Managing a network is complex, and network management becomes even more complicated without standards. When an organization purchases multiple management tools, each with a different method of managing a particular hardware or software product, it must maintain and train network administrators in different tools. This process is both expensive and inefficient. To address this issue, standards committees have developed protocols for network management.
HP Systems Insight Manager takes advantage of many different management protocol standards. This capability allows HP Systems Insight Manager to provide management support for a wide array of manageable devices.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the standards-rating body for the worldwide Internetwork, has defined a management protocol, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), which has accumulated a major share of the market and has the support of over 20,000 different products. SNMP has its roots in the Internet community. The complexity of large international TCP/IP networks has provided the necessary incentive to develop a standard method of managing devices on the network.
Within the SNMP framework, manageable network devices (routers, bridges, servers, and so on) contain a software component called a management agent. The agent monitors the various subsystems of the network element and stores this information in a Management Information Base (MIB.) The agents enable the device to generate traps, which can be configured to be sent to a trap destination server that is running HP Systems Insight Manager. Conceptually, the MIB is a database, that can be written to and read by a management application using the SNMP protocol. There are two types of MIBs:
Internet Management MIBs. These MIBs, standardized by the Internet community, include MIB-II, RMON, and others and represent the core objects that are common across the widest range of network devices implementing the Internet protocols. Examples of these objects include network protocols such as TCP/IP and network devices such as Ethernet network interfaces.
Vendor MIBs. These MIBs represent objects that are unique to an individual vendor's product or product line. Over 500 vendors and organizations have created their own vendor MIBs. HP was the first personal computer company to develop a MIB-enabled SNMP management of system hardware.
SNMP supports both read and write (GET and SET) commands on attributes. Some vendors do not support the SET command because of the potential to allow an unauthorized person to alter critical parameters on a network element. HP Systems Insight Manager primarily only uses the SNMP GET command.
SNMP is associated with TCP/IP and used for monitoring devices on Ethernet networks because of its long association with the Internet. However, you can use SNMP over other protocols such as IPX. For example, the HP Systems Insight Manager application supports SNMP over IPX and IP.
Since its inception, SNMP itself has undergone several updates, including SNMP V2c and SNMP V3. HP Systems Insight Manager supports the original V1-compliant agents and the compilation of v1 and v2 MIBs. SNMP uses UDP port 161 for monitoring systems while traps are received on port 162.
SNMP communication between systems is used to gather information about a system. HP Systems Insight Manager attempts SNMP communications based on the number of SNMP retries you specify and only stops when the communication is successful or the number of retries is exceeded. HP Systems Insight Manager also waits for SNMP responses between retries, based on the timeout period. Finally, HP Systems Insight Manager can only communicate through SNMP when the community string specified on the system and the community string specified for that system in HP Systems Insight Manager match. The community string, "public", is a commonly used default. However, you specify any community string needed for your security requirements
The Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF), formed in 1992 and comprised of leading PC industry vendors and corporations, established a common, platform-independent process for specifying methods of managing desktop hardware and software components. HP is a Steering Committee member of the DMTF and helped to define the task force's two pieces of technology: the Desktop Management Interface (DMI) software and the Management Information Format (MIF) language. DMI software serves as the liaison between desktop-resident management programs, manageable hardware, and software components on the computer. DMI is most commonly used for obtaining information from desktops, but, some HP servers and workstations do support DMI.
HP Systems Insight Manager also takes advantage of the industry-standard HTTP protocol (the protocol used to transfer information over the World Wide Web) for transportation of management information. Many systems support some kind of configuration "home page" that is supported over HTTP or the Secure HTTPS protocol. HP Systems Insight Manager attempts to find HTTPs servers running on systems if the Global Protocol Settings page has this enabled. Protocols - Setting Global Protocols for more information.
Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) is one of the newest management protocols. This protocol leverages the industry-standard Common Information Model as defined by the DMTF. HP Systems Insight Manager can communicate to systems either directly using the WBEM protocol, or to the Windows WMI systems using the WMI Mapper Proxy.
HP has been leading this effort through its association with the WBEM initiative. WBEM is an initiative supported by HP, Microsoft, Intel, BMC, Cisco, and 120 other platform, operating system, and application software suppliers.
WBEM uses HTTP as its communication protocol. This protocol leverages the industry-standard Common Information Model as defined by the DMTF. HP Systems Insight Manager can communicate to systems either directly using the WBEM protocol, or to the Windows WMI systems using the WMI Mapper Proxy.
HP has been leading this effort through its association with the WBEM initiative. WBEM is an initiative supported by HP, Microsoft, Intel, BMC, Cisco, and 120 other platform, operating system, and application software suppliers. When WBEM is enabled, the management console can obtain information from any system that supports WBEM. For WBEM to work, the correct user name and password must be provided for the given system. You can view the information from the System PageLinks tab for the system as well from the data collection reports. HTTP support allows for Web enabled management agents or systems running HTTP servers to be identified. For example, to find the HP Insight Management Agents, you must have HTTP enabled on the Set System Protocol Parameters page so that HP Systems Insight Manager can discover them. Each component provides a unique glance at the system. Enable HTTP to discover any of the Insight Management Agents including cluster agents. Without HTTP enabled, HP Systems Insight Manager will not discover any Web-based features on a system. Disable HTTP if network resources are adversely affected. Without HTTP, the capabilities of HP Systems Insight Manager are severely limited.