Three Popular Console Server Features that Most Users Need

When IT support professionals shop for a console server, there are literally dozens of different features and options that they are generally looking for. Some are interested in security and authentication features, others are interested in the number of available ports, others are interested in port configuration options and others are interested in power compatibility. But out of all of these important considerations, there are three features that are the most universally requested by network administrators who need to set up an out of band management solution.

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but the most often requested feature is a formidable array of security and authentication protocols. Due to the fact that console servers typically allow command access to vital network equipment such as servers, routers and firewalls, it is of critical importance that access to these devices is safely protected from unauthorized users. As a rule, console server customers are generally looking for security and authentication features such as FIPS 140-2 encryption, RADIUS, TACACS+ and Kerberos authentication and a full-featured user directory that allows different levels of user access in order to support co-location applications.

Next in line after security, the second most requested console server features are an audit trail and user-defined alarm functions. An audit trail allows administrators to track user access to the console server, and provides a real-time record of which users logged into the console server and what actions were performed. In the event of a network failure, the audit trail can provide administrators with the ability to perform a “postmortem” examination in order to determine the cause of the failure. Similarly, user-defined alarm functions allow the console server to provide notification when a device fails to respond to a ping command, when a buffer is full, when excessive invalid access attempts are detected, and when a number of other events and environmental conditions occur.

This may seem pretty basic, but the third most requested console server feature is the presence of an Ethernet port, in order to allow network communication with the console server. An Ethernet port allows secure, remote network access to routers, switches, UPS, telephony and firewalls from anywhere on earth, providing administrators with out of band management capabilities, and also allowing communications with every other compatible network devices.

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./p>

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