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Formulator Gives Easy Access

Formulator gathers and stores configuration files from network-infrastructure devices in an on-board Oracle database. From the same database it controls and tracks operator access to the infrastructure. Access to Formulator for administrators and users is supported by HTTPS (HTTP Secure), telnet and SSH (Secure Shell). The appliance proxies network-infrastructure access to assigned users, keeping passwords secret. And it provides a choice of read and/or write access to specific devices based on assigned user-access rights.

Users and operators access Formulator via an internal database, TACACS+, RADIUS or RSA SecurID. When the internal database is used, Formulator can audit CLI keystrokes. If one of the other external access methods is employed, Formulator can proxy access to network infrastructure and create an audit trail of who made changes and what was changed.

Additionally, entire configurations can be gathered, stored and restored automatically. You can view and compare current and previous configuration versions for one device or compare configurations among many devices. Furthermore, you can configure multiple Formulator appliances in a mirrored failover architecture to protect against a single point of failure.

Setting Up Control

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I tested Formulator in our NWC Inc. labs in Green Bay, Wis. After inventorying routers and switches in Formulator and setting up access and passwords, I opened a telnet into the appliance. This dropped me into a character-based menu from which

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