Using a Console Access Server to Collect Data and Error Messages

Most network devices can be configured to send a wide variety of different types of data via their console ports. In addition to data items that the network device may have collected via monitoring capabilities, many network devices can also generate status messages, error messages, activity reports and other types of data which are then sent out via console port. In many cases, this data is either lost or ignored, but this is actually a waste; data sent out via console port can be an extremely helpful tool for network administrators who need to review error messages and status messages after a significant network event. WTI console access server products (http://www.wti.com/c-51-console-access-servers.aspx) offer an easy way to collect and store this data, providing administrators with the ability to revue recently generated data for diagnostic purposes.

All WTI console access server products include the ability to configure individual serial ports on the unit as buffer ports, which can receive and store up to 256K of data at each individual serial port and either retain that data until it is retrieved by the network administrator, or automatically forward the data via SNMP or Syslog to personnel who need that data for diagnostic purposes. When a network device crashes or malfunctions, this data can be used to perform a “post mortem” on the troublesome device, in order to determine what factors may have preceded or caused the device failure.

In addition to storing data received from console ports on connected devices, WTI console access server products can also notify administrators before buffers become full. WTI console access server products include a buffer threshold alarm that can notify administrators when buffer memory reaches a user-defined threshold; alarm notification messages can be sent to up to three user-defined email addresses. Buffered data can also be automatically sent via SNMP trap or Syslog to two user-defined managers, allowing prompt review of stored data, error messages and status alerts.

The buffer threshold alarm and the port buffer mode are just two of many convenient tools that WTI console access servers provide to simplify the process of managing remote network devices. If you’re not collecting data and error messages generated via console ports on network elements, you’re really overlooking an important clue that can help to diagnose network problems and improve network performance. A WTI console access server provides a vital element of an out of band management solution, by helping network administrators to be better informed regarding conditions and events at remote network equipment sites.

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