HP Network Node Manager 9 : Before we Manage with NNMi (part 3) - Understanding Smart Plug-ins - iSPI Network Engineering toolset, iSPI IP Telephony, iSPI for MPLS, iSPI multicast

10/12/2012 8:52:48 PM

iSPI Network Engineering toolset

When an issue on the network occurs, the operator needs to troubleshoot the issue and often a sequence of additional action is required, such as checking the current status of interface, getting node configuration, evaluating outage impact, or collecting information about end nodes connected to switch.

Another headache for system administrators and operators is constant and meaningless SNMP traps, which floods the message browser and cause event storms. This can be caused by some improperly configured settings on group of nodes, or constant and frequent event generation on one node.

All these issues are solved by iSPI NET. It is a set of tools, which helps in troubleshooting network issues. In general, there are three major features in this iSPI:

  • Diagnostics

  • Troubleshooting tools, attached switch port troubleshooting

  • Trap analytics

iSPI diagnostics

iSPI diagnostics helps to collect additional configuration data from network devices, such as:

  • Current configuration for Cisco router, Cisco switch, or Nortel switch

  • Diagnostic checks on a specified interface on Cisco router

  • Gather routing information

To configure this automatic diagnostics gathering, you need to complete following steps in SNMP Trap Configuration, Remote NNMi 6.x/7.x Event Configuration, or Management Event Configuration forms:

  • Specify node group in Configuration Per Node Group form

  • In the Diagnostic Selection, select which diagnostics you want to use

Diagnostic must be valid for a node which runs diagnostics. That is, Cisco configuration can run only on Cisco devices.

Incident's lifecycle state must match state which was configured. That is, if lifecycle state is closed, then diagnostics will run only when incident's state would be closed.

Troubleshooting tools

This tool examines switches, detects and maps switch ports with end nodes connected to them. End nodes don't need to be discovered by NNMi, as this data is queried from the switch's ARP table. Using this data collection method, the troubleshooting tool provides the following information:

  • Which switch port the node is connected to. It can be searched by IP address, node name, or MAC address.

  • All nodes attached to switch.

This functionality is very useful for troubleshooting LAN issues. Many NNMi users were complaining about the lack of this feature in previous NNMi versions (7.x and earlier).

Trap analytics

By default, NNMi measures the rate of incoming traps (incoming trap rate for each device and rate of each incoming trap for each trap OID). If the rate of incoming traps exceeds the defined threshold, NNMi blocks such traps until the rate decreases below the minimum threshold limit.

Thresholds can be configured by the administrator using nnmtrapsconfig.ovpl script.

SNMP trap analytics allows you to get reports based on this trap information, by the following criteria:

  • Amount of traps within a specific time period

  • Trap amount for specified node

  • Trap amount to a specific trap identifier—OID

All data is logged to trapanalytics.0.0.log file. This file provides following data for specific time intervals:

  • Traps per second

  • TOP 10 trap generator sources

  • TOP 10 generated traps

This data is useful in making analysis of SNMP traps, which allows us to optimize messages from your managed network. Many administrators are complaining that they receive too many messages. In many cases, administrators say they have no idea where to start. So, start from the largest troublemakers—TOP 10 OIDs and TOP 10 sources. If you fix at least TOP 5 OIDs, you will reduce the amount of alarms by 40-80%. So, even if the situation looks hopeless, there is a small and easy way to make the step between a messy and shining browser.

iSPI IP Telephony

HP NNMi Smart Plug-in for IP Telephony extends the functionality of NNMi, providing more detailed information about the VoIP telephony infrastructure. iSPI for VoIP discovers, monitors, and presents additional views of VoIP specific parameters, such as:

  • IP address, hostname, version, model, type, and status of device

  • Phone model, registration state, extension number, and supported protocol controller

  • VoIP network health

First of all, your VoIP devices will be discovered automatically and presented on a map as VoIP-specific devices, so that you can easily recognize VoIP phone, PBX, or voice gateway on a map.

The NNMi SPI for IPT provides comprehensive monitoring for an IP telephony service. It includes features, which are VoIP specific: voice gateway, calls, and path control.

Using iSPI for IPT monitoring is more detailed than IP generic monitoring, and gives an advantage for VoIP-specific issues against plain NNMi monitoring of IP network. iSPI for IPT helps detect outages in their early stage.

The quality of calls has been reduced, so more calls are dropped or being provided with long voice delays. Using plain NNMi, you wouldn't recognize such behavior and you would have green map with no incidents regarding this issue, while your IPT users are struggling and complaining about poor quality. iSPI for IPT would notify you about such (and even more) service decreases, so the only thing you should take care of is to fix a problem.

The following list provides a detailed feature list, which is supported by iSPI IPT:

  • Infrastructure management:

    • Call Manager 5.x, 6.x inventory, detail views, and status/incident.

