CCNP Tshoot - Introduction to Network Maintenance: Backup, logging, NTP

- If you are connected to a router via Telnet and want to see console messages, you can enter the command terminal monitor.

 - logging console warnings  <---severity level of warning(that is, 4) or less (that is, 0–2) are logged to the router’s buffer

Table 3 Message Logging Level Keywords 

Level Keyword



Syslog Definition



System unstable




Immediate action needed




Critical conditions




Error conditions




Warning conditions




Normal but significant condition




Informational messages only




Debugging messages


 - Network maintenance is an inherent component of a network administrator’s responsibilities.
 - Interrupt-driven maintenance tasks can be reduced by proactively performing regularly scheduled maintenance tasks.

Interrupt-driven tasks are helpdesk tasks (fix problems as reported by users) while Structured tasks are tasks performed by a predefined plan. Advantages of a structured network maintenance model over interrupt-driven include:
+ Proactive vs. reactive
+ Reduced network downtime
+ More cost effective
+ Better alignment with business objectives
+ Improved network security

Network Maintenance
Network maintenance, at its essence, is doing whatever is required to keep the network functioning and meeting the business needs of an organization.

Tasks that fall under the umbrella of network maintenance are as follows:
■ Hardware and software installation and configuration
■ Troubleshooting problem reports
■ Monitoring and tuning network performance
■ Planning for network expansion
■ Documenting the network and any changes made to the network
■ Ensuring compliance with legal regulations and corporate policies
■ Securing the network against internal and external threats

Some of the more Well-Known Network Maintenance Models
FCAPS:FCAPS (which stands for Fault management, Configuration management,Accounting management, Performance management, and Security management) is a network maintenance model defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
ITIL:An IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) defines a collection of best-practice recommendations that work together to meet business goals.
TMN:The Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) network management model is the Telecommunications Standardization Sector’s (ITU-T) variation of the FCAPS model. Specifically, TMN targets the management of telecommunications networks.
Cisco Lifecycle Services:The Cisco Lifecycle Services maintenance model defines distinct phases in the life of a Cisco technology in a network. These phases are Prepare, Plan, Design, Implement, Operate, and Optimize. As a result, the Cisco Lifecycle Services model is often referred to as the PPDIOO model.

FCAPS Management Tasks
Fault management - Use network management software to collect information from routers and switches. Send an e-mail alert when processor utilization or bandwidth utilization exceeds a threshold of 80 percent. Respond to incoming trouble tickets from the help desk.
Configuration management - Require logging of any changes made to network hardware or software configurations. Implement a change management system to alert relevant personnel of planned network changes.
Accounting management - Invoice IP telephony users for their long distance and international calls.
Performance management  - Monitor network performance metrics for both LAN and WAN links. Deploy appropriate quality of service (QoS) solutions to
make the most efficient use of relatively limited WAN bandwidth, while prioritizing mission critical traffic.
Security management - Deploy firewall, virtual private network (VPN), and intrusionprevention system (IPS) technologies to defend against malicious traffic. Create a security policy dictating rules of acceptable network use. Use an AAA server to validate user credentials, assign appropriate user privileges, and log user activity.

Routine Maintenance Tasks
 - Configuration changes,
 - Replacement of older or failed hardware,
 - Scheduled backups,
 - Updating software,
 - Monitoring network performance:

Maintaining Network Documentation
Network documentation typically gets created as part of a network’s initial design and installation.
Keeping that documentation current, reflecting all changes made since the network’s installation, should be part of any network maintenance model.
Network documentation could consist of:
 - Logical topology diagram: the interconnection of network segments, the protocols used, and how end users interface with the network
 - Physical topology diagram: shows how different geographical areas (for example, floors within a building, buildings, or entire sites) interconnect.
 - Listing of interconnections: could be a spreadsheet that lists which ports on which devices are used to interconnect network components, or connect out to service provider networks.
 - Inventory of network equipment: include such information as the equipment’s manufacturer, model number, version of software, information about the licensing of the software, serial number, and an organization’s asset tag number.
 - IP address assignments.
 - Configuration information: When a configuration change is made, the current configuration should be backed up.
 - Original design documents: created during the initial design of a network might provide insight into why certain design decisions were made.

Planning and provisioning hardware and software for such outages before they occur can accelerate recovery time. Must be present:
 - Duplicate hardware
 - Operating system and application software (along with any applicable licensing) for the device
 - Backup of device configuration information.

