Device Classes permit you to set the significant device classes in your network, as well as setting preferred device communication mechanisms. Communication and mechanisms can be ordered, added, or removed for each device class.

You can also decide whether to use SNMP to manage devices, provide device information (MIB), or prevent SNMP from being used in your network.

Device class management is used to streamline the communication access to all devices, regardless of network assignment.

Device classes are logical organizations of devices according to their type. Examples of device classes can include:

  • Cisco IOS Routers

  • Cisco IOS Switches

  • Cisco IOS Layer 3 Switches

  • Juniper

  • Nortel ARN

  • Nortel BayStack BPS

  • Nortel Passport 8600

A device class has a one-to-one correspondence with the device driver that manages devices within that class. To provide device services to a device, the device must be assigned to a device class that will provide the correct functionality for that device.

Typically, the device class is assigned to a device when it is discovered or added to the system. The system  automatically follows a series of rules for assigning the proper driver to a device. Normally, no user intervention is needed in this process.

However, occasionally you may want to move a device from one device class to another device class. For example, if you have an advanced or custom version of a device driver that provides additional capabilities for your environment, and you want to use this alternate device class for managing a particular device. In this case, you can override the automatically assigned device class on a device-by-device basis.

Configuring Device Class Attributes

Device classes also have attributes associated with the class. Changing the attribute on a class changes that attribute for all devices within that class. The following are attributes that can be changed on a Device class-by-Device class basis.


Device classes can be marked for auto-managed. When a Device class is marked for auto-manage, whenever auto discovery finds a new device and assigns it to a auto-managed device class, it automatically marks the device as managed and pull the configuration(s) from the device.

The auto-managed state for a Device class can be set from the Managed Supported Device Classes window in the System Administration tool. See Managing the Supported Device Class List for more information.

Specify Protocols

Device classes can be marked to enable or disable various protocols from functioning. For example, you can mark a Device class such that it enables SSH and SNMP as communications protocols, but disable Telnet and TFTP. The state of enabled and disabled protocols can be changed on the Manage Devices window in the System Administration section. See Specifying Device Class Protocols for more information.