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Network Device Configuration Management Products

The trio of products we tested helped manage our lab devices -- but our Editor's Pick is the best choice for shops that want to improve change control and implement


Network Device Configuration Management Product Features
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Testing Across the Miles

Our test bed comprised a diverse group of about 100 devices in both our Syracuse, N.Y., and Green Bay, Wis., labs. Remotely managing most of those devices was a breeze, thanks to the products' behind-the-scenes support for telnet, SNMP, SSH and TFTP for access. In fact, device support in general was no sweat. As you can see in our comparison charts on pages 68 and 70, the configuration managers we tested have grown to support switches from most major vendors; our leaders even handle firewalls, VPNs and load balancers. There hasn't been much movement toward combining systems and network configuration management, but some do gather basic Linux and Unix systems information. Opsware's Network Automation System and AlterPoint's DeviceAuthority support MySQL, Microsoft SQL and Oracle, but CatTools lacks database support.

Policy enforcement and production control have taken the biggest leap since we last looked at this product category (we tested budget-priced offerings in "Controlling Change, Cheaply,", and enterprise-class suites in "Driven to Conform,"). For example, AlterPoint's DeviceAuthority and Opsware's Network Automation System let us define policies and ensure compliance with them.

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