My company has tons of disparate databases - Oracle, SQL Server, and (shudder) MS Access - lying around, and the CIO wants to bring in a third party to track them all down and document them. But, rather than having them just give us a big ole ERD, my manager (who is writing the project's requirements) wants to specify that the findings be given to us in some useful format. We were thinking Visio, but that's just a big ERD that's zoom-able. Any suggestions?
This might be compounding the problem by adding an extra item to the list, but how about a database? You have a set of entities (databases, applications, user groups, servers and other network resources) with obvious relationships (user group A relies on application B, application B refers to database C directly, application C exports data from database D to file E, application B imports file E into database C, ...). You might sub-divide the data in the databases too (if both database C and D have personnel data and that is what is transferred in file E, perhaps that data subset should be an entity in its own right).
For each entity you probably have a fairly well defined set of properties you care about to: databases will have a type (SQL Server, Access, ...), a core location (server+instance), servers have hardware specifications, physical ages, relationships with other servers/resources (for backups and such if nothing else).
Of course there is a lot of information that you will want to include in such an audit (where does a database get backed up to? who has what sort of access to a given server/instance/db? where is documentation held and who is responsible for maintaining it?) so designing this database could become a project in its own right so might be overkill unless there is an off-the-shelf solution you can beat into the shape you want.
ER-Assistant. Great ERD, very small and compact. 620Kb total. Its basic plain black/white ERD's but some like that.
Its free and uses Crows foot notation, but windows only.
Another popular choice is Workbench from my research. Here is the link.