SNMP or Simple Network Management Protocol, uses network devices (SNMP Agents) that contain information management software (SNMP Manager) wants to display or report on to someone operating the network.

SNMP Agents contain a database of information called the Management Information Base (MIB), the MIB holds a large amount of information regarding the status of various components of the SNMP Agent.  The SNMP Manager collects the data from the Agent via SNMP.

Here are the four core functions of SNMP:

  • Data Definition: the syntax used for how data is defined to an agent of manager, the specifications used for these standard conventions is called the Structure of Management Information (SMI)
  • MIBs: More than 100 internet standards define MIBs, each for a different technology are with countless vender proprietary MIBs as well.  the MIB definitions conform to the appropriate SMI version.
  • Protocols: The messages used by agents and managers to exchange management data.
  • Security Administration: Definitions for how to secure the exchange of data between SNMP Agents and SNMP Managers.

SNMP has evolved over the years and with the four functional areas defined helped to promote that evolution, here is a summary of the various SNMP versions to date:



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