Network Configuration Management software and tools are designed to help manage your growing network, it’s configuration and management.
These tools allow you to deploy a new service, do wide-scale configuration changes, recover a failed device, audit configuration files for different compliance standards, upgrade a device and so much more.
Networks are growing at an incredible pace. On one hand, this growth reflects connectivity and the ability to do anything from anywhere, while on the other, it brings up the need for the right tools to manage this complexity.
Managing configuration on hundreds of switches, routers, devices and controllers across different locations is anything but mind-boggling. Even the smallest change to such a distributed network can quickly get out of hand, especially if you plan to handle all the operations manually.
Here’s the Best Network Configuration & Change Management Software of 2020:
Methodology for selecting the Best Network Configuration Management Software
With the help of network configuration management software, any organization can keep track of the firmware on each device and manage their networks efficiently. You may find many options available in the market, but choosing the best can be a daunting task. Hence, we have listed a few methodologies that you must go over to choose the best network configuration management software.
- Check if it can identify all network devices and create logs in an inventory
- Does it offer a scanner for reading device settings?
- Check if it provides a configuration backup service
- Does it offer automatic backups and configuration templates along with real-time monitoring?
- Does it support integration with existing network infrastructure?
- Check if it offers role-based access control and secure communication
- Check if it generates insightful and visually appealing reports
- Does it offer an action log that can be easily accessed by system security auditors?
- Can you run audits for configuration files against various compliance requirements?
1. SolarWinds NCM
SolarWinds, known for its suite of products geared for network management, offers a full configuration NCM to manage networks.
Salient features of SolarWinds NCM include:
- Multi-vendor support
- Reduces the time needed to manage critical changes within the network
- Built-in troubleshooter helps to identify and fix problems within the shortest possible time.
- Network automation takes care of all the repetitive tasks.
- Maintains standards and service levels to ensure uninterrupted service
- Standardized configurations that are easy to deploy
- Quick disaster recovery
- Integration with national Vulnerability Database ensures access to current CVEs. In turn, this helps with the early detection of vulnerabilities
- Provides network insights for Cisco ASA. You can audit Access Control Lists, manage firmware upgrades and do a backup of config files for Cisco ASAs.
- Gives precise information about hardware and software configurations, so you know which ones are nearing their end of service and end of life.
- Visually appealing reports help to understand the network better. 53 different reports are generated by SolarWinds NCM to give you all the details about your network.
- Integrated console gives the option to lock down devices to prevent unauthorized access
- Comprehensive access control
- Comes with an High Availability option to protect against operating system crashes and network connectivity problems.
- Supports multiple vendors and saves the time needed to manage important network changes
- Manages repetitive tasks via network automation
- Generates insights for Cisco ASA and creates a backup of the configuration files
- Generates visually appealing reports for better understanding and analysis
- Devices can be locked down using the integrated console to avoid unauthorized access
- Designed keeping system administrators and network technicians in mind, basically not good for home networks
SolarWinds NCM comes with a Fully Functional Free Trial for 30 days.
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is a great tool for improving network reliability. It offers comprehensive access control and high availability feature that protect your network against operating system failures and connectivity issues. Further, you can lock down devices and prevent unauthorized users from accessing them. It also allows you to generate visually appealing reports and access data related to hardware and software configurations in real-time.
Official Site: https://www.solarwinds.com/network-configuration-manager
OS: Windows Server
Pulseway is a powerful network configuration and management software that works well across a range of devices. It is highly scalable and this multi-account platform can be hosted on your premise, cloud or on the Pulseway server.
Here’s what it can do for you.
- Works well on Windows, Linux, Mac or any other system using Pulseway’s monitoring API
- Generates immediate alerts based on smart rules set by the user.
- Compatible with most mobile and desktop devices, so users can access and give commands from anywhere.
- Users can create and deploy custom scripts to automate any network-related task.
- Remote desktop feature makes it easy to manage any network router, firewall or device
- Provides access to the entire Active Directory forest with a simple connection to the domain controller
- All connections to Pulseway use an encryption system based on RSA private/public encryption and AES 256-bit session coding.
- Integrated with Webroot’s machine learning technology to protect from cyber threats
- Simplifies the monitoring and control of the Microsoft Exchange Platform
- VMware vSphere module gives a real-time insight into hypervisors and virtual machines
- Allows posting to a Slack channel when a notification is triggered. This is in addition to push and email notifications.
- Comes with many built-in reports that provide detailed information on the status of networks
- Pulseway antivirus works with NCM to give complete security.
