Baseline Configuration

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, with the help of configuration baseline management in Network Configuration Manager, the network admin chooses the most stable configuration and labels it as the Baseline version. This way, you can easily secure baseline configuration and use it during network downtime emergencies.


Configuration Baseline - ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager

Characteristics of an ideal baseline configuration

Network admins should choose to configure baseline based on the following criteria:

  1. The baseline config version should run for a long time without any faults
  2. Configuration baseline must have high scalability
  3. The config baseline version should not cause outages

In short, the admin must choose a baseline configuration version that is flexible, stable, and versatile. This task is made easy by using a baseline configuration tool or baseline configuration software such as Network Configuration Manager.

Steps to label the configuration as baseline version

To label a configuration as the baseline configuration 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. Thus, the selected version will be the configuration baseline version.

Configuration Baseline Management - ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager

How labeling of configurations helps in preventing configuration conflict?

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 configuration baseline.

A baseline-running conflict occurs when the network 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 configuration baseline that was chosen earlier.

How does a baseline configuration reduce device downtime?

Baseline configurations act as a fall-back mechanism in case of an emergency. An admin can directly upload configuration baseline 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 does a baseline configuration assist in addressing configuration drift?

Configuration drift refers to the gradual, unintended changes in system or network settings over time. These changes can occur due to:

  • Manual adjustments: Admins might make configuration tweaks to address specific issues.
  • Automatic updates: Software updates or security patches can alter configurations.
  • Human error: Accidental changes during maintenance or configuration modifications.

Configuration drift management is the practice of identifying and addressing these unintended changes. To avoid configuration drift from occuring, you can define a baseline version for a device. That is, establish a standard configuration for all systems, including software versions, security settings, and access controls.

Uploading a baseline configuration to multiple devices

Baseline configurations can be labeled in multiple devices by choosing the best performing configuration versions for both running and startup configurations. When there is a network outage, configuration baseline 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.

Baseline Configuration Tool - ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager

How does using 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 does not 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.

Baseline Configuration Software - ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager

As shown above, baseline configurations can be used for averting network disasters and for improving the performance of existing configurations.

Check out how you can view a side-by-side comparison of baseline versions with running or startup configurations.

FAQs about baseline configuration

What is Configuration Baseline?


Why baseline configuration is important in network configuration management?


How to configure baseline configuration in Network Configuration Manager?


What is configuration drift management?


Why is it important to manage configuration drift?


How does ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager helps in managing configuration drifts?