A NMS can be seen as a cornerstone of a network as it provides at a glance the exact status of the managed network video head end. A NMS can be used for several purposes, depending on operator’s needs and duty’s constraints:
- The first purpose is obviously to monitor devices. The NMS receives and aggregates information coming from supervised devices and display them in real-time. The collected information are then available from any remotely connected computer with the appropriate access rights. The NMS is responsible for managing redundancy mechanisms. Via automated devices switchover, the NMS ensures services availability.
- At last, the NMS can be used for services management (creation, update and deletion), Service Level Agreement (SLA) monitoring, automated reporting or even push notification through emails or even SMS.
The answer depends on the NMS manufacturer: either he has developed its own NMS to manage its own range of products, either he is a device-vendor independent.
In the first case, the NMS can integrate external devices to allow wide projects deployment, but it is of course rare to find competitors equipment in the compliancy list.
In the second case, the NMS manufacturer takes more benefit from a wide compliancy list and thus can integrate mostly any devices, whether they are in competition to each other or not.
Traditionally, NMS have been used to manage elements reachable from an intranet network. Most of the available internet protocols can be used to exchange information between a NMS and a device: HTTPS, SNMP, SOAP, FTP, SMTP, IMAP, SSH, TELNET, SSL, TCP and much more. On the other side, some devices which does not embed Ethernet connection must be accessed differently: through GPIO or GPIB for instance. This type of equipment is traditionally managed through a gateway that adapts the communication from the original format to an Ethernet-compatible one.
NBI and SBI stand for North Bound Interface and South Bound Interface. These acronyms are used when talking about the interconnection between NMS. In a wide network, some sub part can be managed by different NMS. Usually, each main manufacturer brings its own NMS to manage its own park/farm of devices). The whole management system shall be made from a single point of access: all the NMS must be interconnected, and managed by a so-called upper-NMS (the one having the global network overview with a link to all the lower NMSs). NBI is thus the interface between the lower NMS to the upper NMS while the SBI is the interface between the upper NMS to the lower NMS.
The answer fully depends on the protocols and interfaces supported by the NMS itself, and the capacity of the NMS manufacturer to include new devices in the supported device list. Basically, any device can be managed by a NMS as, even if an interface/protocol is not supported by the NMS, a gateway can be used, allowing the interface/protocol adaptation.