Out-of-band management offers businesses a cost-effective, secure and efficient solution. It helps ensure a high level of IT infrastructure performance and productivity by meeting the demand for uninterrupted service availability.
If an IT asset loses its network connection, systems management applications alert the administrator that the asset is no longer available; but because these applications depend on the network infrastructure to manage assets, they cannot provide specific details about the problem, only that the asset is no longer connected. As a result, the traditional approach for restoring assets to the network requires the physical presence of a technician at the asset, regardless of whether the asset is located in the data center or at a remote site. Specifically, a technician must go to the problem device with either a crash cart or a laptop, physically plug into that asset to diagnose the problem and finally restore the IT asset to the network. This process is both expensive and time-consuming, and defines the term "local IT management."
Remote IT management can be realized through the use of out-of-band management tools, which provide secure, alternate paths to remotely access, monitor and manage IT assets throughout the network infrastructure. If an IT asset goes down, out-of-band management tools can remotely restore it to the network infrastructure, where it can be managed back to productivity in the shortest time possible. Out-of-band management tools minimize the need for local management and site visits, dramatically reducing the time and operational costs needed to bring IT assets back online.
Out-of-band Management Tools
Out-of-band management software provides consolidated access, change management and configuration management for disparate out-of-band management tools like serial console servers, KVM switches, power management appliances and service processor managers. It also provides the capability to manage diverse IT assets connected to these out-of-band tools from a single consolidated view. The management software also provides the scalability needed to meet the demands of the largest enterprises.
Serial console servers provide remote access to the serial management ports included on some servers and other network IT assets (routers, switches, cables, firewalls, etc.) rather than depending on the network connection.
KVM switches or KVM over IP switches access servers through keyboard, video and mouse ports to provide access as if the administrator were physically present.
Intelligent power distribution units (IPDUs) provide the ability to power on and off remote equipment for operational control or recovery from software/hardware failures.
Service processor managers provide consolidated, centralized access to the service processors embedded on the computer's motherboard. These operate separately from the main CPU, enabling administrators to access, monitor and manage the hardware components of servers. Service processor managers also allow administrators to reboot servers whether or not the main processor or the operating system is operational. Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), HP Integrated Lights Out (iLO) and Sun Advanced Lights Out Management (ALOM) are examples of established service processor technologies.