I have a project which involves collecting config data from windows servers in our (very large) server estate. My manager wants me to collect over 150 data items across all configuration areas including network config data, disks, registry values, BIOS version, dll versions, you name it. The server support team currently use a nasty vbScript script which is massive, messy and has been passed around and grown organically over time. The script is currently used to collect the data and produce a very basic flat HTML report with a column for each of the 150+ items it collects data for. My job is to tranform it into a proper software solution with new bells and whistles, a website, reports etc.
The idea is a sys admin will go to an intranet website, puts the server name in and presses the go button, the solution collects the data and pushes it into the DB for reporting later.
My manager wants the solution to collect the data, some of it referencing known desired values (e.g. RAID card drivers for ABC model servers is at v220.127.116.11) to see if they are correct or up to date, store it in a SQL database, and then use the front end web site for producing reports. In the reports, he wants it to be able to compare two datasets; for example, one for server ABC123 and one for server DEF987 in one report, highlighting any differences between the two.
It gets messy pretty quick as some data will be collected for on some servers but not others (domain controllers wont have data collected about exchange services running status). There are many miscellanous items which don't fit into a data model area and don't really have a home ... it's a mess.
I'm ok with collecting the data (using .Net), but I'm at a loss as to where the best place is to do such things as store and lookup/compare items to good known values (XML, DB?). Should I do it as part of the data collection phase and then push it into the DB. Or should I marry it all up as part of the reporting data?
I'm going with a data warehouse (de-normalised) schema for the DB. There will probably be about 20 tables which the data will need to be pulled from, so I have no real idea what the best way to compare the dataset from one server data collection, with another, with such a massive set of fields to compare.
What do you guys think my best options are for approaching this project and the architecure of the solution?