How Serial Console Server Units Can Help to Collect Data Generated by Connected Devices

In addition to providing out of band access to network elements, a serial console server (http://www.wti.com/c-48-serial-console-servers.aspx) can also be used to collect error messages and other data from connected devices. When an error message or status message is sent out via the console port on a connected device, an intelligently designed serial console server can store the data at a serial port buffer for later retrieval by administrators and others who need that data for diagnostic purposes. If the serial console server includes a buffer threshold alarm, it can also notify users when new data is received by the buffer or when the buffer is nearly full.

In some applications, the error messages and status messages generated by network devices are used to diagnose problems with the device. In other applications, data from sensor devices and other equipment is sent out via the console port for use in research or monitoring functions. In either case, a serial console server can be used to collect the data generated by connected devices in order to provide a centralized interface where data is readily accessible by the appropriate personnel. In all data buffering applications, it’s useful for network administrators and other users to be able to be notified when new data is received or when data needs to be retrieved before the buffer becomes completely full.

A serial console server with a buffer threshold alarm allows users to collect data from connected devices, and also provides notification via email, text message, SNMP trap, SYSLOG or other means when it’s time to collect the buffered data. A well designed buffer threshold should allow users to select an appropriate notification method, define contact information for the users who need to be notified, and set the conditions which will cause the buffer threshold alarm to send out notification.

Some serial console server units include a buffer threshold alarm which also includes the ability to automatically send out collected data via SNMP, eliminating the need to manually collect buffered data. This proves particularly useful in applications that involve collecting data from many different network devices at many different locations; rather than having the user go to the data, the data comes directly to the user.

Data buffering is just one of many useful functions that can be performed by a serial console server. A well-designed, feature-rich serial console server can provide network administrators with an out of band management solution and also perform other functions such as collecting data from connected devices. If the serial console server also includes a buffer threshold alarm, this allows users to be automatically notified when collected data is received in order to allow timely retrieval of collected data before port buffers become full and data is lost or overwritten.

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