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Network Management System - snmp - Dell OpenManage

Posted on 2013-01-23
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I'm looking into network management systems.  I installed OpenNMS and played around with it.  A little too much command line, and scripting for me.  I'm not very experienced with Linux.  Now I have Dell OpenManage NMS installed (most of our equipment is Dell).  Also seems pretty complex.  I'm just now getting into using SNMP.  Running into a lot of difficulties.  

1.  At what size network do you usually start to need a NMS?  I don't want to get into managing something like this is it's going to be more work than it's worth.

2.  What do I need to do to have a basic setup?  I have the NMS monitoring one of my switches with snmpv1, public, read/write.  I'm not sure what info i'm supposed to get with that.  CPU / Memory utilization?  Just that it's up and running?  What would be the basic things to accomplish to be monitoring a device using a NMS.

3.  I have the options to monitor the device using telnet, snmpv1,2,3, SSH, and a bunch of others.  What are the advantages of one over the other?   Do I need to use more than one?  Which one will be able to tell me everything I would want?

thanks!
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Question by:readymade
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ddiazp earned 500 total points
ID: 38812479
I avoid using vendor specific management tools and deploy SNMP anywhere. It's the de-facto monitoring protocol to monitor pretty much anything. And it's pretty easy to setup and maintain.

Having said that:

1. I'd configure SNMP on every device I own. Whether it's just 1 or 1000. I usually deploy Cacti on every domain/company I go. (www.cacti.net)

2. Basic things you need to monitor are: CPU, Memory, Network, Disk at the very least for servers. For network devices you'd have CPU, network statistics for each interface. This applies whether you're using NMS or any other monitoring tool.

3. Telnet and SSH are used to access the console of the server/device remotely, they're not monitoring options. They just allow you to remotely access the device/server. Telnet is brutally outdated and widely discarded as an option (communicates data in plain text, easily hackable). SSH is what you'd use for remote access (version 2). SNMPv1, 2c are plain text but the most common. SNMPv3 allows to configure authentication and encryption but otherwise brings the same use as 1,2.


Whatever you do though, do not enable write via snmp. It's one of the biggest security flaws you could have. This would allow anyone to write (make changes) to the device remotely.
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by:readymade
ID: 38812607
Thanks.  In your first sentence you mention "SNMP anywhere."  Is that a tool / product or are you saying you would impliment it anywhere?  

Is Cacti free?  Any limitations?

Ok so lets say I have Cacti set up and with SNMPv1 I am able to connect and read from one of my Dell switches.  Will it grab cpu, memory, etc., or do I need to configure that?  How?

What is snmp configured to read by default?
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by:ddiazp
ddiazp earned 500 total points
ID: 38812634
Yeah, i meant i configure SNMP on every single device i can. This allows me to monitor performance and behavior over time via graphs (this is where cacti comes into place). Cacti polls every device every 1/5 minutes for CPU, memory, disk, network information (you can customize this with your own scripts, etc). It generates graphs showing how the servers are being used. It is completely free, no limitations.

Once you're able to get cacti running, you'd add the switch to the monitored device list, create the graphs for the list of items cacti can see, and then add the graphs to a graph tree so that you can see them. Setting up cacti itself may be a bit tedious but it's well worth it, and not too hard either.

on generic devices, snmp will have access to all of the parameters within the device. On servers, you can manipulate permissions by community. So 'public' can see network related items, 'public2' can see disk, etc.

SNMP is an exciting thing to have in place,.. i'm willing to create a remote desktop sharing session with you and show you how I have set things up. If you have some time I can show you in more detail.
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by:readymade
ID: 38812655
Does using Cacti require a lot of script writing and editing?  I wasn't too hot on that with OpenNMS.  Do you like it better than OpenNMS?

I would love to see how you have it set up.  Could we do it tomorrow?  I'm in the U.S.  Pacific time zone.  

Thanks a lot!
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by:ddiazp
ID: 38812733
I can do tonight any time, I can do tomorrow towards noon (pacific time).

With cacti all the checks are pre-set, so you don't need to get involved into scripting at all.

You'd get more benefit from it, obviously, as you'd be able to monitor more specific things, but don't let scripting scare you. Even some custom checks can easily be scripted.
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by:readymade
ID: 38814479
Awesome.  Any time before 3pm today would be great.  I am also Pacific time.  I don't see a way to IM you on this site.  How do we set it up?
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