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What's wrong with provisioning tools?
- From: David Daley
- Date: Wed Jun 12 13:40:55 2002
A couple of times
during NANOG25, from the floor and from the podium, it was identified
that the tools available for managing networks were garbage. I was surprised to
hear that even real basics, such as change control and configuration
management, weren't widely adopted. There definitely seemed to be an acceptance
(and perhaps this is only true at some carriers) that many problems facing
providers today are as a result of a dearth of decent tools to configure 'best
common practices' into the routers - and as a result of this, the 'problems'
with the networks were not with the h/w and/or the protocols they support,
but with the people, and their lack of experience and/or ability to properly
configure the boxes.
A couple of comments
that I heard over the last few days:
1) User interfaces
are horrible and counter intuitive - I want 'xyz' out of my
2) Systems blindly
apply bad configurations to routers - they should be able to do 'some'
verification before crashing my network - and can't roll back after they wreck
3) Change control
either doesn't exist, isn't usable, or isn't granular enough
4) There isn't
anything to track non sanctioned changes to the network (i.e.: hacker induced
I would very much
like to hear about "specific" needs for (provisioning) tools that would satisfy
your needs - needs that are either being poorly met to today, or not at all. In
the hopes of preventing a vendor-bash extravaganza, I would suggest as a point
of reference, that the NMS recommendations presented by Avi Freedman during the
conference ("Industry/Government Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment:
Background and Recommendations". Of the recommendations pertinent to network
management, many refer to future-features. As an additional attempt to
constraint the discussion, I would recommend that the needs identified be
realistic (i.e.: supportable on current equipment, the cost of the solution
would be less than the cost of the problem, etc).