How a Server Console Switch Can Cut Remote Network Management Costs

If you manage a network long enough, then sooner or later you’ll be forced to deal with a problematic network device located at a remote equipment site. If you’re lucky, that trouble-making network element won’t cause a wider network outage … but in many cases, problems with a remote network device can often temporarily cripple an entire network. This leaves the network administrator with a dilemma: you can’t fix the wider network problem without command access to equipment at the remote site, and you can’t access the remote equipment because the network is down, so what do you do? If your network infrastructure includes a server console switch, the answer is easy; just log into the server console switch via secondary network or modem, and you’re back in business again!

An out of band management solution that includes a server console switch provides fast, effective access to console port command functions on remote network elements, even when the main network is not available. When the main network is down, administrators can easily connect to the server console switch via secondary network or modem, connect to a server console switch serial port that allows access to the problematic network device, and then issue diagnostic commands, troubleshooting commands and configuration commands to correct the problem. This provides substantial savings in both time and money by eliminating long, costly service calls to remote sites and also helps you to get your network back on-line quicker by cutting the time required to deal with remote problems.

In addition to providing out of band access to console ports on remote network devices, a good server console switch will often include alarm and notification functions that can be used to monitor conditions at remote network equipment sites, and then generate an alarm when high temperatures, ping command response failure, power abnormalities and other noteworthy events are detected. Once a problem is detected, some server console switch products can also notify network administrators via SNMP Trap, text message, SYSLOG or email, allowing administrators to check out and address suspect conditions at remote sites before they interfere with network communication.

In order to provide this level of access to remote devices, it’s vital that server console switch products include adequate security and authentication features to protect command functions from unauthorized access. The perfect out of band management solution should offer security features such as password protection and an IP filters as well as support for authentication protocols such as LDAP, Kerberos, TACACS+ and RADIUS. If modem communication is a factor, then the server console switch should also include a callback security function to verify the identity of users who gain access via dial-up or satellite modem.

An well conceived out of band management solution that includes a server console switch takes a great deal of the pain and expense out of the task of managing remote network devices. When a server console switch deployed at a remote network equipment site, network administrators can rest assured, knowing that access to console port command functions on remote network elements is always just a click away … even when the main network offers no hope for communication at all.

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