    • Cisco GK inventory, detail views, and status/incident.

    • Cisco ICT inventory, detail views, and status/incident.

    • Nortel CS 1000, Nortel SS, and Nortel VGMC/MGC/MC inventory, detail views, and SNMP trap-based alarm status.

  • IP phone management:

    • Inventory and detail view of Cisco IP phones (SCCP/SIP), their registration status and their relationship to Call Managers.

    • Inventory and detail view of Nortel IP phones, their relationships to Nortel CS.

  • Detailed Cisco Voice Gateway management:

    • Cisco DS0 channel inventory, detail view, alarm status, usage status.

    • Cisco DS1 (T1/E1 CAS/PRI/BRI, E&M, FXS, and FXO) Circuit Switched interface inventory and detail view, alarm status/incident, and usage incident/status.

    • Cisco VGW inventory and detail view, alarm status/incident, usage status/incident, H323 and MGCP support.

  • Voice quality monitoring and diagnostics:

    • CDR/CMR-based Jitter, latency, delay, MOS monitoring for calls in Cisco IPT networks and incidents.

    • Nortel QoS zone inventory, detail view with 32 QoS metric values for Nortel QoS zones and incidents.

    • Nortel QoS SNMP trap-based monitoring of quality of calls in Nortel IPT network and incidents.

    • Voice path draws L2/L3 path between two Cisco IP Phones for media.

    • Control path draws L2/L3 path between a Cisco IP Phone and its Call Manager.

    No localization support on iSPI for IP Telephony.


iSPI for MPLS helps to monitor MPLS-specific parameters. It uses NNMi's node inventory and provides MPLS-specific, real-time data for MPLS-enabled devices:

  • MPLS Virtual Private Networks (VPN) on provider edge devices.

  • MPLS Pseudo Wire Virtual Containers (VC).

  • Traffic Engineering (TE) tunnels.

  • Monitors status and displays VPNs, VRFs, TE tunnels, and Pseudo Wire VCs attributes.

  • Generates incidents for the MPLS-specific faults or changes in the topology.

The following figure represents the difference between managing MPLS-enabled network using plain NNMi (left-hand side picture) and using iSPI MPLS (right-hand side picture):

iSPI MPLS automatically discovers MPLS devices and presents MPLS-specific data like L3-VPN/VRF, L2VPN (Pseudo Wire), and MPLS traffic engineering. MPLS specific views and implemented correlation are provided on MPLS specific incidents.

MPLS is supported only on Cisco IOS, IOS XR.

iSPI MPLS does not support localization.

The detailed feature list of iSPI for MPLS is as follows:

  • L3-VPN Management:

    • Inventory view of L3-VPNs.

    • Details views for an L3-VPN including VRFs, VRF-details.

    • Monitoring of VRF state and incident/status-propagation for L3-VPNs.

  • Label Switched Router (LSR) views:

    • LSR core view.

    • Launch from LSR view to other views showing node-centric MPLS-services.

  • Traffic Engineering management:

    • Inventory view of TE Tunnels.

    • TE Tunnel details view.

    • Monitoring of TE tunnel status and incidents.

  • Pseudo-wire management:

    • Inventory view of pseudo-wires.

    • Monitoring of pseudo-wire status and incidents.

    • As any other iSPI, it can be installed at any time, even if your deployment is completed a long time ago.

iSPI multicast

IP multicast is a technique for one-to-many communications over an IP infrastructure in a network. It scales to a larger receiver population by not requiring prior knowledge of who or how many receivers there are. Multicast uses network infrastructure efficiently by requiring the source to send a packet only once, even if it needs to be delivered to a large number of receivers. Multicast mostly is used for services such as video or audio broadcasting, when many users may be watching/listening for the same content. The nodes in the network take care of replicating the packet to reach multiple receivers only when necessary. The most common low-level protocol to use multicast addressing is User Datagram Protocol (UDP). By its nature, UDP is not reliable—messages may be lost or delivered out of order. Reliable multicast protocols such as Pragmatic General Multicast (PGM) have been developed to add loss detection and retransmission on top of IP multicast (source—Wikipedia).

The following figures represent Multicast's graphical presentation:

iSPI Multicast allows monitoring multicast networks. It automatically detects multicast configuration, shows multicast-specific views, and monitors multicast-specific parameters. iSPI Multicast allows the user to diagnose issues in early stage, which leads to the reducing of MTBF. iSPI Multicast provides information like Multicast Node/Interface inventory, including a designated router, discovers Multicast neighbors and provides Multicast neighbor's status.

iSPI Multicast is supported only on Windows.

iSPI Multicast supports only Cisco IOS.

The following screenshot provides iSPI for Multicast window in NNMi:

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