US20060168229A1 - System and method for network management using extensible markup language - Google Patents

System and method for network management using extensible markup language Download PDF

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US20060168229A1
US20060168229A1 US11023629 US2362904A US2006168229A1 US 20060168229 A1 US20060168229 A1 US 20060168229A1 US 11023629 US11023629 US 11023629 US 2362904 A US2362904 A US 2362904A US 2006168229 A1 US2006168229 A1 US 2006168229A1
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Prior art keywords
xml
network
snmp
management
system
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US11023629
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Choon Shim
Dongwook Shin
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Cisco Technology Inc
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QOVIA Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/16Service discovery or service management, e.g. service location protocol [SLP] or Web services
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/02Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization
    • H04L41/0213Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization using standardized network management protocols, e.g. simple network management protocol [SNMP] or common management interface protocol [CMIP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L41/00Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks
    • H04L41/02Arrangements for maintenance or administration or management of packet switching networks involving integration or standardization
    • H04L41/0226Mapping or translation of multiple network management protocols

Abstract

The invention relates to a system and method for management of an IP network using eXtensible Markup Language (XML) or a similar protocol in addition to SNMP or other managed-device protocol. In embodiments of the invention, a XNMP gateway is coupled between the network management system and one or managed devices. The XNMP gateway performs transformations so that the link between the network management system and XNMP gateway uses XML or a similar protocol, and the links between the XNMP gateway and managed devices use SNMP or other local protocol.

Description

    FIELD OF INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The invention relates generally to the field of communications. More specifically, but not by way of limitation, the invention relates to a system and method for management of a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or other Internet Protocol (IP) network using eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an alternative to circuit-committed protocols such as Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) that are used on conventional Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN's). With VoIP, voice communications share the same network with data, effectively consolidating bandwidth by sending packets to any available path at any given time. Monitoring and managing a VoIP network requires a network protocol to communicate with, and gather information from, numerous Internet Protocol (IP) network devices.
  • [0003]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a functional architecture of a communications network, according to the prior art. As shown in FIG. 1, a network management system 105 is coupled to managed devices 110, 115, 120, and 125 via links 130, 135, 140, and 145, respectively. In general, the managed devices may be routers, switches, call servers, gateways, gatekeepers, handsets, Multipoint Control Units (MCU's), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) proxy servers, or other devices. As illustrated, links 130, 135, 140, and 145 utilize Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).
  • [0004]
    SNMP has many disadvantages, however. For example, SNMP is limited to five management commands: “get” to request values from the Management Information Base (MIB) of a managed device; “get next” to request the successive values from the MIB; “get response” to retrieve the answer returned; “set” to update MIB values; and “trap” to send an event notification. Moreover, SNMP information is presented in long unstructured data strings. The limited command set and unwieldy data formats associated with SNMP result in increased cost and cycle time for the development and maintenance of IP network management systems. Moreover, the processing overhead for SNMP-based network management systems may be substantial, making them unsuitable for VoIP and other network communications that must operate in near real-time with low packet losses. A more robust management protocol is needed for time-sensitive IP network applications.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    The invention relates to a system and method for management of an IP network using eXtensible Markup Language (XML) or a similar protocol in addition to SNMP or other managed-device protocol. In embodiments of the invention, an XML Network Management Protocol (XNMP) gateway is coupled between the network management system and one or managed devices. The XNMP gateway performs transformations so that the link between the network management system and XNMP gateway uses XML or a similar protocol, and the links between the XNMP gateway and managed devices use SNMP or other local protocol. Advantageously, XML is more flexible and robust than SNMP, resulting in improved processing efficiencies at the network management system.
  • [0006]
    Embodiments of the invention provide a method for managing a network, including: receiving an eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML)-formatted request for data, the data associated with a managed Voice over IP (VoIP) device; transforming the XML-formatted request to a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-formatted command; and receiving an SNMP-formatted result based on the SNMP-formatted command.
  • [0007]
    Embodiments of the invention provide a method for processing data, including: receiving an eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML)-formatted request for data, the data associated with a managed Voice over IP (VoIP) device; specifying a device IP address in a first argument and a Xpath query in a second argument, the device IP address and the Xpath query based on the XML-formatted request; and identifying a Management Information Base (MIB) variable based on the Xpath query.