The Network Maintenance Toolkit
Network maintenance tools often range in expense from free to tens of thousands of dollars.
Cisco Tools & Resources

CLI Tools
Cisco IOS offers a wealth of CLI commands, which can be invaluable when troubleshooting a network issue
A newer Cisco IOS feature, which allows a router to monitor events and automatically respond to a specific event (such as a defined threshold being reached) with a predefined action, is called Cisco IOS Embedded Event Manager (EEM). EEM policies can be created using Cisco’s tool command language (TCL).

GUI Tools
Although Cisco has some GUI tools, such as CiscoWorks, that can manage large enterprise networks, several device-based GUI tools are freely available.
Examples of these free tools from Cisco are the following:
■ Cisco Configuration Professional (CCP)
■ Cisco Configuration Assistant (CCA)
■ Cisco Network Assistant (CNA)
■ Cisco Security Device Manager (SDM)

Backup Tools
External servers are often used to store archival backups of a device’s operating system (for example, a Cisco IOS image) and configuration information.
Depending on your network device, you might be able to back up your operating system and configuration information to a TFTP, FTP, HTTP, or SCP server.
R1# copy startup-config ftp://kevin:cisco@
Address or name of remote host []?
Destination filename [r1-confg]?
Writing r1-confg !
1446 bytes copied in 3.349 secs (432 bytes/sec)
FTP config to add username and password credentials to the router’s configuration, without explicitly specifying those credentials in the copy command.
R1(config)# ip ftp username kevin
R1(config)# ip ftp password cisco
R1# copy startup-config
The process of backing up a router’s configuration can be automated using an archiving feature, which is part of the Cisco IOS Configuration Replace and Configuration Rollback feature:
 - you can configure a Cisco IOS router to periodically back up a copy of the startup config to a specified location (for example, the router’s flash or an FTP server)
 - can be configured to create an archive every time you copy a router’s running configuration to the startup configuration.

Example: Back up its startup configuration every day (that is, every 1440 minutes) to an FTP server (with an IP address of, where the login credentials have already been configured in the router’s configuration)
ip ftp username kevin
ip ftp password cisco
time-period 1440
View archived files:

R1# show archive
The next archive file will be named
Archive # Name
2 <- Most Recent
You can restore a previously archived configuration using the configure replace command.
This command does not merge the archived configuration with the running configuration, but rather completely replaces the running configuration with the archived
Router# configure replace
 - Configure a default username before a file is copied to or from a remote web server using the copy http:// or copy https:// command.
 - The default username will be overridden by a username specified in the URL of the copy command.
Router(config)# ip http client password Secret
Router(config)# ip http client username User1

"copy"  command
 Copies a file from any supported remote location to a local file system, or from a local file system to a remote location, or from a local file system to a local file system.

Logging Tools
Device logs often offer valuable information when troubleshooting a network issue.
If you are connected to a router via Telnet and want to see console messages, you can enter the command terminal monitor.
Logging console messages to a router’s buffer (that is, in the router’s RAM), you can issue the logging buffered. You can specify how much of the router’s RAM can be dedicated to logging.After the buffer fills to capacity, older entries will be deleted to make room for newer entries.
This buffer can be viewed by issuing the
show logging history
You might only want to log messages that have a certain level of severity.
logging console <severity_level>
logging buffered <severity_level>
Logging config
logging buffered 4096 warnings    <---router can use a maximum of 4096 bytes of RAM for the buffered logging
logging console warnings  <---severity level of warning(that is, 4) or less (that is, 0–2) are logged to the router’s buffer
logging   <---router is configured to log messages to a syslog server with an IP address

Because the NTP server might be referenced by devices in different time zones, each device has its own time zone configuration, which indicates how many hours its time zone differs from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
R1(config)# clock timezone EST -5  ! -5 = offset from UTC, not EST!!
R1(config)# clock summer-time EDT recurring 2 Sun Mar 2:00 1 Sun Nov 2:00
R1(config)# ntp server
R1(config)# ntp server prefer   <--- use this IP as its NTP-server before falling back to

There are two types of NTP messages:
1) Control messages: for reading and writing internal NTP variables and obtain NTP status information. It is not used for time synchronization so we will not care about them in this question.
2) Request/Update messages: for time synchronization. Request messages ask for synchronization information while Update messages contains synchronization information and may change the local clock.

