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Network Configuration Management

Network Configuration Management: A Comprehensive Overview

A computer network can involve many different components and a lot of data. Network configuration management is the process of maintaining all of this in a reliable, effective way.

This is all done through a network configuration manager, which manages the entire lifecycle of network devices and configurations.

Implementing a proper network configuration management process improves the reliability, security, and overall performance of any network. This is essential for any organization that relies on a complex computer network.

This guide explains exactly what network configuration management is, how it works, and what different processes are involved in proper configuration management.

What Is Network Configuration Management? 

Network configuration management is the process of organizing, monitoring, and controlling the configuration settings and parameters of devices within an organization’s network infrastructure. Every device on the network needs to go through the network configuration process during its lifecycle.

Network configuration management is done to ensure all of the devices connected to the network function and are configured properly. This is a critical IT support function.

If a network needs to be repaired, upgraded, modified, or expanded, then the network configuration management database will have all of the information needed for the task. This database will hold the IP address or network address of all the different hardware devices on the network.

The database will also hold essential information about the network devices, like default settings, programs, updates, and versions of the network computers.

Network Configuration Management

Why Is Network Configuration Management Important? 

The purpose of network configuration management is to keep the network working efficiently and reliably. This process also maintains network security by enforcing a consistent, standardized configuration system across all of the devices in the network.

By managing different network aspects like IP addresses, access control lists, routing protocols, software versions, and VLAN configurations, the entire network will be streamlined and run a lot more efficiently.

With proper network configuration management, administrators can quickly identify any changes made to the network, which reduces network downtime.

Network management ensures that all of the hardware components and software versions in the network are up-to-date. It then becomes a lot easier for people operating the network to identify the need for software or network add-ons/changes.

Tasks Involved In Network Configuration Management 

Efficient network configuration management involves a range of different tasks. Let’s break down what this typically includes.

Configuration Discovery 

Configuration discovery is the process of identifying and documenting all of the different configurations of network devices. This is done to understand how the network is configured to provide greater visibility and accessibility of the network.

You can identify and document this manually, or use automated discovery tools to speed up the process.

Configuration Repository 

This is the term for when you create a centralized repository, or database, to store and manage all of the network configuration files.

Having all of this information centrally located makes it easy to access network configurations when needed. Managing version control and backups also becomes a far more efficient process when everything is centrally stored and managed.

Network Configuration Management

Configuration Change Management 

As per the title, configuration change management is when you implement a clear system to deal with any configuration changes. This process involves documenting any change requests, evaluating the potential impact of any proposed changes, and making sure that a proper testing and approval process is in place before any new changes can be made.

With a proper configuration change management plan in place, the network will be managed a lot more consistently and safely.

Configuration Compliance 

An essential part of network configuration management is making sure that all aspects of the network meet the right compliance standards. This involves monitoring compliance across the network and enforcing compliance based on the configuration standards and policies that have been put in place.

Network configuration managers must perform regular network audits and checkups to make sure that all devices meet the right configurations and security guidelines. This process can be streamlined by running automated checks on the network.

Backup And Recovery 

Good practice in network management is regularly backing up device configurations. This keeps them safe against any possible malicious changes.

If any configuration errors, equipment failures, or security breaches take place, having the device configurations backed up will make it easier to restore.

The configuration backup and recovery process should be implemented on a regular, occurring scale.

Configuration Automation 

Using automation tools and scripts is a useful way to speed up and streamline this entire process.

Network Configuration Management

You can apply automation to tasks like provisioning, verification, and deployment of configurations. Not only does this improve efficiency, but using automation tools also reduces the risk of human errors – which makes network configuration management a more effective process.

Network Configuration Management Systems 

One of the main features of network configuration management is to replace the functions of a network device if the device fails.

Different network devices save their configurations in different formats, which makes it tricky to find and configure information about a specific device when it needs replacing. By using a network configuration management system, the configuration information is stored in a central server This means all device configurations can easily be downloaded.

Various network configuration tools can be used to assist this process. Configuration management tools are designed to relaunch devices after they fail. However, these tools can also perform functions like tracking configuration data, performing bulk changes on the network, and creating detailed network reports.

Conclusion 

It is essential that your organization has a proper network configuration management strategy in place. As we have learned in this article, a reliable and effective network configuration management system has the power to improve the reliability, security, and overall performance of any network.

And when you have a reputable service provider, the integration of this process is seamless. Get a quote, and see for yourself how Stellar Communications can add value to your business.

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