SNMP and Syslog – Two Ways that Your Console Server can Keep You Informed

The ability to centrally manage and track the status of network devices is vital for anyone who manages a corporate network. If you can’t manage and monitor remote network devices, then a good portion of your budget will inevitably be wasted on unnecessary service calls to faraway network equipment sites. A console server can often monitor network equipment and send alerts when suspect conditions are detected, but when questionable conditions are detected, how should these alerts be delivered?

SNMP Traps and Syslog messages are two popular means that are often employed to deliver event alarms and status reports that network administrators depend on in order to be kept up to date on conditions at remote network installations. SNMP is probably the more powerful of the two, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that SNMP is always the best solution for remote network monitoring applications.

Syslog often works best for small network applications or for monitoring an array of smaller devices. Syslog messages provide a reliable means for the console server to keep network administrators up to date regarding conditions at remote network sites, and also allowing polling of data from connected devices. Syslog also provides limited centralization of remote management capabilities. One drawback of Syslog however, is that it requires that a computer be dedicated as a Syslog client. In addition, Syslog also doesn’t provide the same level of visibility and monitoring that is available via SNMP. In spite of these limitations, in small network applications, where SNMP isn’t a viable solution, Syslog messaging is usually the next best alternative.

SNMP, on the other hand, is usually better suited to large, corporate environments. In addition to allowing secure delivery of status and alarm messages, SNMP provides a more comprehensive approach to centralized management, and also allows access to a wide range of control and configuration capabilities for console server functions.

It’s important to keep in mind though, that the most vital function that both SNMP and Syslog provide, is that they enable the console server to allow you to keep tabs on your network environment, and take a more proactive approach to preventing network catastrophes. The choice between SNMP and Syslog often boils down to a matter of personal preference, program familiarity and cost of implementation. Keep in mind also, that whether you choose SNMP or Syslog, WTI console servers are compatible with the communication and management features of both protocols.

Network equipment and the communication capabilities that they provide have resulted in a modern workplace that is far more productive and efficient than what was possible in the past, but at the same time, they have also created a work environment that is extremely reliant on the stability and reliability of the network. As a result, when your network is down, often your whole company is down; orders can’t be processed, files can’t be accessed and communication quickly grinds to a halt. This means that it’s more vital than ever for network administrators to be able to constantly know about problems that might potentially bring down the network before those problems result in a workplace disaster. A console server with user-defined event alarms and environmental alarms provides an economical way to manage and deal with network problems before they get out of hand, and Syslog messages and SNMP traps provide just two of many different methods that can be used to keep network administrators constantly informed and ready to react.

For over 30 years, Western Telematic, Inc. (WTI) has been an innovator in the field of remote management for IT facilities. Our comprehensive product line includes a wide range of Serial Console Server products, Switched PDU products and Remote Reboot Switch products to provide secure, remote management of servers, routers and other devices.

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