Why is Remote Power Management Such an Important Capability for Modern Networks?

When a vital network element crashes or hangs, in many cases the problem can be solved by a simple power reboot. But sometimes, even “simple” isn’t all that simple; especially when the network device in question is located at a distant network equipment site. In the case of remote network devices, rather than walking down the hall to flip a power switch Off and then On again, a power reboot usually requires an expensive, time-consuming service call to the remote equipment site, and an unwelcome delay while network users wait for the service team to travel to the remote site to reboot the troublesome network element and restore network communication.

In any business that relies on network communication and prompt access to important data, the delay and expense of a service call merely to perform a power reboot is completely unacceptable. The need to maximize network up-time and cut costs associated with non-essential service calls has led many network administrators to rely on a remote power management solution for dealing with routine equipment problems and power switching needs at remote network equipment sites.

A well-designed, intelligently deployed remote power management solution provides network administrators with a secure, reliable means to initiate reboots and control power switching at remote network equipment sites. When a reboot is needed in order to correct a problem with a remote network element, administrators can quickly connect to the remote power management unit via network or dial-up, and then invoke simple commands to reboot the remote device and have it up and running again in less time than it would take a service team to fill out the necessary paperwork for a service call.

In addition to providing remote reboot capabilities, a good remote power management unit can often perform other convenient tasks, such as power scheduling, which enables network administrators to define schedules that can automatically power down non-essential devices during times of the day when they are less likely to be used, or switch on devices such as cooling equipment during times when temperatures are likely to rise.

If the remote power management unit includes monitoring and alarm functions, network administrators can then configure the remote power management unit to monitor environmental factors such as rack temperatures and events such as periods of high current usage. When the remote power management unit detects environmental conditions or power events that exceed user-defined thresholds, the remote power management unit can then automatically notify administrators and support personnel via email, text message or SNMP trap, or automatically initiate switching power functions to reduce power consumption or activate additional cooling capabilities.

In the good old days, when most network infrastructure was centrally located and easy to get your hands on, there was less need for the remote power control and reboot capabilities that can be provided by a remote power management unit. But in today’s world, where network elements are often located at distant off-site data centers or far-away network equipment cabinets, a remote power management unit often provides the only workable solution for accessing power control and reboot functions at remote locations without either a constant, physical human presence at the remote network equipment site, or constant visits to the site every time a simple reboot is needed in order to get an uncooperative router or server back in the game again.

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