Wikis For The Win!
By ThinGuy on Jun 16, 2009
When the VDI 3 team decided that all the documentation for our new product would be done on wikis.sun.com, I really didn't give it a lot of thought. I'm a huge believer in and consumer of social media from blogs to twitter and I know the power they can have if used correctly.
After we released the product there was a lot of negative feedback on the documentation for a variety of reasons such as no access to the internet, not portable, etc. While those are valid concerns, I believe the primary reason for the negative feedback boiled down having to navigate something new. But honestly I was starting to have my doubts as some customers weren't happy at all. Maybe the world wasn't ready for wiki only documentation for a Sun product.
The VDI 3 team made the docs available in a PDF (Release notes included). However the purpose of this entry isn't about changing to PDF, it's about the real benefit of the Wiki format for documentation. Not to take anything away from the old documentation process, but in all fairness it is a slow process. Now consider this.
Recently we added support for Solaris 10 U7 with our first patch for VDI 3, this allows one to use a S10 U7 Server instead of OpenSolaris for the iSCSI/ZFS storage magic that is a huge part of Sun VDI 3. This morning a Systems Engineer asked this question:
Is somebody preparing instruction for Solaris10 Storage Server?
Within a couple of hours, this response came back:
I've added http://wikis.sun.com/display/VDI3/How+to+Set+Up+a+Solaris+Storage+Server
I could rattle off more 100 examples like that one for topics like clarification, errors, missing info, etc. Changes that used to take days, weeks, or months to make its way into the official documentation and out to the user base is now done in minutes. The response time is a credit to our great VDI engineering team, the agility is due to the wiki and the combination is a win, plain and simple. Many thanks to the Sun VDI team and the Sun Community Services Engineering team.