The present invention provides a management system internal to a network device that sends various management data files and corresponding metadata files to a management system external to the network device. The external management system then uses the metadata files to process the management data files. As a result, the external management system dynamically learns how to manage a network device through the metadata files. Moreover, new types of management data files—perhaps corresponding to new hardware within the network device—may be sent from the internal management system to the external management system along with corresponding new metadata files and the external management system will be able to process the new management files without having to be re-booted or restarted. In addition, multiple network devices coupled with the external management system may send various different types of management data to the external management system and using the metadata files from each network device, the external management system will be able to process the various management data types. In one embodiment, the metadata files are JAVA class files.