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network management

network management The activity of managing a (computer) network. Networks, especially data networks, are complex and contain independently operating units, often from a number of different suppliers, as well as using services provided by other agencies such as PTTs for some parts of the network. In order for the network to be run reliably, for faults to be identified, isolated, and repaired, and for the network as a whole to be developed in a controlled manner, it is necessary to have a management activity operating at several levels:

(a) routine collection of data on traffic;

(b) routine collection of data on failures of connections and of network nodes;

(c) ability to query the status of network nodes in order to assist in fault location;

(d) ability to control the status of network nodes, including resetting, restarting, and reloading with software;

(e) ability to withdraw network nodes from service, and to reconfigure routing information.

Ideally, the manager would like to be able to perform all these activities from a workstation connected to the network. For this to be done, the nodes must themselves be treated as addressable objects on the network, and there must be a protocol that allows suitably authorized and qualified personnel to carry out both the routine activities (a) and (b) above, and to take corrective action in the event of a failure. There is a suitable protocol, SNMP (simple network management protocol), and nearly all suppliers now market products that can process SNMP queries and commands.

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