When synchronizing system clocks on Cisco IOS devices only Request/Update messages are used. Therefore we only need to configure the Peer and Serve-only access-groups.

There are four types of NTP access-groups exist to control traffic to the NTP services:
1) Peer: controls which remote devices the local device may synchronize. In other words, it permits the local router to respond to NTP request and accept NTP updates.
2) Serve: controls which remote devices may synchronize with the local device. In other words, it permits the local router to reply to NTP requests, but drops NTP update. This access-group allows control messages.
3) Serve-only: controls which remote devices may synchronize with the local device. In other words, it permits the local router to respond to NTP requests only. This access-group denies control messages.
4) Query-only: only accepts control messages. No response to NTP requests are sent, and no local system time synchronization with remote system is permitted.

access-list 1 permit
access-list 2 permit
ntp master
ntp access-group peer 1    !! to NTP Servers, this device will update time from ACL=1 only
ntp access-group serve-only 2   !! to NTP Clients, this device will give time from ACL=2 only

NTP Authentication

 - By default, NTP authentication is disabled.
 - Router synchronizes to a time source only if the source carries one of the authentication keys specified by the "ntp trusted-key" command.

 - "ntp trusted-key" command basically does the same thing as the "trustedkey" configuration directive in the "ntp.conf"

On the NTP SERVER device, with IP address
ntp authentication                          ! Enables the NTP authentication feature
ntp authentication-key 1 md5 SharedNTPKey1  ! key must match on the NTP server AND ntp trusted-key <key> below
ntp trusted-key 1                           ! from 1 to 65535

On the NTP CLIENT device
ntp authentication
ntp authentication-key 1 md5 SharedNTPKey1  ! key must match on the NTP server AND ntp trusted-key <key> below
ntp trusted-key 1
ntp server key 1
ntp logging   !  optional, enable NTP logging

NTP Broadcast
ntp broadcast [ client | [ destination { ip-address | hostname } ] [ key [broadcast-key] ] [ version number ] ]

NTP options
If you are using NTPv4, the NTP synchronization takes more time to complete when compared to NTPv3, which synchronizes in seconds or within of 1 to 2 minutes.
The acceptable time for synchronization in NTPv4 is 15 to 20 minutes.

If you are using the default NTP version 3 and NTP synchronization does not occur, try Network TimeProtocol version 2 (NTPv2). Some NTP servers on the Internet run version 2. For IPv6, use NTP version 4 (NTPv4).

! NTP Core (ERROR): time correction of -22842. seconds exceeds sanity limit 1000. seconds; set clock manually to the correct UTC time.
! To configure (NTP) to reject time updates greater than the panic threshold of 1000 seconds
Router(config)# ntp panic update

! To configure a router to allow its software clock to be synchronized with the software clock of a (NTP) peer
! or to allow the software clock of a NTP peer to be synchronized with the software clock of the router
! allow its software clock to be synchronized with the software clock of a peer (or vice versa) using NTPv2:
Router(config)# ntp peer version 2 source ethernet 0
! allow its software clock to be synchronized with the software clock of a peer (or vice versa) using NTPv4:
Router(config)# ntp peer 2001:0DB8:0:0:8:800:200C:417A version 4

! To configure a router to allow its software clock to be synchronized with the software clock of a (NTP) time server,
! ntp server -  meaning you are the client only, The "ntp peer" command is set between two devices.
! Use the 'prefer' keyword if you need to use this command multiple times and you want to set a preferred server.
Router(config)# ntp server version 2
Router(config)# ntp server 2001:0DB8:0:0:8:800:200C:417A version 4
! To achieve faster NTP synchronization, enable the burst or iburst mode by using the burst or iburst

! To configure passive (NTP) associations
Router(config)# ntp passive

! NTP service is activated (if it has not already been activated) and the options are configured for sending NTP traffic simultaneously.
Router(config)# interface ethernet 0
Router(config-if)# ntp broadcast version 2   !  NTP version 2

! To configure a system to send (NTP) multicast packets on a specified interface
Router(config)# interface ethernet 0
Router(config-if)# ntp multicast version 2   !  NTP version 2

! Allows the system to receive NTP broadcast packets on an interface.
Router(config)# interface ethernet 1
Router(config-if)# ntp broadcast client

