From the Inside Flap
PrefaceWhile I was working on this book, I would tell people the title, A Practical Guide to SNMPv3 and Network Management, and the most common response I would get would be, “Isn’t that an oxymoron?” It’s a good line but it’s not really true. SNMPv3 is conceptually simple. While its use within a network will add complexity, it addresses a major weakness of SNMP which is the lack of strong security. You can’t add sophisticated features like authentication, encryption, and access control without adding some complexity to how these features are configured. Still, I have talked with several engineers I know who develop network management software, and they have dismissed SNMPv3 without even attempting to understand it. I feel this is a mistake. I have this image in my mind of SNMPv3 as a series of dark clouds that are rolling in over the horizon. Like it or not the storm is coming and you’d better be prepared for it.
One of the goals for this book is to prepare you for SNMPv3. This means making it understandable at both a conceptual and practical level. For me, understanding it at a practical level means understanding how to work with it. This book will show how to configure SNMPv3 for generating notifications, proxy forwarding, authentication, security, and access control. It is not a goal for this book is to describe the logical subsystems that make up an SNMPv3 architecture, or any of the abstract service interfaces that are used between these subsystems. While this information might be useful to people implementing SNMPv3 engines, this book is intended for network managers who need to use SNMPv3 and for software developers who need to build network management applications using SNMPv3. Besides, the INTERNET-DRAFT documents do a fine job of defining these various subsystems and their abstract service interfaces, probably a better job than I could do.
Another goal for this book is to make RMON2 understandable. RMON2 is one of the more important advancements that have been made to the network management space. One of the keys to managing a network is understanding it. RMON2 lets you understand both the network-layer and application-layer traffic going across your network. You can further understand the network-layer and application-layer conversations occurring on your network. By understanding the protocol usage and conversations occurring on a network (and by tracking this over time) a network manager can better plan for network growth and optimize client-server communications.
Over the past year I have talked with several customers who have expressed confusion over how to configure and use RMON2. While the RMON2 MIB is rather imposing, it is fairly consistent in its configuration and in how its data tables are accessed. The RMON2 chapter in this book shows how to configure RMON2 and how to access its data tables. It also suggests several RMON2 applications that can be built.
The major goal for this book, however, is to provide practical insights into building SNMP-based applications. I have spent the past sixteen years building both network devices and network management products. As such my focus is more on the practical nature of getting things built then on the theoretical or academic nature. This book is really for network managers and developers who need to focus on getting things built.NOTATION
Pseudocode is used throughout the book to describe the logic in configuring and accessing SNMPv3 and RMON2 MIB tables. The format of the psuedocode is a loose combination of C and Tcl, with a little Java thrown in where it makes sense. All pseudocode is shown in a courier font.
Practical Guide to Snmpv3 and Network Management