What is Baseline Configuration?

A baseline configuration is a device's most stable configuration version. When a baseline configuration is uploaded into a faulty device, the device should return to optimum performance. Whenever a change is made in a device configuration, Network Configuration Manager instantly triggers a backup of that particular device. The backed up configurations are then stored as incremental versions. This creates several versions of configuration files for the same device. Among these versions, the network admin chooses the most stable configuration and labels it as the Configuration Baseline Version.

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Baseline Configuration

How to identify and label the Configuration baseline version?

Network admins should choose a configuration's baseline version based on the following criteria:
  • Whether the network configuration runs for a long time without any faults
  • Whether the configuration file has high scalability
  • Whether the configuration file leads to network outages
In short, the admin must choose a configuration version that is flexible, stable, and versatile.

Steps to Label Configuration Baseline version:

To label a configuration as the baseline version, select the configuration from Inventory and click on the three dots icon in the top right corner. Select Label Configuration, then select Baseline as the label to associate it to the device.

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The Baseline-Running conflict in Configurations

A running configuration is the current or most-recent configuration version on a device. Any changes made to a running configuration will not be saved unless the configuration is synced with the startup configuration or the baseline configuration.
 
A baseline-running conflict occurs when the baseline configuration isn't synced with the running configuration. Whenever there's a baseline-running configuration conflict, Network Configuration Manager immediately shows the conflict in red. If an admin finds the running configuration to be more stable than the baseline configuration, they can label the running configuration as the new baseline configuration. If the running configuration is on a critical device or the admin feels that the configuration might harm the device and cause issues, then they can upload the baseline configuration that was chosen earlier.

How does a baseline Configuration reduce device downtime?

When a sudden network outage happens, it often leads to downtime in network devices. Device downtime affects the availability of crucial network devices, leading to a chain reaction of negative events, including data loss, decreased employee productivity, high recovery costs, and overall network performance degradation. The longer it takes to identify the root cause of an outage, the longer the device will be unavailable.
 
Baseline configurations act as a fall-back mechanism in case of an emergency. An admin can directly upload baseline configurations to devices to bring them back to a running state. Baseline configurations not only reduce device downtime, but also give admins enough time to identify the cause of a network outage without affecting productivity.

How to upload baseline configuration to multiple devices

Baseline configurations can be labelled in multiple devices by choosing the best performing configuration versions for both running and startup configurations. When there is a network outage, baseline configuration versions can be uploaded in bulk to network devices. Uploading a configuration's baseline version can be done instantly and can quickly reduce downtime for more than 1,000 network devices at once.

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How Configuration Baseline versions improve network quality

 
The quality of a network configuration plays a major role in determining the performance of network devices. Faulty configuration changes often lead to performance degradation and, in some cases, may even lead to heavy losses. These issues can be avoided by thoroughly scrutinizing the configurations and making necessary changes to improve performance. 
 
When one device configuration is similar to another configuration but doesn't produce the same desired output as that configuration, then a network admin can improve the quality of the under-performing configuration by comparing it with the configuration's baseline version. Through a comparison, an admin can check where the configuration can be improved.

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Thus, a Baseline configuration can be used for averting network disasters and for improving the performance of existing configurations as well.

Check out how you can view a side-by-side comparison of the running or startup configurations to the baseline version.