Cisco Network Mgmt Protocol FAQ: On the Job with a Network Manager

Cisco Network Mgmt Protocol FAQ: On the Job with a Network Manager

Q1. Is running a network only a matter of network management technology, or are there other considerations?

Answer: No, it is also a matter of organization, procedures, and human factors.

Q2. What does Pat’s employer use to track the resolution of problems in the network?

Answer: Problems are tracked through trouble tickets that are managed through a trouble ticket system. Trouble tickets contain all the information pertaining to the problem and the steps that have been taken to resolve it.

Q3. How does the integration of the work order system with the trouble ticket system make Pat’s job easier?

Answer: It saves her from having to enter redundant information, possibly introducing errors along the way. It automatically notifies her when the work order has been fulfilled. Presumably, the integration also allows her to more easily check on the status of the resolution of the problem in the trouble ticket, which links to the work order and its current status.

Q4. Which network provider do you think will be more vulnerable to human failures by operations personnel, Pat’s or Chris’s?

Answer: Clearly, Chris’s. In Pat’s case, everything is regulated by well-defined procedures. Every step along the way is clearly tracked, and automated systems check that nothing falls through the cracks. Chris, on the other hand, pretty much gets to run his own show; if Chris does not do his job properly, disruptions in his company’s operations are likely.

Q5. Which of the following can be used as management tools? A. alarm management system, B. spreadsheet, C. pencil and piece of paper, D. all of them.

Answer: The correct answer is D. Chris used a spreadsheet to plot performance statistics and identify trends and aberrations; in addition, he used a pencil and paper to track the assignment of phone numbers. The point is, tools other than management systems can be extremely useful in managing networks.

Q6. In how many different places does Chris need to maintain the same phone number, and why could this be an issue?

Answer: In four places (IP PBX, voice-mail system, phone number inventory, company directory). Chris’s processes are not optimized and could be improved through integration. Because Chris’s network is small, this might not yet matter much, but it will as its scale increases.

Q7. When Chris is worried about compromised security of his company’s network, does the threat come from outside attackers or from within the network?

Answer: The threat comes from within the network. In fact, when managing the security of a network, internal security treats demand as much management attention as outside security threats, although outside threats dominate public perception.

Q8. Connectivity between different company sites is provided by an outside MSP. Why is Chris nevertheless concerned with monitoring traffic statistics across these outside connections?

Answer: The need still exists to validate that Chris’s company is getting what it pays for.

Q9. When Sandy wants to implement a security policy for the Internet Data Center, at what different levels does she take security into account?

Answer: At the user/application level for the data itself, as well as at the networking level (VLANs, firewalls) used to connect to the system on which data is hosted.

Q10. Why is Sandy interested in “old” performance data and traffic statistics, even though she is not monitoring actual network operations?

Answer: She uses this for network planning, to see how she needs to dimension the different components in the data center. In network management, there are many potential uses for any individual management function and set of data.

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