Using the Jalasoft SNMP device simulator with Operations Manager

Are you looking for a great free way to demonstrate how Operations Manager can monitor network devices? If so, check this blog post out! With the great news that a free version of the Xian SNMP Device Simulator was going to be available for download on October 15th in celebration of their 10 year anniversary (http://xiansuite.blogspot.in/2014/09/working-hard-today-as-10-years-ago.html) this was a great time to go through some updates on this product since I has last worked on it.

For background, both Kevin Holman (http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2012/02/17/test-demo-opsmgr-2012-network-monitoring-with-jalasoft-s-network-device-simulator.aspx) and Marnix Wolf (http://thoughtsonopsmgr.blogspot.com/2011/11/snmp-oids-and-jalasoft-xian-network.html) have blogged on this tool, and I mentioned it in one of my blog posts as well in the past (http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/cfuller/archive/2012/07/13/how-do-i-integrate-operations-manager-2012-network-devices-into-service-manager-2012-as-configuration-items-%5Bscsm-scom-sysctr%5D.aspx). Additionally, I have blogged on their Xian Wings product showcasing how Operations Manager information can be made available in a mobile platform in the blog post available here.

In this blog post I will discuss the steps that I found when installing the v5 product on a system which already had an earlier version installed, recommendations for the configurations on the virtual machine, adding network devices, and how these devices appear in Operations Manager.

 

Installing on a system with an earlier version

To install on a version with a previous version of the product, uninstall the earlier version of the product and then re-install.

Installation was straightforward with no challenges. After successful uninstallation/reinstallation the Xian SNMP Device Simulator v5 Console is shown below.

 

Recommendations for the network configurations on the virtual machine

To emulate multiple network devices you will want to assign multiple IP addresses to the system. In my environment I assigned six IP addresses to the system as shown below.

For my environment, a single processor system with 2 GB of memory was sufficient to run the virtual machine I use in my lab which emulates five network devices. The screenshot below shows the utilization of this system when running five simulated network devices.

NOTE: The Xian device simulator installs a Windows Service (shown below) which needs to be running for the emulated network devices to function properly and to log into the Xian Console.

 

Adding network devices

Adding network devices to be simulated is straight-forward. Just click the plus button shown below to start the wizard to add the network device.

Choose the device you want to emulate, which IP address to use, SNMP settings (V1, V2, V3 and the community string), and the simulation mode (normal, dynamic).

A series of randomly chosen devices configured for my lab are shown below:

The console makes it easy to stop the network simulations or to remove the device as shown below.

 

How do these devices appear in Operations Manager?

In Operations Manager we use our normal network discovery process to identify these simulated network devices with a community string matching what was defined for the device in the Xian SNMP Device Simulator Console.

Views

The emulated network devices appear in the built-in network monitoring views:

Devices which are supported for monitoring by Operations Manager will have their model information identified as shown below for the first two network devices (One 3COM, One CISCO).

 

Health Explorer

Health Explorer is fully functioning including simulated error conditions such as the one show below.

 

Performance Counters

Performance counters are available for all monitored network devices. Network devices which are identified give a more full set of counters:

Unidentified network devices include the ICMP Ping response time counter as shown below.

Tip: Naming in DNS

By default each emulated network device will appear with the name of the system which the emulator is running on. By naming the various IP addresses in DNS for the type of the network device, they appear with names that are more intuitive when working with them in Operations Manager.

The screenshot below shows the various network devices with appropriate DNS resolution defined.

 

Summary: If you are using Operations Manager and you need to emulate network devices you should definitely check out the Xian SNMP Device Simulator.

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