A Ping Response Monitor Can Simplify Console Server Management Applications

In most out of band management applications, a console server management unit enables network administrators to establish out of band connections to console ports on remote network elements. This allows administrators to address problems at remote sites without actually traveling to the site in person. Most console server management products provide an excellent tool for dealing with network problems after they occur, but if the console server management unit includes features like a Ping Response Monitor or a Ping-No-Answer alarm, this allows the console server management unit to help administrators to address network problems before they get out of hand.

A Ping Response Monitor enables the console server management unit to regularly ping specific, user-defined IP addresses and then promptly notify administrators when a target device ceases to respond. In many cases, this allows network administrators and IT support personnel to deal with minor equipment problems and correct them before they result in larger network outages.

When a target device fails to respond to a ping command, the next step is to notify the appropriate personnel that a network element has failed to respond. Console server management units generally offer several different options for operator notification. Ideally, the console server management unit should be able to send multiple notification messages to key personnel, and should support communication protocols such as email, text messaging, SNMP traps and SYSLOG messages.

Advanced console server management units often integrate other functions into the ping response monitor feature. For example, some console server management units offer the ability to send additional notification if the target network device suddenly starts responding to ping commands again; this can be used to confirm that corrective actions have been effective, or to notify administrators when a problem appears to have “solved itself.” In the case of hybrid console/PDU units, the ping response monitor can sometimes be configured to initiate a power reboot sequence at the power outlet where the target device is connected, in order to automatically solve simple communications problems without operator intervention.

A console server management unit can provide many benefits to network administrators beyond simple out of band communication with network elements. When choosing a console server management unit, it’s a good idea to carefully consider additional features such as ping response monitoring and alarm notification that can further simplify the task of managing and maintaining vital network elements located at remote equipment sites.

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