The Configuration Fix Is In

Michael Vizard

One of the biggest day-to-day challenges that every IT organization has to deal with is configuration. Whenever there is a problem with IT, chances are good that three out of four times that problem has to do with a configuration issue caused by human error.

Logically, that would mean that the whole process of configuration should be ripe for some IT automation. But time and again, IT organizations assign people to manually configure systems, or worse yet configure one system in such a way that it changes all the configurations in all the underlying systems.

There are tools available to automate much of the configuration process, but most of them are well beyond the price range of the average IT organization. And while configuration tools can be impressive, they sometimes can mask what's actually happening. And, of course, telling an IT person that there is a configuration issue after a problem has already occurred isn't all that helpful.

For these reasons version 6.0 of the Orion Network Configuration Manager from SolarWinds is worth noting. The latest version adds not only real-time alerts that tells network managers when a configuration has been changed, it also keeps track of the history of configuration changes so a network manager can see what happened to a device over an extended period of time.

Priced starting at $2,500, the SolarWinds configuration tool is also well within the budget limitations of most IT organizations.

Sanjay Castelino, SolarWinds vice president of product management, concedes that some IT organizations worry that automation tools will do something without their knowledge, which is why SolarWinds added the real-time alerts and change tracking capability to its offering.

But when you get right down to it, configuration management not only represents the height of IT drudgery; it also consumes huge amounts of valuable time that would be applied to any one of a thousand things that add more value to the business.

So the next time you or someone in your organization wastes a half a day or more tracking down a configuration issue, just remember IT doesn't have to be like that anymore.

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