Friday, June 20, 2014

Config changes: damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Cisco alone averages more than one “significant” security advisory a week that requires an upgrade or configuration change. The Digital Energy Journal says the lack of security patch upgrades are the biggest threat to energy infrastructure. Yet Gartner says that over 40% of all network outages are due to human error – mostly from configuration changes. How are we supposed to manage configuration changes safely while minimizing human error?

The answer is for humans to stop using the network to manage the network. 

Making changes to network infrastructure over the network can be a little like pruning limbs from a tree that you are standing in. Most of the time, you are probably OK, but sometimes, you might just come crashing down. Like a WAN connection. 

Enterprise Management Associates says there are just too many devices to manage and too many changes to make to those devices on a regular basis in enterprise environments to rely on manual, error-prone, one-at-a-time processes. IT needs to automate common configuration management tasks, reducing downtime by eliminating common errors introduced by the manual execution of tasks like OS upgrades, password updates, and device configuration changes.

Combining a shift to network management over the console port with robust automation is what you need to stop managing the network over the network. Moving management out-of-band and removes the risk and shortcomings of traditional network management. 

Uplogix deploys in the rack with the network infrastructure, connecting like a technician would to push automated configuration changes. Avoid sending someone onsite or worrying about the risk of taking down the network while staying current with critical patches. Manage problem sites by exception knowing that if an issue does arise during a config change, the device will automatically be rolled back to the last known good config, leaving the network intact.

See how to make automated mass config changes using local connections and Uplogix in this Tech Tip: