Solstice Enterprise Agents 1.0 User Guide


This glossary offers brief descriptions of terms that appear in the discussion of the Solstice Enterprise Agents documentation, either because they are used in the industry or because they have specific meanings in the Solstice environment.


Also called Network Management Agent. A module residing in a managed resource on a network, capable of reporting the status of the resource and/or responding to inquiries about it. Described in standards documents X.701 | ISO/IEC 10040. In a general sense, software running on a managed object that responds to and reports to the management application with current information about the object. See also Proxy Agent.

agent/subagent SDK

The Software Development Kit has multiple components. It includes agent/subagent libraries, a MIB compiler, and sample subagents.


Application Programming Interface. An API is a set of software routines that enables an applications developer to access and use the features of a product.


Address Resolution Protocol. A procedure for finding the network hardware address corresponding to an internet address (RFC 826).


Abstract Syntax Notation One. A specification understood by network management protocols and used for encoding information between a manager and agents in a machine and network-independent manner.


An attribute is the building block of MIF. An attribute describes a single characteristic of a manageable product, or component. For example, the clock speed of a processor chip is an attribute of that chip. A set of related attributes constitutes a MIF group.


A subordinate object contained in an instance of a class and directly below that class instance. [C]


Component Interface. Describes access to management information and enables a component to be managed.


The formal description of a set of objects. In the OSI world, objects with similar attributes and behavior are grouped into classes. In C++, the rules governing a set of data structures (that are said to be instances of the class) and the methods (also called member functions) that give access to an instance's data.

class instance

A collection of attribute instance values that specifies one example of a class. For example, if the class comprised port information for a router port, you could specify an instance of the class by providing a router board and port number for a particular port. The information you provide to specify a class instance is called the instance identifier. Other related terms are instance string, Relative Distinguished Name (RDN), Index, and Named Object.

common group

A MIF group that has been proposed to and accepted by the DMTF special interest group and that describes common attributes applicable to all, or most, manageable products. Examples of common groups include Field Replaceable Unit (FRU) and Operational State.


Any hardware or software product that is part of or attached to a desktop system or server. For example, a modem, a printer, a network interface card, a spreadsheet program, and an operating system could all be considered components.


The communication of a management request from the Master Agent to one or more subagents. Dispatching is performed according to the Master Agent's current view of registered subtrees and an explicitly stated algorithm.


Distributed Computing Environment. This is provided by OSF (Open System Foundation) DCE allows development of applications based on client-server architecture.


Desktop Management Interface. The Desktop Management Interface is a set of interfaces and a service provider that mediate between management applications and components residing in a system.The DMI is a free-standing interface that is not tied to any particular operating system or management process.


Data Management Task Force. The Desktop Management Task Force was formed in May of 1992 as a cooperative effort of eight companies: Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, SunSoft and SynOptics.

duplicate registration

An attempt by one subagent to register a subtree that exactly matches a subtree already registered by another subagent.


Systems, components, and applications.


Enumerations are lists of possible values for a given attribute. They may be global or local. Global enumerations named may be used by other attributes within a component. A local enumeration is unnamed and may only be used by the attribute containing it.


Events consist of unsolicited information sent from a component to the Service Provider detailing an unusual circumstance or notable event. Events trigger indications from the Service Provider to management applications. Events may be sent, for instance, when an error occurs or when a new version of a piece of software is installed. Component manufacturers determine that events will be related to their product and what information will be passed about the event.


The use of a Boolean expression to test a set of attributes in order to select the objects where a network management command is addressed. Object instances that successfully pass the filtering tests become those where a management operation is performed. Defined by the CMIS specification (ISO/IEC 9595), filtering capabilities help reduce the network traffic overhead of a management protocol. See also scoping. This usage of "filter" is distinct from the usage in UNIX systems, where a filter is a program that accepts input from one stream and supplies output in another, so that it may be piped to other functions as needed. See Network Management Forum.


A computer that interconnect two networks and routes packets from one to the other. A gateway has more than one network interface.


A group is a set of related attributes for a given component. The DMTF group has standardized MIFs at the group level as well as at the component level.


Indications are information sent from the Service Provider to management applications when an event is received by the Service Provider or when a component is installed or removed from the MIF database. Indications triggered by events include information about the event and the component sending the event.


In C++, a piece of data whose structure is described by its membership in a class. Access to the data is provided only by the member functions defined by the class. For managed objects, a specific case or example of a managed object. For example, routers might be taken as an object class; one particular router would be an instance of that class.


Instrumentation is the general name for programs that provide the values for attributes in the MIF database. Instrumentation is provided in two ways: by runtime programs (programs that are run by the Service Provider to retrieve or set the value at the time the action is requested by a management application) and by direct interface (programs that are always running and linked into the Service Provider to provide the value on request).


