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Java 1.2 Unleashed

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Working with the Java Management API


With the growing reliance by companies and other organizations on their enterprise networks, the management of these networks and the systems and services they support have become critical. Network administrators use a wide array of system monitoring and management tools to ensure continuous reliable operation. These tools are designed to detect and respond to potential problems that could affect service continuity. However, with the heterogeneous nature of modern networks, these tools run on a variety of operating system platforms, do not operate well together, and sometimes conflict.

The Java Management API is being developed by JavaSoft to provide an integrated solution for system, network, and service management. Because of Java's platform- independent nature, it eliminates the need to use several nonintegrated, platform-specific system and network management tools to manage the diverse computing resources that are common to medium-to-large-sized enterprise networks.

In this chapter, you'll learn about the Java Management API (JMAPI). You'll be given an overview of the typical problems confronting system and network administrators. You'll then be introduced to JMAPI and learn how it can be used to provide a common integrated solution for system, network, and service management. You'll cover the Java management architecture and learn how it allows enterprise resources to be managed from a browser interface. You'll learn about the components of JMAPI and how they are used to support this architecture. When you finish this chapter, you'll have an understanding of how JMAPI works and insight into how you can use it to solve your organization's system, network, and service management problems.

Overview of System, Network, and Service Management

Imagine that you are responsible for the management of a medium-to-large-scale enterprise network. Your primary responsibilities are to keep the network up and running, keep its systems operational, make sure that its services are available, and keep its users happy. Your users demand the latest Internet and intranet services from the moment that they read about them on a Web page or in a magazine. Continuous, reliable operation is expected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In a typical medium-to-large-scale enterprise network, you'll find thousands of users, some quite sophisticated and some not. These users will have workstations, PCs, Macintoshes, X terminals, and dumb terminals. They will use several flavors of UNIX, all versions of Windows and MacOS, Netware, DOS, and anything else that's available. Your networks will run TCP/IP, IPX, NetBEUI, AppleTalk, and other protocols. Your enterprise will maintain legacy systems that run on DEC VAXes and IBM minicomputers and mainframes. You'll also interface with customers, vendors, and suppliers via the Internet, dedicated lines, and dial-up connections. You'll have one or more firewalls, several routers, a slew of network hubs, and all sorts of system, network, and service management tools.

The tools that you'll use to manage your network will run on a variety of platforms, mostly UNIX and Windows. These tools will be independent. They will not know about or interoperate with each other, and will sometimes conflict when run concurrently.

Some of these tools will be system-specific. They'll let you manage the legacy appl- ications that you have running on DEC and IBM minicomputers and mainframes. They'll tell you that you need to change disk volumes, do a backup, or perform some application-specific maintenance.

Some tools will be protocol- and service-specific. You'll use them to manage specific protocols, such as TCP/IP, IPX, AppleTalk, and SNA. They'll tell you what your network traffic load is like, when you have interruptions in service, and what network components are malfunctioning. You'll also have a sniffer or two to tell you what these other tools can't. Service-specific tools will tell you what types of hits your Web and FTP servers are taking, what your email situation looks like, and how file and print servers are behaving.

Some tools try to be integrated network management solutions, at least from the vendor's viewpoint. You'll run HP OpenView, Microsoft's System Management Server, and possibly one or two other management tools. In the end, you'll need a chair that rolls easily in order to move between the computers that run each of your system management tools.

The JMAPI Solution

Is this scenario far-fetched? Not at all. If you are a system or network manager, you are probably working in an environment like this right now--the type of environment that JMAPI is being developed to deal with.

If Java's motto is "Write Once. Run Everywhere," then JMAPI's is "Why can't we all just work together?" The goal of JMAPI is to leverage Java's platform independence to provide a set of system management building blocks that can be used to integrate a diverse set of system and network management tools under a common look and feel.


NOTE: The Java Management home page is located at http://www.javasoft.com/products/JavaManagement/index.html.

The look and feel of JMAPI is provided by a Java-enabled browser. All management applications are run from a browser. Not only do you have a common, cross-platform user interface, but the organization of this interface is governed by the recommendations and standards of the JMAPI User Interface Style Guide. This guide describes a standard approach to developing browser-based interfaces for use with JMAPI.

Not only does JMAPI provide you with a standard browser-based interface, it also provides you with a common architecture for managing systems, networks, and services. This architecture, referred to as the Java management architecture, is shown in Figure 36.1.

Administrators use Java-enabled Web browsers to manage the systems, networks, and services of a network. The browsers interface with managed object servers that manage one or more appliances within their domain. An appliance is any system that is to be managed. It can be a network computer, PC, workstation, or any other type of computer or device that is capable of running the JVM.

Agents are objects that execute on appliances and communicate with managed object servers. Agent objects maintain information about the configuration and status of the appliances they manage, and they report this information to managed object servers. The agent objects provide methods that allow managed object servers to control and reconfigure their appliances. The agent software can be dynamically updated and is installed on appliances as Java classes that are loaded from Web servers.

Managed object servers are the link between the browser interface and the managed appliances of an enterprise. They consist of Java applications that provide the following capabilities:

FIGURE 36.1. The Java management architecture.

The Java Management API and architecture help system and network administrators solve the problem of managing multiple heterogeneous components. By leveraging Java's platform-independence and the classes and interfaces of JMAPI, agent software can be quickly developed and deployed to any appliance that is capable of running the JVM. New and updated software can be easily distributed via the Web server components of the managed object servers. These same Web servers provide the management applets that are used by administrators to monitor and control network resources as managed objects.

The managed object servers create managed object abstractions that allow resources to be managed without knowing the details of the object's implementation. This separation between management and implementation allows administrators to concentrate on the problem at hand. Resources can be monitored, reconfigured, and controlled inde- pendently of the protocols, vendor packages, or hardware and software platforms used to provide these resources.

By using a common browser interface, administrators are able to take advantage of consistent, intuitive GUI controls for managing all system and network resources. By providing access to all managed resources as managed objects, administrators can use the single browser interface for all management functions. Administrators no longer have to move from station to station to use the tools that are independently implemented at each one. In addition, the single browser interface can be accessed via any computer that supports a Java-enabled Web browser. When an administrator is paged in the middle of the night, he can securely access the managed object server by launching his browser from home, a hotel, a coffee shop, or anywhere.

The Components of JMAPI

JMAPI is distributed as a set of Java classes, interfaces, and associated documentation. It can be downloaded from the Java Management home page. It consists of the following components:

The Java Management API User Interface Style Guide is also included. The style guide describes a standard approach to developing browser-based interfaces for use with JMAPI.

The JMAPI components previously listed are used to create all elements of the Java management architecture. The Admin View Module and Applet Integration Interfaces simplify the task of creating management applets that conform to the JMAPI User Interface Style Guide. The other interfaces are used to create managed objects and agent objects, to interface with existing SNMP agents, and to provide database connectivity.

Summary

In this chapter, you learned how JMAPI can be used to provide a common integrated solution to system, network, and service management. You learned about the Java management architecture and how it is deployed within an organization. You were introduced to the components of JMAPI and learned how they are used to support this architecture. You should now have an understanding of how JMAPI works and some insight into how it can be used to solve your organization's system, network, and service management problems.


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