On a typical day, you probably spend a fair amount of time chasing down complaints, most of which end up being network or server issues. Occasionally, you might perform maintenance on your network devices. Of all your daily tasks, probably the most tedious is manually backing up your network device configurations. This is not to say that these backups aren’t important. Backups are important, and not backing up your configurations could lead to trouble. Most of the time, a configuration blunder can keep you awake all night.
Follow these steps to back up a running configuration from a Cisco® router to a TFTP server:
Router#copy running-config tftp:
Address or name of remote host ?192.168.x.x
Destination filename [Router -confg]? Router_Name_config_date
XXXX bytes copied in X.X secs
Seems simple enough. But what if you had to do this every day on lots of devices (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.) on your network? Have you ever considered automating your back-up process to save time and improve efficiency? This article walks you through the advantages of automating your configuration backups. You’ll also learn what other capabilities an automation tool should have.
Save time on routine configuration backups
It is not advisable to clear the existing router configuration and reload another configuration on a live or production environment. But a lab router, which undergoes a lot of configuration changes throughout the week, needs a configuration restore every week or even every day. Hence, a running configuration of the router should be backed up and restored on a regular basis. Your automation tool should include an option to restore configurations weekly or daily, based on demand.
On the other hand, a network device in a production environment cannot be down for a long time. When there is a configuration error, you should be able to search the most recent best-running configuration and restore it in minutes.
Avoid configuration problems caused by human error
The most common configuration error committed by humans is forgetting to complete the configuration backups. When you use an automated configuration backup process, the “forgot” error can be avoided altogether. Your automation tool should allow you to set up a schedule to run configuration backups of all needed devices. The tool should also be able to alert you when the server runs out of storage space, or if for some reason, it was not able to back up a particular device’s configuration.
Preserve your configuration history
You will not always notice configuration errors right away. Many times, you won’t learn about them until users complain about an issue. Your automation tool should track the history of all changes, as well as who made the changes.
There are a plethora of tools for automating configuration backups. But for your purposes, it’s better to use a tool that adds a layer of security to your IT infrastructure. For example, it should have a feature that allows you to grant access to only select (responsible) admins.
The bottom line is that you could be considerably less sleep-deprived if you automate your configuration backup process. While you’re at it, make sure your automation tool has functionality that helps you to both control who can access your system and prevent attackers from invading your network. Try Kiwi CatTools® for free and discover how peaceful your night’s sleep could be.
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