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The Road to Resilience webinar series kicked off with “Out-of-Band: More Than A Safety Net?” The discussion was hosted by Roy Chua, Principal at AvidThink, and featured Gary Marks, President of Opengear, and Todd Rychecky, VP Sales Americas.

The panel talked through several topics, covering the evolution of Out-of-Band management (OOB), considered OOB’s broader everyday use as the basis of a more resilient network, and finally discussed the value of implementing a coherent Network Resilience solution.

Here are some key ideas discussed in this webinar:

How Out-of-Band has Evolved.

After Roy had outlined some of the more public risks of a non-resilient network, Todd recalled the history of Out-of-Band management. He explained how it started out as simple terminal servers on point of service devices and grew to more complex console servers for admin access to serial ports. As networks grew, the drive for OOB shifted to network engineers who wanted out-of-band access to router switches and data centers. Cellular OOB adoption in the data center was another major shift. And now the movement of compute out to the network edge is driving out-of-band growth. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a mile away, a hundred miles away, or around the world. Networks need the same level of uptime, reliability, and resilience to respond to   any node, including IOT devices and sensors, autonomous vehicles, or perhaps someday soon, remote surgery. Network resilience is vital.

Liberate the Management Plane

Roy then asked Gary Marks to explain the importance of the management plane. Gary described how, in the early days of telecom, there was a separation of the data plane from the control plane and the management plane. But as networking expanded, there was a shift to purpose-built appliances with vendor-controlled hardware and software which brought these planes together. Over the last few years, with the introduction of SDN there’s been an effort to separate the data plane and the control plane and to have the ability to put the control plane in the cloud. But there’s still the issue of the management plane being captive. You can’t manage the network when the network goes down.

The idea of separating, or liberating, the management plane is to have an accessible network that allows you to remediate issues when there’s an interruption in the production network.

Gary Marks summed it up. “If you’re using the network to manage the network, you’re not truly resilient.  You need to separate the network management plane from the rest of your network. And to reach this level of network resilience, you need a complete platform that includes hardware and software to gain true liberation of the management plane from the production and data planes.”

Site Reliability and Network Resilience

Todd pointed out that, with more edge network points and remote data centers, truck rolls have become really expensive. These days, you might not even be able to fly somewhere to reach your remote locations. You really need to build resilience into the foundation at the very beginning, as opposed to trying to retrofit after problems occur.

Google have popularized the job role of Site Reliability Engineer (SRE), and Roy suggested that there is now potential for an equivalent role of Network Resilience Engineer as networks achieve a larger scale and more locations. Todd agreed, explaining that the SRE sits between the DevOps team and the network team, and is often the primary user of the out-of-band network. They are particularly interested in the introduction of more advanced features, such as the ability to run Docker containers and Python scripts.

Gary noted that Opengear has been following the evolution of Devops into Netops, and is reflecting that with the new NetOps Console Server and added capabilities to the Lighthouse software. The added benefit of network reliability engineering plays to this NetOps evolution.

The Road to Resilience

This was the first in the series of webinars which will feature a variety of panelists discussing the latest approaches to Network Resilience.

If you weren’t able to attend but would like to view the recording, be sure to check out the video here.

Watch the Webinar