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Understand Network Management Protocols ——SNMP, NETCONF, RESTCONF

Posted on Jan 27, 2024 by
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The Overview of SNMP、NETCONF、RESTCONF

As the challenges of configuring network devices with traditional CLI continue to increase, network management protocols have emerged. Network management is an important component of modern IT operations and service delivery. Over time, as networks grows, new applications and services are added. And, as configurations shift, there can be an effect on the network. Network management enables administrators to manage and monitor the network, ensuring overall reliability, availability and performance.

Basic concepts of SNMP、NETCONF、RESTCONF

NETCONF (Network Configuration Protocol) and RESTCONF are modern network management protocols designed to offer better security and functionality than their older counterpart, SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol). The following will explain the concepts of the three separately.

What is SNMP(Simple Network Management Protocol)?

SNMP, which stands for Simple Network Management Protocol, is an application-layer protocol used for managing and monitoring network devices. It is a standard protocol that allows network administrators to manage and monitor the performance, configuration, and health of devices on a network.

What is NETCONF(Network Configuration Protocol)?

NETCONF, which stands for Network Configuration Protocol, is a standardized network management protocol designed to manage and configure network devices. It provides a programmatic interface for configuring, monitoring, and managing the settings of network devices.

What is RESTCONF(RESTful Network Configuration Protocol)?

RESTCONF is a network management protocol that provides a RESTful web services interface for managing network devices. It is based on RESTful principles and allows for the configuration and retrieval of data from network devices using standard HTTP methods.

How Does SNMP、NETCONF、RESTCONF Work?

The first step in network management is collecting information from the network that is being managed. The information comes from network devices, such as routers, switches and wireless access points. Data can also be collected via software-based agents in a virtual or cloud service that provides visibility into network and application data traffic flows. There are a number of common protocols used for network management, including SNMP, NETCONF, RESTCONF:

  • SNMP: Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is commonly deployed on networking devices as a decades-old approach for obtaining network information.

  • NETCONF: Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF) is a protocol for network configuration that provides mechanisms for network management tools and administrators to configure connected network devices.

  • RESTCONF: The RESTCONF protocol builds on top of NETCONF using a RESTful application programming interface-based approach to update and change network configuration.

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SNMP vs NETCONF vs RESTCONF:Differences

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), NETCONF (Network Configuration Protocol), and RESTCONF (RESTful Network Configuration Protocol) are three distinct network management protocols. Here are the key differences among them:

Communication Paradigm:

  • SNMP: Uses a client-server model where SNMP managers communicate with SNMP agents on network devices. Operations include GET (retrieve information), SET (modify configuration), and TRAP (real-time event notification).

  • NETCONF:Operates on a client-server model where a NETCONF client communicates with a NETCONF server on a network device.

  • RESTCONF: Adheres to RESTful principles, treating network resources as web resources. Communication is based on standard HTTP methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) for configuration and retrieval.

Data Modeling:

  • SNMP: Uses Management Information Base (MIB) for organizing and representing data.

  • NETCONF: Utilizes YANG (Yet Another Next Generation) as a data modeling language.

  • RESTCONF: Also relies on YANG for data modeling. YANG data models are used to define the structure and hierarchy of configuration and state data.

Transport Protocols:

  • SNMP: Operates over the Internet Protocol (IP) and typically uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

  • NETCONF: Typically uses secure transport protocols such as SSH (Secure Shell) or TLS (Transport Layer Security).

  • RESTCONF: Operates over standard HTTP or HTTPS protocols, making it firewall-friendly.

Security Features:

  • SNMP: SNMPv3 introduced security features like authentication and encryption.

  • NETCONF: Benefits from the security features provided by the underlying secure transport protocols (SSH, TLS).

  • RESTCONF: Relies on HTTPS for secure communication, inheriting security features from the standard HTTP Secure.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, SNMP, NETCONF, and RESTCONF operate based on specific protocols and communication models. SNMP relies on a client-server model with a hierarchical MIB structure, NETCONF uses YANG for structured data modeling and a client-server model, and RESTCONF follows RESTful principles using standard HTTP methods for communication with network devices. The choice of protocol depends on factors such as the network environment, requirements, and preferences for automation and modern standards. Do you want to know more about us? FS offers a range of solutions for your business. Book a demo or sign up for a free trial.

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