Monitoring Troubleshooting an OSPF Network

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Chapter 9
Managing Your OSPF Network

“Change: If you are not riding the wave of change . . . You will find yourself beneath it!”—Successories

The management of your OSPF network is just as important as the design, implementation, and troubleshooting sections covered previously. In fact, a case could be made that proper network management is the most important aspect of networking. In many cases this a true statement; this is because organizations and users are now dependent upon the network to perform their daily activities. The success of a well-designed and seamlessly implemented OSPF network is lost in the user’s cry of “My network is down and no one is doing anything about it.”

This chapter, consisting of three major sections as outlined in the following list, addresses the techniques surrounding the proper management of any network.

  Network Management. This section discusses what network management is and why it is so important in today’s complex networks. This section also covers the accepted model of network management as designed by the IETF through its publications of RFCs. In addition, you will see some examples of common network management systems and enhancements that make the basic function of managing a network easier to handle.
  Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). SNMP is truly the de facto standard of network management. This section discusses the components and operation of SNMPv1 with some references to SNMPv2 and SNMPv3 that are discussed in great depth in Chapter 12, “Future Network Considerations.” This section also covers some of the particulars surrounding the hows and whys of Cisco’s SNMP implementation within their network equipment.
  Management Information Base (MIB). MIBs are probably the least understood and yet the most powerful features available to network engineers and managers. This section discusses their overall operation under the SNMP umbrella of network management. This section also drills down specifically on the OSPF specific MIBs and briefly discusses the power they can bring if properly used.

Network Management

As network deployment and use increases, network management is increasingly becoming the focus of many organizations. These organizations range from those using a network to support their core business, to those using networks as sales tools, to those outsourcing or selling network management solutions.

The true goal of everyone involved in network management is to proactively find and fix all network problems before users ever know a problem exists. There are many obstacles to tackle—ranging from the sheer scope of the project to many different possible management techniques—before you can achieve this goal. This chapter covers the more tested and accepted common techniques such as SNMP and MIBs. Chapter 12 discusses some of the techniques that are looming on the horizon such as RMON and SNMPv3.

In its simplest form, network management can be described as the monitoring and tracking of network equipment and the resources that link them together. The goal is to ensure the network is always available for use by everyone, all the time.

Network management, especially outsourced network management, brings to mind opportunities that allow today’s network engineers and managers to reach towards a “bold new frontier.” It used to be that corporate America had a dedicated staff of IS professionals responsible for every aspect of the corporate network which included:

• Designing the LANs and WANs • Performance Analysis
• Ordering the Equipment and Services • Security
• Inventory Tracking • Change Management
• Implementing the Required Equipment and Service • Configuration Management
• Contact Management • Backup and Data Recovery
• Determining Standardization Requirements • Upgrading Licenses, Equipment and Services
• Documenting the Network • Analyze and Plan for Future Growth
• Proactive and Reactive Monitoring

All of these functions and responsibilities can be applied to both LANs and WANs. This is a daunting and exhaustive task for any organization, but it becomes even more so when it falls outside what a company would consider its “core” business. This is when the use of outsourced network management can become a real benefit to a company. Through outsourcing, a company can move many of these functions and responsibilities onto companies that have the capability to leverage the expertise needed to fulfill these needs. It is this author’s opinion that companies should not completely remove their internal IS staffs, but rather increase their use of outsourcing. This will allow companies to focus on the business that made them successful in the first place.

Having your network properly managed should be your top priority, regardless of how you decide to staff this critical area. There are many other resources available that can help you decide which alternative is best for you. If you require further information, the following book and course should be helpful:

  Network Planning, Procurement, & Management, by Nathan J. Muller
  Network Management offered by American Research Group (ARG):
   http://www.arg.com 

To summarize, network management is a mission critical aspect of any network. You can take one of two approaches to network management: you can be proactive or you can be reactive—the former of which is more desirable. The differences in a customer’s perception of the network can be profound. In a proactive environment, you can make sure everything is fixed before a network problem (with the potential of causing many negative repercussions) occurs. In a reactive environment, the negative repercussions have already occurred, and you must get the network up and running as soon as possible.

There is a variety of tools and technologies on the market that can assist you in managing your network. The remainder of this chapter will cover some of the tools and technologies available to your network.

Network Management Tools

There are literally hundreds of solutions, tools, and technologies on the market today to make the job of managing networks better, easier, and more efficient.


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OSPF Network Design Solutions
OSPF Network Design Solutions
ISBN: 1578700469
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 1998
Pages: 200
Authors: Tom Thomas

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