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Full Network Configuration Manager Network Management System review – all you need to know about Network Configuration Manager NMS

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What is Network Configuration Manager?

Network Configuration Manager (NCM), designed and developed by ManageEngine, is a multi-vendor network change, configuration, and compliance management (NCCCM) solution for different network devices such as routers, switches, and firewalls. The complete life cycle of device configuration management is automated and controlled by Network Configuration management.

The solution helps network administrators in tracking user activities, scheduling device configuration backups, and spotting changes by comparing configuration versions. This solution also helps in real-time change management. You are enabled to monitor various configuration changes, receive instant notifications, and also block unauthorized changes. Thus, you can make your networking environment safe, secure, compliant, and stable.

With the help of Network Configuration Manager, you are able to define standard practices and policies. You can also inspect device configurations for any violations. To ensure device compliance, it helps you in applying remedial measures. It saves your valuable time by automating time-consuming and repetitive configuration management tasks. With the help of NCM, you can apply configuration changes centrally to many devices in bulk.

Network Configuration Manager offers an integrated change and configuration management solution for devices from different vendors. Some of them are Cisco, D-Link, Force10, Juniper, Foundry, Dell, Huawei, Yamaha, Fortinet, and NETGEAR.

Benefits

The benefits of using Network Configuration Manager as an NCCCM solution for your business are as follows:

  • Using NCM, you can be disaster ready by automating backups and restoring devices. This solution helps you schedule device configuration backups, track and monitor user activities, and detect any changes in configuration by comparing the versions. Moreover, you can perform all these tasks from a centralized web graphical user interface (GUI).
  • It helps network administrators to track real-time configuration changes. The network administrators are able to capture configuration as and when changes are made. They also receive notifications on change detection in real time. This solution help then find information on who has carried out the change and from which IP address. Also, it helps to detect any unauthorized changes in real-time.
  • With the help of NCM, you are able to verify, manage, and stay compliant with various network compliance policies such as HIPAA, SOX, PCI, and also some custom policies. It helps network administrators analyze the various network devices so that they can attain auditable network compliance. It also sends alerts and generates report whenever a policy or rule is violated.
  • Network Configuration Manager (NCM) offers ‘Configuration Templates’ and ‘Scripts’, which help network administrators avoid manually editing device configurations. The templates also enable network administrators to make changes to multiple devices at once. They can also carry out exact modifications with precision with the help of the templates.
  • Team members perform different operations on device configurations from backing up the configuration to uploading new configuration. In this process, some operations may go wrong sometimes. Network Configuration Manager helps detect which user has made the faulty changes, what changes he/she has made and also when the user has made the changes. The audit module of Network Configuration Manager performs this task.
  • Network Configuration Manager offers multi-vendor network device configuration. It offers an integrated solution responsible for the complete change and configuration management for devices from different hardware vendors such as HP, Cisco, 3Com, Juniper, and many more. This unified solution saves a lot of valuable time of network administrators that they spend in managing configurations of devices from various vendors.

Features

ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager offers a plethora of features related to configuration backup, change management, configlets, compliance, and configuration management.

Configuration BackUp

Baseline Configuration

Network Configuration Manager automatically triggers a configuration backup whenever a configuration change in a device happens. It stores the configurations that are backed up as incremental versions. A trusted version among the different configuration versions of a device is labeled as ‘Baseline Version’, which is considered to be the best working configuration version. In case of a network outage, network administrators can rollback to this baseline version.

Configuration Backup Scheduling

NCM helps you find out the devices to take a backup of their device configurations. It also helps you to add devices in bulk. After you find out the devices, you can start scheduling the backup process. The scheduling of configuration backup specifically helps network administrators as it frees up his/her time to do a different task.

Database Backup and Disaster Recovery

NCM helps you take backup of the device configuration files and also take backup of the entire database. Once you are done with the backup, the process of quick disaster recovery becomes easy.

Encrypted Storage of Configuration and Centralized Control

Network Configuration Manager helps in storing the device configurations in encrypted forms. The information is stored in PGSQL database. There is a provision for SSH communication between a device and NCM. Thus, NCM serves as a centralized and secure repository for storing device configurations.

Configuration Versioning and Comparison

Using NCM, network administrators can compare any two versions of device configurations. It also offers the option to compare two configuration versions of two devices from different vendors. After the automatic versioning of configurations is done, they are stored in the database. Any specific configuration version can be selected and viewed using the Network Configuration Manager GUI.

Change Management

Role-based Access Control

As Network Configuration Manager deals with sensitive device configuration files in a multi-member work environment, it is necessary for this solution to restrict access to the sensitive information. To achieve this, NCM offers role-based access control. It comes with three predefined access levels: Administrator, Power User, and Operator.

Real-time Configuration Change Tracking

This feature helps the administrators in keeping track of the changes made to the configuration of a device and to detect an unauthorized change. Administrators can capture configuration, get notifications on the changes made, get information on who has made the change and from where and detect unauthorized changes in real time.

Change Management Rules and Notifications

NCM offers you efficient notifications on configuration change to keep you updated on all the changes that are being made in your network. It also enables you to configure change notifications whenever there is a change in the startup configuration alone, running configuration alone, or both. This solution sends notifications in several ways: configuration change email notification, sending SNMP traps for config change, syslog messages, generating trouble tickets for config changes, and rolling back to the baseline version or the previous version.

