A generic network and system management framework
Networks and distributed systems have formed the basis of an ongoing communications revolution that has led to the genesis of a wide variety of services. The constantly increasing size and complexity of these systems does not come without problems. In some organisations, the deployment of Information Technology has reached a state where the benefits from downsizing and rightsizing by adding new services are undermined by the effort required to keep the system running. Management of networks and distributed systems in general has a straightforward goal: to provide a productive environment in which work can be performed effectively. The work required for management should be a small fraction of the total effort. Most IT systems are still managed in an ad hoc style without any carefully elaborated plan. In such an environment the success of management decisions depends totally on the qualification and knowledge of the administrator. The thesis provides an analysis of the state of the art in the area of Network and System Management and identifies the key requirements that must be addressed for the provisioning of Integrated Management Services. These include the integration of the different management related aspects (i.e. integration of heterogeneous Network, System and Service Management). The thesis then proposes a new framework, INSMware, for the provision of Management Services. It provides a fundamental basis for the realisation of a new approach to Network and System Management. It is argued that Management Systems can be derived from a set of pre-fabricated and reusable Building Blocks that break up the required functionality into a number of separate entities rather than being developed from scratch. It proposes a high-level logical model in order to accommodate the range of requirements and environments applicable to Integrated Network and System Management that can be used as a reference model. A development methodology is introduced that reflects principles of the proposed approach, and provides guidelines to structure the analysis, design and implementation phases of a management system. The INSMware approach can further be combined with the componentware paradigm for the implementation of the management system. Based on these principles, a prototype for the management of SNMP systems has been implemented using industry standard middleware technologies. It is argued that development of a management system based on Componentware principles can offer a number of benefits. INSMware Components may be re-used and system solutions will become more modular and thereby easier to construct and maintain.