Why Do Most Large Networks Include an Out of Band Management Solution?

Depending on who you ask, the term “out of band management” can have many different definitions. For some applications, “out of band management” refers to a maintenance network that supplements your main network in order to provide access to network elements when the main network is down. In other situations, “out of band management” might refer to the use of a dial-up connection to provide emergency access to command functions at console ports for troubleshooting and diagnostic purposes. One thing that these two definitions have in common, is the concept of console port command access via a secondary channel of communication as a means to support the main network.

Ideally, an out of band management solution would include a main/user network that is employed for user communication, data storage and other network functions, supplanted by an additional, secondary network that is employed by the tech support staff in order to allow command and diagnostic access to remote network devices when the main network is not available. This secondary, maintenance network has many different functions in an out of band management application; it allows access when the main network is not available, and also provides tech support personnel with a means to preform firmware upgrades and test network elements without slowing down the everyday users on the main network.

In small business applications and other situations where a secondary maintenance network may not be practical, network administrators often rely on dial-up communication via modem for an out of band management solution. In this case, in the event that the main network goes down, tech support personnel can still dial into a console server or other out of band management unit in order to access console ports on remote devices.

Today, almost all large corporate networks include some sort of out of band management solution. Out of band management has become a vital part of modern network administration; especially in situations where network equipment sites might be located in various remote locations, scattered around the country or even around the world. The reason for this is simple: without some sort of out of band management solution, the only way to address problems at remote network equipment sites is often to travel to those sites in person, resulting in unacceptable time delays, increased support costs and vital tech support personnel who are constantly tied up with service calls, instead of being present at the home office where they’re often needed the most.

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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