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Interoperability between different network management domains, heterogeneous devices, and various management systems is one of the main requirements for managing complex enterprise services. While substantial advances have been made in low-level device and data interoperability using common data formats and specifications such as simple network management protocol's (SNMP's) SMI and TMF's SID, various interoperability issues including semantic interoperability offer interesting research challenges. While semantic interoperability is a difficult problem in its own right, the semantic web that incorporates intelligent agents necessitates an interoperability solution requiring agents to communicate unambiguously and reason intelligently to perform cooperative management tasks. Agents need a formal representation of knowledge; an ontology is capable of modeling the rich semantics of the managed environment (and especially, relationships between managed entities) so that agents can act on them. This paper presents an ontology-driven approach for solving the semantic interoperability problem in the management of enterprise services, illustrated here with a router configuration management application.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2005