  • [0008]
    Embodiments of the invention provide a method for processing data, including: receiving Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) data; marking up the SNMP data based on an extensible Markup Language (XML) schema; and converting the SNMP data to XML-formatted data.
  • [0009]
    Embodiments of the invention also provide computer-readable medium for performing the foregoing methods.
  • [0010]
    Embodiments of the invention provide a system configured to manage a network, including: a network management system; an extensible Network Management Protocol (XNMP) gateway coupled to the network management system; and at least one managed Voice over IP (VoIP) device coupled to the XNMP gateway, the XNMP gateway configured to receive an extensible Markup language (XML) request from the network management system, the XNMP gateway further configured to transform the XML request into an Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) command, the XNMP gateway further configured to send the SNMP to the at least one managed VoIP device.
  • [0011]
    The features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following drawings and detailed description.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    Embodiments of the invention are described with reference to the following drawings, wherein:
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a functional architecture of a communications network, according to the prior art;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a functional architecture of a communications network having a XNMP gateway, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is a message sequence diagram of communications between a network management system, an XNMP gateway, and a managed device, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of XML processing, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of a XML transformation process, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 is an illustration of XML schema code, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of a SNMP transformation process, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a portion of a XML transformation process, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9 is an illustration of eXtensible Style sheet Language (XSL) code, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 10 is an illustration of process output data formats, according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 11 is a block diagram of a functional architecture of an XNMP gateway, according to an embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0024]
    This section provides an overview of an exemplary system and method for managing IP networks. More detailed disclosure is provided for transformation from XML to SNMP, and for transformation from SNMP to XML. A functional architecture for an exemplary XNMP gateway is also provided. Sub-headings are used below for organizational convenience. The disclosure of any particular feature is not necessarily limited to any particular section, however.
  • [0000]
    Overview
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a functional architecture of a communications network having a XNMP gateway, according to an embodiment of the invention. As shown therein, a network management system 205 is coupled to a XNMP gateway 210 via link 285. In turn, the XNMP gateway 210 is coupled to managed devices 215, 220, 225, 230, 235 and 240 via links 250, 255, 260, 265, 270 and 275, respectively. Managed device 245 is directly coupled to the network management system 205 via link 280.
  • [0026]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the network management system 205 may be or include, for example, a personal computer, network server, or other networked device or system configured to perform administrative functions such as issuing commands, processing received information, and/or displaying information. The XNMP gateway 210 is configured to perform protocol transformations between the network management system 205 and the managed devices 215, 220, 225, 230, 235, and 240. The managed devices 215, 220, 225, 230, 235, 240, and 245 may be or include, for instance, routers, switches, call servers, gateways, gatekeepers, handsets, Multipoint Control Units (MCU's), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) proxy servers, or other network devices.
  • [0027]
    In the illustrated embodiment, managed devices 215, 220, 225, and 230 each include a Management Information Base (MIB) and a SNMP agent. The MIB stores objects that relate to the status of the managed device. The SNMP agent updates the stored objects, is responsive to status requests from the network management system 205, and may also issue alerts to the network management system 205.
  • [0028]
    In the illustrated embodiment, links 250, 255, 260, and 265 utilize SNMP, link 270 utilizes a proprietary protocol, link 275 utilizes Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Common Gateway Interface (CGI), link 280 utilizes XNMP, and link 285 utilizes either XML over HTTP. The XNMP gateway 210 provides transformations between SNMP and XML, and between proprietary protocols and XML.
  • [0029]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the XNMP gateway 210 removes presentation information from the HTTP CGI formatted data received from the call server 240 to transform the HTTP CGI data to XML format. Because managed device 245 communicates via XNMP, managed device 245 is linked directly to the network management system 205 via link 280 without being routed through the XNMP gateway 210.
  • [0030]
    The functional architecture presented in FIG. 2 can be varied according to design choice. For instance, the type and quantity of managed devices will vary according to application needs. In addition, other implementations may use more than one network management system and/or more than one XMNP gateway to monitor a single network. In other embodiments, the functions of the network management system and the XNMP gateway can be combined into a single functional component.
