Network World's Network/Systems Management Newsletter, 07/18/07

Open source configuration management tool and community gather steam

By Denise Dubie

In all my talk last week about network management communities, I overlooked one that I find particularly interesting and which recently saw its open source project updated.

ZipTie, an open source project spun out of configuration management vendor AlterPoint, was recently upgraded with help from its sponsoring vendor. With some 3,500 downloads and support for more than 1,000 devices from the likes of Cisco, Juniper, Check Point and others, ZipTie can help network managers leave manual inventory and configuration management practices behind, supporters say.

"In a matter of hours, a network administrator can download this latest release of ZipTie, discover an entire inventory with hundreds of devices and be ready for automated changes,” said Kartick Suriamoorthy, ZipTie community manager, in an AlterPoint press release. “That said, ZipTie is a growing project and we encourage network experts and tools developers to contribute to the community to enrich the project even further."

ZipTie is a client-side application that can be downloaded to a Windows or Linux machine. It features device discovery and backup, device configuration comparison, configuration change detection, configuration distribution and an extensive set of point-and-click tools for performing administrative functions on network devices such as routers, switches and firewalls.

The release now lets network managers and hardware vendors use graphical tools to extend the capabilities of ZipTie to any network hardware device from multiple vendors with minimal coding or development work, according to AlterPoint. AlterPoint has contributed more than 40 commercially developed device adapters to the ZipTie community.

Other features in the open source project release available free for download now include the ZipTie Development Environment in which community members "create, deploy and debug" adapters for any network devices. The environment also features extensible, Perl-based adapters and device mediation based on XML-configuration normalization and Web services. The ZipTie Tools Framework enables customers to build their own tools to migrate existing scripts to ZipTie, and the user interface offers management task scheduling capabilities and job monitoring.

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Last Modified: March 9, 2008