Essential SNMP by Douglas R. Mauro and Kevin J. Schmidt

Essential SNMP

  • Author: Douglas R. Mauro and Kevin J. Schmidt
  • Softcover: 460 pages
  • Publisher: O’Reilly(Sep 21 2005 12:00AM)
  • Book dimensions: 9.2 x 7.0 x 1.1 inches
  • ISBN: 0596008406
  • ITBookworm score: 3.5 /5

Score Reasoning

I think the book itself is a little too dry to hold one’s interest. I also think it could give some examples in more than just Perl.


This is a good book that discusses all aspects of SNMP configuration and administration. It gives plenty of examples and shows you how to work with SNMP in some of the most popular products on the market. With most of the coding examples given in Perl, you’ll need to know something about the language to really be effective, but that’s to be expected. At times it almost reads like a commercial for HP OpenView because there are so many examples given with the product while others like MRTG are given only perfunctory word count. The book is very well organized though, and comes with some decent appendices in the back.

Who is this book really for?

This book is for serious network admins, or those who want to become serious admins. If you’re under the gun with having to learn to configure SNMP with HP OpenView you can probably find what you’re looking for here, though it may not take you as far as you need to go. If you don’t know Perl at all, or don’t really know how to do any network admin coding, you may want to go learn some of that and then come back to this book when you’re more familiar with those topics. This book is not for the faint of heart though. It starts out with the basics, but gets detail very quickly. If you already know network admin pretty well, and are looking to get into SNMP then this could be the book for you.

Writing Style

There really isn’t much of a writing style here. There are no good metaphors given, or any amusing examples. It’s network admin at its most boring peak. Personally, I would have gotten through this much quicker if they had tried to dress it up some and at least tried to hold my interest. If you’re interested in SNMP management, then you’ll like this book for what it is because it is very straight forward and you’ll find what you’re looking for. However, if you’re just playing around with the technology, this book won’t hold your interest for long because it’s just too dry.


The book’s not in bad condition, but I was a little disappointed that the back of the cover by the spine started to separate before I even got out of the 3rd chapter. The rest of the book seems to be in tact though so it’s not all that bad. The spine itself is holding up nicely and none of the pages are coming out. But I do think that the cover coming undone will eventually lead to other damage with continued use.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to SNMP and Network Management

This chapter starts off the book very nicely. It defines SNMP and discussed the various parts like managers and agent. It also lists the different versions of SNMP their basic differences. It discusses also, the structure of MIBs. It then goes into the topic of network mgmt which I find to be a little out of place here because this book is clearly for network admins, and they know about network mgmt already, but I suppose it’s good for completion of the topic. It’s a good chapter in the beginning that I found quite useful in getting the basics of SNMP, but I just skimmed the last half as I just didn’t really find it that useful.

Chapter 2: SNMPv1 and SNMPv2

It starts out with a nice discussion on SNMP and UDP. It’s actually pretty decent. Being a DBA there’s a lot of the network side of these things that I miss because I just don’t deal with it that much so I found this to be a very nice primer. It then goes into SNMP communities and the structure of management information. Naming and defining OIDs is next and there’s quite a chunk of code that shows you how to read MIBs. You then get into the extensions to the SMI in V2. Now you really get into more specifics of MIB-II. SNMP operations are next and now you’re really getting into the nuts and bolts now. It goes into some really good specifics on individual commands. You’re still just learning basics, but very necessary. SNMP traps are covered next and throughout the chapter there are plenty of examples, code, and network traces to help you along. There are other topics covered here and they’re well worth looking at. It’s a good chapter that will lay the groundwork for future coding in this book.

Chapter 3: SNMPv3

This starts out with changes in SNMPv3, the SNMPv3 engine, applications, etc. Of course, practically nobody is using v3 yet, but there’s no reason you can’t be up on it when it does come out. USM is detailed next starting with the basics and moving to discovery, timelines, etc. Then VACM gets a little time, but not too much.

Chapter 4: NMS Architectures

This is a short chapter on network management stations and how to scope the hardware and some network considerations to take before deploying them.

Chapter 5: Configuring Your NMS

This is the followup to the previous chapter teaching you how to configure your NMS once you get it going. It starts out talking about HP OpenView and its different aspects. It gives screenshots and code for helping you configure it . It then moves into Castle Rock and gives you the same materials there as well.

Chapter 6: Configuring SNMP Agents

This discusses how to configure SNMP agents for many various network products. There’s no point in going through all of them here, but all of the major ones are covered.

Chapter 7: Polling and Setting

HP OpenView seems to be a large part of this book. It’s apparently a very large part of network management so it’s necessary to know it well. There’s not much to say here other than you’ll find out how to set SNMP parameters and polling intervals for a couple different vendors.

Chapter 8: Polling and Thresholds

Discusses various aspects of polling and setting thresholds in OpenView and Castle Rock. Designing collections and other topics are also discussed along with code and screenshots used as examples.

Chapter 9: Traps

This starts out with a section on understanding and receiving traps. It then moves right into OpenView event configurations, custom event categories, event display, and creating events. Now you get into monitoring traps with Perl. I personally don’t know Perl, so I skipped this part. Next is receiving traps and other topics with Perl thrown in the examples.

Chapter 10: Extensible SNMP Agents

Here you start with Net-SNMP. You then move into SystemEDGE on both Unix and Windows. OpenView’s Extensible agent is discussed next in great detail.

Chapter 11: Adapting SNMP to Fit Your Environment

Discusses topics like Throw Core and Veritas Disk Check. There’s plenty of code here to back it up and also goes into Disk-Space Checker. Port monitor is gone into here as well as service monitoring. There are plenty of other topics covered here, and the entire chapter is loaded with sample code to get you going.

Chapter 12: MRTG

MRTG is another another very large product in this space and I’ve been waiting to see when it was going to get some play. It’s a small chapter that goes over some of the basics on working with MRTG. I don’t think there’s a lot of detail given, so if you’ve got much experience with it at all I think you probably won’t get much out of this.

Chapter 13: RRDtool and Cricket

A fairly short chapter on installing and configuring these 2 tools. It doesn’t really go that deep at all, but it’s a nice quickstart.

Chapter 14: Java and SNMP

The basics of working with SNMP and Java are given with plenty of code. I don’t really know Java so I can’t speak to the completeness of the code samples.

-Sean McCown,


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