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Don't backup your Running-Config!

Well, actually do backup your running configuration, but theres so much more data to backup from your network devices using rConfig. 'Show Running-config' is one of many show commands that you use frequently to understand the operating functionality of your network devices. See below where I have outlined a list of other commands you may use. 

show running-config
show arp
show mac-address
show cdp neighbors
show ip ospdf neighbors
show ip route
show ip bgp summary
show run | section bgp
show run | include address

The above commands are primarily taken from Cisco IOS devices CLI, but you get the point. Imagine how much time we could save in troubleshooting issues if we capture all this data and more? What the first question you (should) ask when troubleshooting an unexpected network outage? What Changed, and when? So, often we will find that the running config itself does not change during an issue, but perhaps some prefixes were removed from the routing table due to link flaps, or a CDP neighbor went down due to a power issue on the remote device. We would like to be able to see what that prefix or neighbor was last seen by the network device we are working on. 

We can add any of the above commands and more to the 'commands' section in rConfig. 

config backup article 1

We can see above that individual commands can be linked to one or multiple categories for execution and backup of the output of that command. Lets see and example of the output.

config backup article 2

In the above output we can see a number of configuraiton files for each downloaded command for this device are downloaded for each task on every configured scheduled task date/time. This allows us to easily go back and review the contents for 'show logging' commands, 'show ip route' output and so on...

config backup article 3

When you click a filename from the devices page, you open the above popup window which displays the 'show' command output. You can download the output to a txt file for offline processing also by clicking the top right download icon. 

As you can see its more than useful to set up your categories of devices, and related commands to download important state information from all of your network devices on a frequent basis. You may even want to define a baseline, I have included a template below form which you can start building your best practice backups of Network Devices.

Edge Routers show runn Once Daily @ 0100
show start
show ip route
sh cdp neigh
show ip access-list
show ip osp neigh
show ip bgp summ
Core Routers show runn 4 times Daily @ 0300, 0900, 1500, 2100
show start
show ip route
sh cdp neigh
show ip access-list
show ip osp neigh
show ip bgp summ
show ip bgp  
Show mac-address
Campus Switches show runn Once Daily @ 0200
show start
sh cdp neigh
show ip access-list
Show mac-address
DC Switches show runn 4 times Daily @ 0400, 1000, 1600, 2200
show start
sh cdp neigh
show ip access-list
Show mac-address
show inventory
show ip route

 

Download template from here

 

rConfig - How to use the Snippets Feature

Standard configurations are an important part of Network Management. Ensuring that our baseline configuration elements such as NTP, SNMP, Banners, TACACS and Services adhere to our defined best practices, we must use tools to automate and check for compliance against these standards. In this blog post, I will breifly outline how rConfigs Snippet feature can aid in the automated delivery of standard configurations. I will write another post soon on how we can use the Compliance feature to ensure our standards are configured correctly on our network devices. 

 

Read more: rConfig - How to use the Snippets Feature

rConfig Search Functionality

Finding IP addresses, ACL entries or advanced BGP configurations for your network devices can take time without a fast and accurate Configuration Management tool. rConfig takes 'fast' & 'accurate' to a new level on its search feature. Of all Network Configuration management tools available (at high costs), rConfig has by far the fastest search functionality available. In my experience operating and architecting networks, I do want the information I require to do my work immediatley and without fuss. Lets take a look at how rConfig's search feature performs. 

 

Read more: rConfig Search Functionality

rConfig 3.5 available

I am delighted that as of today, v3.5.0 is available for download for new installations and upgrades to 3.x installations. While working towards a 4.0 release, I made the decision to release 3.5 to fix some bugs and add some enhancements to 3.1. The full list of changes are in the CHANGELOG. Major changes include a full overhaul to the Database abstraction layer (using PHP PDO) to increase rConfig security, performance and support for CentOS7/ PHP7. I have also removed the previous 'template generator' for now, as I intend to develop a brand new Config Template Generator for v4. I've tested this code already, and it is a very cool feature. I have also built new installation scripts to make the initial installation of rConfig a much easier process. See the install guide below for more information on this. 

http://www.rconfig.com/rconfig-support/guides/61-rconfig-3-5-installation-guide

My next steps are to develop an OVA for easier installation. Add a brand new new Online Demo (with a live networks based on the GNS3 platform) so you can kick the tires on new and existing features before downloading/ upgrading rConfig and also start working on the new v4 feature set. Some of my ideas around v4 are;

  1. IPv6 support
  2. Multi-vendor support
  3. LDAP Integration
  4. Template Configurator
  5. Multi-threading (performance improvement)
  6. UI enhancements

Lots to do for v4, but for now enjoy this release, I think there is a lot of stability in it :)

 

Carrying on with V4

I have completed all bug fixes and minor enhancements for V4 beta. I estimate a total of 100hrs to complete this work so far. To give an idea of what work was carried out to date, see the extensive list below. For anyone that is interested I use the fantastic Kanban/ Project management tool at www.meistertask.com to track all of the bugs, fixes, and new features that I am working on.

The PDO/ DB adapter re-factor was the biggest peice of work so far. This evening (GMT) I have tested full Telnet download against the 49 devices in my lab. All working perfectly.. Happy! Happy!

My next tasks are to test all current reports, SSH connections and then test installations of the current build, which I am calling 3.5 beta at this time. Thats going to take another few days I'm sure. It'll likely be a weekend job for me. And once that is completed, I am going to build a full test document, with all current rConfig features listed, to ensure that future versions of rConfig hold up to any changes or feature enhancements that I will develop. I hope to automate this testing process at some point. 

Read more: Carrying on with V4

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