Network inventory and configuration tracking tools

How about an operations oriented question. What is the current
preferences amoung network operators for network inventory and
configuration management tools? Not so much status monitoring (up,
down) but other stuff network operator wants to know like circuit
IDs (how many IDs can a circuit have?), network contacts, design layout
reports (layer 1/2/3), what's supposed to be connected to that port?
The stuff you can't get out of the box itself.

Most ISPs seem to end up with a combination of homegrown systems,
opensource, and commercial products. The commercial "integrated"
systems have lots of stuff, and according to the vendors can do
anything including splice fiber.


Hello Sean -

Could I suggest you add Nets to the list you show below?

Nets is commercial software (from the same people who wrote the Radiator radius server), and like Radiator is delivered in source code form. There is complete support for extending the existing set of objects and documented API's for adding functionality.

Nets is written in Perl and runs on pretty much any platform and any SQL database.

Here is the URL if you are interested:



I and the interesting experience watching an overzealous VP in charge of "Project Capture" implement some of these tools for tracking, inventory, and cross-referencing.... The final solution, for all but configuration management, was (as Hugh mentioned) Nets. It was the most configurable and dynamic. But here you're not looking at an "out-of-the-box solution, and if the network is large enough, you'll require a small team of people to run it. Personally, I like a simple CVS system for config files, a separate system.

<fighting urge to go on pro-opensource rant>

There are several quality commercial products out there. Lucent for example, in their Vital* platform, does do everything but cook you breakfast, but for the price should. Adding to the list for IP Allocation and DNS management would be NameSurfer by Nixu.

We ended up in large part developing our own tools in-house.

One is an SQL database to store and link network elements (routers,
interfaces/ports, circuits, IP addresses, contacts, etc) with hooks into
other internal databases and other outward-facing applications, such as
our rwhois server.

Another is a tool that polls our network devices once every few hours and
backs up their configuration into an RCS filestore so we have journaling

We do use some commercial tools, but those are mainly for customer
presentation (VitalSuite) and up/down reporting and event correlation