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I agree with the analysis of protocol as a means to carry data and info
model is an abstraction of the
data relevant for an application (e.g. performance monitoring etc.)
independent how this
information is syntactically sent in a protocol.
The semantics of the information required to manage a network is what
IMHO should be of importance to NIM group.
In many cases, we have a requirement that may either be directly
included in one protocol or additional support definition is required in
To give a concrete example from Telecom work, we found that not receiving an
does not necessarily mean that every thing is OK.
It is possible that there is communication problem 
resulting in this situation. Some protocols
are designed to inform of communication loss.
In other cases an explicit heartbeat service is required.
Thus to provide an information model that is not
dependent on the characteristics of the protocol
used is important. The requirements for the application drive the 
information model and abstracts from the details of the
protocol specifics. Often this has been hard to do
because in most cases there is a bias towards a specific
protocol and information model is developed based
on the protocol capability.