Why is a Ping Response Monitor an Important Element for Console Server Management Solutions?

In most out of band management applications, a console server management unit is employed to provide remote access to console ports on critical network devices. This provides network administrators with a valuable tool for invoking diagnostic, troubleshooting and configuration commands at remote devices without actually traveling to the remote equipment site in person. Out of band access enables administrators to respond more quickly to network emergencies and reduces network downtime, but if the console server management product also includes a ping response monitor (or ping-no-answer alarm) then the console server unit can also automatically alert administrators whenever a target device fails to respond to ping commands.

Operation of a ping response monitor or ping-no-answer alarm is fairly simple. When properly configured, a ping response monitor will regularly ping devices at user-defined IP address and then wait for a response. If a device fails to respond to a ping command, the console server management unit will then notify the appropriate personnel, often enabling IT support techs to respond to a potential network issue before users even realize that there’s a problem. Ideally, the ping response monitor should allow network administrators to custom tailor the function to fit the needs of their application; administrators should be able to pick an assortment of IP addresses to ping, determine how many failed ping command will generate an alarm, and choose an action to be taken when a target device resumes its response to ping commands.

When the ping response monitor determines that a target device has failed to respond, the console server management unit should be able to promptly inform one or more support personnel in order to ensure that the unresponsive device is properly dealt with. The ping response monitor should be able to provide notification in several popular communication formats, including email, text message, SNMP trap, and SYSLOG message. Support for a variety of notification formats allows the ping response monitor to adapt to the specific needs of a wider range of applications and users.

Given the prevalence of console server management units in out of band management applications, it makes sense to choose a console server management product that not only fits the console port access needs of your specific application, but also includes features such as a ping response monitor function that help to simplify the process of keeping track of conditions at multiple remote network equipment sites. A well designed console server management unit with a ping response monitor can make a network administrator’s job easier, by automatically alerting support personnel when a problem is detected, and allowing a more prompt response to network problems than would be possible in cases where administrators are basically forced to wait until a user complains before they even realize that there might be a potentially crippling problem with the network.

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