A Serial Console Server that Supports Data Buffering

In many remote network equipment rack applications, the serial console server is mainly used to provide out of band management access to console port command functions on vital network elements. Although out of band management capabilities are absolutely vital for the efficient management of remote network devices, a serial console server can also be called on to perform other tasks that can be equally helpful to network administrators. For example, a serial console server that includes buffer mode ports can also be used to collect error messages and other data from connected network elements.

During routine operation, many network elements can be configured to generate error and status messages and send them out via console port along with other data. In some cases, network administrators are called upon to collect these error and status messages and retrieve them for use by various diagnostic and event logging functions. When a serial console server includes the ability to designate one of it’s serial ports as a buffer more port, this allows the serial console server to collect all data and messages generated by the attached device, and then either store that data for future retrieval, or collect the data and then automatically send it to the appropriate personnel for processing.

A well-designed serial console server will often support the ability to configure individual serial ports for use as buffer ports, and in some cases, the serial console server will also include alarm functions to notify administrators when data has accumulated in a port buffer, or support the ability to automatically forward data via SNMP trap to user-defined personnel.

When a serial console server includes a buffer threshold alarm, the serial console server can either notify appropriate personnel when a user-defined amount of data accumulates in the port buffer, or automatically forward that data via SNMP trap to those who need that data for statistical or diagnostic purposes. Typically, when a buffer threshold alarm is generated, the serial console server can notify several user-defined personnel via email, text message, SNMP trap or SYSLOG message, or employ SNMP to direct that data to the appropriate end user.

When selecting a serial console server for an out of band management application, it often pays to also consider other future tasks that the serial console server may be able to support. Features such as environmental alarms, event alarms, support for authentication protocols, SNMP traps and Telnet and SSH functions can expand the capabilities of the serial console server beyond basic out of band management, and allow the serial console server to perform other tasks that simplify the process of managing remote network equipment sites. A serial console server that supports serial port buffer mode, a buffer threshold alarm and the ability to forward buffered data via SNMP trap can come in very handy in applications that require the collection and analysis of error messages, status messages, and other data that a connected network generates via console port.

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