Network Change Management

In a network environment; change is becoming more important than ever. Network administrators are disparately looking for stability wherever it counts: in their key Resource hardware, Resource hardware components, network element’s configurations, network element’s software images running, network services operation, network topology, and last but not least network capacity structure.


There are a lot of confusion over what is Change management! The goal of Change management is NOT to look at changes in configuration files! Similarly, the goal of Configuration management is NOT to track and maintain the network Device’s configuration through detecting then collecting and archiving the latest configurations and configuration changes.

The first and most obvious definition of “change management” is that the term refers to the task of managing change. The obvious is not necessarily unambiguous. Managing change is itself a term that has at least two meanings.

One meaning of managing change refers to the making of changes in a planned and managed or systematic fashion. The aim is to more effectively implement new methods and systems in an operational network. The changes to be managed lie within and are controlled by the network administrator(s). However, these internal changes might have been triggered by events originating outside the network, in what is usually termed “the network environment.” Hence, the second meaning of managing change, namely, the response to changes over which the network service and its administrators exercises little or no control (e.g., WAN link integrity, congestion, DOS attacks, and so on). Network administrators and management solutions providers alike should distinguish between a knee-jerk or reactive response and an anticipative or proactive response.

Another way to look at change management is by accounting for the content or subject matter of change management. This consists chiefly of the models, methods and techniques, tools, skills, and other forms of knowledge that go into making up any resource or service being managed.

A very useful framework for thinking about the change process is problem understanding and problem solving. Managing change is seen as a matter of moving from one state to another, specifically, from the problem state to the solved state. Diagnosis or problem analysis is generally acknowledged as essential. Goals are set and achieved at various levels and in various areas or functions. Careful planning is accompanied by management process manipulation, adaptation, and execution. The net effect is a transition from one state to another, in a planned, orderly fashion. This is a planned change model.

From the preceding, it follows that “problem detection” is the search for situations requiring action. It also means that the administrators can understand the set of changes occurring before, during, and after the actual problem; in other words it allows the administrators to understand the “Problem environment”. This will enable those administrators to better diagnose then plan for change to eventually reach the ultimate goal of higher network availability.