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North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Re: Network inventory and configuration tracking tools

  • From: Frank Coluccio
  • Date: Fri Aug 09 10:39:30 2002

> On Wed, 7 Aug 2002, Sean Donelan wrote:
> > How about an operations oriented question.  What is the current
> > preferences amoung network operators for network inventory and
> > configuration management tools? Not so much status monitoring (up,
> > down) but other stuff network operator wants to know like circuit
> > IDs (how many IDs can a circuit have?), network contacts, design layout
> > reports (layer 1/2/3), what's supposed to be connected to that port?
> > The stuff you can't get out of the box itself.
> >
> > Most ISPs seem to end up with a combination of homegrown systems,
> > opensource, and commercial products.  The commercial "integrated"
> > systems have lots of stuff, and according to the vendors can do
> > anything including splice fiber.
> We ended up in large part developing our own tools in-house.
> One is an SQL database to store and link network elements (routers,
> interfaces/ports, circuits, IP addresses, contacts, etc) with hooks into
> other internal databases and other outward-facing applications, such as
> our rwhois server.
> Another is a tool that polls our network devices once every few hours and
> backs up their configuration into an RCS filestore so we have journaling
> capabilities.
> We do use some commercial tools, but those are mainly for customer
> presentation (VitalSuite) and up/down reporting and event correlation
> (Netcool).
> jms

jms, your message highlights the extent to which various systems with different 
missions in life come to interact with one another - 0R NOT. To wit, event 
correlation, network performance, line and port configs & inventory, etc. What 
I've not seen here spoken about much (if at all) has been the link between 
billing systems and all of the above. I recently undertook to reconcile billing 
discrepancies for a business unit in a large corporate account (a very large intl 
bank with 132 pops around the globe), and I found that there was no linkage 
between their *multiple,* internal bill-back systems (which naturally factored in 
markups to leased line costs that are paid by IT) and the circuit inventory 
systems. This has to be an issue with BBPs and ISPs, too, I'd imagine, if 
accurate and up to date billing is an interest. The manual processes that I had 
to endure in tallying the live circuit charges, and separating those charges from 
those being assessed for the "dead wood pile" were quite unbelievable in this day 
and age.

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