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For starters, because every switch and router uses TFTP to update the OS images necessary for patch management, even basic products include embedded TFTP servers, accessible from within a GUI. This makes uploading and downloading OS images somewhere between a right click and a drag-and-drop. Configurations are retrieved using good old telnet or SSH and, more often than not, SNMP. SNMP is used to set a target in the switch's or router's built-in TFTP server, which then is sent the configuration. Frequently, Web interfaces are being applied to configuration-management products, but you'll likely find such interfaces only on enterprise versions.
Note also that basic configuration management isn't just about keeping errors out of the network. It's also about making sure the configuration that's running is the one you think is running. The configuration app's interface should display the devices and all their associated configurations. These include configurations currently running on the device, those that have been uploaded into the configuration software and those that have been modified. There are two ways to get devices into the configuration software: Define the IP address, telnet/SSH access and SNMP community strings for each device, one by one; or import a CSV file formatted with the same information. Autodiscovery of devices is left to enterprise products, but that's no great loss because they suffer from the same errors that plague network-monitoring products (see "Ping Me ... We'll Do Lunch,").
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