How much for out-of-band management?

Cisco is the worldwide leader for routers and switches, both in revenue and the number of ports sold.  Everyone understands the quality and value obtained when purchasing Cisco gear, but let’s take a look at the cost of deploying a Cisco solution to perform remote out-of-band management for IT equipment.

The Cisco 2900 Integrated Services Router has a modular design with EHWIC slots that allow unique chassis configurations for different environments.

Cisco Cost Compare

Many people starting out in networking have grown accustomed to deploying Cisco 2900 routers for other applications such as access servers for labs.  However network engineers have realized the product is perfect for straightforward routing applications, but is not a robust solution for other functions such as out-of-band management.  EHWIC cards and difficult software configurations for security and fail-over scenarios force users into a complex configuration beyond the core product design.  And then there is the cost . . .

Let’s look at the system complexity and cost for a 16-port console server design with 3G wireless and v.92 modem capabilities. The cost analysis shows that the Cisco console server is roughly twice as expensive as the comparable Opengear IM4200 series.

Out-of-band management includes unique requirements that are not focal points for large switch and router providers.  The “must-have” features for managing remote equipment include modem capabilities, cellular access (both 3G and 4G LTE), and conditional-based fail-over; however, none of these features are properly addressed in a router chassis.   This is the primary reason out-of-band systems from providers such as Cisco are cobbled together from existing systems.  The Opengear IM4200 series provides a purpose built solution that seamlessly handles the daily connection issues revolved around managing remote IT equipment .

Cisco is the world leader in routers and switches because of their superior performance and high quality products.  However, standardizing Cisco equipment to perform unique operations such as out-of-band management may not be the best strategy.  In addition to the complex initial provisioning and ongoing maintenance, large procurement costs required to customize equipment has left many network engineers with regrets.