Telemetry is the successor to SNMP

2019-04-19
We at Compose IT have worked for many years with maintenance and development of network monitoring systems and through this we have gained a lot of experience with the network protocol SNMP.

The SNMP protocol was approved as an Internet standard 17 years ago and is used for most of today’s data collection. The units in the network receive requests for different values ​​such as traffic volume or CPU load. A major reason why SNMP is used on such a large scale is because it is simple and supported by virtually all network equipment manufacturers. SNMP is the basis for a well-functioning network monitoring, but SNMP can only manage some monitoring. The protocol is outdated and does not meet the requirements of new techniques for collection methods. New technologies such as machine learning and real-time analysis require more measurements and shorter intervals than what has traditionally been collected. When gathering in shorter intervals or by more measurements, the SNMP protocol causes a great burden for the units that are requested. In addition, if the unit receives requests from several different systems, the load rate can be so high that the units stop doing their job. SNMP is simply a technology created for a different time, since the requirements for the number of measurements and collection rates were lower than they are today.

To collect the measurement values ​​required for the new technologies, a new collection method is required. Telemetry is the new collection method that solves the problems with the many measurements and the short intervals. Instead of having the units receive requests from several different places, they collect the measurement values ​​themselves and send them to the systems that need the information. Telemetry also enables dynamic rules to control both the types of measurement to be sent and how often they should be delivered. Being able to dynamically control what data is sent is very useful as you can collect extra information if something happens outside the normal eg. a cyber attack. But this dynamic model also places higher demands on the systems that handle storage, analysis and presentation. Because data structure, content and amount can change drastically depending on how the dynamic rules are configured. However, there are several systems created to deal with these variations. One such system we work with is Elastic Stack, it requires no fixed formats and handles everything from collection to storage and AI analysis of data.

Telemetry is the future of collection technology and is already used in many different types of monitoring, especially by IoT devices. When it comes to network monitoring, Telemetry is still a new technology and the question is whether it can really replace such a widespread standard as SNMP?

Telemetry has many possibilities, but still it has far from as broad support as SNMP. The technology is new and the manufacturers have only developed support for Telemetry on a selection of network equipment where mainly old units are excluded. Therefore, it will initially be used primarily as a complement to SNMP to collect information that contains many measurements or requires a high collection rate. Replacing all old devices to replace all SNMP monitoring with Telemetry would be both costly and unnecessary. SNMP is more than enough to monitor traditional metrics such as network traffic.

In the long run, Telemetry is likely to completely replace SNMP as hardware support is likely to increase as technology evolves and usage increases. Although SNMP will continue to live for many more years, we can see that its greatness is over and Telemetry is the future!

We at Compose IT are looking for the right solutions for our customers. If you need deeper insights into your data or need real-time analysis, you are probably already on the road to Telemetry. If you want help along the way, contact us and we will find the right solution for you!

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