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What Is SNMP?

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

What Is SNMP?

In this section

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is a popular protocol for network management. It is used for collecting information from, and configuring, network devices, such as servers, printers, hubs, switches, and routers on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 provides SNMP agent software that works with third-party SNMP management software to monitor the status of managed devices and applications.

Automating Network Management

Large networks with hundreds or thousands of nodes are difficult to manage without a large staff to monitor every computer. SNMP, which is widely used in local area networks (LANs), lets you monitor network nodes from a management host. You can monitor network devices such as servers, workstations, printers, routers, bridges, and hubs, as well as services such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) or Windows Internet Name Service (WINS).

Use SNMP management software to monitor any network device on which you install SNMP agent software. The SNMP agent, which is an optional component of Windows Server 2003, interacts with third-party SNMP management software to enable the sharing of network status information between monitored devices and applications and the SNMP management system that monitors them. The following figure shows this process.

Computer Running SNMP Manager Requests Status Information from Devices Running SNMP Agent

SNMP Manager Requests Status from SNMP Agent

Using SNMP, you can monitor network performance, audit network usage, detect network faults or inappropriate access, and in some cases configure remote devices. SNMP is designed to be deployed on the largest possible number of network devices, to have minimal impact on the managed nodes, to have minimal transport requirements, and to continue working when most other network applications fail.

SNMP Background

Developed in 1988 to provide network-device-monitoring capability for TCP/IP-based networks, SNMP was approved as an Internet standard in 1990 by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and has been in wide use since that time. More recently, Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX)-based networks have added support for SNMP. Currently, most network equipment vendors provide SNMP support in their products.

Windows Server 2003 supports SNMP versions 1 and 2c, which are based on the industry standards described in the following table.

Industry Standards for SNMP Versions 1 and 2c

 

Standard RFCs

SNMP

RFC 1157, “A Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP),” a standard that defines how communication occurs between SNMP-capable devices and defines the SNMP message types.

Windows Server 2003 also supports SNMPv2c, which is defined in RFC 1901, “Introduction to Community-Based SNMPv2,” RFC 1905, “Protocol Operations for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2),” and RFC 1906, “Transport Mappings for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2).” SNMPv2c updates protocol operations by introducing the GetBulk request and authentication based on community names.

RFC 1420, “SNMP over IPX” describes SNMP support now provided by the Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) protocol used in Novell NetWare environments. SNMP typically uses the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). SNMP over IPX is intended for use in environments in which the UDP transport is not available. IPX provides a datagram service similar to that provided by IP/UDP.

MIB

RFC 1213, “Management Information Base for Network Management of TCP/IP based Internets: MIB II.” A standard that defines a set of objects that represent information about IP and IPX components on your network, such as the list of network interfaces, the routing table, the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) table, the list of open TCP connections, or Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) statistics.

RFC 1213 is updated (but not made obsolete) by RFC 2011, “SNMPv2 Management Information Base for the Internet Protocol using SMIv2,” RFC 2012, “SNMPv2 Management Information Base for the Transmission Control Protocol using SMIv2,” and RFC 2013, “SNMPv2 Management Information Base for the User Datagram Protocol using SMIv2.”

SMI

RFC 2578, “Structure of Management Information Version 2 (SMIv2).” A standard that describes the object syntax for specifying how MIB data is referenced and stored.

For a list of additional SNMP-related RFCs, see “Related Information” below.

Implementing Windows Server 2003 and SNMP

SNMP is a service that you can install on computers that are running TCP/IP or the IPX protocol. Windows Server 2003 supports SNMPv1 and SNMPv2c, which define how network management information is structured, stored, and communicated between SNMP agents and SNMP managers on IP-based or IPX-based networks. Windows Server 2003 adds support for the IPv6 Management Information Base (MIB) for SNMP.

SNMP agent

The Windows Server 2003 SNMP service provides an SNMP agent that enables the remote monitoring of computers running Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, or Windows 2000. The Windows XP 64-Bit Edition operating system and the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 do not support the Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange (IPX/SPX) protocol.

The Windows Server 2003 SNMP agent lets you manage the services listed in the following table.

Services That Can Be Monitored or Configured Using SNMP Agent

 

Service Monitor Configure Windows Operating Systems That Provide SNMP Support for This Service Version

WINS

Table Bullet Table Bullet

Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.

DHCP

Table Bullet

 

Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT-based Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

IIS

Table Bullet

 

Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT-based Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).

LAN Manager

Table Bullet Table Bullet

Microsoft LAN Manager.

Routing and Remote Access

Table Bullet

 

Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 Routing and Remote Access service.

IAS

Table Bullet Table Bullet

Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 Internet Authentication Service (IAS).

System Monitor counters

Table Bullet

 

Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 System Monitor counters.

You can use SNMP to monitor all performance counters related to System Monitor TCP/IP, including ICMP, IP, Network Interface, TCP, UDP, DHCP, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), WINS, and IIS performance counters.

In addition to retrieving status information, SNMP can send a Set request to configure any object to which the SNMP manager has read/write permission.

SNMP manager

The Windows Server 2003 SNMP service provides only the SNMP agent. Unless you develop your own SNMP management application, you must install third-party SNMP management software, such as HP Openview, Novell NMS, IBM NetView, or Sun Net Manager to work with the SNMP agent. You can install third-party SNMP management software on one or more hosts.

Alternatively, you can develop your own SNMP management software application by using the two application programming interfaces (APIs) that Windows Server 2003 provides:

WinSNMP API (Wsnmp32.dll) provides a set of functions for encoding, decoding, sending, and receiving SNMP messages.

Management API (Mgmtapi.dll) provides a basic set of functions for developing fast and simple SNMP management systems.

Related Information

For more information about SNMP, see the following RFCs in the IETF RFC Database.

The following RFCs relate to SNMP version 1:

RFC 1157, “Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).”

RFC 1155, “Structure and Identification of Management Information for TCP/IP-based Internets.”

RFC 1213, “Management Information Base for Network Management of TCP/IP-based Internets: MIB-II.”

RFC 1573, “Evolution of the Interfaces Group of MIB-II.”

The following RFCs relate to SNMP version 2:

RFC 1901, “Introduction to Community-Based SNMPv2.”

RFC 1902, “Structure of Management Information for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2).”

RFC 1903, “Textual Conventions for SNMPv2.”

RFC 1904, “Conformance Statements for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2).”

RFC 1905, “Protocol Operations for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2).”

RFC 1906, “Transport Mappings for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2).”

RFC 1907, “Management Information Base for Version 2 of the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2).”

RFC 1908, “Coexistence between Version 1 and Version 2 of the Internet-standard Network Management Framework.”

RFC 2089, “V2ToV1 Mapping SNMPv2 onto SNMPv1 Within a Bi-Lingual SNMP Agent.”

RFC 2465, “Management Information Base for IP Version 6: Textual Conventions and General Group.”

RFC 2466, “Management Information Base for IP Version 6: ICMPv6 Group.”

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