if you like Cisco and if Netsafe, my company, decides to release the tools it might make you happy. 🙂
SYDI in the Crystal Ball
So what does the future hold for SYDI, these are things that have not yet come to pass and might not, it depends on the issues I mentioned in the bad news and how motivated I am to spend time working on SYDI. That being said I still love SYDI and want to see it grow. 🙂
SYDI-Exchange, I don’t really see much develpment with SYDI-Exchange. My reasoning is that I would like a SYDI-ActiveDirectory instead since a lot of the Exchange information is stored in Active Directory anyway it makes sense. The SYDI-ActiveDirectory would collect all the information needed, and there could be a script for reporting an Exchange organization. Perhaps combining a report based on SYDI-ActiveDirectory with specific server reports from SYDI-Server for the Exchange Servers?
SYDI-ActiveDirectory, what I see for SYDI-ActiveDirectory is perhaps one or two collection scripts and several reporting scripts. This could be reporting for OU structures, Group Policies, Delegation, Exchange, Sites etc.
SYDI-Server, I’m quite happy with SYDI-Server as it is. I have some thoughts on adding more specific information. For example I’ve seen that you can download WMI providers from Dell, it would be cool if you can do some reporting on RAID controllers on Dell servers I haven’t looked closer at this yet though. Reporting from the Security Center would be good to have.
SYDI-SQL, first off I’ve thought of just releasing a 0.9 version and fixing a small bug which makes the script crash for a lot of people. I’ve just not gotten around to it. Other than that SYDI-SQL is probably the script I like the least and I don’t actually use it much myself. What are your thoughts on this? Is SYDI-SQL something you want to see more of?
Visio, generating Visio diagrams from SYDI-ActiveDirectory and SYDI-Server would be cool.
PowerShell, I’ve received some queries about using PowerShell and giving vbscript the boot. The short answer is that I would love to. However there are some issues with PowerShell and Office if you’re living outside the US (or at least if you use non US Regional Settings). There are workarounds but they are a hassle. Before I see a good solution to this problem I won’t be writing any reporting parts in PowerShell. With that being said I have thought of breaking up the scripts in smaller parts. I have thought of having separate scripts for collecting information and writing reports.
XML Format, if you know XML you’re probably not blown away (in a good way) with how I’ve designed the XML format in SYDI. I’ve had some thoughts on throwing the out the old format and creating one that is much more generic. This would help not only me but other people who develop tools for SYDI.
InfoPath, I have some thoughts about the xml files used with ss-xml2word.vbs. As it is now you have to edit the “written” xml file directly in your favorite editor. It might be cool if you could do that in InfoPath or something which would let you see the data as you typed the information. Perhaps this could be done in Word too. I’m not really sure how I want to do it, but all the people in the flash demos I’ve seen on InfoPath seem so happy. Any thoughts?
Database backend, since I started developing SYDI I’ve gotten questions about storing SYDI information in SQL format. My thoughts are that XML is the default format but that it should be easy to convert back and forth between different formats. One thought I’ve had with the database is if you’re just supposed to have one view of your data or if you want to have snapshots so you can go back and forth in time and see when changes occurred. A database could also store the information which is used as the “written documentation” in ss-xml2word.vbs. I want a database design which can include all information about Windows computers, Active Directory and perhaps other aspects of the network. However I don’t want countless tables. Perhaps I need a database design book for Christmas.
SYDI-WindowsMobile, well I have a new HTC TyTN II phone and I have to do some scripting against it. It might not be SYDI though 🙂
Licence inventory, I have some thoughts about using the data collected from SYDI to handle licensing for some customers. I’ve thought about having some frontend in MS Access 2007.
Living in the now, better support for Vista & Windows 2008 and other current Microsoft products.
Script Signing, I will be adding digital signatures to the script files I publish in the future.
Network Documentation Guides, in general I want more written tutorials and guides for network documentation on the SYDI Project site. I’ve been planning on writing a few pieces.
Other projects I’ve thought of which might be cool but which aren’t on the map yet; SYDI-PKI, SYDI-Sharepoint, SYDI-ForeFront, SYDI-ISA
SYDI-Linux, if you have any important projects which are depending desperatly on the next version of SYDI-Linux. Well, God help you!
Sorry for not answering your emails!
As I stated earlier, my time is limited and I just haven’t had the time to reply to all the emails I’ve gotten from you users. Still I love getting email from you, though I have to say some days it’s not healthy for my ego.
Anyway I will try to get through my backlog and reply to your emails.
How you can help with SYDI
Darrin also asked about pitching in and giving me a hand with SYDI. Feel free to suggest how you can help and what you are willing to work on. However keep in mind that I might be a bit restrictive with what I decide to add. I don’t like code that I don’t understand or that I’m not able to verify. So if your code depends on some special hardware I might not include it, that is if you don’t ship the hardware to me so I can test it.
Translations, with ss-xml2word.vbs it’s easy to have a localized version of the SYDI-Server report. I’ve received a few which I will be including in SYDI-Server 2.1. If you want support for your favorite language just send me a translated xml language file. Send me an email if you’re unsure of what to do.
Tell your friends, tell your friends about SYDI. Most of my motivation to code on the project comes from seeing how many people use the project also the feedback I get is great. So spread the word.
Link to SYDI, aside from telling your friends another great way to support the project is to have a link to SYDI. So if you have a website or a blog, let other people know that you use SYDI by linking to SYDIproject.com.
What do You want?
If you were sitting in Santa’s lap what would you want from SYDI?
What are your thoughts on this post?
How can SYDI be improved?
What crazy ideas do you have, what would you kill for?
How can the sydiproject.com website be improved? Should there be a section for feature requests? Forums? We have this at the project site at SourceForge, but I don’t really like that format.
Send me an email or better yet leave a comment below so others can comment on your thoughts.