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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

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rConfig v4 Update

I've been busy plugging away at v4 development in earnest for the last 4 weeks. Up to now I've been posting progress updates in the forums. I wanted to give an overview here as to my progress so far. In terms of development I have completed an overhaul of the PHP Database Adapter to Support PHPv7. I have fixed many bugs and tweaked the code for minor improvements. My next task is to overhaul and resolve some issues with the task scheduler. I have about 10 major new features to add including multi-vendor support, multi-threaded connections to devices and many others. I am considering sneaking in a brand new and very cool feature not related to configuration management as such, but that will depend on progress as I know many of you are anxiously waiting for v4. 

This last week, I have pasued development work (it's good to mix things up). I have been busy working on procuring new equipment for full performance and functionality testing of rConfig. I've receievd that new server and I've built out a GNS3 lab on it. All in all, it took about 15 hours to build the server, OS and Lab. But great fun to do. 

My Approach:
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