Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Framework on Hybrid Network Management System Using a Secure Mobile Agent Protocol

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Framework on Hybrid Network Management System Using a Secure Mobile Agent Protocol

Article excerpt

Introduction

The current network is characterized by its increasing distribution, its dynamic nature, and the complexity of its resources, due to the increasing requirement of different services (Yang, Galis, Mota, & Michalas, 2003). Network management essentially involves monitoring and controlling the devices connected in a network by collecting and analyzing data from the devices (Stallings, 1999).

The current trend is to deploy mobile agents to manage large heterogeneous networks. Mobile agents are special software objects that have the unique ability to transport itself from one system in a network to another in the same network (Feng, 2002).

One of the possible approaches is to automate the installation and configuration steps using a mobile-agent based Plug-and-Play (PnP) architecture for service configuration.

Related Works

As networks are growing and becoming more distributed, the need for better management through available distributed technologies is being realized. According to Kona and Xu (2002), mobile agent technology has long been pursued but its applications in network management are still rudimentary. Bieszczad, Pagurek, and White (1998) described theoretical views on application of mobile agents for network management that lack concrete implementation. Gavalas, Greenwood, Ghanbari, and Mahogany (2000) presented the application of mobile agents in bulk transfer of network monitoring data, data aggregation and acquiring atomic SNMP table views. They analyzed the usage of mobile agents in network management with regard to the bandwidth utilization. The work addresses the issue of mobile agents for network monitoring, but did not consider provisioning services. Pinheiro, Pohylisher, & Caldwell (2000) described a conceptual model which collects management related data across a changing set of networked components and periodically compute aggregated statistics using mobile agents. More concentrated towards aggregation of network monitoring data and exploring mechanisms for agent adaptation.

SMAN Architecture

The proposed flexible architecture, Secure Mobile Agent based Network Management (SMAN) framework, is a hybrid model, which has features of secure mobile agent protocol as well as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The architecture forms a layer over the conventional SNMP based management that ensures the advantages of SNMP are not lost and also serves the purpose of managing legacy SNMP based systems. SMAN gives the manager the flexibility of using SNMP model or SMAN depending on the management activity that is involved. This architecture has many advantages over the existing architectures. Some of the advantages are stated below:

* The repetitive request/response handshake is eliminated

* Reduces design risk by allowing decisions about the location of the code pushed towards the end of the development effort

* Resolves problems created by intermitted or unreliable network connections

* Real time notifications

* Parallel executions (or load balancing) where large computations are divided amongst processing resources.

* Offers an alternative to or complementing SNMP security in network management system

In the proposed architecture the station assumes responsibilities of a client. All managed nodes are servers, which have mobile agent environment and respond to SNMP queries from mobile agents when they visit the context servers and manipulate data locally. When the client in the SMAN needs access to data in a network-connected device, it does not talk directly to the server over the network but dispatches a mobile agent to the server's machine. On arriving at the servers' machine, the mobile agent makes its request and return to the management station with the results. The architecture provides Java-compliant interfaces to network management services. Aglet Software Development Kit (ASDK) (http://www. …

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