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NCM 7.9 feature: Multi-device baselines

 

With the improved baseline management features in NCM 7.9, a baseline can be assigned to multiple devices, and multiple baselines can be assigned to one device. 

 

A baseline is a template that defines the approved configuration (or part of the approved configuration) for a device. After you define the baseline and assign it to one or more devices, NCM compares the baseline to downloaded configs and reports any mismatched lines. 

Baselines.png

 

Use baselines to standardize configurations across similar devices and ensure that all devices are in compliance.

Upgrading customers

During an upgrade, NCM creates a new baseline from the latest downloaded config that was previously flagged as the baseline for a device. The new baseline is assigned to the associated device. For more information about other changes related to baselines that could affect upgrading customers, see Baseline conversion for upgrading customers in the NCM 7.9 Release Notes. 

Complete configurations vs. snippets

A baseline can represent either a complete config or a config snippet:

 

  • If a baseline is the template for a  complete config, the baseline must exactly match any config it is compared to (excluding lines that are ignored during the comparison). If the config contains lines that are not in the baseline, the config is flagged as not matching.
  • A baseline snippet is the template for a section of the config. The baseline is only compared to that section, and any lines outside that section are automatically ignored. For example, a baseline snippet could define the template for a set of interfaces or access lists. You can assign multiple baseline snippets to a device. 

Creating and assigning baselines

You can create a new baseline in any of the following ways:

 

  • Use an existing config that has been downloaded to NCM
  • Select a file on the server
  • Cut and paste the baseline contents

 

When you create the baseline, you can identify lines that should be ignored when NCM compares the baseline to a config. This prevents NCM from flagging lines that are expected to be different across devices (for example, the hostname). You can use global comparison criteria to ignore lines or blocks of text (such as certificate blocks). You can also ignore lines by selecting them within the baseline definition. 

 

A baseline can be assigned to devices and compared to multiple config types (such as Running and Startup). 

 

baseline_apply_to_nodes.png

Identifying and reviewing mismatches

The Configuration Management tab (My Dashboards > Network Configuration > Configuration Management) identifies devices with one or more configs that do not match the baseline:

 

baseline_diff3.png

 

The Baseline Management tab (My Dashboards > Network Configuration > Configuration Management > Baseline Management) identifies baselines with one or more mismatched configs:

 

baseline_diff4.png

 

On either tab, you can click through to examine differences in the Baseline Diff viewer. Highlighted lines help you quickly identify what changed. The following example shows a line in the config that is missing from the baseline.

 

baseline_diff_extra_line_in_config.png

Learn more

For information about other new features in NCM 7.9, see the NCM 7.9 Release Notes.

For more information about creating multi-device baselines, see Establish baselines as a comparison point for config changes

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