Simple Network Management Protocol(SNMP) Operations


SNMPv1 Protocol Operations

SNMP is a simple request/response protocol. The network-management system issues a request, and managed devices return responses. This behavior is implemented by using one of four protocol operations: Get, GetNext, Set, and Trap. The Get operation is used by the NMS to retrieve the value of one or more object instances from an agent. If the agent responding to the Get operation cannot provide values for all the object instances in a list, it does not provide any values. The GetNext operation is used by the NMS to retrieve the value of the next object instance in a table or a list within an agent. The Set operation is used by the NMS to set the values of object instances within an agent. The Trap operation is used by agents to asynchronously inform the NMS of a significant event.


SNMPv2 Protocol Operations

The Get, GetNext, and Set operations used in SNMPv1 are exactly the same as those used in SNMPv2. However, SNMPv2 adds and enhances some protocol operations. The SNMPv2 Trap operation, for example, serves the same function as that used in SNMPv1, but it uses a different message format and is designed to replace the SNMPv1 Trap.
SNMPv2 also defines two new protocol operations: GetBulk and Inform. The GetBulk operation is used by the NMS to efficiently retrieve large blocks of data, such as multiple rows in a table. GetBulk fills a response message with as much of the requested data as will fit. The Inform operation allows one NMS to send trap information to another NMS and to then receive a response. In SNMPv2, if the agent responding to GetBulk operations cannot provide values for all the variables in a list, it provides partial results.

SNMP Interoperability

As presently specified, SNMPv2 is incompatible with SNMPv1 in two key areas: message formats and protocol operations. SNMPv2 messages use different header and protocol data unit (PDU) formats than SNMPv1 messages. SNMPv2 also uses two protocol operations that are not specified in SNMPv1. Furthermore, RFC 1908 defines two possible SNMPv1/v2 coexistence strategies: proxy agents and bilingual network-management systems.

Proxy Agents

An SNMPv2 agent can act as a proxy agent on behalf of SNMPv1 managed devices, as follows:
  • An SNMPv2 NMS issues a command intended for an SNMPv1 agent.
  • The NMS sends the SNMP message to the SNMPv2 proxy agent.
  • The proxy agent forwards Get, GetNext, and Set messages to the SNMPv1 agent unchanged.
  • GetBulk messages are converted by the proxy agent to GetNext messages and then are forwarded to the SNMPv1 agent.
The proxy agent maps SNMPv1 trap messages to SNMPv2 trap messages and then forwards them to the NMS.

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