Thursday, June 21, 2012

Proving we have a better mousetrap

The proof is in the conceptOne of the challenges we face at Uplogix is that the better mousetrap we bring to network management is such a leap from traditional network management that people really want us to prove ourselves. We've always been more than happy to do this, challenging potential customers to put us into their most troublesome sites and situations.

Over the years we've developed a rigorous proof of concept (POC) plan to ensure that all questions are answered and that we get to show off some of the cooler functionality of our product. Below are some of the evaluation scenarios from the POC project plan that deal with configuration issues. Depending on which analyst you choose to believe, configuration changes are the cause of many to most downtime events, so the config-related features of Uplogix are especially critical.

Configuration Loss or Corruption

A network device loses its configuration and becomes unusable, or a corrupt configuration file is accidentally distributed as the new standard. 

Uplogix Solution – Configuration Recovery
Issuing the recover configuration command on a port with a managed network device results in:
  • The Uplogix Local Manager (LM) cycles power to the network device
  • Breaks into boot sequence
  • Ignores current configuration
  • Network device comes up with no configuration 
  • LM pushes last known good configuration
Configuration Change with Human Errors

There have been incidents where a user accidentally commits a change that results in a network outage.

Uplogix Solution – Surgical Rollback
  • The rollback functionality is a configurable component of the network device driver.
  • The LM caches the current running configuration when initializing a terminal session. When the terminal session ends, a running configuration is pulled again and a list of changes made during the session is generated. The user is prompted to accept, reject or delay the changes made within the specified time. If time expires or the user rejects the changes, the LM backs out all uncommitted changes made during the session.
  • If the user session times out due to network failure or general inactivity after a configurable amount of time, the LM backs out all uncommitted changes made during that session.
Mass Configuration / OS Change

Situations arise that require the mass change or update of a configuration file, passwords or operating system. Common examples of these mass changes occur as a result of security requirements or during enterprise-wide device upgrades.

Uplogix Solution – Centralized Push
  • From the Uplogix Control Center (UCC) users have the ability to schedule a mass push or update to occur either instantly, or stage the change to take place at a scheduled time. 
  • In the case of OS and configuration file pushes, the system checks operational status after the change. If an error is detected, Uplogix rolls back to the last known good configuration or OS. 
  • The UCC allows the creation of custom filters to include or exclude specific devices needing the operation.
But wait there's more!
In a future post we'll cover the other scenarios in the Uplogix proof of concept project plan where we solve issues like primary outages, out-of-band, power management and AAA.