Introduction to Remote Diagnostics for Network Systems

By: Jimi St Pierre
One of the positive signs of company growth is the proliferation of branch office and additional remote locations. This growth is clearly to be welcomed, but also can present great challenges to IT teams.

In addition to controlling business data centres and functions, IT teams are increasingly taking on the additional responsibility of managing and repairing branch office hardware such as routers, switches, firewalls, WAN optimisers and servers.

Employees working in these remote locations generally are not employed with IT skills in mind, and so often there are no individuals available to manage any problems which arise.

To overcome this challenge, many IT teams use remote diagnostic software to diagnose and repair branch office problems.

In addition to such software, Keyboard, Video, Mouse switches
A major snag with such tools is that they are only useful if the operating systems and network are functioning. If the network or operating system is down, an on-site employee might be asked to go to the server room/location and deal with the problem. If that doesn't work, then additional costs in travel, time, and lost business is very likely to be the result.

Thus, in addition to regular remote diagnostic software and skills, it becomes important to plan for such eventualities.

If the system failure requires an update to the network driver, network configuration on a server, or any operating system reboot or patch, then it is not possible to use a network-based server or network-based application to complete the task. This is where so called "Out-of-Band" access and control tools should be understood and considered.

Out-of-Band (OOB) technologies can provide an alternate method for accessing and restoring failed equipment on any network system. This is done essentially because OOB technologies provide the capability to eliminate any dependency on the main or control network. By using a comprehensive alternative OOB network (which is made up of serial products, consoles, switches and a management platform) , organizations are able to achieve greater reliability for their IT - in-house and remote - assets, while bringing greater productivity to the main network.
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