- Uses automation to raise efficiency standards and reduce downtime
- Discover servers, workstations, as well as network devices in real time from any device.
- Comes with easy deployment, user-friendly UI, and pre-written scripts
- Both iOS and Android users can access the mobile app and respond to issues from any location
- Uses auto-remediation technology to automatically resolve issues before they cause any effect.
- More robust remote control features would be better.
Pulseway comes in two plans – free and team. The team plan is priced at $1.32 per workstation per month (for SaaS) and $3.35 per station per month (for on-premise).
You can access the free plan here.
3. BladeLogic Network Automation
BladeLogic Network Automation from BMC Software helps businesses to run at their peak efficiency with the highest level of security.
Below are the features of this software.
- It detects network vulnerabilities in real-time without downgrading the performance of a network.
- The compliance engine ensures that the processes comply with the standards for HIPAA, PCI-DSS, NIST, SOX and CIS.
- Automates audit cycles and generates built-in reports for these compliance standards
- Users can manage networks across all physical, virtual and cloud platforms from their dashboard
- Easy and simple to use interface
- Extensive reporting tools give a snapshot of the network’s health at any point in time.
- Allows users to generate scripts using SmartMerge Technology to handle different configurations. Also, users can rollback entire configurations without having to reboot the device.
- Role-based access control helps to securely share workload administration.
- Improves operational productivity and increases device-to-admin ratio
- Has the ability to scan more than a thousand devices n one minute. This frees IT employees to focus on high priority tasks.
- Generates extensive reports that provide an overview of your network health at any given moment.
- Secure workload distribution is made possible by role-based access management.
- Allows scanning multiple devices in a minute and saves time
- Monitors networks in real time for vulnerabilities without affecting their functionality.
- Automatically runs audit and creates insightful reports for compliance standards
- More report templates would be nice.
Pricing depends on your requirements, Contact Sales for Accurate Quote.
Download Free Trial.
4. ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager
ManageEngine is another big name in the world of network monitoring and configuration. This network configuration manager is a multi-vendor network solution for network configuration, management and compliance.
Its features are:
- Supports devices from 22 vendors including Cisco, HP, Juniper, Dell, Aruba, NETGEAR, Yamaha, Vanguard and more.
- Automatically scans the network to identify new devices and add SNMP-enabled devices in bulk with a single click. This saves the trouble of adding each device manually.
- Configurations are versioned and stored in the database, so retrieving them when needed is easy.
- Encrypts and stores device configurations in a PostgreSQL database
- The dashboard contains a list of all devices, so inventory-management is easy. Users can get serial numbers, IP addresses, properties and all other pertinent information in a single location.
- Provides option for creating scheduled tasks to backup, check and upload configurations.
- Offers role-based access controls
- Comes with a built-in configuration approval mechanism where top level administrators inspect and approve the configuration changes before it is deployed to any device.
- Uses automated advanced scripts for remote firmware upgrades.
- Allows keeping a watch over user activity, scheduling device configuration backups, and identify changes in real-time
- Sends instant notifications on discovering unauthorized configuration changes
- Verify device settings for errors and quickly fix them to ensure device compliance.
- Allows scanning network devices to track firmware vulnerabilities and eliminate potential threats
- Versioning and database storage of configurations makes it simple to retrieve them when necessary.
- Offers several advanced features, as a result, users may take time to fully explore them
Price varies according to the number of devices, so it’s best you contact the sales team for a quote.
You can download a free trial here.
rConfig is a free and open-source network configuration management software. It’s a little different from all other options available today because you have to choose the commands you want to run against a device.
Essentially, you’ll have to configure rConfig with a set of commands for every category, add devices to the category and create a scheduled task. rConfig will take care of the rest for you.
Here are some of its handy features.
- Free and open-source
- Gives the option to customize device commands to meet your specific needs
- Supports bulk configuration deployment
- Comes with built-in reports for better understanding of devices and network.
- Has an extensive backup process
- Supports native PHP implementation
- Allows to download configurations with a single click
- Complies with many standards such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS
- Comes with a built-in scheduler based on CRON
- Offers support for Telnet and SSHv2
- You can customize device commands as per your choice
- Generates in-depth reports for a better understanding of networks as well as devices
- Intuitive automation features help deliver configuration automation much more quickly
- Supports an extensive backup system
- Gives users the option to quickly download configurations
- Better visualization features are recommended.
rConfig can be downloaded here. Alternately, you can also get it from GitHub.
In short, network configuration management software helps to configure different devices, monitor your network for vulnerabilities and manage different devices within it. The efficiency and performance of these tools make them indispensable in today’s ever-growing world of networks.