Console Server Management is More Effective When It Keeps You Informed

Console server management can often present a unique challenge, especially when managing remote network elements that are located at off-site data centers and faraway equipment racks. When managing remote devices, it’s often difficult to determine exactly what’s going on at the remote network equipment site, and almost impossible to spot equipment problems before users start to complain about lost services. There are a number of tools that can simplify the task of console server management for remote network elements, but a console server that includes a ping response monitor (or ping-no-answer alarm) is probably one of the most useful.

When your console server management solution includes ping response monitoring capabilities, the console server can be configured to regularly ping devices at user-defined IP addresses at the remote site. If the console server detects that a device has failed to respond to one or more ping commands, the console server can then automatically notify network administrators or tech support personnel in order to allow them to investigate further. In cases where the console server management solution includes remote power reboot capabilities, non-responsive devices can also be rebooted automatically.

Ideally, the ping response monitor feature (or ping-no-answer alarm) should allow operators to choose between several notification protocols in order to provide compatibility with the communication needs of your tech support team. When the ping response monitor determines that a device has failed to respond to a ping command, the console server management solution should be able to provide notification via email, text message, SNMP trap, Syslog message and other popular communication formats.

A well designed console server management strategy should allow network administrators to specify at least several dozen target IP addresses that will be regularly checked by the ping response monitor. This allows network administrators to keep an eye on multiple devices at the remote site, providing a comprehensive view of conditions at the remote network equipment site without the need for a physical human presence at the site.

In addition, the console server management strategy should also enable network administrators to define specific conditions that will generate a ping-no-answer alarm. For example, network administrators should be able to set the number of failed ping commands required to generate a ping-no-answer alarm, determine how often ping queries will be sent and choose from several different actions to be performed when the console server detects that a device has ceased to respond. Generally, the more parameters that the ping response monitor offers, the better. This allows administrators to custom tailor ping-no-answer alarms to the specific needs and characteristics of each individual console server management application.

An intelligently deployed console server management strategy can simplify the task of managing remote network devices located at distant network equipment installations. But in order to do so effectively, the console server management solution should do more than just provide out-of-band access to console port command functions on remote devices; an effective console server management strategy should also enable administrators to be constantly kept aware of conditions at the remote site, and to know instantly when a vital network element has stopped responding to ping commands.

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