Joe Marcus Clarke has been with Cisco since 1998, working on the network management TAC team in North Carolina. As a network management distinguished support engineer, he handles world-wide network management escalations particularly those pertaining to CiscoWorks, SNMP, Network Analysis Module, and embedded management. He has done development and testing for CiscoWorks since the good ol' CRM 1.1 days, and is responsible for such CiscoWorks plug-ins as JT, JET, and logrot. He has also been helping to test and extend the Tcl engine in IOS, the Embedded Event Manager (EEM), Embedded Syslog Manager (ESM), and Smart Call Home (SCH). Joe is extremely active on the Cisco Support Communities (aka NetPro) network management forum where he provides assistance to customers on a wide variety of network management issues. He is CCIE #5384 as well as a Sun Certified Java Programmer, Sun Certified System Administrator, Sun Certified Network Administrator, and a Sun Certified Security Administrator.
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Here's a condensed summary of our discussion with Joe Clarke in a Q&A format.
Q. What are the major differences between LMS 4.0 and LMS 3.2?
A. The major differences between LMS 3.2 and 4.0 centers around the UI and user experience. In LMS 3.x, we had very distinct application boundaries. LMS was composed of applications like Resource Manager Essentials for inventory, configuration, software, and syslog management. Campus Manager for Topology and user tracking, Device Fault Manager for SNMP-based fault managemen,. Internetwork Performance Monitor for network-based performance management, And Health and Utilization Monitor for device performance.
In LMS 4.0, the same features still exist (in fact, the add capabilities provided by HUM are included out-of-the-box), but the application boundaries have been blurred. This presents a consistent, homogeneous user interface and task-driven user experience. Users tend to find this approach more intuitive when performing management tasks on the device and the network. Additionally, because the different features of LMS are more tightly integrated, we can do more out-of-the-box management such as poll for device availability and utilization as soon as a device is managed by LMS.
Some of the other notable features in LMS 4.0 are built-in role-based access control. In previous versions of LMS, one had to integrate LMS with Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) to do role customization, and limit user access to specific devices. In LMS 4.0, these features are built right in.
LMS 4.0 also offers new configuration templates to help provision devices for entire solutions or with recommended Cisco solutions.
The last new feature to highlight is the Work Centers. LMS 4.0 provides compartmentalized work centers to facilitate monitoring and deployment of Cisco solutions like EnergyWise, TrustSec, Auto Smart Ports, and Smart Install.
Q. What is the difference in Cisco LMS and other network management software available in the market ?
A. LMS leverages Cisco's knowledge of its own devices to provide very in-depth management capabilities when compared to other NMSes. The configuration and software management capabilities are very rich.
Q. I have an setup of 30 - 40 Access layer switches and 6 L3 switches and I would like to manage all of them without hassle, sitting in one place. How do I start?
This new Template Center is different from the LMS 3.x Netconfig in that the templates dictate how the UI is drawn. The templates can specify what fields a user is presented with, do validation on their input, and provide context-sensitive help. Moving forward, we plan to expose more of the template design capabilities to users so that they can take full advantage of this capability.
LMS offers a discovery component that can find all of your access and L3 switches using a combination of CDP, ping sweeps, as well as some other protocols. Once the devices have been discovered, they will automatically be managed, and presented in the LMS monitoring dashboard. From here you will be able to perform all of the various management tasks such as config collection, troubleshooting, fault management, etc.
Q. I'm new to the Cisco world so please bear with me. My question for you is what are the recommended hardware specifications in order to run LMS 4.0 efficiently?
It depends on the number of devices and platform (Windows vs. Solaris). Server requirements are specified at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/net_mgmt/ciscoworks_lan_management_solution/4.0/install/guide/prereq.html .
In general, LMS 4.0 benefits from good I/O response time and good (read: multiple) CPUs.
The I/O concern is more apparent in 4.0 than with previous versions.
Q. To be frank, I had tried LMS 3.5 earlier.. but it felt a bit complicated. It was not easy to use categories, buttons tips etc. Is anything being done towards this end?
A. The new UI is designed to combat some of the complexity factor. We really wanted to make things more intuitive, reduce mouse clicks, and present more relevant information in one place. We're continuing to evolve this within the LMS 4.x release train. Not sure exactly what version you mean by 3.5 (we never had a 3.5), but if you used 3.x and you found it confusing, I would recommend you try 4.0.
You can download a free 90-day eval from http://www.cisco.com/go/nmsevals. This will give you a good understanding of the new UI and new capabilities in 4.0.
Q. I even hear people saying Nagios is easy to install and configure. Is there any lite version of the LMS tool, so that we can install and use, just what we need, but not the complete bundle?
A.LMS 4.0 is all or nothing. However, it comes in a variety of licenses. You can get LMS 4.0 for 50 devices. The resources required will depend on the number of devices being managed.
Q. Does LMS 4.0 support third party (i.e. non-Cisco) devices?
A. Yes, it does; but only in a limited fashion. In previous versions of LMS, non-Cisco devices were managed only using basic MIB-II attributes, but those devices counted against the number of licensed devices. In LMS 4.0, we recognize non-Cisco devices, manage them using the same MIB-II features, but do not count them against the number of licensed devices. A full list of non-Cisco devices known to LMS can be found at https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-14507
Q. Not quite sure which version of LMS my company is running so I am assuming it's an early version possibly v2.5. If so would you need to walk up so to say the installation or can you install v4.0 over v2.5? Or would it be better to uninstall v2.5 then reinstall v4.0?
A. You can use the doc at https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-12853 to understand the different versions of LMS. For upgrades, I always recommend starting with a clean system (either a new system or one where LMS has been uninstalled). Install 4.0 from scratch, then restore the previous backup (if the version of LMS you are currently running is supported in the data migration path). The migration instructions can be found at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/net_mgmt/ciscoworks_lan_management_solution/4.0/install/guide/dmg.html . We support migration from LMS 2.6, 2.6 SP1, LMS 3.0, 3.0.1, 3.1, and 3.2.
Q How do I use LMS to perform power management of my network?
A. As I mentioned earlier, one of the new features of LMS 4.0 is the Work Centers. One of these Work Centers focuses on EnergyWise. EnergyWise is Cisco's architecture for defining power policies and monitoring those policies across a domain of d
The EnergyWise Work Center enables you to quickly provision devices for EnergyWise, including setting up the domain and defining the power policies. Once EnergyWise is deployed, the EW dashboard within the Work Center shows you how m
Tips from Joe Clarke:
When you first login to LMS 4.0, you will be presented with the LMS 4.0 Getting Started workflow. This will walk you through a step-by-step path to get LMS up and running (including adding users, periodically checking for software and device updates, and discovering devices).
At the top of the Getting Started screen there is a video link. This link will take you to some video modules explaining the different aspects of LMS in a more instructional way. Those can also serve as a great resource to quickly get up to speed on the various management features.
LMS can provide you reports that tell you what chassis and modules are end of life as well as what security incidents to which your devices may be vulnerable.
Did you know we are also working on a 4.0.1 release to add support for Medanet management as well as fix some bugs we've discovered in 4.0? We expect to be ready with that release around April of this year.
You can catch the complete discussion at http://www.facebook.com/CiscoSupportCommunity/posts/160056404041450