NMS Stands for "Network Management System." An NMS is a system designed for monitoring, maintaining, and optimizing a network. It includes both hardware and software, but most often an NMS refers to the software used to manage a network.
Network management systems provide multiple services. These include, but are not limited to:
- Network monitoring - NMS software monitors network hardware to ensure all devices are operating correctly and are not near or at full capacity. Alerts can be sent to network administrators if a problem is detected.
- Device detection - When a new device is connected to the network, the NMS detects it so that it can be recognized, configured, and added to the network. This is also called device provisioning.
- Performance analysis - An NMS can gauge the current and historical performance of a network. This includes the overall performance of the network as well as individual devices and connections. For example, the NMS may detect aspects of a network where throughput is nearing the maximum bandwidth available. The data can be used to optimize the flow of traffic and recommend the addition of new hardware if needed.
- Device management An NMS can provide a simple way to manage multiple devices from a central location. It may be used to configure a device or modify settings based on the performance analysis. Examples include activating specific network ports on a switch or implemeting bandwidth throttling for certain devices.
- Fault management - If a device or section of a network fails, an NMS may be able to automatically reroute traffic to limit downtime. This action may be performed on the fly or may be accomplished using a set of preconfigured rules. When a fault occurs, a network alert or notification is usually sent to one or more network administrators.