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We are in the process of designing a new system. As part of this process, we are looking into provide an external interface to allow third-parties (our customers) to use their own tools to monitor the system when installed on their premises.

Which monitoring interface would you choose to provide - SNMP or JMX? If the answer is "provide both", which is more important?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

SNMP. Everything supports SNMP. I've never seen an NMS that didn't support SNMP (although I've seen a lot that have really poor SNMP trap support).

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That is what I thought, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. Thank you very much for the response. – Gareth Jul 20 '11 at 14:45

Provide neither. You are mad to even suggest giving direct access.

I would never provide direct access to a third party for SNMP to any system I manage. Access to pretty graphs and other monitoring interfaces that gather data via SNMP is another matter.

The same applies for JMX.

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Perhaps my wording was misleading. When I said third-parties, I meant our customers who will likely already have their own network management software for managing all their other servers. Are you really saying don't provide interfaces to integrate with existing management/monitoring software (e.g. HP OpenView etc.)? – Gareth Jul 15 '11 at 3:10
I don't see much of a problem providing read-only SNMP access to third parties. We provide software that can be monitored via SNMP to a customer who is many, many times larger than us. When they asked us for the ability to monitor our software that was installed on our server via SNMP, we gave them a VPN and locked down the firewall to only permit SNMP traffic. Set up a custom Community name, read-only access. Never had a problem. – Mark Henderson Jul 15 '11 at 6:15
I agree, provide neither. If you own the hardware then you provide them with your own web interface such as Zabbix. However you should not expose any of the SNMP subsystem to anyone outside your organization. The SNMP MIB tables can expose a lot of network sensitive information which can be a bonanza for anyone looking to gain access to your network. Now if your client brings in their own equipment it's up to them how they monitor. Your only responsibility is to provide them with a facility, power, cooling and a network connection. – Red Tux Jul 15 '11 at 21:09
@Red Tux, I think my initial wording may not have been clear. I would never suggest providing SNMP access to hosted systems. I am talking about systems we would install on a customer site. – Gareth Jul 16 '11 at 4:28
@Gareth, the question then is who owns what? If you own the pipe up to the device the only purpose of the device to to perform a data handoff then no, you should not provide them with anything other than aggregate data such as Zabbix or a raw web data feed. If you are providing a server with it's own associated network gear then no, give them aggregated data or raw web feeds, or your own SNMP service within your software. Don't give them access to what makes your product run, just what it does and how well it's running. – Red Tux Jul 16 '11 at 14:39

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