First off let me introduce myself - My name is Josh Kittle, @ciscovoicedude on Twitter, and I'll be one of the Thwack Ambassador's for the month of June. I'm honored to have been selected to participate in this wonderful community, and look forward to the dialogue to come.
I first started managing infrastructure devices circa 2000, and I quickly learned that keeping track of how each and every device on my network was configured was going to be a very important task. Not just from a ‘just in case’ standpoint, although I have to admit that I initially approached this need from a ‘backup’ viewpoint, but also from a ‘what’s changed since X’, or ‘how did we have this configured when it worked 2 years ago for this other customer’, and let me tell you - the need for configuration management has never lessened, it has only grown exponentially.
Early on, I used client-apps such as (and including) the Kiwi Cattools product, which worked for a while when it was just me, but as my networks grew from 5 - 10 devices to hundreds of devices, and the number of people interacting with the network infrastructure grew, so did the need for capabilities for configuration management.
As time passed, I went on to write many of my own tools using scripting languages such as PERL and PHP, combining this ‘go fetch’ capability (thanks to perl modules like Net::Telnet::Cisco::IOS) with back-end database services running on mySQL.
So my question for you is this - what tools and / or processes have you developed to deal with network configuration management, and have they changed much over the years, or are you doing the same things now that you were doing in years past?
I’ll talk more about some of the specifics of how I’ve approached the use of these tools in future posts.