A large collection of connected networks, primarily in the United States, running the Internet suite of protocols. The generic term "internet" refers to a collection of TCP/IP internetworks.


The capability of two or more systems to meet user requirements by communicating through specific mechanisms in a known environment.


Internet Engineering Task Force. Source of MIB, SNMP.

IP address

A 32-bit quantity used to represent a point of attachment in a TCP/IP-based Internet.


International Standards Organization. Develops standards, by international agreement, over a wide range of technical areas.


A key attribute is the attribute used to find a specific row in a table of attributes when there is more than one instance of a set of attributes in a particular group. For instance, a computer system often has more than one serial port attached to it. To describe these serial ports, the Serial Port Group in the system's MIF file would be set up as a table, with one row in the table describing the specifics of a particular serial port. To access this information, one or more of the attributes (such as the I/O address) would be designated as the key. To find a specific serial port, the management application would ask for the row containing the proper I/O address.

Legacy SNMP agents

SNMP-based agents that already exist in released products from Sun or outside companies. Solstice Enterprise Agents allows the integration of legacy SNMP agents.

managed node

A network computer, router, hub, or other piece of equipment on the network that has object classes entered in the Solstice EM MIT and a network agent running on it.

managed object

The representation of a network resource (or a set of resources). Note that in general a managed object is an abstraction that represents selected attributes of the resource it represents. The managed object resides within the MIS, where it represents a resource that is elsewhere. A managed object is characterized by:

  • attributes visible at its boundary

  • management operations that may be applied to it

  • behaviors it exhibits in response to management operations

  • notifications that it emits

A MIB or MIT entry that represents some aspect of a network node or line that is monitored and, in some cases, set, using Solstice EM services. The MIS manages the object by polling it, displaying the attribute values for current object instances of it, and in some cases changing the attribute values for instances of it.

managed object class

The formal description of a set of managed objects. A managed object is the collection of data that represents a managed resource. Specified in ITU Recommendation X.701 | ISO/IEC 10040.

management application

A management application is any program that retrieves and changes information about the manageable products on a desktop system. A management application talks to the Service Provider through the Management Interface (MI). For example, a remote network monitoring tool and a local control panel are management applications.

managing system

The system requesting information from and setting information in a network node running a network-management system.


The integration of DMI 2.0 technology is done through the Mapper, that acts as a subagent. The Mapper receives the requests from the Master Agent and converts them into appropriate DMI requests that are sent to the DMI Service Provider. When the Mapper receives the response from the DMI Service Provider, it converts this response into the SNMP response and forwards it to the Manager through the Master Agent.

Master Agent

An entity/process on a managed node that exchanges SNMP protocol messages with the managers such as Domain Manager, Enterprise Manager, H-P Openview.


The set of descriptions of the forms of data used to describe managed objects in a network (as distinct from the data itself).


Management Information Base. A hierarchical system for classifying information about resources in a network. By industry agreement, individual developers are assigned portions of the tree structure where they may attach descriptions specific to their own devices.

MIB module

A collection of managed objects.

network management agent

The implementation of a network management protocol (a program) that exchanges network management information with a network management station.

network management protocol

The protocol used to convey management information.


Network Management Forum. An association of vendors and developers of network hardware and software dedicated to the promotion of interoperable network management based on the use of OSI techniques.


Object IDentifier. A number that identifies an object's position in a global object registration tree. An example is, that corresponds to, and identifies a Synoptics3000 concentrator. There may also be a MIB name for the object identifier (for example, cisco for a Cisco router). [S] In CMIP, one half of the Relative Distinguished Name (RDN) pair, that identifies an object's position in an MIT. See Name. [C] An Object IDentifier uses a system for describing an object's class by reference to a standard tree structure of descriptions. Each node of the tree is assigned a number, so that an object's identifier is a sequence of numbers. In Internet usage, the identifiers are shown as a string of numbers delimited by dots (for example,; in the OSI context (and in Solstice EM) the numbers are delimited by blanks and the entire sequence is surrounded by braces (for example, { 0 128 45 12 }).

OID range

The range of OIDs implied by a subtree. For instance, the subtree 1.2.3 carries an implied range of 1.2.3 up to but not including 1.2.4.


Open Network Computing/Remote Procedure Call.


Open Systems Foundation. UNIX consortium including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and DEC, founded 1988. Sponsors of DME.


Open Systems Interconnection. General name for the set of network management conventions adopted by the International Standards Organization. An international effort (via ISO) to facilitate communications among computers of varying manufacturers and technology.


