A Remote Power Switch Simplifies the Task of Managing Remote Network Elements

Sometimes, all it takes to get a malfunctioning network element up and running again is a simple power reboot. Although it’s pretty easy to reboot a network device if it’s located in a data center next door to your office, it can be completely different matter to reboot a hung router or afflicted firewall if they’re located miles away from the office at a distant, off-site data center. Rebooting network devices at remote equipment racks can indeed be a challenge sometimes, but if you’ve got a remote power switch installed at that distant data center, then rebooting devices can be as easy as invoking a command or clicking on a button.

A remote power switch provides a secure, reliable means to reboot network devices at faraway data centers without leaving the office or relying on an expensive service call. A high quality remote power switch can even monitor equipment at the remote rack, and automatically implement a power reboot when target devices at the remote equipment rack cease to respond to ping commands.

When a remote power switch is installed at your off-site data center, network administrators can connect to the remote power switch via network or dial-up connection, and then use simple commands or user-friendly web-based menus to reboot any connected device of their choosing. Installation of the remote power switch is simple: first, the remote power switch is connected to your power supply (or power “supplies” in applications where power redundancy is a concern) and then the power supply cables from other devices in the equipment rack are connected to the remote power switch.

If any device connected to the remote power switch ceases to respond, administrators and tech personnel can establish an in-band or out of band connection to the remote power reboot switch, and then use commands or menu functions to reboot any device of their choosing.

In addition to providing user initiated power reboot functions, a high quality remote reboot switch will often include options that allow it to monitor other devices in the remote rack, and then automatically reboot those devices when monitoring functions determine that the device has ceased to respond. For example, if the remote power switch includes a ping response alarm, the remote power switch can continually ping target devices and then check for a response. If a device fails to respond to ping commands, the remote power switch can then either notify support personnel and let them make the decision, or automatically reboot the unresponsive device without human interaction.

A well designed remote power reboot switch often includes other alarm functions that allow the remote power switch to monitor rack temperatures, current consumption, open circuit breakers, power supply instability, loss of communication and other factors and then either notify administrators and support personnel or perform other tasks to deal with the detected problem. For example, when high rack temperatures are detected, a remote reboot switch might include the ability to automatically switch on cooling devices in order to lower rack temperatures. In other cases, a remote power reboot switch may be able to switch off non-essential devices when current consumption exceeds user-defined threshold values.

When event and environmental alarms are detected, the remote power switch should provide multiple notification formats in order to fit the needs of a variety of different support personnel. Ideally, the remote reboot switch should support notification via email, text message, SNMP trap and SYSLOG message, and also offer the option to notify multiple personnel in the event that the primary responder is not available.

A remote power switch drastically simplifies the process of managing network devices in remote equipment racks, by providing network administrators with a powerful tool for both monitoring conditions at the remote equipment rack, and rebooting unresponsive devices without the need to travel to the site in person. This saves both time and money by allowing critical network support personnel to deal with problems at remote sites without leaving the office, and eliminating the need for expensive service calls and truck rolls to network equipment racks that might be located hundreds of miles from the central office.

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