Understanding SNMP MIBs, 1st edition

  • David T. Perkins
  • Evan McGinnis

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MIBs demystified

In the past, understanding MIBs has mostly been a case of picking up the oral folklore or reading endless streams of E-mail on a lot of IETF mailing lists. In this book, David Perkins and Evan McGinnis part the swirling clouds of confusion to offer up the crucial concepts you need to read and interpret a MIB, and maybe even write one.

The authors offer a functional view of SNMP-based management, emphasizing the aspects that relate directly to MIBs. Without going into all the particulars of SNMP, Understanding SNMP MIBs provides a general introduction to such key concepts as:

  • Modeling and development
  • Relationships between objects
  • Textual conventions
  • Domains and control fields
  • Versions and migration

Interwoven with this material is a structural view of MIBs, starting with the basic syntax and specifications of MIB modules, and moving on to sophisticated discussions of advanced data structures and data types, including:

  • Nested tables and multi-table relationships
  • Linked lists
  • Multidimensional arrays
  • Floating point numbers

Network administrators will find this a handy guide to the manageable aspects of their network, while developers, engineers, and product managers will discover a simplified approach to creating MIBs with the end-user in mind, while adhering to the international MIB standards. For students, this book is a valuable complement to the study of SNMP and network management. Even if you never need to create a MIB of your own, Understanding SNMP MIBs will be an invaluable aid for interpreting and selecting them in your daily work.

The accompanying CD contains numerous sample MIBs with their RFC's, along with two great original applications: the MIB compiler SMICng and a translation program to generate HTML from MIBs. Supported platforms include Windows® 95, Windows NT, SunOS®, Solaris®, HP-UX™, Linux, IBM's AIX, and SGI.

Table of contents



1. An Introduction to SNMP-based Management.

Introduction. IETF Terminology. The Model of an SNMP-based Managed Network. The Definition of SNMP-based Management. A Short Pictorial History of SNMP. A Categorization of IETF MIB Modules.

2. SNMP Management Information.

The Model. Object Identifiers. Instances of Management Information. Relationships between Objects. Fate Relationships between Tables. Events. Data Types for Management Information. Well-Known Textual Conventions.

3. MIB Module Syntax.

SNMP MIB Specifications. SNMP MIB Modules. MIB Module Layout and Elements. Lexical Rules for SNMP MIB Modules. Constructs in MIB Modules. MIB Module Names. IMPORTS Construct. Common Clauses. UTC Time Format. MODULE-IDENTITY Construct. OID Value Assignment and OBJECT-IDENTITY Construct. Type Assignment and TEXTUAL-CONVENTION Construct. OBJECT-TYPE Construct. SEQUENCE Construct. TRAP-TYPE Construct. NOTIFICATION-TYPE Construct. OBJECT-GROUP Construct. NOTIFICATION-GROUP Construct. MODULE-COMPLIANCE Construct. AGENT-CAPABILITIES Construct.

4. Applying the SNMP-based Management Model.

Management Domains. Extending Management Domains. SNMP Management Platforms. Aspects of Network Management. Hoopla. New Management Information Definitions.

5. Inside an SNMP-managed System.

System Types. System Requirements for SNMP-based Management. Functional Areas of an SNMP Agent. The MIB Myth. Agent Diagrammed. Monolithic and Extensible Agent Structure. Other Approaches. Summary.

6. SNMP Operations.

SNMP Operations and Messages. Control Fields. Retrieval Operations. Modification Operations. Event Reporting Operations. Summary.

7. Object Modelling.

Introduction. Categories of the Model. Components. Attributes. Actions. Statistics. State. Translating a Model into a MIB. Example Object Analysis.

8. Practical Considerations in Building and Maintaining MIBs.

The Big Question: SNMPv1 or SNMPv2? Converting an SNMPv1 MIB to SNMPv2. Converting an SNMPv2 MIB to SNMPv1. A Roadmap for MIB Development. OID Infrastructure Organization. Module Naming. Module Layout. Designing Agent Implementation Profiles. Information Module Maintenance. Statistics. Components. States. Actions. Tables. Event Design. Learn by Doing.

9. Advanced Techniques: Data Structures and Data Types.

Tables within Tables. Linked Lists. Fast Table Lookups. Hash Tables. Binary Trees. Multi-Dimensional Arrays. Floating Point Numbers. 64 and 32 Bit Counters. Summary.

10. MIB Design Choices in Standard MIBs.

Selection Criteria. Aspects of MIB Analysis. RFC1213: MIB-II the Core Definitions. RFC 1516: Ethernet Repeaters. RFC 1514: Host Resources. Server Management.

11. MIB Compilers.

Introduction to MIB Compilers. Front-end compilers. Back-end compilers. SMIC. 11.5 ISODE. Using SMIC to Write a MIB. Understanding SMIC's Back-end Format. MIB2HTML: Publishing MIBs on the World Wide Web. A Development Kit.

12. Development of a MIB.

Problem Statement. Framework Requirements. Object Analysis. Using Standard MIBs. Framework Design. MIB Modules Layout. Controller Group. Valves. Event Definitions. Schedules. Conformance Statements. Assembling the MIB Module. Capabilities Modules. Maintenance of Modules. What's Next?

Appendix A. ASN.1 and BER.

What is ASN.1? ASN.1 Fundamental Types. ASN.1 Structured Types. Basic Concepts of BER. Encoding of Values Used in the SNMP Protocol. Minimum/Maximum Encodings.

Appendix B. SNMP Protocol.

B.1 SNMPv1. SNMPv2.

Appendix C. SMIC User's Guide.

List of Acronyms. Conventions. Introduction. Overview. Use of SMICng. MIB Stripper. SMICng Environment Variables. Command Line Arguments to SMICng. SMICng Input. Output from SMICng. MIBs with SMICng. Compiler Extensions and Limitations. Acknowledgments. Format of SMIC Intermediate file.

Appendix D. Guide to MIB Resources.

Requesting an Enterprise Identifier. Public MIB Repositories. Obtaining RFCs. MIB Development Software. SNMP Newsgroups. SNMP Publications. SNMP and MIB World Wide Web Sites. Mailing Lists.

Appendix E. References & Reading List.

ASN.1 Information. Recommended SNMP Information. Additional SNMP Information.

Appendix F. Guide to the CD-ROM.

Contents of the CD-ROM. Setup and Use. WWW MIB Formatter.


Published by Pearson (December 3rd 1996) - Copyright © 1997