December 2, 2022

How do I create a baseline for configuration comparison in Network Configuration Manager?

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Setting up networks manually has been a hellish task and considering the size of networks these days, it’s safe to call it a nightmare. Setting up a configuration for a large network is really tedious and consumes a lot of valuable time that could have been used elsewhere. If you’re a large business, you need to worry about more than network configuration. Devices connected to the network must also be taken into account and therefore, doing all this manually is almost impossible and there will always be errors that appear. To help you in this regard, configuration managers have been developed by several development teams that help you manage the configuration files of your network devices.

Network Configuration Manager

Solarwinds Network Configuration Manager (Download here) is a similar tool that allows you to track real-time configuration files on your network along with many other features. Having a configuration management solution is important because the whole behavior of your network depends on your configuration, but you already know that. Therefore, a slight discrepancy in your network configuration files can cause a network outage that you definitely want to avoid in this competitive world. Therefore, implementing a configuration management tool or network configuration management solution is a high priority when it comes to network maintenance and monitoring.

Network Configuration Manager

Solarwinds NCM is a tool that enables network automation, saving you from manually going through the hassle of setting up devices on the network. Besides configuration backups, NCM allows you to ensure network compliance by creating a basic configuration file which results in a better understanding of the network. The NCM tool integrated into Network Performance Monitor by Solarwinds, enabling even better functionality. It also helps in monitoring your configuration so that system engineers are notified whenever there are unauthorized changes.

In order to follow this guide, you will need to ensure that you have deployed the Network Configuration Manager tool on your network. The installation process is quite simple thanks to the Orion platform. Just download the tool from the link provided above (they also offer a free trial) and run the installer. The rest of the procedure is explained in detail in the installer. Follow it and you’ll have the software running on your network in no time.

What is a baseline model?

Baseline template is a template that defines trusted configuration files or part of trusted configuration. Configuration baselines compare the configuration of other devices with itself, then notify network administrators of any anomalies. This is useful for network maintenance as it sets the standard of configurations across different device configurations, which helps you ensure network compliance. You can assign the baseline to devices to be notified of any configuration changes, or compare it with any updated configuration to see what has changed in the configuration file.

Creating a Baseline

Creating a baseline consists of three basic tasks, namely defining the contents of the baseline template, specifying the lines to ignore during a configuration comparison, and finally assigning the baseline. based on devices. There are three ways to define the contents of a baseline model. First, you can promote an existing configuration to baseline, then make the necessary changes. Second, you can choose a file that resides on your server and finally, you can simply create a baseline and then paste the content into the baseline. So without further ado, let’s get started. Follow the step-by-step instructions to create a baseline.

  1. If you want to promote an existing configuration to baseline, go to My Dashboards > Network Configuration > Configuration Management. Once there, click on a node to expand the configurations associated with the node. There you can promote any configuration you want by clicking on the Promote at Baseline option.
    Existing configuration files
  2. You can also choose a file on the server as a reference. To do this, go again to My Dashboards > Network Configuration > Configuration Management. There, click on the Basic management tab then click New baseline. Provide a name for the baseline and a description if desired (optional). Click it Browse to select a file on the server.
  3. If you just want to paste the contents of the baseline, click Dough instead of Browse button and just paste the baseline content. After that, click on the Save button.
  4. After that you will have to choose which rows to ignore during the configuration comparison. To do this, choose one or both of the available options, i.e. Apply global comparison criteria and Picking out ignore lines.
    Lines to ignore
  5. If you choose the Apply global comparison criteriayou will need to specify your comparison criteria by clicking on the View/modify your comparison criteria option.
  6. Finally, click Assign to Nodes on the New basic configuration page that will allow you to assign the basic configurations of the device.
  7. After that, choose the nodes/devices you want to assign the baseline to.
  8. Under the Apply To section, you can choose the states of the devices to which the baseline is compared.
    Assignment to nodes
  9. Now click on the to safeguard button to save your selections.
  10. Finally, press the to safeguard again to save your baseline.

Editing the Baseline

Once you’ve created a baseline model, you can make any necessary revisions whenever you want. To edit a baseline, simply go to the configuration management page via My Dashboards > Network Configuration > Configuration Management. After that, head to the Baseline Management Tab and there select the baseline you want to edit. From there, you can modify the baseline as needed.

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