Out-of-Band Management Key Design Principles

June 15, 2021

Written by Uplogix

As enterprise networks become highly complex combined with an increasing expectation of little or no downtime, organizations are implementing out-of-band network management to have access to assets even when networks are failing.

Because out-of-band systems provide organizations with many benefits, such as reduced downtime, testing accuracy, reduction in labor costs, and an increase in real-time system functionality, the design of these systems is critical. Out-of-band networks that provide the highest level of functionality are those networks that are carefully designed with the entire organization considered in the planning process.

When considering designing an out-of-band network management system that is both cost-efficient and effective, a technical team must first consider which elements or components need to be managed and what is necessary for that access. The primary considerations that the technical team must address in the design process are:

  1. What kind of visibility do I need? 
  2. Do I need access beyond the command-line interface (CLI)? 
  3. Once I have the access, do I need the ability to transfer data? 

If you have a large enterprise with thousands of critical assets, it is not feasible to include every enterprise device in an out-of-band management system configuration. So, while designing your solution, it's essential to examine your infrastructure and identify the most critical assets in the environment.

Along with identifying the assets, another crucial component in the design process is understanding the critical path to support and manage those systems remotely. It is also important not to overlook services, applications, middleware, and other software while designing your solution, as these can be critical enterprise assets as well. Some other considerations when analyzing what assets are included in an out-of-band system you may want to consider can fall into the following areas:

  • Does the asset directly influence revenue generation?
  • Does the asset constitute a single-point-of-failure and act as a transport, security, or access device?
  • Does the asset control packet distribution or storage of critical information?

Finally, you must consider how the out-of-band solution will be configured into your physical network. Isolating the out-of-band network device is essentially the definition of what out-of-band technology means. When designing your solution, the top considerations regarding the hardware are:

Isolation: out-of-band networks should not overlap with other networks, especially production or critical networks.

Security: the more impenetrable you can make the out-of-band network to anyone except authorized personnel is ideal. Requiring multi-factor authentication by the most secure links available is best practice.

Availability: without exception, out-of-band networks must be up and running when you need them most, so the components and connections must be highly reliable and resilient in the face of outages and failures.

While several more areas should be addressed, these core design practices are the essential components needed to plan an effective out-of-band network management system. Every organization is unique, so it is necessary to decide what is core to your environment and design an out-of-band network management system that works for you. Following standard principles will always ensure and provide the most optimal out-of-band management system.

At Uplogix, our team follows best practices and principles for out-of-band management network design. Pay a visit, and we can help you transition and implement a successful out-of-band management network infrastructure. If you're still not sure, request a demo.

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