Why it is important to backup your device configurations?
The Device.Backup.Running Config activity is one of a number of default activities provided with the CatTools program. It is designed to copy the currently running configuration from the selected device into a text file on your local file system.
This is an important distinction. Kiwi CatTools copies the configuration parameters that are currently running on the device. Many devices have their own local storage, where one or more versions of their configuration files may be stored. Most network devices managed by CatTools have a start-up config file that they load and run when the power is switched on.
Because this running config can be changed in real-time by someone logged into the device, for example, via a telnet session, the running config may no longer be the same as the start-up config. Capturing these different versions of your device configurations is exactly the sort of thing that CatTools is designed to handle.
Consider the following scenario: you have a night-shift engineer who encounters a problem on your network, hurriedly telnets into a router, and makes some changes to that device that restores service to your internal customers, but in his hurry forgets to document or save these changes.
If you power cycle that device at some later time, those changes can be lost, potentially recreating the problem. Only this time, it the problem occurs during your busiest period of the day. Now you have the same problem as before, but the fix is gone and the engineer is unavailable to consult. You may have to start the whole problem-resolution process from scratch, costing your organization time, money, and credibility.
How does backing up my configurations with Kiwi CatTools benefit my organization?
There are several ways that the activity might be useful in this reasonably common scenario:
- It is best practice in change management to always have a roll-back contingency. Naturally, such a plan is of no benefit if you cannot recover and re-install old device configurations. Using Kiwi CatTools, you can regularly capture a restorable copy of the current configuration prior to making any changes.
- CatTools contains a Diff Report function which runs as a part of the activity. This report compares the configuration that has just been downloaded to the previous copy stored on file. If any changes are detected then it creates a report in HTML format that highlights the lines that are different. The default setting is for this report to be emailed to you as soon as it is created, as well as being stored in the Reports directory.
In the previous example, if our hypothetical night-shift engineer had run a Device.Backup.Running Config before and after they had made changes to the router, then you have a report showing exactly what changes had been made. Additionally, you have two copies of the config in two text files: one before the changes and one after.
You could use either of these files to restore the router to a previous configuration, or you can use the Diff Report to manually identify and recreate the changes.