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Beta for the Next Version of Network Configuration Manager is Available!

Level 18

We have completed the bulk of the development effort and are now focused on testing the latest release of Network Configuration Manager (NCM); NCM v7.2 has reached Beta status. This is your chance to install the latest version and provide feedback on the new features and fixes. Providing feedback during the beta is the best way to ensure that your feedback will be incorporated in to the release. To participate, simply fill out this survey and you will be sent the download links for the Beta. Remember, Betas cannot be installed in production and you cannot upgrade the Beta to any other future versions.

The following enhancement have been added to NCM:

  • Continue moving functionality from Win32 client to Web UI
    • Job management (Windows Task Scheduler not used anymore)
    • Config management (edit, delete, set baseline)
    • Possibility to test device login credentials
    • Import config from file
  • Provide End-of-Life information for managed devices.
  • Multiple global connection profiles
  • The execution of Config Change Templates can be scheduled.
  • Change Approval System enhancements
    • Approved requests to be executed at specified date/time
    • Approved requests to be returned to requestor for execution
    • Requesters can see a history of what they requested and was approved
    • Approvers can see a history of what they approved
  • SNMPv3 -- Support of AES-256 encryption
  • Make downloaded configurations searchable for IP addresses with FTS enabled.

Continue Moving Functionality from Win32 Client to Web UI

Job Management

The Job management UI has been migrated from the Win32 application to the Web UI. Jobs are executed within Orion Platform infrastructure; there is no dependence on the Windows Task Scheduler anymore.

The summary page allows you to perform basic tasks like create, delete, enable/disable, or edit a job. You can also inspect the log for each job.

NCM-Jobs-List.png

There is wizard that helps you with editing jobs. Schedule can be entered either using user-friendly, intuitive controls (basic setup):

NCM-Jobs-Scheduling.png


Or there is advanced mode that gives you more flexibility. If you are familiar with CRON, then it will not be difficult for you.

NCM-Jobs-Scheduling-Advanced.png

After you go through all the steps, you can review job details again to ensure correctness of the properties.

NCM-Jobs-Review.png

Config Management

You can edit config, delete it or set baseline in the Web UI.

NCM-Manage-Configs.PNG

Import Config from File

NCM node details page gives you the same options plus you can import config from a file.

NCM-Manage-Configs2.PNG

Possibility to Test Device Login Credentials

You can now test the assigned device login credentials when you edit node properties. The session is captured to help you troubleshoot problems.

NCM-Test-Credentials.PNG

Provide End-of-Life Information for Managed Devices

This lookup tool will search through nodes and return suggested results for End of Sales and End of Support dates. All results will need to be confirmed and assigned manually by selecting one or more nodes and clicking on the "assign" button. If no information is available, there is an option to manually enter data and assign it to a node, or quickly bulk assign to a selection of many nodes.

You can filter the data according to different parameters and export the results as an Excel sheet or a CSV file.

NCM-EoL-Summary.PNG

You can either assigned the EoL item just to a single node,

NCM-EoL-Assign.PNG

or select multiple nodes in the Bulk Assing menu.

NCM-EoL-Assign-Bulk.PNG

Multiple Global Connection Profiles

You can define multiple connection profiles in NCM settings. Some of them can be marked as "auto-detect" (see below).

NCM-Connection-Profiles-Summary.PNG NCM-Connection-Profiles-Edit-Profile.PNG

The connection profile can be selected on the node properties page.

NCM-Connection-Profiles-Edit-Node.PNG

If you select "Auto Detect", NCM will try all profiles marked as "Auto Detect" in the setting when connecting to the device.

NCM-Connection-Profiles-Auto-Detect.PNG

The Execution of Config Change Templates Can Be Scheduled

You can choose "Schedule" as execution methind for Config Change Templates.

NCM-CCT-Review.png

Config Change Templates are scheduled as any other job.

NCM-CCT-Job.png

Change Approval System Enhancements

Approved Requests to Be Executed at Specified Date/Time Or to Be Returned to Requestor for Execution

You specify date and time or chose "Return to requestor" when requesting approval in the Web UI. Requestor's view on the left, approver's on the right:

NCM-CCA-Requestor.png NCM-CCA-Approver.png

Approvers and Requestors Can See History of the Requests

NCM-CCA-Summary-Approver.png

SNMPv3 -- Support of AES-256 Encryption

This is an extension for better security; applicable especially to inventory reports.

