Sat, 09 Oct 2004
WS-Management, an SNMP Replacement?
I hate to jump on any bandwagon that starts at Slashdot, although even a broken clock is right twice a day, but I find myself agreeing with a number of the Slashdot comments made about the new WS-Management spec. Firstly, and most importantly, SNMP is still the most widely used management protocol in production. Secondly it has survived the invention of a number of replacements, WBEM and CIM spring to mind as standards chosen to replace a lot of the functionality it provides; oddly enough those specs were also backed by Microsoft and Sun.
I'd be among the first to agree that SNMP isn't a perfect solution, it has a bad security model, version 3 has never been widely adopted and it can be immensely confusing to set up and run in an enterprise due to the poor documentation and propriety OID layouts. It isn't however going to be easily replaced by an XML/SOAP protocol, even if they get SOAP over UDP working correctly.
SNMP is used in a number of small embedded devices that are limited in memory, CPU and bandwidth. Adding enough of a webservices stack to allow these machines to communicate like this is going to require a pretty serious beefing up of the hardware used in these tasks. As an aside it is quite interesting to note that Cisco, Nortel and Juniper are all absent from that spec, I find it hard to consider any replacement to SNMP that lacks their backing.
I'm all for innovation and progress but lets not try and shoehorn XML and webservices into everything; please.