More Essential Telemetry Functions for SNMP Managers
- System operator identification
Basic SNMP managers do not record the identity of the system operator who acknowledges an alarm. In the example of the negligent system operator, it would be impossible to determine who had made the mistake or to assign responsibility for the resulting problems.
- Multi-user security
Out of the box, the typical SNMP manager is not designed for multi-user security. All traps are posted to one alarm list; all users may view all alarms, and all users may acknowledge all alarms.
- Alarm sorting and organization
Basic SNMP managers have no built-in functions for organizing alarms by logical category, posting the same alarm to multiple logical categories, or sorting which alarms the user wants to see. If Jones is in charge of all equipment for the Western region, and Smith is in charge of power plants, both need to know about a generator failure in Tucson, but neither one needs to know about all the alarms in the network. And if one manager corrects the alarm condition and acknowledges the alarm, the other manager needs to know it was acknowledged and by whom. Unfortunately, standard SNMP managers will not support these functions.
- Nuisance alarm management and after-hours notification
No SNMP manager supports the advanced features necessary for best quality telemetry monitoring, such as notifications escalation, legacy protocol mediation, nuisance alarm silencing, automatic control relay operation, and automatic notifications by pager and email.
It is true that many, but not all, of these functions can be added to standard SNMP managers, but implementing telemetry monitoring in a basic SNMP manager usually involves a substantial amount of custom software module development. Even when pre-built software modules are available, they usually require custom tweaking to perform exactly as you want them to.
The need for extensive customization eliminates the advantage of using a simple open standard, and it is difficult to justify significant development costs after purchasing an already expensive SNMP manager. Why take the time, trouble, and expense to recreate capabilities that are already present in a high-quality, SNMP-capable network alarm management system?
And in fact, it is much easier to adapt a traditional telemetry master to process SNMP traps than to adapt an SNMP manager to perform telemetry functions. There is no question that SNMP is right for many applications, and it is clear that SNMP will be increasingly used in the future.
SNMP can be an effective tool, but it's only one item in your telemetry monitoring toolkit, and it can be used more effectively when it is part of a total alarm management solution.