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Summary

There are some serious problems affecting network management. Bringing managed data and code together is one of the central foundations of computing and network management. Achieving this union of data and code in a scalable fashion is a problem that gets more difficult as networks grow. MIB tables expand as more network-resident managed objects such as virtual circuits are added. Our first MIB note (on scalability) records a useful object that can help in managing additions to large (integer-indexed) MIB tables. The increased size of networks is matched by ever more dense devices. The latter both help and hinder operators.

The designers of management systems need a rarified skill set that matches the range of technologies embedded in NEs and networks. More emphasis is needed on solutions than on technology, particularly as the components of the technology are combined in new and complex ways, for instance, in layer 2 and layer 3 VPNs. Solutions should try to hide as much of the underlying network complexity as possible. NMS technology can help in hiding unnecessary complexity.

The liberal use of standards documents and linked overviews are some important tools for tackling the complexity of system development, managed object derivation, and definition. Standards documents can be used in conjunction with UML to inform and open up the development process to stakeholders. Like management system developers, network operators also require an increasingly impressive range of skills. Just as for developers, this is both a challenge and an opportunity.

MPLS was described in greater detail, introducing some of its managed objects. Networks must increasingly support a growing range of traffic types. These traffic types require specific traffic engineering and QoS handling in layer 2 and layer 3 networks. The different types of QoS provide the means of implementing the required QoS. While MPLS helps solve many problems, it also can suffer from scalability issues as the number of LSPs increases. Scalability can be improved by incorporating techniques such as change tables in the agent.

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