Configuration management is a great tool to manage change in documentation, hardware, software, firmware, measurements and many more. Change is expected to have an initial state and next state. The indication of this vital state in a series of various changes is very important. Identifying these states in the revision history in configuration item is the main objective of baseline identification.

Normally, these vital states are the ones that receive an official approval status, sometimes implicitly and explicitly. The approval status can be indicated separately and individually, when the marking is identified, or signified simply by relationship or association to a particular baseline. However, this approval or authorization status is known publicly. Hence, the baseline may also be marked and indicate an approved configuration item. On the other hand, the configuration in a project may also involve more than one baseline. This includes the metrics and the status of the configuration. A baseline may focus on a specific baseline. Examples of it include the following: 1. Allocated Baseline: these are state of work items and products when conditions and requirements are approved. 2. Functional Baseline: this is where the initial specifications are established. 3. Product Baseline: this baseline holds the releasable contents of the item/product. Baselines may also be created to simply imply the progress of work through time. In the development of implementing configuration management and configuration items may be baselined to determine a particular status to interested parties. With this, the baseline work may need particular changes to work products to make sure it agrees with the baseline reference.

The standard configuration is applied to the different media configurations and protocols. It is also applied to commands for global configuration. Cisco uses the standard configuration for its device classification like the router, ATM switch, LAN and WAN switch. Each of the standard configurations should contain the commands for protocol configuration that are needed to maintain the consistency of the network. Media configuration consists of the frame relay, ATM and Fast Ethernet configurations. The configuration of the protocol includes the configuration parameters of standard IP routing protocol, the Quality of Service configurations, access list that are common and all the other protocol configurations required.

Standard configuration parameters are recommended in a configuration file and also in downloading the file to each of the devices prior to the interface and protocol configuration. The standard configuration file should also be documented containing an explanation for each parameter of the global configuration and state its importance. The resource manager essentials of Cisco may be used to manage some standard configuration file, descriptors and protocol configuration.

There are also upgrade procedures done to ensure that the upgrade of the software and hardware occur with minimal down time. The procedures for upgrade include vendor installation, vendor verification, guidelines and testing requirements. The procedures for upgrade differ depending on the type of the network and the type of the device that will be used. Some of the other upgrades may not be tested easily like the one that involves the whole network. When the procedure for upgrade is verified and defined, the upgrade procedures must be updated with all the documentations for change.

Software configuration management is but one part of the entire scope of configuration management. Generally, configuration management involves a detailed listing of the changes made as a computer network is upgraded, modified or changed. The other end of the spectrum is the hardware configuration management. When you refer to software configuration management, you are basically talking about the software versions, the inner workings of a particular software used in a computer network system and other related information. So how does software configuration benefit an organization? With this, the downtime when you upgrade, modify or make any changes within a computer network will be minimized.

To make your job easier, there are configuration management software tools and visuals that you can utilize. One example of a tool that you can use is Microsoft’s Visual SourceSafe software. This software configuration management tool developed by the company will allow you to manage, build of change the software being used through source-code techniques, release construction and tracking of object builds. Since software configuration management is a skill that needs time to learn, you need to get a head start in improving your knowledge of the topic by using the configuration management software tool visuals. This way, you will understand the concepts and clearly see the benefits brought about by software configuration management. Other software configuration management tools that you can use include the Yahoo and Google directories, Rake, ParaBuild, FinalBuilder, Pulse, TeamCity, QuickBuild, IncrediBuild and other similar tools available online. No matter which of these tools you will use, make sure that you will take full advantage of the benefits of using these configuration management software tools.

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