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Network operators and service providers need to maximize the use of their available capital investment by managing inventory and configuration information in a more cost effective manner. The first task that they face might seem the simplest: collecting data about the physical assets in a network. However, the dynamic nature of today's heterogeneous networks, as well as the limitations of element management systems and many proprietary interfaces and protocols, all complicates the task. As a result, inaccurate and incomplete records of inventory and configuration data are preventing operators from optimizing their networks. We present a software technology that has been used successfully to create correct and complete records. This technology can create a "reality" view of multivendor wireline and wireless networks by extracting inventory and configuration data from in-service networks without degrading network performance. Records can be delivered via a Web-based application. The technology spans circuit switch, data, optical and wireless networks. Application of the technology for several large wireless service providers and smaller data network operators has resulted in substantial reduction in their operating expenses. In addition, the service providers have been able to optimize engineering of their networks and critical network management tasks.