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TCP/IP Internet Standard Management Framework Architecture and Protocol Components
(Page 1 of 2)
TCP/IP network management is based
on the Simple Network Management Protocol, abbreviated SNMP. As we saw
overview topic, however, this term is
ambiguous. While it is commonly used to refer to the
actual communication protocol used to
exchange network management information, the term also refers to the
entire set of technologies that enable TCP/IP network management. The
technical name for this larger architecture is the Internet Standard
Management Framework. Again, even though it may seem strange, this
term is actually abbreviated in the standards as SNMP. For
simplicity, I abbreviate it as the SNMP Framework, to differentiate
it from the SNMP protocol.
he Internet Standard Management Framework
encompasses all of the technologies that comprise the TCP/IP network
management solution. The SNMP Framework consists of a number of architectural
components that define how management information is structured, how
it is stored, and how it is exchanged using the SNMP protocol. The Framework
also describes how the different components fit together, how SNMP is
to be implemented in network devices, and how the devices interact.
SNMP Framework Components
As we will explore in more detail
later, the Internet Standard Management Framework is entirely information-oriented.
It includes the following primary components (see Figure 271):
- Structure of Management Information (SMI):
To ensure interoperability of various devices, we want to have a consistent
way of describing the characteristics of devices to be managed using
SNMP. In computer science, a data description language (DDL)
is the tool for this job. The Structure of Management Information
(SMI) is a standard that defines the structure, syntax and characteristics
of management information in SNMP.
- Management Information Bases (MIBs): Each
managed device contains a set of variables that is used to manage it.
These variables represent information about the operation of the device
that is sent to a network management station, and/or parameters sent
to the managed device to control it. The management information base
(MIB) is the full set of these variables that describe the management
characteristics of a particular type of device.
Each variable in a MIB is called a MIB object, and is defined
using the SMI data description language. A device may have many objects,
corresponding to the different hardware and software elements it contains.
Initially, a single document defined the MIB for SNMP, but this model
was inflexible. To allow new MIB objects to be more easily defined,
groups of related MIB objects are now defined in separate RFC standards
called MIB modules. Over 100 such MIB modules have been defined
- Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP):
This is the actual SNMP protocol itself. It defines how information
is exchanged between SNMP agents and network management stations. The
SNMP protocol operations define the various SNMP messages and
how they are created and used. SNMP transport mappings describe
how SNMP can be used over various underlying internetworks, such as
TCP/IP, IPX and others.
- Security and Administration: To the three
main architectural components above, the SNMP Framework adds a number
of supporting elements. These provide enhancements to the operation
of the SNMP protocol for security, and address issues related to SNMP
implementation, version transition and other administrative issues.
Figure 271: Components of the TCP/IP Internet Standard Management Framework
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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