  • [0031]
    Exemplary transformations between SNMP and XML are described below with reference to FIG. 3. A benefit of using XML protocol for communications with the network management system 205 is discussed below with reference to FIG. 4.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 3 is a message sequence diagram of communications between a network management system 305, an XNMP gateway 310, and a managed device 315, according to an embodiment of the invention. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the network management system 305 sends an XML request to the XNMP gateway 310. In response, the XNMP gateway 310 transforms the XML request to a SNMP command and sends the SNMP command to the managed device 315. The managed device 315 sends a SNMP response to the XNMP gateway 310. The XNMP gateway 310 transforms the SNMP response into an XML result. Finally, the XNMP gateway 310 sends the XML result to the network management system 305.
  • [0033]
    The messaging sequence illustrated in FIG. 3 may be varied according to application requirements. For example, in some embodiments, a single XNMP gateway will communicate with multiple managed devices. Further, a message may be initiated by the managed device 315; for example, a SNMP agent in managed device 315 could send an SNMP message to the XNMP gateway 310 as a result of an alert condition determined by the SNMP agent. Moreover, although SNMP messages are shown between the XNMP gateway 310 and the managed device 315, other messaging protocols, such as a proprietary vendor protocol, may also be used between these two functional blocks. Preferably, XML messaging or a similar protocol is used between the XNMP gateway 310 and the management system 305, for reasons discussed below with reference to FIG. 4.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of XML processing, according to an embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 4, various processes can begin by receiving an XML message in step 405. Subsequent steps 410, 415, 420, and 425 may be performed in combination or in the alternative. In particular, a portion of the XML data may be addressed or filtered using Xpath in step 410. The XML data can be displayed or transformed into a new XML document via an XML Style sheet Transformation (XSLT) in step 415. The XML data may be processed using Xquery (a more generalized version of Xpath) in step 420. Finally, the XML data can be displayed using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in step 425.
  • [0035]
    Accordingly, a variety of powerful and flexible tools exist to process received XML data. Using XML at the network management system may therefore result in decreased development time and maintenance expense. Moreover, because run-time overhead can also be reduced compared to a pure SNMP-based system, a network management system using XML may better support application environments such as VoIP that require near real-time performance.
  • [0036]
    In embodiments of the invention, Xpath process 410 and/or Xquery process 420 are executed in the XNMP gateway 210 to transform an XML request into an SNMP command, and XSLT process 415 is used in the XNMP gateway 210 to transform an SNMP result into an XML result. CSS process 425 may optionally be used to display at least a portion of the XML result at the network management system 205.
  • [0000]
    XML-to-SNMP Transformation
  • [0037]
    FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of a XML transformation process, according to an embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 5, the process begins in step 505 by receiving an XML request, for example from a network management system. Next, in step 510, the process specifies a device IP address in a first argument and an Xpath (or Xquery) query in a second argument. Both the target IP address and the Xpath (or Xquery) query are based on the XML request. Next, the process finds corresponding MIB variables in step 515. Finally, in step 520, the process issues an SNMP command to the managed device.
  • [0038]
    In executing step 510, interface code such as “helper.getsnmp( )” may be used to specify the address and Xpath query. For example, the form of an output from step 510 may be “helper.getsnmp(10.10.1.221,//dot1dTpFdbPort)” where “10.10.1.221” is the target IP address and “dotldTpFdbPort” is the Xpath query. Requests received in step 505 may require that MIB variables associated with phone number, voice quality, phone status, or other information is specified in step 510 in the alternative to, or in combination with, MAC address information.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 6 is an illustration of XML schema code that may be used in executing step 515, according to an embodiment of the invention. Using the portion of schema shown in FIG. 6, an element name of “dotldTpFdbPort” (the Xpath query) is associated with MIB variable “1.3.6.1.2.1.17.4.3.1.2.” Accordingly, the form of the SNMP command issued in step 520 may be “snmpwalk—c public 10.10.1.221 1.3.6.1.2.1.17.4.3.1.2.”
