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Managing old with new

BMC Software and Netscape want to manage new Web servers with an old technique that has become a management mainstay--the Simple Network Management Protocol.

BMC Software and Netscape Communications want to manage new Web servers with an old technique that has become a management mainstay--the Simple Network Management Protocol.

To do that, Netscape has collaborated with BMC to use its Patrol SNMP Toolkit to embed an SNMP agent into Netscape's Enterprise Server. The results mean that the popular Web server platform can be managed by a variety of enterprise management platforms, including Hewlett-Packard's OpenView, Cabletron Systems' Spectrum and Sun Microsystems' SunNet Manager.

The announcement underscores the variety of new management issues and options that vendors are dealing with in the Internet and intranet era. Besides adding Web interfaces and capabilities to specific management applications, vendors are trying to figure out how to manage popular Web applications, such as servers, as another node on a network.

But by turning to Simple Network Management Protocol, which already dominates many management environments, Web servers can be easily integrated into an existing management framework. This doesn't allow for the long-term implementation of recently proposed management specifications such as the HyperMedia Management Protocol being pushed by the Desktop Management Task Force or Sun Microsystems' Java Management Application Programming Interface. But it does provide a convenient short-term solution.