Out of Band Management and Environmental Monitoring, All in One Box

If your network infrastructure includes off-site data centers or distant network equipment racks, then you’re most likely already pretty familiar with the concept of utilizing a console server to provide out of band management capabilities for remote network equipment. When your off-site data center or remote network equipment cabinet includes an out of band management solution, many routine maintenance and troubleshooting tasks can be performed without the need for an expensive service call to the remote site and the associated time delays while tech support personnel travel to the remote equipment site.

An out of band management solution allows you to access powerful console port command functions on remote devices and allows administrators to perform many important tasks that previously could only be accomplished by on-site personnel. An out of band management solution that includes a console server simplifies the task of managing remote network elements, but in addition to providing remote access to console port command functions, an effective out of band management solution can also provide administrators with a clearer picture of conditions and events at the remote site if the console server includes monitoring and alarm functions.

An out of band management console server that supports monitoring and alarm functions can provide timely notification when factors such as high temperatures, power supply instability, unresponsive devices and other events threaten to disrupt network communication or inhibit the performance of network elements in the remote equipment rack. High quality out of band management products often include the ability to monitor rack temperatures, power outages, ping command response and other factors and also record user event and other activities for future review. Ideally, the out of band management solution should enable network administrators to define monitoring functions which can generate alarms when any monitored factor exceeds user-defined threshold levels.

In addition to temperature monitoring, a console server in an out of band management application should include the ability to monitor device response to ping commands, invalid attempts to access command functions, buffer memory status, power conditions and other factors. Each alarm function should include the ability to set trigger levels that will generate an alarm, and also select a notification method that will be employed when an alarm is generated. Ideally, out of band management alarm functions should also provide the choice between several popular communication protocols in order to allow better compatibility with the needs of a variety of different types of users. For example, when suspect conditions are detected, the out of band management solution should be able to provide notification via email, text message, SNMP trap and SYSLOG message.

Of course, there are also cases where one wouldn’t want to be notified every time that one of these factors exceeds user-defined thresholds. In this case, the out of band management console server should provide the option to create a record of each alarm event without actually sending notification. This provides administrators with a time stamped record of noteworthy user events and environmental conditions, which could then be used to anticipate usage trends or plan for future cooling needs.

These days, it’s pretty common to find an out of band management solution in most off-site network equipment installations. Since console servers and out of band management products are such a common element in remote network equipment sites, it makes good sense to make them do double duty, and monitor conditions and events at the remote site in addition to providing out of band access to console port command functions. If you’re in the process of setting up an out of band management solution, you might want to consider the advantages and capabilities that can be provided by an out of band management unit that also provides environmental and event monitoring and notification.

Link to Original Content

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.