How to Avoid Potential Pitfalls when Implementing an Out-of-Band Management Solution in a Large Enterprise Network

The task of designing an out-of-band management solution for a large enterprise network presents a number of different challenges that are not commonly encountered in smaller scale out-of-band management solutions. In addition to the sheer size and scope involved in large enterprise networks, an effective out-of-band solution must also be able to address many other issues and must include the need to adapt to a variety of different sized remote equipment sites with varying power needs and communication capabilities.

Large enterprise networks in public utilities applications often include a wide range of differing types of remote equipment sites with diverse management needs and functionality. A typical enterprise level network might include everything from huge data centers with dozens or hundreds of devices that need remote reboot and console access capabilities, to small, remote equipment cabinets that contain only a half dozen or so network elements. In order to provide a uniform, consistent solution that can cover all of these different types of remote equipment sites, an out-of-band management solution must offer both scalability to fit a number of different sized equipment sites, plus the ability to adapt to the diverse communication and power options present at each site.

In order to allow a single, centralized command interface that can control power reboot functions and console port access capabilities at many different sites, an enterprise management solution is needed. Since most familiar enterprise management solutions lack the ability to control power reboot and console access operations, the most common solution for centralized management is generally an enterprise management solution provided by the manufacturer of the various switched PDUs and console servers that are installed at each equipment site.

Obviously, it would be impractical in this case to design an out-of-band management solution that relies on remote power control and console access devices provided a variety of different manufacturers. In addition to requiring support personnel to be familiar with console servers and switched PDUs provided by two or three different vendors, this type of out-of-band management solution would also require support personnel to search through an inventory of each individual vendor’s devices in order to find the specific device needed to remedy a network outage. Plainly, this type of arrangement would not only result in confusion, but it would also result in service delays while techs spend time searching for the correct device.

When implementing an out-of-band management solution in a large enterprise network, it pays to plan carefully in order to account for the varying needs of diverse equipment sites. Once that problem is solved, the next issue is to make certain that all devices in your out-of-band management infrastructure can be controlled by a single enterprise management solution.

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