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Streamline On-Premise Monitoring With SNMP Autodiscovery

For infrastructure teams overwhelmed by SNMP device management, there's SNMP autodiscovery.
min read
Team RapDev
May 20, 2021

Although many enterprises are shifting to public cloud solutions, the hybrid approach is also becoming more prevalent. In fact, Red Hat’s State of Enterprise Open Source report found that 63% of IT leaders have a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud—where companies leverage both on-premise and public or private cloud infrastructure—is common for businesses undergoing digital transformation. This approach allows companies to adopt cloud-native technologies while retaining existing on-premise applications as well.

While many cloud-first solutions offer seamless telemetry and monitoring, it’s still crucial for site reliability teams to use SNMP for visibility into their on-premise hardware. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at SNMP autodiscovery and how RapDev’s SNMP Profile integration streamlines Datadog SNMP monitoring.

What Is SNMP Autodiscovery?

The challenge with monitoring hardware is that on-premise infrastructure is often built with thousands of devices from various vendors and manufacturers. That’s why SNMP has been used for decades to monitor infrastructure at the hardware level in a standardized way. Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is an application layer protocol for exchanging information with network devices and one of the most widely-accepted protocols for network monitoring. SNMP can be used to monitor routers, switches, modems, access points, firewalls, and many other types of datacenter hardware.

How SNMP Works

SNMP works by sending messages containing protocol data units (PDUs) from a manager to individual hardware devices. These PDUs are the standardized way data is communicated between the SNMP manager and SNMP-enabled devices. There are five PDUs for specific SNMP tasks, including GetRequest, GetNext, SetRequest, GetResponse, and Trap. Trap is the most common message type because it’s a way to automatically report any change from a managed device to the SNMP manager.

An object identifier (OID)—which is similar to a unique address— is highly structured in a hierarchical tree pattern that reveals detailed information about a particular device’s status. The process for regularly requesting status updates from every OID is called polling. 

SNMP-supported devices also require a management information base (MIB), which defines the device’s properties and manageable information in a human-readable format. For example, a printer’s MIB may include cartridge states while a switch’s MIB likely includes incoming and outgoing traffic and the rate of package loss. MIBs are defined by device manufacturers to specify what particular values contained in OIDs actually mean. More specifically, SNMP agents embedded in devices will collect data locally and compile these values into a MIB to have them decoded into human-readable information. The SNMP manager can then poll for information from these MIBs whenever necessary for every device they’re monitoring and receive standardized results. SNMP autodiscovery is the process for detecting and managing these SNMP-enabled devices in the first place.

Datadog’s SNMP Module

Datadog’s native SNMP module allows enterprises to monitor their on-premise hardware alongside the rest of their tech stack. The SNMP implementation uses a Datadog Agent to scan any configured subnets for SNMP-enabled devices. The Datadog Agent then polls their various OIDs and turns the responses into metrics based on using pre-configured device profiles. While Datadog supports SNMP autodiscovery out-of-the-box, every device requires a different SNMP profile for different models and manufacturers. That means there are thousands of devices that need profiles built before their SNMP data can be translated into metrics using Datadog’s SNMP monitoring module.

RapDev’s SNMP Profile Datadog Integration

RapDev wanted to streamline the discovery of datacenter devices within Datadog. That’s why we created an SNMP Profile integration that's available within the Datadog marketplace. Here’s a quick breakdown of the integration.

Deploy Immediately

The SNMP integration can be deployed within minutes to start monitoring, visualizing, and alerting hardware within Datadog. The integration provides YAML files to auto-deploy new dashboards and leverages Datadog’s native SNMP autodiscovery module to detect any supported hardware. These dynamic dashboards allow you to start monitoring immediately, without editing, modifying, or updating SNMP profiles or YAML files.

Maximize Device Compatibility

The SNMP autodiscovery integration supports over 150 device profiles out-of-the-box. All of these device profiles are based off of the manufacturer MIBs and have pre-built dashboards to maximize compatibility and streamline setup. Device support includes over 10 of the largest datacenter hardware manufacturers, such as Dell, Cisco, Nutanix, HP, Arista, and more. 

Leverage Preconfigured Dashboards

With the RapDev integration, every SNMP profile ships with predefined Datadog dashboards that display thousands of useful metrics for each device. Hundreds of hours were spent tuning these SNMP profiles to include relevant tags like serial numbers, firmware versions, hardware versions, and more. We’ve done the heavy lifting, so you don’t need to waste time manually creating charts, graphs, or alerts for your Datadog monitors and dashboards.

Streamlined SNMP Monitoring

SNMP monitoring is critical for quickly and accurately tracking hardware in real-time. That said, getting started with Datadog’s SNMP module can be time-consuming when you have to configure SNMP profiles from scratch. RapDev’s SNMP Profile integration can streamline the process so that you can gain visibility into your on-premise infrastructure immediately.

Ready to try RapDev’s Datadog SNMP Autodiscovery integration? See here for more details.

Written by
Team RapDev
We're engineers by profession and open source learners/contributors at heart. Here to give you the full rundown on DevOps - What we've learnt, what we're experts at, what we're exploring.
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