Overview and History of the TCP/IP Internet Standard Management Framework and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)
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An adage from the world of professional sports says that a baseball umpire is doing a good job when you forget that he is there. In many ways, the same could be said of a network administrator. The administrator is doing a good job when the network is running so smoothly and efficiently that users forget that the administrator exists. Because as the administrator knows all too well, the second there is a problem, the users will all remember that he or she is there very quickly. J
This means that a primary job of a network administrator is to keep tabs on the network and ensure that it is operating normally. Information about the hardware and software on the network is a key to performing this task properly. When networks were small, an administrator could stay informed about the status of hardware and software using simple means, such as physically walking over to a computer and using it, or using a low-level link layer management protocol.
This is simply not possible with modern internetworks, which are large, geographically diverse, and often consist of many different lower-layer technologies. Usually, the only thing all the devices on the network have in common is an implementation of a particular internetworking protocol suite, such as TCP/IP. This makes the internetwork itself a logical way to facilitate the communication of network management information between devices and a network administrator.
Many people recognized during the early days of the Internet that some sort of network management technology would be needed for TCP/IP. Unfortunately, at first there was no single standardin the 1980s, several different technologies were developed by different working groups. There were three main contestants: the High-level Entity Management System (HEMS) / High-level Entity Management Protocol (HEMP) as defined by RFCs 1021 through 1024; the Simple Gateway Monitoring Protocol (SGMP), defined by RFC 1028; and the Common Management Information Protocol (CMIP), which is actually part of the OSI protocol suite.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) recognized the importance of having a unifying management standard for TCP/IP, and in 1988 published RFC 1052, IAB Recommendations for the Development of Internet Network Management Standards. This memo is not a standard, but more of a statement of intention and documentation of a meeting held on this subject. The conclusion of RFC 1052 was that SGMP be used as the basis of a new Internet standard to be called the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This development was to be carried out by the SNMP Working Group.
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