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network management system

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Network management and monitoring: The evolution of network control
Contributor(s): Brad Hale

A network management system (NMS) is a set of hardware and/or software tools that allow an IT professional to supervise the individual components of a network within a larger network management framework.

Network management system components assist with: 

  • Network device discovery -  identifying what devices are present on a network.
  • Network device monitoring - monitoring at the device level to determine the health of network components and the extent to which their performance matches capacity plans and intra-enterprise service-level agreements (SLAs).
  • Network performance analysis -  tracking performance indicators such as bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, availability and uptime of routers, switches and  other Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) -enabled devices.
  • Intelligent notifications - configurable alerts that will respond to specific network scenarios by paging, emailing, calling or texting a network administrator.

See also: Open NMS

This was last updated in January 2013

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