The new AlterPath OnSite package, to be announced this week at the Interop show here, allows IT operators working from a central location to remotely upgrade, configure and administer patches to routers, switches, firewalls and servers located at remote sites when those resources are not directly accessible because of catastrophic failures.
The aim of the new offering is to greatly reduce technicians number of visits to remote sites for maintenance and repair of systems when there is no local IT presence.
"Retail or financial firms have just as much of an issue keeping up branch routers as they do in the data center," said Mark Harris, vice president of product marketing at Cyclades Corp., in Fremont, Calif. "Often technicians will try to talk through branch managers or lead tellers to try to bring a router back online—or they have to roll a truck out to the branch,"
"With the same OOBI [out-of-band infrastructure] family, weve packaged KVM and serial [console server] in a way that we can deploy it to connect that one Windows server, router, firewall and storage device [in the branch], and that can connect to the rest of the OOBI infrastructure from Cyclades. We can scale it to 1,000 branches," he added.
By comprising serial console servers, KVM (keyboard, video and mouse switch) analog and KVM-over-IP switches, intelligent power distribution units, service processor managers, and blade managers controlled by a central manager, OOBI provides access to and control of IT resources otherwise not available due to catastrophic failures.
The technology—also provided by competitors such as Avocent Corp., Lantronix Inc. and Digi International—is intended to help reduce the cost of system and network failures by reducing the manual labor involved in troubleshooting and restoration.
The technology has the potential to be used as a more "mainstream management mechanism," said Dennis Drogseth, vice president at Enterprise Management Associates in Portsmouth, N.H.
"Down the road, you will see it being used for mainstream management. It takes the stress off the production network. We are suggesting this area will be used to increasingly provide more broad-brush information for management," he said.
AlterPath OnSite supports the same security standards as Cyclades existing AlterPath System offerings, including authentication based on RADIUS, TACACs+, LDAP and Kerberos. It also provides authorization functions such as restricted user-access lists and adds IP packet and security filtering, as well as support for IP Security and auditing.
AlterPath OnSite also extends Cyclades unique list of connectivity options, including Ethernet, dial-up analog modem, CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) wireless access and fiber access, according to Harris.
The new OpenView integration module allows an operator to access, diagnose and restore disconnected IT resources from within an OpenView window.
"By clicking on an asset thats failed on the OpenView screen, they can go out-of-band to bring that asset back up," Harris said. With the Cyclades OOBI, "we let them remotely plug into the failed device, and they can restart it."
The new AlterPath OnSite offering is due in June and starts at $3,295 for an eight-port unit that includes four serial console ports and four KVM-over-IP ports. The AlterPath Integrator for HP OpenView is available in July starting at $9,995 for 1U systems and $14,995 for 2U systems.