The Advantages of a Remote Console Server with Monitoring and Alarm Features

One of the most common challenges to those who manage remote network equipment sites, is the need to know exactly what’s going on at those remote sites. If an equipment rack is located just down the hall, then checking environmental conditions and communication status is obviously easy, but if that equipment rack is located hundreds or even thousands of miles away, then how can a network administrator know when rack temperatures are too high or power conditions are unstable? A remote console server provides a simple solution to this challenge; in addition to providing out of band access to console port command functions on remote devices, a full-featured remote console server can also help to track events and conditions at remote network equipment sites.

High rack temperatures, unstable power supply conditions, communication problems and unusual user events at remote network equipment sites are usually a reliable indicator of bigger problems at remote network equipment sites. When network administrators are promptly informed about suspect events and unstable conditions, they can take a proactive approach to the problem, and implement strategies to take care of these minor problems before they grow into huge, less-manageable problems that could potentially effect network communication. A remote console server provides network administrators with a valuable tool for monitoring conditions at remote sites, allowing administrators to know when additional rack cooling strategies, back up power supply plans and other preventative measures are needed.

But unless the equipment in question is located relatively close to the administrator’s office, in many cases the administrator isn’t able to know about these problems until they result in a network outage. Since most remote network equipment sites already rely on a remote console server for out of band management purposes, it makes perfect sense that the remote console server should support the ability to keep administrators better informed about noteworthy events and environmental conditions at the remote equipment site too.

A full featured remote console server, with monitoring and alarm capabilities can promptly notify administrators when high temperature conditions, excessive invalid access attempts, communication failure, power supply instability and other potentially serious conditions occur at remote equipment sites. Some remote console servers include a powerful array of alarm features that can be easily configured to match the monitoring needs of a variety of different remote network management applications. Ideally, a remote console server should be able to detect a variety of potentially harmful conditions and events, and then provide notification to administrators and support personnel using popular communication protocols such as email, text messaging, SNMP traps and SYSLOG messages.

In order to keep close watch on network equipment and provide compatibility with a wide variety of network applications, remote console servers should include a broad selection of different monitoring and alarm features. A comprehensive assortment of monitoring and alarm functions enables administrators to be kept appraised of most possible aspects of the remote rack environment: a temperature alarm to allow tracking of high and low temperature trends … a lost communication alarm to allow administrators to know when communication with the remote rack is unstable … a ping response alarm to detect unresponsive network elements … an invalid access alarm to notify administrators when a hack attack may be in progress … a power cycle alarm and a voltage loss alarm to detect potential power supply failures. As a group, these features work together to allow network administrators to know exactly what’s going on at their remote network equipment sites, without the time and expensive of actually traveling to each remote site in person.

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