• United States
by Greg Goddard and Curtis Franklin

Network configuration how we did it

Apr 19, 20042 mins
Data Center

How we tested the various network configuration management systems.

Our testing environment consisted primarily of these Cisco routers and switches: Cisco 3524s, Cisco 3550s, Cisco 3640s, Cisco 3745s, Cisco 6506s and 6509s, Cisco 7200s, Cisco 10720s, Cisco 12004s and Cisco 12008s.

Each product in the review had no problem correctly identifying most of the Cisco devices listed above. Cisco’s Supervisor Engine 720, on the other hand, is a fairly new device. Located onboard the Supervisor Engine 720 is an MSFC3, Cisco’s latest addition to the Multilayer Switching Feature Card family. We expected vendors to have quite a bit of trouble classifying and pulling configurations from these devices, and we were right. Vendors were notified that their products couldn’t classify these two devices, and subsequently they shipped patches to their device drivers.

On each product, the following considerations were taken into account:

•  Device configurations were changed to see how each product monitored and managed these changes.

•  Devices were restored to a previously known “good” configuration.

•  Noted compatibility with several vendors’ devices (heterogeneous network device support).

•  The ability to integrate with other network management platforms.

•  The ability to schedule future configuration changes and look up past configuration changes.

•  The ability to visually differentiate between configuration changes.

•  Whether a product could be used to better troubleshoot a network problem/outage.

Other evaluated items included the use of access control (assigning permissions to groups, individuals or administrators), additional security features, scripting support, auto-discovery of devices, installation, ease of use and documentation.