Make Downloaded Configurations Searchable for IP Addresses with FTS Enabled

You can search configurations for IP adresses in the Web UI while using Full-Text Search.

NCM-Search-FTS.PNG

12 Comments
Level 14

Currently it is possible to have the Config Change Check job run multiple times a day, is this still possible with the Web-ported version?

Level 18

Yes,

You can define such scenario using advanced scheduling option. See example:

NCM-Jobs-Scheduling-Advanced2.png

Regards,

Jiri

Level 11

Install of beta fails.  SQL express installs, but will not connect, and connection to production DB server will not allow the creation of a new database.

Level 18

I'll ask engineering team to work with you on this one.

Level 12

Can the config search use regular expressions?

Level 13

Jiri - Keep it up - looks good.  I like the jobs being in the web interface now, and the Grouping options look good too.

is there ANY way to customize any part of the email results of the jobs created in the Job Management screen?  specificly, I have a request to change the FONT to a sans-serif type/style font.

I am not talking about the "Custom Reports" we create ourselves, but the canned jobs/reports.

Level 18

Unfortunately, it's currently not possible to change the font.

Jiri

Level 14

I would like the ability to have a delay between commands sent using a Config Change Template.  I am constantly running into issues running these templates when my devices (mostly NX-OS this happens with) prompt for a response.  When I use ssh after upgrading the NX-OS for the first time, i get the RSA yes/no question and my template messes up.  Or when prompted for a password when performing a scp/sftp file transfer.  The ability to add a delay between commands with a variable would most likely fix this as I can add the response that the device is expecting into the template.  Even if the delay had to be applied to all commands, I could deal with that too.  I have created automated templates for all types of IOS upgrades, but I have trouble with NX-OS because of the lack of a delay when prompted for the SCP password and scp RSA yes/no.  NX-OS is the future for Cisco, so a way to automate the upgrade of NX-OSs is a must.

I cannot use scripts in my environment for the way I "deliver" content.  I "design" and "develop" preconfigured NPM/NCM SolarWinds servers for sites to install for their specific environment.  I must make the install and use of SolarWinds as simple as possible for them.  I preconfgiure everything down to inputs for the configuration wizard, before it runs, in the registry and preconfigured SQL databases with prepopulated settings in tables.  I also must make configuration changes to devices very simple, so that almost anyone can do it.  I use the configuration templates to greatly reduce operator error.  I develop templates that are sent out and imported at multiple sites using NCM.  The templates allow me to have simple variables that the users must input into to.  All the "configuration script lines" are done in the background with the templates.  The more that can be done with these templates, the better the functionality of SolarWinds.  These templates are the way to go for the whole SolarWinds community.  We can share these templates to the whole community and make NCM that much better.

The "Script Results" section should show everything that is sent back from the device.  The ability to write in....if the device returns this, send this command....would be great too.

Another feature I feel like I've been waiting on is an SSH client that at least comes with NCM.  NPM/NCM needs to have ssh functionality that is available to use at least from the server.  Telnet just isn't used anymore.  Not really by anyone.  From the web would be nice too.  And yes I know about the toolset and use that too, but it is not feasible to install and pay for a toolset for the server, when all I need from it is the ssh peice.  The biggest reason for the ssh client on the server is so that I can ssh to the device and type yes to accept the ssh key, so that SolarWinds can actually use the templates.  It is also good for testing ssh to the devices from the server.

Level 14

I do like how much NCM is advancing.  The more functionality that can be added to the web frontend, the better.

Level 10

Good news!! I like the following features. We will install this version and use all features weekdays. Also we can edit almost everything (login credential, node management and finally job management) on web console!! thanks

  • Multiple global connection profiles - It was really important for the configuration management and you did!!
  • Possibility to test device login credentials  -  It was really important for the configuration management and you did too!!

Change Approval System enhancements

  • Approved requests to be executed at specified date/time
  • Approved requests to be returned to requestor for execution
  • Requesters can see a history of what they requested and was approved
  • Approvers can see a history of what they approved

  • Provide End-of-Life information for managed devices.
Level 18

Thank you for the feedback.

Jiri

Level 18

Thank you for the feedback.

Jiri