How are SNMP Traps Used in Console Management Applications?

In order to provide network monitoring capabilities, most console management products include the ability to generate alarms when specific conditions are detected. For example, your console management unit might send an alarm when high temperatures are detected, or when communication with an attached device is interrupted. These alarms can be very useful to network administrators, allowing them to address small problems before they turn into big problems … but how can your console management unit let you know when alarm has been generated if your equipment rack is located in Tennessee and your office is located in Oregon?

There are many different ways to generate alarm notification messages; in some cases you may wish to receive alarm notification via email, in others you might want to be notified via SYSLOG message. But the most popular means for alarm notification is often via SNMP trap.

WTI console management products can send alarm notification messages via email, text message, SYSLOG or SNMP trap, but when an alarm is generated, we’ve found that many network engineers prefer to be notified via SNMP trap. Our TSM and RSM series console management units can be easily configured to notify you via SNMP trap when any of the following alarms are triggered:

  • Over Temperature Alarm: An SNMP trap can be sent to notify the administrator when temperatures within the equipment rack rise above user defined levels.
  • Lost Communication Alarm: When communication with an attached device is interrupted, WTI console management products can notify you in order to allow you to address the problem as quickly as possible.
  • Ping-No-Answer Alarm: When a target device fails to respond to a ping command, WTI console management products can let you know immediately, allowing for prompt response to a problem that could potentially effect network operation.
  • Invalid Access Lockout Alarm: If the WTI console management unit detects excessive invalid attempts to access command mode, the console management unit can notify you to allow you to assess the situation and possibly take preventative measures to stop a hack attack in its tracks.
  • Power Cycle Alarm: If power to the WTI console management unit is interrupted, an SNMP trap can also be sent. This allows you to take steps to make certain that the power interruption has not effected other devices, or switch to back-up power supplies to prevent further interruptions.
  • Buffer Full Alarm: If you’ve configured a serial port on the WTI console management unit to collect error/alarm messages from a connected device, the Buffer Full alarm can notify you before buffer memory become completely full. This allows you to retrieve collected messages in order to make more room for additional messages.

Obviously, both email and SYSLOG can also be used to send notification when any of the preceding alarms are triggered, but although email notification is quickly gaining popularity, the humble SNMP Trap still remains the preferred alarm notification message for most network administrators. One possible explanation for the stubborn popularity of SNMP is the fact that in addition to sending notification messages via trap, SNMP can also be used to perform many configuration and maintenance functions on a console management unit. Since an alarm message usually means that the network administrator needs to access the unit in order to correct some condition, it only makes sense to use a notification method like SNMP; in many cases SNMP commands can also be used to correct the situation that caused the alarm in the first place.

Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) designs and manufactures remote device management products for IT applications. WTI’s Serial Console Server products, Remote Reboot products, Switched PDU products and A/B Fallback products are engineered to allow you to securely manage and troubleshoot rack equipment in remote locations.

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