Configuration Data

Collecting information for the network may seem like a chore, but it is absolutely necessary. Do not rely on "auto-discovery" mechanisms associated with many commercial NMSs. These may work for LANs or very small WANs, but they are totally unsuitable for very large networks. Only good planning and a meticulous process will produce a scalable result.

The data stored in the configuration management database need not necessarily be router configuration data; it may include, for example, contact numbers of persons with physical access to the equipment. In fact, the configuration management database is often very closely associated with the fault management database because both may need to contain similar information. Access to this information may be conveniently linked to the GUI used for fault management. In other words, to learn configuration data about a particular device, an operator may click on that device and use pull-down menus leading to the data.

In large networks containing Cisco routers, perhaps the most critical item of configuration data is plain-ASCII IOS configuration files. A good IOS configuration can contain much of the more critical data pertaining to the network, including descriptive text in certain contexts. It is worth investigating and using the description IOS configuration commands shown in Table 15-5.

Table 15-5. IOS Commands Useful for Documenting Configurations

IOS Configuration

CLI Context

MIB-II

snmp-server contact

global

sysContact

snmp-server location

global

sysLocation

hostname

global

description

interface

bandwidth

interface

neighbor x.x.x.x description

bgp router

IOS configuration files can become very large. If a file becomes too large to save, you can use the service compress-config command to compress the configuration prior to storing in NVRAM. Because this may impact the performance of configuration manipulation operations, only use the command when necessary.

Note that MIB-II contains many other variables that are also useful; not all of these are available through router show commands.

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