NCM...12th man on the field!
November 22, 2019

NCM...12th man on the field!

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) serves several purposes within our organization. We use it as a real time notification and auditing service. Anytime configuration changes are made we receive an email alert notifying us of the configuration change, timestamp, and the user that made the change. We also use NCM for configuration comparison. We often run into scenarios where configuration changes were made by several engineers over the a period of time. NCM allows us to compare the current configuration with any previous configuration and identify differences in a single view. We can also compare configs with other similar devices to see what is missing. I know a lot of people use Notepad++ for this feature but NCM allows us to do this with just a few clicks as opposed to downloading the each config and importing into Notepad++. Finally we use NCM as a configuration scripting tool. We often rotate security settings on all of our systems, as part of our security policy. NCM allows us to quickly execute this change across thousands of devices.

Pros

  • Configuration Comparison Tool is great since you can quickly compare configs in a single pane of glass. To make things easier to identify, NCM will highlight the differences.
  • Vulnerability reporting on all current versions of Cisco IOS/NXOS software. NCM will identify the version of firmware you are using and also list the most well known CVE vulnerabilities that are associated with each version.
  • I appreciate NCM is vendor agnostic. It will consume configs from any network device. It can also be customized to look for certain strings that are missing or to look for certain strings that are present. Very flexible and since it isn't vendor specific, I don't feel like I'm being forced to buy a certain manufacturer to obtain all of the 'features' like I do with other products.

Cons

  • Improve the visibility into other popular platforms beside Cisco. It does seem to be Cisco leaning just a little.
  • Baseline management is a little clunky. I'd like to see it made just a little more user friendly. For example, when writing the baseline configuration, identifying lines that you want to ignore can be very cumbersome.
  • NCM is filling the position of an FTE in my opinion, saving us tens of thousands of dollars a year in operational expenses. Without NCM we would almost need a dedicated employee that spends most of his day auditing configs, downloading configuration, etc., etc.
  • NCM saves our bacon when equipment failures occur. Since it keeps a copy of the latest configuration, swapping equipment becomes much easier because you just configure and IP and let NCM push the configuration.
  • NCM is one of most useful enterprise configuration management tools we have. Without NCM most of these process would require manual intervention. NCM is comparable to Ansible and Python scripting in its functionality, in my opinion.
  • HPE Intelligent Management Center (IMC)
HP IMC is a good solution but it doesn't have the THWACK back end support that NCM has. Since its an HP product, it does tend to lean heavily towards features that are HP specific. Nevertheless it is comparable to NCM but still falls short of the reaching the same level productivity as NCM.
HPE Aruba Ethernet Switches, Cisco 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 1000), Arista Campus Switches
Any organization that wants to standardize configurations across multi vendor platforms needs NCM. A small organization that doesn't have very many devices could accomplish standardization without NCM.

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