SNMP, Network Management System

I have read and stuidied about SNMP in my A+ class but what can i really do with it. My teacher failed to give me a good idea about what it really can do for me as a network administrator. I see all of these devices that have SNMP support but dont know what to do with it. we have printers switches wireless access points and copiers that all support this. im wondering how to set this up. from what i have read i can manage all SNMP devices from a "Network Management System". it can also provide overview to me of what happens as far as trafic, errors and such (and some software will create charts for a better understanding).

Thanks,
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illtbaguAsked:
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illtbaguAuthor Commented:
opps i meant to say N+ class
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mburdickCommented:
SNMP is used for many things, including monitoring and management of network hardware and computer systems.

Essentially, it is a "thin" protocol used for many purposes. The actual abilities are defined by the product in question.

For example, HP's OpenView product has a monitoring tool that can be used to monitor uptime, availability and errors on many network devices (switches, routers, etc) as well as servers. The tool builds "maps" that show you how everything is interconnected on the network and what devices are functioning properly.

In addition, devices can be configured to send "traps" to the server notifying the server that the device is having a problem or some "useful" event has just occurred.

There are a tremendous number of things that can be done using SNMP. I suggest you take a look around you and see what kind of hardware you have that can leverage it. You'll be surprised at how much stuff can do something with it. Then, start looking into how to use it on those specific items.
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illtbaguAuthor Commented:
what is the exact name of the openview product is see that there is alot of these? what do you think might fit my best needs?

thanks for your great help,
AD
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mburdickCommented:
HP OpenView Network Node Manager. This product works very well in conjunction with CiscoWords RME if you have Cisco switching hardware.

These are expensive products, so don't fall over when you look at the cost.
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illtbaguAuthor Commented:
we are on a switched network and use hp procurve switches. hp laserjet printers. intel and linksys wireless access points.

i also found this
http://www.operativesoft.com/html/observer_suite.htm
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mburdickCommented:
Here's a better way to go about this (I think):

What kinds of things might you want to get out of a monitoring/management station?

There are so many products out there, including WhatsUp Gold, SolarWinds, JustForFun...

Different products with different abilities, at different costs...
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illtbaguAuthor Commented:
im looking for something that will help to benifit our LAN by gathering some basic info about the status of the network. it needs to be in some sort of graph form so i can make presentations to my bosses about the trafic, errors, downtime and possibly kinds of trafic. i dont want to pay thousands for this (maybe im dreaming but under $1000). it needs to support varios hardware types and vendors. specifically switches, apc products, hp printers, wireless access points, firewall.

thanks,
AD
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mburdickCommented:
Ok...Now we're getting somewhere.

Any SNMP monitoring tool will be able to "support" equipment of any type from any vendor. SNMP is, like TCP, a protocol. So, it has a standard associated with. This standard is what allows the "interoperability".

Decoding the messages sent within a packet requires MIB's (management information bases). SNMP tool vendors often include a number of MIB's with their product, but you will usually fare best by downloading the MIB's you need from the product manufacturers of the devices you will be monitoring. If you don't install the MIB's, you'll be looking at the messages in "raw" format. That can make the tool a little harder to use.

For a little more than $1000, you can buy the What's Up Gold product direct from Ipswitch Software, with a maintenance agreement. Take a look at it...

http://www.ipswitch.com
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John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
MRTG is a good "Free" SNMP monitoring tool =-)

D
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mburdickCommented:
MRTG uses SNMP to monitor traffic on interfaces of switches and routers, and does an excellent job of it. But, I wouldn't classify it in the same group as a Network Monitoring program.

Again, what it does it does well. But, it's a long way away from a product like What's Up Gold.
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John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
Well then the next step is RDTool and RDTool has some serious functionality (free again) =-)
D
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John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
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illtbaguAuthor Commented:
thats what i like to hear linux :). ahhh the sound of relief now why didnt i think of that :)

i always prefer linux over windows. i have been sitting behind these windwos servers too long. is there something out there that i can pay for. something with some support.
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