Quick Restorations to Trusted Versions

In case of the occurrence of any network outage, NCM offers options to the administrators to label a trusted configuration for every device as the ‘baseline version’. The administrators are able to rollback the device configuration to the baseline version within a few seconds and make the network running again. The cause of the network outage can be analyzed later and corrective measures can be taken.

Tracking User Activity

NCM helps administrators record information on who has invoked an operation, what operation he/she has invoked, on which device, at what time, as well as the result of the operation. The audit module of NCM performs this task, and it is known as ’Device Operation Audit’.

Reports on Inventory, Configuration Changes, and Compliance

Using NCM, you can present the entire network configuration management process of your organization in the form of comprehensive reports. This solution offers more than 12 reports under five categories: Network Reports, User Reports, Configuration Reports, Policy Compliance Reports, and Device Specific Reports.

Approval Mechanism for Configuration Upload

Using NCM, you are able to take full control of the changes that can be applied to device configuration files. Administrators have all the privileges to access, edit, and push configuration of all the devices present in a network. Power users have privileges to access, edit, and push configuration of specific devices. Operators are not allowed to push any configuration changes to devices.

Diff View

NCM allows the usage of color-coded differences for spotting configuration changes with the use of side-by-side comparison.

Configlets

Automating Configuration Task

NCM automates the process of carrying out changes to the running configuration on devices. With the help of ‘Configuration Templates’ and ‘Scripts’, this solution helps network administrators automate the configuration change process. Also, it enables them to apply the changes to multiple network devices at once.

Command Execution Tasks

NCM offers various tools and utilities for executing different commands on devices and displaying the output. For example, administrators can click a button in the GUI to view the VLANs or the Access Lists of a device, instead of connecting to the device in the command line interface manually.

Remote Firmware Upgrade/OS Image Transfer

NCM automates the tasks of upgrading firmware, uploading/downloading of OS images, and many other tasks with the help of its advanced script execution feature.

Compliance

Compliance Monitoring

Using Network Configuration Manager, you are able to verify, manage, and stay compliant with HIPAA, SOX, PCI, and other custom network policies. In case of the violation of any rules or policies, NCM alerts the administrators and also generates reports.

Compliance Reporting

NCM examines device configurations for compliance on demand and at regular intervals automatically. It also generates comprehensive compliance reports. In case of compliance violation, NCM also offers remediation tips.

PCI Compliance

If your organization accepts credit/debit card payment from customers, it is mandatory for your organization to be in compliance with PCI Security Council standards. NCM helps you in achieving PCI Compliance by easily addressing a few of the critical PCI DSS requirements.

Configuration Management

Multi-Vendor Device Configuration Support

Using NCP, you are able to manage configurations of devices from more than 200 different vendors such as Dell, Cisco, HP, Juniper, and many more.

Searching Devices and Configuration

NCM offers search utility to find the desired devices at the right moment. You can search for a specific device or a group of devices among all the devices available in your inventory.

Informative Inventory

In the GUI of NCM, the list of devices added to NCM are displayed in the form of an informed inventory. This enables administrators to gain visibility into network devices.

Pricing

ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager offers a free trial for 30 days. You can manage up to 10,000 devices. When the trial period expires, you can still able to run the product. However, you can manage only two devices. After the trial period expires, you can request for a trial extension for evaluation, or you can purchase the license for the product for managing more than two devices. To download the free trial, you can visit the webpage https://www.manageengine.com/network-configuration-manager/download-free.html, fill in the details in the form, and click the ‘Proceed to Download’ button.

The cost of the Professional edition of ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager starts at $714. The Professional edition enables you to manage up to 5,000 devices. To know the price quote for your exact requirement, you can visit the webpage https://www.manageengine.com/network-configuration-manager/get-quote.html. You will have to fill up the ‘Network Configuration Manager Get Quote Form’ and submit it. The ManageEngine team will send you the price quote as soon as possible.

Technical Details

The Network Configuration Manager supports computers or devices with Windows and Linux operating systems. You can also download and install the Network Configuration Manager (NCM) application on your iPhone. This software is suitable for small and medium businesses, as well as large enterprises. The deployment model of the software is on-premise. The language supported by the software is English.

Support Details

If you want to request any kinds of technical support from the ManageEngine team, you can send a mail to ncm-support@manageengine.com or fill up the form present in the webpage https://www.manageengine.com/network-configuration-manager/request-support.html followed by hitting the ‘Submit’ button. While sending an email or filling up the request form, you should include all the details of your business environment such as the operating system you are using, details of the device, nature of the problem, the version of Network Configuration Manager, and so on. You can receive support via phone too; the toll-free number is +1-888-720-9500. There are also alternate country-specific numbers. You can request the ManageEngine team for a new device model request. If you require a new feature in Network Configuration Manager, you can let the team know. To get the solutions to the common problems, you can visit the webpage https://www.manageengine.com/network-configuration-manager/troubleshoot.html. There are user forums in which you can discuss your issues with other users of Network Configuration Manager or get to know the best practices followed by other users.

To get more information on support, you can visit the webpage https://www.manageengine.com/network-configuration-manager/support.html.

Conclusion

ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager is an automated network configuration change management solution for various network devices including switches, routers, firewalls, and so on. It helps administrators with the process of configuration management by providing options to schedule device configuration backups, track activities of users, and many more. With NCM, you are able to monitor the changes made to the configuration of a device in real time. It also helps in compliance auditing. It helps you save time by automating different repetitive tasks related to configuration management. Moreover, This solution helps you manage configurations to your network devices from more than 200 vendors.