SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is a protocol for monitoring and managing network systems. As the importance of network system management has been recognized in recent years, system management tools realized by SNMP are attracting attention.
“Management” indispensable for network systems
Before we talk about SNMP, we first need to understand network system management. With the spread of the Internet, network systems have been built in various places around us to connect to the Internet. These network systems need to be properly managed by your system administrator. So why do network systems have to be managed?
Why you have to manage
You may be wondering why you have to manage your network system. It is easy to understand that even non-experienced network managers are very likely to experience fatal failures or problems if the system is left unmanaged. In addition, network system failures can affect not only that system, but other network systems through the Internet. It is true that “network system management is essential” to avoid such a situation, but this idea is only one of the reasons why network system management is necessary. We need to think about managing network systems from a broader perspective.
Building and operating a network system is costly. The reason for maintaining the system at these costs is that the benefits it provides outweigh the costs of the system. However, if a network system fails and becomes unavailable, its benefits are lost and loss is incurred. Of course, the longer the system cannot be used normally due to a failure, the greater the loss. There is no failure-free system, but it is the mission of administrators to strive for a 99% system uptime. In addition, if the network system you are managing fails and affects other network systems, you may incur significant losses such as compensation for damages.
In addition, the system performance of the network system also affects the cost performance. For example, if it takes more time than necessary to send and receive e-mails and browse the Web, it will affect the work of users who use the service. Administrators must maximize system performance and enable users to enjoy those benefits. In addition, it is necessary to consider improving the system from the standpoint between the user’s request and the management side (the side that pays the cost of the system).
The following is a summary of these things.
- Loss occurs if the network system does not operate normally (if a failure occurs)
- If you do not manage your network system, the failure rate will be high.
- If their failure affects other network systems, it may result in loss such as compensation for damages.
- When system performance deteriorates, so does cost performance.
- Understand user requirements and consider system improvements within budget
In other words, network system management means “protecting our own interests.” So what does network system management really have to manage?
What to manage and how to manage
The basis of network system management is to “always monitor the operating network system and take appropriate action when a problem occurs”. For general network system monitoring, set the following monitoring points.
- Operating status of devices connected to the network system
- Service operating status
- System resource (system performance)
- Network traffic
- Specific messages recorded in the system log
- Rapid increase (or decrease) in system logs
Of course, the items that must be monitored differ depending on the application and industry of the network system. The administrator must consider these items to be monitored and determine more detailed monitoring points. The important thing is to quickly discover small problems and prevent them before they become fatal obstacles.
It is very important to monitor the system at all times, but the cost varies greatly depending on the monitoring method. Manual monitoring by administrators and operators is the easiest method, but it is error-prone, costly and impractical. However, despite the impractical management method, there are surprisingly many network systems managed by this method.
It is a vicious cycle in which the quality of monitoring is low due to the heavy load on the administrator and the high cost, and as a result, the burden on the administrator is further increased. However, we often talk to the administrator who is suffering from this situation. The cause seems to be that the management side often does not understand the reality of “network system management”. Automatic monitoring with monitoring tools is essential for low-cost, high-quality network system management. By using a monitoring tool that monitors the network system on a regular basis and notifies the administrator or operator when certain conditions (such as a failure occur) are met, problems with the network system can be detected immediately and promptly. You will be able to deal with the problem. SNMP is a widely used protocol for this monitoring tool.