  • [0000]
    SNMP-to-XML Transformation
  • [0040]
    FIG. 7 is a flow diagram of a SNMP transformation process, according to an embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 7, the process begins in step 705 by receiving the SNMP result from a managed device. Alternatively, the process could begin by receiving an alert from a SNMP agent in a managed device. Next, in step 710, the process marks up the SNMP result using an XML schema to create a first XML result. Then, in step 715, the process converts the first XML result to a second XML result using an XSLT. The format of the second XML result is predetermined according to application requirements. Finally, the process outputs the second XML result, for example to a network management system, in step 720. Embodiments of the processes in FIG. 7 are described with reference to FIGS. 8-10 below.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a portion of a XML transformation process, according to an embodiment of the invention. The process in FIG. 8 is an exemplary embodiment of step 715 in FIG. 7. The process begins by selecting an appropriate template in step 805. Next, the process lists a first or next port in step 810. Then, for the current port, the process lists the first or next Media Access Control (MAC) address in step 815. In conditional step 820, the process determines whether all MAC addresses have been listed. Where the result of conditional step 820 is in the negative, the process returns to step 815 to list an additional MAC address. Where the result of conditional step 820 is in the affirmative, the process advances to conditional step 825 to determine whether all ports have been listed. Where the result of conditional step 825 is in the negative, the process returns to step 810 to list the next port. Where the result of conditional step 825 is in the affirmative, the process terminates in step 830.
  • [0042]
    Accordingly, FIG. 8 is an embodiment of a process that lists one or more MAC addresses associated with each of one or more ports based on marked-up XML data.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 9 is an illustration of eXtensible Style sheet Language Transformation (XSLT) code, according to an embodiment of the invention. The XSLT code illustrated in FIG. 9 may be used in executing the conversion process illustrated as step 715 in FIG. 7. The XSLT code illustrated in FIG. 9 executes a process that is substantially similar to the process illustrated in FIG. 8.
  • [0044]
    The code illustrated in FIG. 9 lists several XSLT elements, including: “xsl:template,” which defines a reusable template for generating the desired output for nodes of a predetermined type; “xsl:choose,” which provides repeated conditional testing in conjunction with the “xsl:otherwise” and “xsl:when” elements; “xsl:attribute,” which creates an attribute node and associates an output with the node; and “xsl:value-of,” which inserts the value of the selected node as text. In the illustrated embodiment, a template named “VarBind” is used to list port number attributes and MAC address attributes into a predetermined format. Alternative templates could be selected in step 805 for data received from different types of managed devices.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 10 is an illustration of process output data formats, according to an embodiment of the invention. The data formats in FIG. 10 relate to process steps illustrated in FIG. 7. In particular, the data in box 1005 is the SNMP result output from receiving step 705, the data in box 1010 is the first XML result output from step 710 and the data in box 1015 is the second XML result output from step 715.
  • [0000]
    Functional Architecture of an XNMP Gateway
  • [0046]
    FIG. 11 is a block diagram of a functional architecture of an XNMP gateway, according to an embodiment of the invention. The architecture illustrated in FIG. 11 is one embodiment of the XNMP gateway 210 shown in FIG. 2.
  • [0047]
    As shown in FIG. 11, an XNMP gateway 210 includes a database 1105 coupled to a processor 1110. A network management system interface 1115 and a managed device interface 1120 are further coupled to the processor 1110. The database 1105 may be, for example, an eXist database that resides on any processor-readable storage medium. The database 1105 preferably includes multiple XML schemas 1125 and at least one XML style sheet 1130. With reference also to FIG. 2, the network management system interface 1115 may be connected to link 285, and the managed device interface 1120 may be connected to links 250, 255, 260, 265, 270, and 275.
  • [0048]
    Components of the gateway illustrated in FIG. 11 are preferably configured to execute the processes described above with reference to FIGS. 3-10. For example, in performing a XML-to-SNMP transformation, the processor 1110 may receive a XML request at the network management system interface 1115 and retrieve at least one of the XML schemas 1125 to output a SNMP command via the managed device interface 1120. Likewise, in performing a SNMP-to-XML transformation, the processor 1110 may receive an SNMP result (or alert) at the managed device interface 1120, retrieve at least one XML schema 1125 and the XML style sheet 1130 to output an XML-formatted message at the network management system interface 1115.
  • CONCLUSION
  • [0049]
    The invention described above thus overcomes the disadvantages of known systems and methods by inserting a XNMP gateway between the network management system and one or managed devices so that the VoIP network management system operates with XML instead of the more conventional SNMP. While this invention has been described in various explanatory embodiments, other embodiments and variations can be effected by a person of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, although disclosed embodiments utilize XML at the network management system, other common languages, such as XHTML, could be used so long as the appropriate transformations are performed at the gateway that is connected between the network management system and the managed device(s). Moreover, the invention is not necessarily limited to VoIP applications.

