Cisco Network Connectivity Center (NCC) Network Connectivity Monitor (NCM) provides real-time, automated network connectivity and impact analysis, including the ability to pinpoint service-affecting network problems in real time. Extending from NCM 1.0, NCM 1.1 includes new capabilities for managing increasingly complex, multi-vendor networks and the latest networking technologies.
Managing complex enterprise networks has never been more challenging. Management tools must support multiple vendors, technologies, and integrations, delivering actionable information to a variety of audiences in flexible formats.
NCM 1.1 meets these requirements. It extends NCM's powerful root cause and impact analysis across the network, providing a single tool to manage devices and technologies from Cisco and other vendors. Providing immediate out-of-the-box value, NCM 1.1 has connectivity analysis intelligence built in and doesn't require users to determine rules, polling parameters, or valid threshold values. In addition, NCM 1.1 supports customizable web-based displays that deliver exactly the information users need to meet their business goals and requirements.
NCM 1.1 monitors networks for a variety of fault conditions and indications. After the fault analysis is complete, NCM 1.1 notifies the user only when a problem has been detected that might affect network availability. For each network device, NCM 1.1 automatically analyzes a range of service-affecting network connectivity problems. As the network grows and changes, NCM 1.1 automatically adjusts its analysis accordingly.
This sophisticated analysis tool can leverage the functionality in CiscoWorks Device Fault Manager (DFM), a module in CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution (LMS) and/or CiscoWorks IP Telephony Environment Monitor (ITEM), expanding the value of your network management investment. NCM 1.1 connectivity intelligence can also be forwarded to other multi-device, multi-vendor event management systems installed in the network.
NCM 1.1 delivers the following key benefits:
Faster mean-time-to-repair-By pinpointing network connectivity problems in real time, NCM 1.1 eliminates time-consuming manual event analysis, helping to ensure that effective corrective action can begin, often even before significant network service degradation.
Higher availability through advanced management-With faster problem isolation, unplanned downtime can be minimized and networked business applications are more available.
Immediate value-NCM 1.1 is easy to install and adds value right out-of-the-box. Because NCM comes with automated intelligence built in, it eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming development of custom rules and their implementations.
NCM 1.1 provides:
• Automated network connectivity and impact analysis for multivendor networks and technologies
• Consolidation and integration of NCM with CiscoWorks DFM, and/or ITEM fault and operational health analysis
• Tightly integrates with other Cisco NCC modules
• Event import and notification adapters
• Customizable displays that provide the actionable information users need to take corrective action
• Integration with the user's present mode of operations, including multivendor Manager of Managers such as HP OpenView, Tivoli NetView, Cisco InfoCenter, and SMARTS InCharge
• Support for the latest networking technologies, including SNMPv3 and HSRP
• Regular incremental device support for new Cisco and multivendor devices
Automated Network Connectivity and Impact Analysis
NCM 1.1 provides automated network-wide connectivity and impact analysis for multivendor networks and technologies. NCM 1.1 can identify service-affecting problems and their impact on interrelated logical and physical device connectivity. NCM 1.1 determines and presents the impact a problem with one device has on other devices in the network.
Functions supporting NCM analysis include:
• Discovery of device connectivity relationships
• Determining what service-affecting problems can originate in each device
• Monitoring of the network for those problems, while ignoring noncritical or nonessential component events
• Assessing each problem's impact on related devices across the network
For example, consider the failure of Switch 3 in the network shown in Figure 1. Switch 3 is unreachable as are all switches and servers connected through Switch 3. Analyzing status polls sent by NCM, link-down traps for the ports connected to Switch 3, and other symptomatic events exhibited by Switches 1 and 2, NCM is able to pinpoint the failure-Switch 3 Down. Because NCM focuses monitoring on service-affecting problems, alarm storms are eliminated, and IT managers no longer need to look at every network event.
