In a world of commercial and open source software toolkits, how can we best identify and select the option lowering the cost of developing SNMP Agent and SNMP Manager applications?

The goal in selecting an SNMP developers’ toolkit is to find the most cost effective means to accelerate development and realize successful project completion.

During the process of SNMP toolkit evaluation, we need to consider factors from both the technical perspective and business perspective.

Some examples of business factors:

  • What are the terms and obligations of the distribution license?
  • What level of engineering expertise do we need on staff to effectively use the toolkit?
  • What is the initial cost for the toolkit?
  • Are there annual maintenance and support costs?
  • Do we need to track and pay royalties on derivative works?

Some examples of technical factors:

  • Does the toolkit include fully compliant implementations of SNMPv1, SNMPv2c and SNMPv3?
  • How well does the toolkit scale when handling a heavy volume of encrypted SNMPv3 messages?
  • Is the toolkit easily portable to a variety of hardware platforms and operating systems?
  • What useful MIB implementations and utilities are included with the toolkit?
  • How helpful is the developers documentation?
  • Is the SNMP toolkit API concise or bloated?
  • Is the SNMP and MIB terminology used in the toolkit consistent with IETF published RFCs?
  • What level of technical support exists? Is there an active developer and user community?
  • Does the SNMP toolkit integrate well with other technologies (e.g. Corba, WBEM, Syslog, XML, JMX, TL1)?

Based upon the relative significance of each factor we can identify and select the SNMP developers’ toolkit offering the best value and most cost effective means to accelerate development and realize successful project completion. The right SNMP developers’ toolkit is not necessarily the least expensive. Rather, the right SNMP developers’ toolkit is the one that is capable of providing substantial engineering efficiencies during development and facilitates the delivery of a less encumbered, more profitable product.

Open-source SNMP software was initially created as a reference implementation for interoperability testing with proprietary implementations of the SNMP protocol. Over time, the quality of open-source SNMP developers’ toolkits has improved to a point where there is a suitable match for a variety of OEM development efforts.

Commercial SNMP software often provide a much richer feature set than open-source developers’ toolkits. Also, commercial SNMP software offerings have adjusted to low-end market realities of quality open-source software to a point where there is a low cost or no cost binary commercial version that is often competitive with open-source alternatives.

In either case, open-source or commercial, it is important to have sufficient development expertise with SNMP and MIB technologies to make effective use of the selected SNMP developers’ toolkit. This is the core value provided to your project by the right choice of SNMP consultant.

The next step to gaining a better understanding of the alternatives and trade-offs when identifying and selecting the best choice of commercial or open-source SNMP developers’ toolkit is to contact me with your project requirements and questions.