If you have heterogeneous network equipment and server vendors your network management tool should support all these technologies.
Network management software use a variety of technologies to discover, map, manage and monitor network health and performance, and to trigger alarms and notifications in event of warning conditions, failures and bottlenecks. Some of the more commonly used network management technologies are SNMP, WMI, Telnet and SSH monitoring protocols and techniques.
SNMP, a layer 7, IP-based protocol, uses information exchange between the manager software (installed on the network management tool); and an agent software (embedded in the devices by hardware manufacturers). Device-centric information is stored as definitions in management information bases (MIBs), with each definition identified by an Unique Object Identifier (OID). The manager first identifies and locates devices by studying the SNMP replies the agents send as a response to its queries. The manager then polls the device at regular intervals, obtaining one/several MIB measurements in each transaction. With this data, the manager software can centrally monitor the device health and performance. SNMP can also trigger alarms and notifications in case of approaching thresholds/failures. SNMP must be enabled.
WMI is Microsoft’s implementation of the Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) and the Common Interface Model (CIM) management technologies for distributed environments. WMI provides an operating system interface which receives notification and device-related information from WMI-enabled clients. The management information collected includes details about the OS, hardware/software information, status and properties for local/remote system, configuration and security details, information on processes and services. The information is then passed on to the network management software (NMS), thereby enabling the NMS to monitor the network health, performance and availability. WMI is a Microsoft proprietary protocol, and is used for monitoring Windows based systems and Windows-based application. Nevertheless, it can work with SNMP and other management protocols.
SSH is another network management protocol primarily used in UNIX and Linux environments – it is the preferred choice for Linux/UNIX/Apple products. SSH, as the name suggests, creates a secure, encrypted tunnel for information exchange between the network management software and the devices. The administrators are required to provide a username, password, port number combination for authentication.
Telnet is a network protocol following a client-server model. It uses TCP channel to provide bidirectional communications between two network devices. One of the oldest communications protocols, Telnet has often been criticized for its lack of security. It does not encrypt communications – many implementations lack a username-password combination for authentication. Telnet has been mostly superseded by the more secure SSH.
Network engineers with heterogeneous network equipment and server vendors should look for a network management tool that support all these technologies, WhatsUp Gold network management suite uses Telnet, SSH, WMI and SNMP monitoring technologies to automatically discover, manage and monitor networks, devices and applications from one single pane of glass.