! To configure the system to receive (NTP) multicast packets on a specified interface
Router(config)# interface ethernet 1
Router(config-if)# ntp multicast client

! Sets the estimated round-trip delay between the Cisco IOS software and an NTP broadcast server.
Router(config)# ntp broadcastdelay 5000

! To disable the NTP service on a device
Router(config)# no ntp

! To prevent an interface from receiving NTP packets
Router(config)# interface ethernet 0
Router(config-if)# ntp disable

! To reset the drift value stored in the persistent data file
! The drift is the frequency offset between the local clock hardware and the authoritative time from the NTPv4 servers.
! NTPv4 automatically computes this drift and uses it to compensate permanently for local clock imperfections.
Router# ntp clear drift

! To enable  (NTP) message logging
Router(config)# ntp logging

! To configure the Cisco IOS software as a NTP master clock to which peers synchronize themselves when an external NTP source is not available
Router(config)# ntp master 10  ! stratum=10
Router(config)# no ntp

! To periodically update the hardware clock (calendar) from a Network Time Protocol (NTP) time source,
ntp update-calendar

Network Documentation Tools
A couple of documentation management system examples are as follows:
■ Trouble ticket reporting system - recording, tracking, and archiving trouble reports (that is, trouble tickets).
■ Wiki - web-based collaborative documentation platform

Monitoring and Measuring Tools
Keeping an eye on network traffic patterns and performance metrics can help you anticipate problems before they occur.
SNMP allows a monitored device (for example, a router or a switch) to run an SNMP agent.

Reasons to monitor network performance include the following:
 - Assuring compliance with an SLA
 - Trend monitoring
 - Troubleshooting performance issues - you have a reference point (that is, a baseline) against which you can compare performance metrics collected after a user reports a performance issue.

Troubleshooting process
Troubleshooting Methods
Issues could arise as a result of human error (for example, a misconfiguration), equipment failure, a software bug, or traffic patterns (for example, high utilization or a network being under attack by malicious traffic).

Troubleshooting skills vary from administrator to administrator.

Simplified model of the troubleshooting
Problem report: After an issue is reported, the first step toward resolution is clearly defining the issue.
Problem diagnosis: When you have a clearly defined troubleshooting target, you can begin gathering information related to that issue.
Problem resolution: After you identify a suspected underlying cause, you next define approaches to resolving the issue and select what you consider to be the best approach.

Structured Troubleshooting Approach
(1) Problem Report - clear problem report
(2) Collect Information - show or debug commands, or performing packet captures
(3) Examine Information
(4) Eliminate Potential Causes
(5) Hypothesize Underlying Cause
(6) Verify Hypothesis

Some experienced troubleshooters, however, might have seen similar issues before and might be extremely familiar with the subtleties of the network they are working on. they can use shoot from the hip method - immediately hypothesizing a cause after they collect information about the problem.
(1) Problem Report  -> (2) Collect Information  -> (3) Hypothesize Underlying Cause  -> (4) Verify Hypothesis

Popular Troubleshooting Methods:
1) The Top-Down Method - Begins at the top layer of the OSI seven-layer model - first checks the application residing at the application layer and moves down from there
2) The Bottom-Up Method - Seeks to narrow the field of potential causes by eliminating OSI layers beginning at Layer 1 (physical). Might not be efficient in larger networks because of the time required to fully test lower layers of the OSI model.
3) The Divide and Conquer Method - Begins in the middle of the OSI stack (ping
4) Following the Traffic Path - follow the path of the traffic experiencing a problem
5) Comparing Configurations - often an appropriate approach for a less experienced troubleshooter not well versed in the specifics of the network
6) Component Swapping - physically swap out components. If a problem’s symptoms disappear after swapping out a particular component (for example, a cable or a switch), you can conclude that the old component was faulty (either in its hardware or its configuration).

Including Troubleshooting in Routine Network Maintenance
Maintaining Current Network Documentation
Following are a few suggestions to help troubleshooters keep in mind the need to document their steps:
■ Require documentation
■ Schedule documentation check
■ Automate documentation

Establishing a Baseline
Troubleshooting involves knowing what should be happening on the network, observing what is currently happening on the network, and determining the difference between the two.

Change Management
The process of change management includes using policies that dictate rules regarding how and when a change can be made and how that change is documented.