Tip

Network inventory management: A method to the madness

Creating a network inventory report is a daunting task, in the face of massive amounts of data to be collected and incorrectly reported information to be cropped or corrected. In order to make sense of the madness, VARs and consultants need a sensible and efficient method. The ends, however, justify the means, as a successful inventory will provide a complete picture and assist the discovery of issues in need of resolution.

 

Router Expert: Conducting a network inventory, part 1

Before a network services audit can begin, a network inventory must be conducted. An inventory includes collecting host identification information, such as IP address, network interface hardware (NIC) address and DNS entries, for all network nodes. While some of this information will be on hand in most environments, often it will have errors. In most cases, NIC information and MAC addresses will not be recorded.

A good network inventory is the result of a well planned strategy and process. This involves understanding why information like IP, MAC and DNS are important. From there, a VAR is free to explore methods for collecting the data, such as spreadsheets and notepads.

Taking the inventory tally also involves tools, such as scripts, to assist in the data collection. Some good tools include:

    Requires Free Membership to View

Learn more about taking a network inventory and host identification data collection.

Router Expert: Conducting a network inventory, part 2

The reporting aspect of the network inventory should yield three things:

  1. A listing of all the active hosts on an IP subnet at the time the inventory was run
  2. Information on inconsistencies between ICMP collection and the router/switch's visibility of the subnet
  3. Inconsistencies between what is active on the subnet and what is in DNS.

There is also a fourth aspect that has value, depending on the environment: network hardware information, which can assist in the reading of the results of the network audit data to determine some of the validity of the findings and assist in the configuration of the network vulnerability scan tests. After all, the more you know, the more confident you can be in the findings.


This was first published in April 2007

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.