Out-of-Band Management – Part 1: What, Why, Where and When?

A 2019 Update

Back in 2016 Lantronix looked at the Out-of-Band Management (OOBM) trend and provided some insightful observations to help Chief Networking Officers and Branch Network Managers keep up with the latest changes and options for OOBM. So we felt with the explosion of connected devices in 2019 to over 50 billion, the increase in unmanned remote sites, and the advancing deployment of cloud-based capabilities, it was time to take another look at Out-Of-Band Management solutions and its impact on IT and Branch Office Managers.

Every Chief Networking Officer(CNO) and Branch Network Manager(BNM) knows that at some point, networks will be offline and they need a way to be brought back online. Outages are a fact of life in the world of infrastructure equipment: some are preventable, some are not, and sometimes Mother Nature decides to give us a challenge!

According to Uptime Institute Research 2019, CNO’s surveyed saw potential outages as neither rare nor declining, and 31% experienced serious downtime over the past year, and 80% surveyed saw their service outages as preventable.[1] Unplanned downtime is expensive in terms of revenue loss, customer dissatisfaction, and repair costs, Gartner estimates that downtime cost is as much as $5600 for each minute. [2]

OOBM

What is Out-of-Band Management and Why Should the CNO Care About It?

The simplest definition of Out of Band Management is that it provides a secondary channel of communication to access and control infrastructure assets of the production network. In most cases, this production network is based on Ethernet connection, but it could also include devices using InfiniBand or fiber, whereas OOBM uses console servers, cellular, POTS, broadband, or even MPLS.

It is also essential your OOBM solution provides access from anywhere, anytime, and from any platform such as your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Afterall, Network Admins are very mobile people and require the ability to receive alert notifications no matter where they are. Also, they need to be able respond and remediate from anywhere and from whatever platform is most convenient. Ideally this level of accessibility should be from a single-pane-of-glass cloud-based SaaS solution.

As the name would imply, the primary use-case for Out-Of-Band Management is access and control of the network infrastructure, such as incidents involving unplanned downtime. OOBM channels should be 100% dedicated to preserving 24/7 uptime of your network. The type of network infrastructure assets requiring OOBM includes mission-critical routers, switches, servers, storage, and telecom appliances that serve as the backbone of companies’ communication framework.

Where and When do you need Out-of-Band Management?

Out of Band Management is a core capability that every data center and remote site should have to improve overall uptime and remote access to allow for quick response times to remediation efforts and network repairs to reduce and even mitigate outages. However, not every IT asset needs to have OOB management. So when you are planning your OOBM requirements, you need to consider the following questions:

  1. What equipment requires 24/7 visibility and access?
  2. What and how many OOBM connectivity options (local and remote) do I require?
  3. How can I use OOBM to reduce or avoid sending staff to remote sites?
  4. What type of security does my remote management solution require?
  5. What type of forensic logging and analysis data do I require?
  6. Do I need to provide disaster recovery support via remote management?
  7. Does the device on the OOBM network require a CLI (command line interface) or a GUI (graphical user interface)?
  8. How can I scale, or improve my OOBM management solution in the future?
  9. What are my bandwidth requirements during an OOMB scenario?
  10. Does my OOBM solution offer fail-over to OOBM and fail-back to my production network?

If you need assistance in determining your OOBM requirements, please call the Lantronix Sales Team at (800) 422-7055.

Not all OOBM requirements are the same, and we are sensitive to meeting your current workflow OOBM needs as well as guiding you into best-practice OOBM solutions.

Our top Smarter than Smart Out of Band Management Products

Lantronix SLC 8000: Advanced Console Manager – advanced console manager that provides secure access to IT equipment

Lantronix EMG Edge Management Gateway – perfect edge solution for anywhere an offsite network device is needed, and space is limited

Lantronix SLB: Branch Office Manager – a hybrid appliance combining a console server and a PDU for branch offices and remote sites

Lantronix ConsoleFlow™ – cloud-based centralized management SaaS solution for console managers with powerful automation, notifications, and smartphone app

Since 1989, Lantronix has been at the forefront of providing IT administrators with innovative Out of Band Management (OOBM) solutions. Lantronix is the manufacturer of the SLC 8000, the industry’s first advanced modular console manager, which delivers secure, scalable, and high availability OOBM and robust management capabilities. Today, the SLC 8000 is used in some of the world’s most demanding IT infrastructure environments, including Fortune 500 data center and test and development environments.

[1] Uptime Institute Research survey – June 2018

[2] Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking – July 2018