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From the early days of management research and standardization in the late 1980's, there has always been a quest for a management technology that would be general enough to be used for network, system, service, and distributed application management; efficient in terms of information retrieval time, computational resources required, and management traffic incurred; and easy to use in order to reduce development time and operational costs. From protocol-based approaches such as OSI management and SNMP, attention shifted to distributed object and Web-based approaches. Recently, XML-based approaches and, in particular, Web services have been emerging as a promising Internet-based technology that might also be used for management. In this article we survey first the key aspects of protocol and distributed object approaches to management. We subsequently examine Web services as a distributed object approach to management, and consider its suitability, usability, and performance in comparison to SNMP and CORBA.