[ih] inter-network communication history

Barbara Denny via Internet-history internet-history at elists.isoc.org
Fri Nov 8 21:16:43 PST 2019

 I  have a memory of talking to a friend who was working at a prominent Internet vendor about network management in the late 80s (timeframe of the first release of SNMP).  If I am remembering correctly he said he couldn't get any traction to really do anything because from the company's perspective you could only sell one to a customer so they would rather devote their resources to other efforts.
I am not sure we were entirely without any companies trying to develop a product in the network management space in the late 80s/early 90s. I vaguely remember having to look at what was available.  I think this was for a military testbed in Korea.  Unfortunately I don't remember much about the software products, or names, since it was very short term project/effort for me (Other than the software did more monitoring than management).

    On Friday, November 8, 2019, 05:34:09 PM PST, Brian E Carpenter via Internet-history <internet-history at elists.isoc.org> wrote:  
 > I couldn't find any such tools in ~1991 other than the ones that had
> been around since the early 80s.  Still can't in ~2020.

The answer to that mystery is, I believe, that this stuff is aimed at large operatorss willing to buy expensive proprietary tools or write their own tools.



A lot of the independent network management tools that you can buy don't seem have got past SNMP though, from a quick Google trawl. But from the number of operators involved in defining YANG modules, I'm guessing that they have toolsets up and running (replacing PERL scripts driving proprietary CLIs).


On 09-Nov-19 12:53, Jack Haverty via Internet-history wrote:
> On 11/8/19 2:23 PM, Vint Cerf via Internet-history wrote:
>> see RFC 1109
>> v
> Thanks for the pointer.  I now remember encountering RFC1109 (published
> 1989) back in the early 90s when I was looking for tools to manage our
> intranet.  There's a key sentence in 1109:
> "It was generally agreed that the actual network management tools
> available to operators, rather than the specifics of the protocols
> supporting the tools, would be the determining factor in the
> effectiveness of any Internet network management system."
> I couldn't find any such tools in ~1991 other than the ones that had
> been around since the early 80s.   Still can't in ~2020.   Lots of
> documents and protocols though.
> I've explored a bit into the NETCONF/(P)YANG pointers but haven't
> encountered anything that even seems related to Network Management, or
> any sign of tools/code.  The material at "readthedocs" tells me that
> NETCONF has clients and servers, but casts no light on what those
> servers actually do.  That netconf documentation is somewhat circular:
> "This package supports creating both netconf clients and servers.
> Additionally a CLI netconf utility is included. Additionally netconf
> uses _sshutil and thus supports your SSH agent and SSH config when using
> the client as well as socket caching for optimal performance."
> OOOKKKKAAAYYY...the netconf package creates netconfs, but what does a
> netconf do?   I gather that maybe it carries YANGs?
> Somehow I'm increasingly skeptical that, even if I find some modern
> tools, there's not a high probability that the devices I have scattered
> now around my LAN will play their game.  Back to PING and TCPDUMP et
> al.   I wonder if my devices respond to SNMP.  I'm sure I have a
> database lying around here somewhere, and could probably refresh my
> memory of shell scripts.
> RFC1109 also identified a key missing piece:
> "It was acknowledged that the present service interfaces of both SNMP
> and CMIS have limitations (e.g., neither has any sense of time other
> than "now"; this makes it impossible to express queries for historical
> information, or to issue command requests of the form: Do X at device Y,
> beginning in 30 minutes)"
> Well, at a database company, "impossible to express queries" is a
> challenge.  When we cobbled together our adhoc management system, it
> turned out that databases are really good at handling time and queries
> for historical information, for performing actions on schedules or
> demand (see TRIGGER in database lingo, or for simple stuff just use
> cron) and for collecting and distributing data as needed.  Melding SNMP
> and a database with a little Shell-script and SQL glue was pretty
> straightforward and turned out to be very useful for managing the
> intranet.  
> We even mused about scattering databases around the net to limit traffic
> loads by collecting high-volume SNMP data locally, and all of that
> scattered data would be automatically aggregated using standard
> distributed database techniques.  It worked for industries managing
> sales, inventory, shipments, orders, etc., so it would work for network
> data.   I'm not sure if we ever did that though.  What we did in a few
> days was enough to put out the fires.
> Those observations in 1109 were very wise and accurate.  What happened
> in the thirty years since...?  A timeline/history of Network Management
> in the Internet might be fascinating - Tools, not meetings, protocols
> and documents.
> I think somebody hit my hot button... I'll stop typing.....
> /Jack

Internet-history mailing list
Internet-history at elists.isoc.org

Internet-history mailing list
Internet-history at elists.isoc.org

More information about the Internet-history mailing list