Monitoring and Alarm Capabilities Increase the Power of an Out of Band Management Solution

In most out of band management applications, a console server or similar device is used to provide access to command functions on remote network devices. Although this provides network administrators with a powerful tool for dealing with problems at remote sites after something has gone wrong, it sometimes doesn’t address the need to know about potential problems at remote sites before they get to a point where network communication is effected. In order to assist administrators in anticipating problems at remotes sites, it’s helpful if the console server unit at the heart of the out of band management solution includes appropriate alarm and notification features to keep administrators better informed regarding conditions at remote network equipment sites.

When an out of band management product includes environmental/event monitoring and alarm functions, administrators can be automatically notified when significant events or environmental conditions at a remote site might indicate potential problems. Typically, alarm and monitoring functions include the ability to keep track of rack temperature trends, power outages, invalid access attempts, communication problems and user activity at a remote network equipment site, then provide notification when events or trends exceed user-defined threshold values. Out of band management alarm functions should allow administrators to define specific conditions that will generate an alarm, and then select one or more support personnel who will be notified in the event of and alarm.

In order to provide compatibility with the communication needs of a wide variety of different users and applications, out of band management alarm functions should include the ability notify network administrators and IT support personnel via email, text message, SNMP trap, SYSLOG message and other communication protocols. In addition to generating alarms and notifying support personnel, it can also be useful for an out of band management product to be able to log alarm events in order to create a time-stamped record of temperature trends, power outages, communication problems and other relevant circumstances. Logged records of alarm events can later be used by administrators to help to anticipate future network problems, and to help plan for additional cooling requirements, power problems and security concerns.

An Out of band management solution provides network administrators with a quick, economical way to deal with problems at remote sites. But in addition to dealing with existing problems, a good out of band management unit should also help administrators to anticipate future problems, allowing minor problems to be addressed before they worsen to a point where network communication is interrupted or vital network elements are damaged.

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