There are many devices out there in network land that want to tell you how they are. And they usually want to tell you because they don't have enough storage to wait for you to ask. We're talking the likes of routers, firewalls and switches.
The service these devices use for reporting is called syslog, which along with SNMP traps, logging to a local text file and console logging, are the four main ways of reporting conditions and exceptions. Actually the syslog service can be used by any process - there are tools to syslog-enable Windows NT, for example.
Syslog is a relatively old protocol that was first documented as an Internet Engineering Task Force request for comments in 2001. This document, RFC 3164 is titled "The BSD syslog Protocol" and the RFC explains:
"This protocol has been used for the transmission of event-notification messages across networks for many years. While this protocol was originally developed on the University of California Berkeley Software Distribution TCP/IP system implementations, its value to operations and management has led it to be ported to many other operating systems as well as being embedded into many other networked devices."
From As easy as falling off a syslog, Network World, 06/10/02.
Gearhead on syslog
A four-part series on the uses and implementation of syslog.
Topic: Network/Systems Management
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