Cut and Paste Networking

I am about to configure new switches to go into a soon-to-be-remodeled building on our campus. As I go into the process, I am thinking about a number of variables including the fact that this will be the first of our buildings to use port channels to aggregate two interfaces in every switch stack in the building. We have been using port channels for a while to feed the core switches in each building, but have typically not used them for distribution within the building. Perhaps more significantly for me, all of the existing port channels were done before I was “the guy” doing the configurations, so I am excited/nervous about doing these. Also, because this is the first major use of port channels for intra-building distribution, it also means that I need to  determine the “standard” way that we will proceed.

I am a big advocate of consistency in every part of the infrastructure and have standardized  addressing schemes, labeling, MDF/IDF layout, and pretty much every other detail I can think of. More importantly, I have documented all of these standards so that anyone that follows me will at least know what was done before. Everyone has a “style” that they hold to when it comes to installations and even configurations. There are dozens of small variables that define the “signature” of a Network Admin.

This brings me to my title point.  I will be configuring a pile of switches over the next couple of weeks. Over time, our department has settled on specifics of the configs and each switch goes through roughly the same process. In order to do this consistently, I have taken to putting all of the commands in a text file and doing a cut and paste for switch configuration. Of course each stack will have some unique features: management address, name, vlans, etc, but I find it best to start with a basic template and just edit the details. Does this result in perfect configs every time? Not entirely, but when I have made a mistake I can simply pull up a text file and find whatever I forgot to change and quickly fix the problem. Even better, I end up with a record of what was done. It may not be sexy, but it sure works.

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