Console Terminal Servers are the Heart of an Effective Out of Band Management Solution

Not too many years ago, most networks didn’t include an out of band management solution. That meant that if a firewall crashed or a switch froze and brought the network down with it, then there was no way to use the network to access the stricken network device in order to diagnose and troubleshoot the problem. In this case, the only way to fix the problem was often to travel to a remote network equipment site, access a local console port and start invoking commands until the problem was understood and remedied.

This was not only expensive, but it also resulted in unacceptable periods of downtime, while users waited for IT personnel to travel to some remote site and figure out what the problem was. Often, your entire office staff would have nothing to do but sit and wait for the problem to be fixed.

Fortunately though, network administrators figured out that a console terminal server and an effective, well designed out of band management solution could cut network downtime to a minimum, resulting in tremendous savings in travel costs, and eliminating the need for users to wait until somebody traveled to a remote network site in order to address the problem.

These days, most data centers include both a primary network, which allows user access to communication and file sharing capabilities, and a secondary, out of band management network that the IT staff uses to perform testing, update firmware and diagnose and fix network problems. Typically, a console terminal server is installed on the secondary network and connected to servers, firewalls and other devices that reside on the primary network. If the main network goes down, the console terminal server on the secondary network still allows administrators to access troublesome devices in order to determine unit status, change configuration parameters or perform other actions to correct the problem.

In cases where a secondary out of band management network is not feasible or practical, some network administrators rely on dial-up communication, allowing IT personnel to contact the console terminal server via modem, and then gain access to remote network devices in order to fix the problem. Dial-up communication with a remote network device might not be the most elegant, tech-savvy out of band management solution, but in cases of extremely remote network equipment sites, it often provides the only solution.

Today, a terminal console server based out of band management solution is a vital part of every modern corporate network. Network administrators have learned that system redundancy is often the key to network reliability; whether that network is a small business network or a huge, worldwide corporate network. Clearly, an out of band management solution that includes a terminal console server allows you to fix problems at remote sites faster; often eliminating the need for IT staff to rack up expensive travel costs just to get to a remote site, cutting network downtime and allowing network users to get their work done promptly … instead of waiting for your IT staff to travel all the way to Timbuktu so they can figure out why the network is down.

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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