Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Locally managing inline devices with Uplogix

Inline devices like intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and WAN acceleration are a common part of most network setups today. While these applications have become critical to network operations, they also pose a critical point of failure based on their location, often between layers 2 and 3 in the network topology.

Network-independent local monitoring

Uplogix local management is especially valuable for inline devices. With more frequent polling than traditional SNMP methods (by default Uplogix polls at 30 second increments), Uplogix is able to gather more granular diagnostic data. Since an Uplogix Local Manager device sits with managed gear, but connects over a serial console port instead of over the network, the management is persistent whether the network is up or down.

Local management is also able to target specific performance data, such as packet loss both in- and out of a device. This is important for isolating a problem and determining root cause.

Automated actions from device data

Going beyond monitoring, Uplogix is able to take actions to resolve incidents based on pre-approved guidelines. For example, your run book might call for an inline device to be immediately bypassed in the event of a failure to ensure traffic continues to flow. Uplogix could recognize a device problem and push a config change to the router and switch allowing them to bypass the inline device.

In larger organizations, responsibilities for different network layers and devices might be distributed across multiple people or groups. With the capability to specifically monitor each device from a local perspective and take action reduces the "mean time to innocence," or the idea that sometimes devices (and by extension, their admins) are guilty until proven innocent. Being able to conclusively say that a problem isn't your fault potentially has a high value. This situation is also important and has clear financial implications when it comes to meeting SLAs.

Stay in contact, know device status
Finally, intensive monitoring and automated recovery is important, but organizations still need to know what's going on. Uplogix feeds centralized tools device data and state both in- and out-of-band. This means existing NSM tools and procedures can continue to function, but with more robust information. In the case of the network being down, Uplogix will continue to report on each device, creating an accurate picture in the NOC of exactly where the problem is (and isn't) located.

This out-of-band link to network devices is also available for secure, two-way communication for events that require hands-on troubleshooting. When there is a problem, admins can get access quickly to remote devices over the console port -- just as if they were connecting directly to it from a laptop.

Fall inline with local management

The benefits of devices like intrusion prevention and WAN acceleration are critical to today's networks. Local management allows you to experience the benefits of these tools without incurring all of risk of adding another device in your network's critical path.