Quick Ways to Remediate Problems

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Orion NCM 5.0 is a tremendous improvement over the previous product, Cirrus Configuration Manager, providing solution providers with a powerful tool for imposing change management over complex network infrastructures.

The remediation process is easy, thanks to the product's interface that allows administrators to right-click on a policy violation within the report interface. Administrators can immediately apply a remediation script to repair any devices with policy violations. The reporting and inventory capabilities allow administrators to create network baselines and then perform comparisons between two devices and their running configuration files.

For those users focusing on disaster recovery and business continuity requirements, Orion NCM offers the ability to automatically back up network device configurations on routers, switches, firewalls, access points and other network devices. Network device backup can be organized by groups based upon naming conventions, machine type or other custom elements. Flexible scheduling allows backups to be performed automatically whenever an administrator desires and as frequently as needed.

For environments using other inventory or other network-management products, NCM offers the ability to import existing device inventories from other products or generic data files. Orion NCM’s configuration management database stores serial numbers, interface and port details, IP addresses, ARP tables, installed software and many other details. Between the automated discovery and import capabilities, administrators should be able to set up the product in under an hour on large networks.

A detailed network inventory offers an additional advantage; administrators can quickly search globally from the Web console based upon any criteria, locating devices based upon anything stored in the database.

At first blush, NCM doesn’t offer any features that are significantly different from many of the other Configuration Change Management products on the market. But, as one delves a little deeper into the product, it becomes apparent that there is much more than meets the eye. One of the top capabilities comes in the form of integration into other Orion products from SolarWinds, which makes it much easier to build ad-hoc network management suites to meet the needs of an individual company. What’s more, the ease at which the product can be deployed, used and mastered is worth noting; many of the competing products in the market prove much more difficult to deploy and use.

But perhaps the biggest argument in favor of Orion NCM comes from the fact that complexity of today’s networks is increasing as is the need for proactive management. Administrators shouldn’t expect management to hire more bodies to help them manage ever-increasing complexity, so it only makes sense to turn to automated tools to help slay the network management monster before it spirals out of control. Orion NCM starts at $2,495 for 50 devices.



Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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