Network configuration management (NCM) is the process of organizing and maintaining information about all the components of a computer network. When a network needs repair, modification, expansion or upgrading, the administrator refers to the network configuration management database to determine the best course of action. This database contains the locations and network addresses of all hardware devices, as well as information about the programs, versions and updates installed in network computers.
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Network configuration management tools can be vendor-neutral or vendor-specific. Vendor-neutral tools, by far the more common, are designed for networks containing hardware and programs from multiple suppliers. Vendor-specific tools usually work only with the products of a single company, and can offer enhanced performance in networks where that vendor dominates.
Advantages of network configuration management include:
- Streamlining the processes of maintenance, repair, expansion and upgrading.
- Minimizing configuration errors.
- Minimizing downtime.
- Optimizing network security.
- Ensuring that changes made to a device or system do not adversely affect other devices or systems.
- Rolling back changes to a previous configuration if results are unsatisfactory.
- Archiving the details of all network configuration changes.