Network Management Systems

by Contributor

Since the advent of computers and the Internet, the way organizations and institutions connect and facilitate processes and communication has changed. These days, organizations use a network of servers, computers and the Internet. Often, when there are a number of computers and similar components used, network management systems become inevitable. A network management system helps facilitate and monitor the processes taking place in each computer and between units.


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides a general overview on the five different functional areas that network management systems cover: • Fault management: monitoring and troubleshooting of faults that disrupt the network. In some cases, fault management can also isolate errors from the system before troubleshooting. • Configuration management: There are three areas in which a network management system covers the configuration of a network: software management, file management and inventory management. • Performance management: evaluation of network performance and maintenance of performance levels. • Security management: provides restrictions to access to the system. This helps limit the network access to those who are in charge or are authorized. • Accounting management: statistics of network resources usage.

Network Management Platforms

A network management platform is important for a network management system because it oversees the infrastructure that contains the key components of a network system. All events happening within the networks are documented and processed in the network management platforms. Basically, the platforms allow the network management systems to accomplish their intended function. Network management platforms are in charge of the following: • Network discovery • Event handling • Topology mapping of network elements • Management data browsers • Performance data collectors and graphers Network management platforms are crucial in fault detection. Some examples of platforms include HP's OpenView, Sun's Solstice and Computer Associates' Unicenter.


A network management platform assigns a graphic element to all network devices. The color of the graphical element denotes the device's current operational status. To monitor all network devices, the devices are aligned with the network platform. Once configured, the devices will send notifications (SNMP traps) to the platform. If something goes wrong with the device, a notification is sent. Likewise, the color of the device's status in the platform will change.


There are three primary components that make up the network management architecture: • CiscoWorks2000: This component is in charge of inventory and configuration management • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP): for network device monitoring • Performance monitoring platform: performance maintenance and monitoring In some cases, CiscoWorks2000 and SNMP platforms may combine data for more convenient monitoring (this depends on the configuration of the network).

Configuring a Network Management System

The configuration of a network management system is crucial to the whole system. In many instances, the configuration enhances the problem-notification function of the entire platform. As noted by the standards, a properly and proficiently configured network-management system should have detailed problem-reporting, as the primary purpose of a network management system is to monitor and facilitate proper network operations.

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