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SNMP: Standards-Based Network Monitoring Technology
|Your organization's network is likely composed of various resources obtained from multiple vendors. You may have Dell® workstations, Linksys® hubs, Cisco® switches, APC® UPSs and IBM® servers, just to name a few.
Only the SNMP (simple Network Monitoring Protocol) standard is able to monitor nearly every piece of equipment present on your network without requiring you to implement individual solutions for each vendor.
While there are many reasons for choosing a network monitoring solution that comes with full SNMP support, the following are some of the most compelling.
- The industry standard. Although a number of competing standards exist, SNMP is the only approved Internet standard present on nearly every operating system and network device. Since its adoption in 1988, SNMP has brought a new level of standardization to network management, allowing administrators to monitor and control most aspects of their resources. Vendors continue to have full control over the information they supply, yet the mechanism through which the data can be obtained remains standardized.
- Ubiquitous. SNMP can query and collect information from such diverse network resources as workstations, UPSs, hubs, routers, switches, network bridges, gateways, and even stand-alone print servers. Almost every piece of equipment on a company's network is inherently SNMP-compliant, and can therefore be monitored using SNMP monitoring techniques.
- Vendor, technology and platform independent. SNMP isn't limited to certain vendors, technology types or platforms. It can transport critical data between nearly all network devices and the systems that control those resources, including network monitoring software packages.
- Lightweight. When deployed across a network to gather data, SNMP uses a small amount of resources. It doesn't leave behind a significant footprint, incurs little overhead in terms of round-trip time and has minimal impact on network performance.
- Used to perform network diagnostics and troubleshooting. Individual equipment manufacturers provide a Management Information Base (MIB) that defines the properties of a specific network device. The MIB includes Object Identifiers (OIDs), which contain critical information about the different aspects of a network element that can be monitored. For example, SNMP monitoring can be used to obtain information about free disk space, CPU capacity and remaining available memory on an IBM server.
- Part of a comprehensive notification system. SNMP Agents may on occasion send networking information (called "traps") for servers, applications or devices on the network. Used in conjunction with your network monitoring solution, these traps can then trigger notification alerts through email, phones and pagers to ensure that the data reaches the appropriate administrator if corrective action must be taken.
- Used to proactively monitor your network. Because SNMP monitoring can be used to keep a constant eye on your network resources, it's ideal for detecting problems before issues become critical. This allows you to take corrective action before a severe failure can affect your business, your customers, or your bottom line.
Network monitoring solutions that offer full SNMP support are able to obtain specific critical data from nearly every resource on your network. Ideally, the monitoring software package you choose will come equipped with a lightweight SNMP MIB database that supports most common SNMP data. For additional vendor MIBs, you can consult public MIB database repositories available on the Internet.
Last Updated: November 27, 2006 | What did you think of this topic?