Monitoring and Network Management

The communication networks gain a critical importance in the institutions and organizations. The networks also increment their capacity and complexity, implementing new services and new infrastructures. This behavior generates a constant growth in the network and leaves the evidence of the importance of the management and maintenance of it in order to avoid failures and setbacks 

It is necessary to implement automatic management tools in order to face the complexity of a big network and guarantee its correct functioning. The size of the networks, its complexity and the variety of situations that can occur make it evident that it is not possible to manage and administrate it without tools. For this, different applications and technologies have been developed, which simplify the work.

A network management system is a group of techniques and tools that are employed to monitor and control the network. And it integrates to itself through a management interface and specific hardware and software. The software must generally be installed in the existing equipment and some sort of additional hardware should be deployed as central manager.

The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is the most popular standard deployed for network’s management. The majority of the provider's equipment and devices integrate an SNMP module that allows the products to be managed through the protocol. SNMP is a tool for the control and management of the network. The protocol defines a list of objects that are administrated in a Management Information Bases (MIB). And a protocol that interacts with these objects, obtaining them and establishing them as variables from the MIBs is also defined. An object can refer to a network parameter, a configuration parameter, etc.

SNMP is not a management system in itself. It provides a framework on which management can be implemented. This way, SNMP can obtain information about the equipment and configure parameters in them. The management system will be constructed on these functionalities.

There are several tools and applications used to implement the network management. Some of the most useful are Netflow, sFlow and jFlow (protocols to collect statistics of IP traffic streams); and hyperic (application to manage and monitor virtual infrastructures). 

In turn, there are different developments for the provisioning and failures control in the network. With these schemes, a centralized equipment can configure the different network components, adding users, paths or other types of configurations and services. These developments must be implemented rigorously and must analyze each network in particular, since the function they have is critical and any mistake of implementation can result in a big failure.

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