Claims (19)

  1. 1. A method for managing a network, comprising:
    receiving an extensible Mark-up Language (XML)-formatted request for data, the data associated with a Voice over IP (VoIP) device;
    transforming the XML-formatted request to a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-formatted command; and
    receiving an SNMP-formatted result based on the SNMP-formatted command.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the transforming the XML-formatted request includes using an XML schema.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
    transforming the SNMP-formatted result to an XML-formatted result; and
    outputting the XML-formatted result.
  4. 4. The method of claim 3, wherein transforming the SNMP-formatted result includes performing an extensible Style sheet Transformation (XSLT).
  5. 5. A method for processing data, comprising:
    receiving an extensible Mark-up Language (XML)-formatted request for data, the data associated with a Voice over IP (VoIP) device;
    specifying a device IP address in a first argument and a Xpath query in a second argument, the device IP address and the Xpath query based on the XML-formatted request; and
    identifying a Management Information Base (MIB) variable based on the Xpath query.
  6. 6. The method of claim 5, the identifying a MIB variable based on a predetermined XML schema.
  7. 7. The method of claim 5, further comprising issuing a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) command based on the device IP address and the MIB variable.
  8. 8. A method for processing data, comprising:
    receiving Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) data, the SNMP data associated with a VoIP device;
    marking up the SNMP data based on an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) schema to create a first XML result; and
    converting the first XML result to a second XML result.
  9. 9. The method of claim 8, the converting the first XML result is based on an eXtensible Style sheet Language Transformation (XSLT).
  10. 10. The method of claim 8, the converting the first XML result including:
    selecting an eXtensible Style sheet Language Transformation (XSLT) template;
    listing a port number; and
    for the listed port number, listing at least one Media Access Control (MAC) address, the listing a port number and the listing the at least one MAC address based on the XSLT template.
  11. 11. The method of claim 8, further comprising outputting the second XML result to a network management system.
  12. 12. A machine-readable medium having instructions stored thereon for execution by a processor to perform a method comprising:
    receiving an extensible Mark-up Language (XML)-formatted request for data, the data associated with a Voice over IP (VoIP) device;
    transforming the XML-formatted request to a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-formatted command; and
    receiving an SNMP-formatted result based on the SNMP-formatted command.
  13. 13. A machine-readable medium having instructions stored thereon for execution by a processor to perform a method comprising:
    receiving an extensible Mark-up Language (XML)-formatted request for data, the data associated with a Voice over IP (VoIP) device;
    specifying a device IP address in a first argument and a Xpath query in a second argument, the device IP address and the Xpath query based on the XML-formatted request; and
    identifying a Management Information Base (MIB) variable based on the Xpath query.
  14. 14. A machine-readable medium having instructions stored thereon for execution by a processor to perform a method comprising:
    receiving Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) data, the SNMP data associated with a VoIP device;
    marking up the SNMP data based on an extensible Markup Language (XML) schema to create a first XML result; and
    converting the first XML result to a second XML result.
  15. 15. A system configured to manage a network, comprising:
    a network management system;
    a extensible Network Management Protocol (XNMP) gateway coupled to the network management system; and
    at least one Voice over IP (VoIP) device coupled to the XNMP gateway, the XNMP gateway configured to receive an extensible Markup language (XML) request from the network management system, the XNMP gateway further configured to transform the XML request into an Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) command, the XNMP gateway further configured to send the SNMP command to the at least one VoIP device.
  16. 16. The system of claim 15, wherein the XNMP gateway includes:
    a processor; and
    a database coupled to the processor, the database having at least one XML schema and at least one XML style sheet.
  17. 17. The system of claim 16, wherein the XNMP gateway further includes:
    an interface to the network management system; and
    an interface to the at least one VoIP device.
  18. 18. The system of claim 16, wherein the processor is configured to transform the XML request into the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) command using the at least one XML style sheet.
  19. 19. The system of claim 16, wherein the processor is configured to transform a SNMP result from the at least one VoIP device using the at least one XML schema, the SNMP result being responsive to the SNMP command.
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