How SNMP works

Alert Notification Guide for VSP 5000 Series

Part Number

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an industry-standard protocol for managing and monitoring network devices, including disk devices, routers, and hubs. SNMP uses Simple Gateway Management Protocol (SGMP) to manage TCP/IP gateways.

The following figure shows an example SNMP environment.

An SNMP manager monitors the devices, which are referred to as managed nodes. Typically, an SNMP Manager polls the SNMP agents on a periodic basis. The manager receives the reports from the agents and determines whether the devices are operating normally. If an abnormal event occurs, an SNMP Agent can report the condition without a request from the manager, by using a trap message.

When an SNMP manager polls an agent, the following dialogue takes place:

  • An SNMP Manager sends a request packet to an SNMP Agent, which requests data regarding the status of the managed node.
  • The SNMP Agent sends a response packet back to the SNMP Manager.
  • SNMP uses the TCP/IP User Datagram Protocol (UDP). If the SNMP Agent does not respond within a specified time period, the SNMP Manager re-sends the request packet. That time period is set by the system administrator, taking into account the network traffic and operation policy.
  • If an SNMP Agent again does not respond to the resent packet, the SNMP Manager assumes that an error has occurred. Depending on the times set for polling and response, this dialogue can take several seconds.

If an SNMP Agent detects an abnormal event, it sends a trap to the SNMP Manager. However, if a trap is dropped in transmission, the SNMP Manager does not know that it was sent. For this reason, you should use both polling and traps to determine whether an abnormal event has occurred.