Every organization, every network and IT administration team is looking for a network configuration management solution. “Why?” you ask. An enterprise network is a composite of uncertainties that can impact network performance and availability at any time. Even a minor change in network device setting can upset your network performance and cause it to shut down, or worse – open up a security chasm.
A network configuration and change management (NCCM) solution can help you monitor changes in device configuration and automate manual change management and configuration backup and update tasks, thus contributing to improved operational efficiency and lesser network downtimes due to the impact of unauthorized config changes. Let’s take a look at 5 key considerations to select your NCCM solution.
#1 REVIEW PRODUCT FEATURES & CAPABILITIES
A good NCCM solution should be able to:
- Perform device discovery scans and logically organize devices
- Build, test and bulk deploy standardized device configurations
- Monitor network devices for config changes, and send real-time alerts for unauthorized and erroneous changes
- Back up and restore device configurations
- Manage configuration changes, approvals and deployment scheduling
- Provide rich compliance and status reporting
Review the product features, and even evaluate the product before you make your purchase decision. Ensure the above features are all present in the NCCM tool.
#2 MAKE SURE YOUR NCCM SOLUTION WORKS IN A MULTI-FUNCTION, MULTI-VENDOR ENVIRONMENT
Networks are becoming more heterogeneous and your NCCM deployment should be able to support managing different network devices and types from a wide range of manufacturers.
#3 SEAMLESS MANAGEMENT OF UPGRADES AND OBSOLESCENCE
NCCM does more than just alert on config changes. It manages your device change management and should support manage routine tasks such as firmware and OS upgrades all the way to device EOL management. You should be able to receive notifications on when a manufacturer will end support for a device, helping you to support contracts and prepare badgers and plans for replacing EOL devices.
#4 MAKE SURE YOU CAN EASILY DELEGATE AND MANAGE TASKS
NCCM helps specialized network teams do more work concurrently with greater standardization and speed. Your solution should be able to
- Logically organize devices by location, function, or other grouping
- Create team roles and permissions
- Support concurrent use
- Proactively notify when problems exist and what work needs to be completed from the configuration and change workflow perspective
#5 INTEGRATION WITH OTHER IT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Look or an NCCM solution that supports a common view of the network and system naming, can share events and inter-process details. The objective is to allow you to have all your IT management tools work together as a single framework so it reduces management overhead and becomes easy to view cross-functional data together from one single screen – network performance monitoring data along with configuration details of network devices.
Watch this short video to understand more about network configuration management and what best practices your NCCM solution should be able to offer.