Figure 1. NCM Analysis Example
As part of its analysis, NCM 1.1 continually analyzes the availability of the network infrastructure, including:
• Cable-Connection between a port and an interface
• Trunk cable-Connection between two ports
• Network connection-Connection between two interfaces
Network Elements-Down, unstable, disconnected
1. Provides enhanced analysis with Cisco DFM and Cisco ITEM
Consolidation and Integration of NCM with CiscoWorks DFM, ITEM and other Cisco NCC modules
NCM consolidates results of its own fault analysis with the events and analysis generated by CiscoWorks DFM, CiscoWorks ITEM (when one or more are present) and other Cisco NCC modules such as MPLS Manager, Routing Protocol Services Manager, and Application Services Manager. It also performs intelligent processing functions, such as aggregating and analyzing its knowledge of device relationships across the network to pinpoint network connectivity problems in real time and identify their impact on the network.
Adapters for Event Import and Notifications
NCM 1.1 includes two receiving adapters and four notification adapters for managing events and notifications.
• SNMP Trap Adapter (Notifier) allows you to forward actionable notifications through an SNMP trap.
• Email Adapter (Notifier) allows you to forward actionable notifications via email.
• Script Adapter (Notifier) allows you to automatically take an action when a notification is received. Upon receiving a notification, the Script Adapter invokes a user-supplied custom script that performs user-defined actions. For example, you can create a Script Notifier to send a page, using a paging service. Another Script Notifier might invoke an audible alarm when mission-critical notifications are received.
• Log Adapter (Notifier) allows you to save notifications to a log file for further processing or archiving.
• SNMP Trap Adapter (Receiver) collects and parses SNMP traps and generates notifications to NCM based on the contents of the traps.
• Syslog Adapter (Receiver) tails or parses the contents of any system log file and generates notifications to NCM based on the file contents.
Focused on Taking Corrective Action
NCM offers two types of user interface: the NCM Global Console and the NCM Web Console. A Business Dashboard is also available as an option. These interfaces display the network connectivity and device fault information necessary for users to take corrective action. NCM user interface features include:
• Views of events, connectivity analysis problems, and their effects on other network elements
• Support for filtering, sorting, and prioritizing of problem notifications
• Interactive dialogs to acknowledge problems and to assign ownership and invoke actions
• Audit trails of all activities related to an event
• Individual component views including status tables, summaries, notifications, and maps that can be selected, arranged, and configured by the user to create a custom display
• Capability to drill down from the high-level global view to detailed fault information maintained by the NCM, CiscoWorks DFM, CiscoWorks ITEM servers and other Cisco NCC modules.
Figure 2. NCM Monitoring Console and Topology Browser (with NCM, CiscoWorks DFM and CiscoWorks ITEM Alerts)
NCM 1.1 displays physical and logical connectivity and VLAN membership along with the results of its connectivity and impact analysis. Users can display a selected device or event and traverse the infrastructure and see the cause-and-effect relationships. Color indicates whether a device is in a normal state, experiencing a problem, or is affected by a problem in another device.
Integration with the User's Present Mode of Operations
NCM can be used as a network connectivity fault subsystem, generating notifications to other multidevice, multivendor event management systems installed in an existing environment, including HP OpenView, Tivoli NetView, Cisco InfoCenter, and SMARTS InCharge.
Figure 3. Forwarding NCM Connectivity Fault Analysis to Multivendor Event Management Systems
SNMPv3 and HSRP Support
NCM supports these leading-edge networking technologies and protocols.
• SNMPv3 is a network management protocol that contributes to increased security. SNMPv3 was designed to provide data integrity, origin authentication, and message timeliness.
• In IP networks, Cisco's Hot Standby Routing Protocol (HSRP) allows one router to automatically assume the function of the second router if the second router fails. HSRP is particularly useful when the users on one subnet require continuous access to resources in the network.
Regular Incremental Device Support for New Cisco and Other Vendors' Devices
As new types of devices from Cisco and other vendors are added to the network, NCM 1.1 can be updated using incremental device updates available through the Cisco Software Center on Cisco.com. New devices added using the incremental updates do not require additional rules written by the user.
A single server installation of NCM can monitor a network with up to 1,500 network devices. For larger networks, see NCM documentation on Cisco.com for recommended implementations.
Hardware and Operating System
• Solaris 8 and Solaris 9
• Sunfire 280R (minimum): with
– Two 900-MHz processors
– 2 GB RAM
– 300 MB disk space (or equivalent)
• Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server or Windows 2003 platforms with:
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