Remote Console Servers Help to Track Conditions at Faraway Network Equipment Sites

In addition to providing secure access to command functions on remote network elements, a remote console server can also help network administrators keep track of environmental conditions and other noteworthy events at remote network equipment sites. When a remote console server is equipped with monitoring and alarm functions, this allows network administrators and IT support personnel to be automatically notified when high rack temperatures, power supply interruptions, ping response failure and other significant incidents are detected.

Typically, Monitoring and Alarm functions provide network administrators with the ability to define specific events and occurrences that need to be tracked, set threshold values that will generate an alarm when detected, select one or more personnel who need to know about these events, and then select a notification method for each support tech who will receive each type of alarm notification. Remote console server products often support the ability to monitor rack temperature, invalid access attempts, loss of communication, temporary power failures and devices that are not responding to ping commands, and then generate an alarm when any of these events surpasses user defined trigger points.

Once an alarm is triggered, the remote console server should include the ability to select specific personnel who will respond to the alarm. Ideally, each alarm should allow for the notification of up to three different support personnel, in the event that the primary respondent is either not available or away from their desk. When alarm notification is generated, the remote console server should support several different notification methods in order to fit the needs of a wide variety of different users. In most cases, remote console servers should support communication protocols such as email, text message, SNMP trap and SYSLOG message.

In addition to generating an initial alarm when a suspect event or condition is detected, it’s also helpful if the remote console server can send a second notification if it determines that the condition that generated the original alarm has passed or been corrected.

In order to allow network administrators to detect trends and help to anticipate cooling and security needs, the remote console server should also be able to record each generated alarm in a time stamped event log. This type of event log can be very useful to administrators who need to determine specific times of the day or week when additional cooling strategies are needed, and can also be helpful in detecting power supplies that are on the verge of a major malfunction or identifying periods of excessive invalid access attempts which may indicate an attempt to compromise network security.

A well designed, full-featured remote console server should be able to do a whole lot more than merely provide out of band access to command functions on console ports on remote network elements. Since the remote console server typically serves as the “heart” of many out of band management solutions, it makes sense that the remote console server should also support the capability to monitor environmental conditions and other events at remote network installations and then provide promptly notify administrators when significant circumstances are detected. All remote console servers can provide administrators with access to command functions on remote network devices, but when this ability is coupled with the ability to monitor conditions at remote sites and report these conditions to the appropriate personnel, this supplies administrators with a more complete picture of conditions at faraway network installations, increasing the efficiency of your out of band management solution and helping administrators to take a more proactive approach to network management.

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