A Console Access Server with Alarm Features Cuts Expenses and Downtime

A well-designed, full featured console access server can do a whole lot more than merely provide out of band access to console port command functions on remote network devices. If a console access server includes environmental alarms and event alarms, then it can also help network administrators to keep better tabs on conditions at remote network equipment sites.

Environmental and event alarms enable a console access server to monitor environmental factors such as rack temperature and events such as invalid access attempts, and then promptly notify network administrators when unacceptable conditions are detected. Environmental alarms can provide notification when rack temperatures rise above user-specified trigger values, when power conditions are unstable, and when other noteworthy environmental conditions are detected. Likewise, event alarms can notify administrators when communication with the console access server is lost, when network devices fail to respond to ping commands, when port buffers become full and when an assortment of other suspect events are detected.

Once the console access server determines that rack temperatures or other factors have have exceeded user-defined threshold values, the console access server can then notify appropriate personnel in order to enable network administrators and IT support techs to look into the problem and take preventative measures to deal with the situation. In some cases, the console access server allows different personnel to be notified, depending on the nature of the alarm, and also provides the ability to notify multiple personnel in the event that the primary contact is not available. In order to provide compatibility with a wide range of different users, notification can be sent via SNMP trap, SYSLOG message, email or text message.

In some cases, the console access server can also be configured to automatically take steps to deal with the problem itself. For example, some invalid access alarms include the option to deactivate network ports when excessive invalid access attempts might be indicative of a random password generator based hack attempt on the unit. In other cases, the console access server can also provide notification when it determines that the condition that generated the alarm has been corrected. For example, in the case of a ping response failure alarm, the console access server can send an “all clear” message when it determines that a target device has resumed responding to ping commands.

The central purpose of a console access server is to provide network administrators with a means to manage and maintain remote network devices without the requirement to actually travel to the remote network installation site in person. The out of band management capabilities provided by a console access server help to reduce expenses by eliminating the need for many service calls to remote sites and cut downtime by allowing administrators to immediately deal with problems at remote sites without leaving the office. These capabilities are a good first step towards a comprehensive out of band management solution for remote network equipment sites. A console access server with environmental alarms and event alarms helps to increase the power of your out of band management solution, by allowing network administrators to keep constant tabs on environmental conditions and noteworthy events at far-away network equipment sites.

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