Cisco Network Mgmt Protocol FAQ: Management Integration

Cisco Network Mgmt Protocol FAQ: Management Integration

Q1. Imagine that you are a service provider. An equipment vendor offers you an integrated management system. Which aspects of management integration will such a system be unlikely to address, even if the equipment vendor’s claims are, from his perspective, entirely correct?

Answer: It might not provide multivendor support or integration with service and business management functions that are specific to the service provider’s operational support environment.
Figure: Integrated Management, Management’s “Holy Grail”

Q2. Which factor has perhaps the most significant impact on management complexity?

Answer: Heterogeneity complexity.

Q3. Provide an example of how management integration as a technical issue mirrors management integration as an organizational issue.

Answer: For example, clear roles and responsibilities need to be defined, and clear chains of commands need to be established.

Q4. Give three examples of management application infrastructure that is commonly provided by management platforms.

Answer: A common database for information storage, common system administration facilities, and network-discovery services.

Q5. Why can functional overlap between management applications in an operational support environment be a problem?
Answer: It violates the principle that there should be clear ownership for different functions. As a result, information between applications might be harder to synchronize and problems might be harder to troubleshoot because it will be harder to trace requests to their source.

Q6. Provide two examples of technical obstacles that can increase a management solution’s footprint.

Answer: Different operating system requirements might prevent applications from running on the same hosts; incompatible database management system requirements might result in the need to deploy multiple database management systems.

Q7. Which industry consortium concerns itself with the standardization of interfaces between management systems in operations support environments?

Answer: The TeleManagement Forum (TMF).

Q8. Contrast shallow with deep integration of applications at the user interface level.

Answer: Shallow integration allows functions of different applications to be launched from the same screen, but boundaries between the applications are clearly noticeable and navigation between different application functions is not seamless. Deep integration, on the other hand, makes it difficult if not impossible for users to tell that the functions are actually provided by different systems.

Q9. Name three ways in which complexity that is caused by heterogeneity can be reduced.

Answer: Reduction of the number of vendors and types of equipment in a network, separation of equipment of different type and vendor that provides similar functions into different network regions or administrative domains, utilization of cookie-cutter topologies and configurations for network deployments across different sites.

Q10. How do cookie-cutter deployments make network management easier? Are there any downsides?

Answer: They make it possible to devise and test a configuration only once and deploy it multiple times, making deployment and provisioning much more efficient and reducing the risk of introducing configurations that do not work as intended. They also facilitate troubleshooting and fault management because different deployments do not have to be custom-analyzed. One downside can be that possible optimizations cannot be exploited as they could be with custom deployment, but this drawback is often easily offset with simplified management.

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