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Mr. Management: Slow Train to Config Management

Despite all the progress vendors have made in other areas of network management, such as fault and performance, configuration management hasn't progressed all that much in the last 10 years. For many IT managers, that's been reason enough to stick to buying a single vendor's equipment and attempt to use whatever proprietary management that vendor offers. But without a third party to turn to, we'd have little leverage to keep an infrastructure vendor from painting us into a single-company corner.

Reliability Matters

Leverage, though, is secondary. The lack of a single point from which to manage configuration means having to ensure manually network policies and the services that rely on them. This raises costs and reduces reliability--the real price of fractured configuration management.

It's ironic that network management application vendors have expended so much energy attempting to back into network topology to improve root-cause analysis. Their discovery algorithms search MIBs and protocols to determine how devices are connected, but if they could easily read the configuration of each device, the results would be much more reliable.

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