Review of SolarWinds Network Config Generator Tool
Config Generator (CG) is a free tool from SolarWinds, which puts you in charge of controlling changes to network routers and other SNMP devices. You can get started without having to learn complex syntax.
In addition, SolarWinds say that CG can provide benefits such as tracking policy enforcement, making consistent change-control procedures, and complying with Federal regulations like FISMA.
Get your Free Copy of Network Config Generator
Topics for SolarWinds Network Configuration Tool
The biggest benefit for newbies is that this free product will provide the impetus to learn more about configuring the SNMP service with its 'Traps' and 'Communities'.
These were the highlights of my review of the Network Config Generator:
A good way to review this free tool is watch this YouTube clip.
How to Install the SolarWinds Network Config Generator
I find the hardest part of the install is remembering where I downloaded the zip file! Otherwise I just followed the standard procedure, I extracted the application, which is a single file, click the licence agreement, and let the InstallShield Wizard perform the setup.
After the install completes, the Config Generator launches, and you are ready to begin. If you need 'find' the application later look on the start menu, or if all else fails navigate to:
C:\Program Files (x86)\SolarWinds\ConfigGenerator
Should you need to uninstall, then go to the Control Panel, Programs, scroll down to 'S' for SolarWinds Network Config Generator. It's a sign of a good freeware program that it uninstalls easily and completely.
Recommendation: Get extra templates for your Network Config Generator from the Thwack forum.
Example of NCG in Action
The Network Config Generator is handy for automatically configuring Cisco routers, which usually have 3000+ lines of code.
Example Templates for Your NCG
//Enter CLI commands
//Optionally iterate through list of interfaces
With Orion Network Configuration Manager You Can:
List of Router Config Changes Supported Out-of-the-box:
Small Brother (NCG) -v- Big Brother (NCM)
There is a growing trend amongst manufacturers of expensive network utilities to also provide a free version. These free tools have no time limitations, and they contain all the features that a small network needs. One benefit is that you can try before your buy. I also like the idea of big companies in effect subsidising their poorer brethren. But most of all, I like this new breed of free utilities because they help me learn more about computer networks.
For small networks the free Network Config Generator (CG) has all the features that you require - thank you very much SolarWinds. However, if your network grows, or you have a complex network right now, then consider the extra features of the main man, namely the Orion Network Configuration Manager (NCM). Lookout for a copy of this and other free utilities as you download the free Network Config Generator.
Possible Problems Using the Server Config Generator
Throughout this appraisal I keep stressing that CG is a free tool, great for getting you started, it still requires a machine with the SNMP service running, and an active 'Public' community. If you have any problems then sign up for SolarWinds Thwack forum, that's where the experts on Config Generator (and Orion) hang out and they will answer your questions.
For 'Cisco Kids', those with CCNA qualifications, they may face different problems, namely that CG only monitors one device at a time, and to them I say, 'try the big brother Orion Network Configuration Manager'.
One Solution Configuration Backup
Help From Thwack Forum
SolarWinds have a thriving Thwack support forum. Once you have registered you can get answers to your questions. This is one of the best run forums on the internet, join the geeks at SolarWinds NCG forum here.
This SolarWinds freeware utility puts you in charge network routers and other SNMP devices. If you have paid for the features of a router, then make sure that you check out the settings and adjust them to suit your network. Remember to customize the CG by creating your own templates.
Additional Free and Trial Network Software
Here are my reviews of tried and tested applications to monitor your network. Most of these utilities are free, while the others are the full program, but time restricted. SolarWinds are a great source of free specialist tools. A constant theme is a free gadget for testing, backed-up with a comprehensive suite for programs for larger organizations. I like the way that big companies subsidise their smaller brethren... until they become large companies!