Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) allows management programs to monitor and control a variety of networked devices.

Managed systems run SNMP agents, which can provide information to a management program in at least one of the following ways:

In response to a GET operation, which is a specific request for information from the management system.

By sending a trap, which is an alert sent by the SNMP agent to notify the management system of a particular event or condition.

Management Information Base (MIB) files define the information that can be provided by managed devices. The MIB files contain object identifiers (OIDs) and variables arranged in a hierarchy.

vCenter Server and ESX/ESXi have SNMP agents. The agent provided with each product has differing capabilities.