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Just plain scary...

Level 12

It never ceases to amaze me when I talk to companies that run large networks and don't even have the most basic of configuration management systems in place. I talked with some guys today that run a network with over 100,000 routers, switches, and firewalls and do all of their config changes by hand and don't have an easy way of backing up the device configs. I've been there - and it's a scary way to live...

I think the reason for this is that so many of us have had horrible experiences with traditional configuration management solutions and we'd rather live with the fear of doing nothing than live with the nightmare that these systems can become. Look at this way - the number of companies that don't leverage a configuration management application is high. The number of companies that have never purchased a configuration management solution is low. Therefore, there are a lot of companies that have spent money on configuration management solutions and then decided it was easier to stop using them.

I normally don't push product in this blog, but ff you're in this position you really need to take another look at some of the products out on the market today. While my opinion isn't exactly neutral, my obvious favorite is the Cirrus Configuration Manager that we offer here at SolarWinds. You can download a free evaluation copy from our website and try it for yourself. There are some pretty good open source tools out there as well, but for the money Cirrus is well worth the investment for what you'll save in time implementing an open source app.

Flame on...

Level 15

NCM is a great tool.  I remember years ago working for a client and had to configure 400 firewalls, 5000 switches, and 100 routers all in the same physical building, and I had to hand configure each one.  I was not allowed to template settings and definitely was not allowed any sort of automation.  Today's tools make things some much better.

The cost of a single important site being down for extended periods due to not having automated backups & config comparison reports should be more than enough to justify NCM.  I've had it save my bacon numerous times, and it's clued me into changes my peers have made when they've not notified my team of their work.

It's a nice thing to look at that morning report and see what changes were made yesterday, not to mention if you have Real Time Change Management enabled.

NCM is the best insurance I've found for reducing and preventing ulcers.