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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Essential SNMP
Author:
Douglas Mauro&Kevin Schmidt
ISBN:
0 596 00020 0
Publisher:
O'Reilly
Pages:
313pp
Price:
£28-50
Reviewer:
Rick Stones
Subject:
networks
Appeared in:
15-1
Having recently bumped into a need to know a little about SNMP at short notice, deciding to review this book was well timed. For those who don't know, SNMP is a network management protocol for managing and monitoring devices on IP networks. It can also be used for monitoring things such as server load and performance.

The book assumes some very basic networking knowledge, but no SNMP knowledge and pretty much jumps in with how management information for networking is defined by SNMP, how OIDs are allocated and the SNMP data types. It then uses the free Net-SNMP client package to illustrate the theory, usually using a Cisco router as the device to monitor, although you don't need to know much about Cisco routers to understand what is going on. Everything is referenced back to the relevant RFCs, if you want to look for the more formal base definitions. Where programming is needed things are kept very simple and written in easy to read (honestly!) Perl. This section of the book I found well written and authoritative, though more explanation might have been helpful in places, at least for this reader.

The next section of the book moves on to the more practical aspects of setting up network management tools to manage and monitor your network, looking mainly at commercial tools, such as HP Open View, although other free tools are used where they exist. The book is full of practical information, different ways you could structure the monitoring, when to use polling and when to rely on traps, etc. You do get the feeling that the authors have very much 'been there and done it for real'.

If you know the basics of TCP/IP networking and need, or want, to learn about SNMP from the ground up, this title has pretty much all the information you need along with a lot of helpful advice. Recommended.