OSI Network Management Forum. An OSI group formed to develop and promulgate definitions and standards for the SNMP, PING, and CMIP protocols.

overlapping registration

An attempt by one subagent to register a subtree that is contained within or contains a subtree already registered by another subagent.


An instance of the class containing a (child) object. [C]


A periodic request for MIB or MIT object-class status information sent to a managed object. Configurable in some cases by the network administrator via Solstice EM Request Designer. SNMP tends to be poll-oriented, while CMIP tends to be event-oriented.

proprietary group

A proprietary group is a group of attributes that is specific to a particular product vendor and has not been proposed or standardized by the DMTF special interest group. Proprietary groups allow vendors to differentiate their product and demonstrate competitive advantages.


A set of rules used by computers to communicate with each other. A protocol is also the private language and procedures of an OSI layer.


The act of a subagent informing the Master Agent that the subagent will provide management of a MIB subtree.

required group

A required group is a group of attributes that are required to be included in a MIF file in order to be DMI-compliant. Currently, the only required group is the ComponentID group, that must be group 1 in any MIF file.


Request for Comment. The series of documents that formalize protocols within the Internet (TCP/IP-based) community are referred to as RFC, the last phase in the formal standardization process before the document is made official. RFCs are published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).


The term routing refers to the process of selecting a path to send packets over, and router is any computer able to make such a selection. Although both hosts and gateways do routing, the term router is commonly used for a device that interconnects two networks (See gateway).


Service Access Point.The notional point where a service user and a layer entity meet so that services may be offered by the layer entity to the particular user.

severity enumeration

A bit-mask so that multiple event severities may be selected for a filter entry.


An object that shares a common parent class with the object in question. [C]


Structure of Management Information.


SunNet Manager. To export your subagent to Site/SunNet/Domain Manager (SNM), you need an SNM schema file.


Simple Network Management Protocol. Protocol for exchanging information between network managers and "agents', processes within various managed objects that are able to report their status on request. The protocol was introduced as a simple interim solution, but is at present widely used in the Internet environment. It is a connection-less protocol, with the view of continuing to receive information from managed objects even when network performance is degraded and a connection-based reliable transport may fail.


Simple Network Management Protocol Daemon.

standard group

An MIF group that has been proposed to and accepted by the DMTF special interest group and that describes attributes applicable to all, or most all, products of a similar type, such as all printers or all network interface cards. Currently, standard groups are approved for PC Systems, have been proposed for Network Information Cards, and are in development for Printers, Servers, Software and Modems.


A description of a managed object in a point in time with respect to a request. At any given moment, a request, reflecting the target managed object, is in some state defined in that request or is undergoing a transition between states. You may think of a state as a receptacle that holds transitions to other states. While in a state, a request repeatedly, at intervals determined by the state's poll rate, tests the conditions associated with each transition leading from that state.

In addition to a poll rate, each state has a severity associated with it. It also has a name and a description. Between any two states, there is a single transition (one-way or two-way) with, potentially, multiple conditions associated with each transition.

There is one required state, the ground (or init) state. The only requirement for this state is that it have a severity of "normal". Other states are of your choosing.


Process that has access to the management information and provides manageability to various applications/components within a system. A subagent communicates with the Master Agent using SNMP. A subagent does not communicate with a manager directly.


In Internet parlance, a logical partition of a network. OSI attaches a more restricted meaning: the portion of a network attached to the same physical medium.

subnet mask

A 32-bit quantity indicating bits in an IP address identify the physical network.


Indicated by a single OID, may be an entire MIB, a full instance, or even a subtree named in any MIB specification.

synthetic event

An event that is generated based on a composite analysis of various elements of state in the managed machine.


A table of attributes is used when there is more than one set of attributes for a particular group. For instance, a computer system often has more than one serial port attached to it. To describe these serial ports, the Serial Port Group in the system's MIF file would be set up as a table, with one row in the table describing the specifics of a particular serial port.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The Internet suite of protocols is a group of protocols related to a common framework, or set of rules that defines how computers communicate with each other in an open (non-proprietary) system, typically a large communications infrastructure.


An SNMP term that describes a set of attribute values for object class instances. The rows represent the attributes and the columns represent class instances.


In Internet jargon, notification of a problem that an agent sends to a management MIS of its own initiative rather than in response to a poll. SNMP formally defines seven types of traps and permits subtypes to be defined. OMNIPoint 1 uses the term "event report" rather than "trap".

trap-directed polling

A hybrid form of trouble reporting where a single trap initiated by an agent is followed up by polls when the management MIS requests further information.


Universal Datagram Protocol. A connectionless protocol where SNMP is usually implemented.