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IntroductionNeDi unfolds its full potential with Cisco's CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) in the core of your network. It can also include other network components, but it works best, when those are located at the network perimeter.
The scripts need SNMP read access for all network hardware. Privileged CLI access can be used to get the MAC address table on IOS and CatOS based switches (faster), but alternatively SNMP would be sufficient. The configurations are read via CLI as well though (Note: I decided to do it this way, since I don't like TFTP in conjunction with SNMP write access. Both are a UDP based security nightmare).
PrerequisitesNeDi requires unique device names, since this is the primary key. It used to be the serial#, but this led to problems supporting all possible devices. The domain part will be discarded, since CDP is not (yet?) consistent with that, which leads to problems with finding device links.
NeDi is capable of visualizing your network automatically. In order to do that, NeDi needs a certain format in the SNMP-location. It is possible to use existing formats to a certain extent. You can specify this in nedi.conf using the $locformat and $locsep variable. Let's say your SNMP location string is formatted as follows: snmp-server location Geneva:HQ1:4:437P Where "Geneva" apparently is the city, "HQ1" the building, "4" the floor and "437P" would be the room. In this case you'd set $locformat to "cbf" and $locsep to ":"
The MAC address is used as primary key for the nodes. In order to support non Cisco devices, the vlan cannot be taken into account. As for the vlans there is a similar issue, which will disregard the VTP domain dependency.
Server HardwareThe computer requirements depend on the size of your network. (Surprised?). I'm developing NeDi on a P4 / 2.4GHz with 1 GB RAM. I guess you'll find out for yourself, what you'd need, if you fall asleep while waiting for a report. A friend of mine runs NeDi on a PII/300 with some 12'000 nodes and about 280 devices. He waits a couple seconds for a report, but other than that it works quite nicely.
The NeDi script uses up to 20MB of RAM while scanning my network. Especially when retrieving big arp tables, it can become a bit hungry. But on the other side, it's far from any big network management system.
The whole installation could be split across 3 servers, if desired:
Server SoftwareWe use NeDi on Scientific Linux 4 at the moment. It's been reported to work on other Linux distributions, Mac OSX, Solaris and even Windows XP. The discovery part is programmed in Perl. You can store the data in csv files, altough I won't support it in the frontend. Only MySQL is fully supported for now (which of course implies, that you have a mysql server available).
The required Perl modules can be downloaded from www.cpan.org, if not provided by your package manager:
The frontend requires a webserver providing PHP with the following addons:
|Warning & Disclaimer: NeDi is a quite powerful network management suite. It works fine in our environment. It hasn't caused any damage or outage yet! I won't take any responsibility, if you manage to do so with NeDi!|
|NeDi © 2oo6 Remo Rickli|