Opengear's all-in-one appliance combines service processor aggregation, serial console, and environmental monitoring at a nice price
I love a good homebrew as much as anyone, but many folks forget that with roll-your-own projects, long-term support is part of the total cost of ownership. Although a custom machine can cost next to nothing (just recycle an old machine and a couple of NICs), you'd have to spend a goodly amount of time to document it well enough that someone could pick up where you left off. Opengear's system provides a very clean way of providing secure remote access to your management interfaces (via serial or Ethernet) while not loading you down with bells and whistles you might not need.
All in all, the Opengear Infrastructure Manager is a very green choice whereby you can replace several power-hungry devices while still providing greater depth to your systems monitoring capabilities. Toss in little extras like Nagios central monitoring support, TACACs+ authentication for user access, and optional 48-volt DC power supplies for telecom applications and you have the little box that could.
Opengear Infrastructure Manager (IM4200 Series)
|Pros||Inexpensive for all the functionality and flexibility it gives you. Replaces four power-hungry boxes, so very green. Provides greater monitoring depth for not a lot of hassle. Provides easy-to-use SSH client for Windows.|
|Cons||It's a gateway for accessing service processors, but doesn't make service processors any easier to use. It's not easy to explain to your manager. If you're not using SDT Connector on a Windows machine, there is a higher expectation of user sophistication.|
|Cost||$1,295 with 8 serial ports (IM4208), $1,695 with 16 serial ports (IM4216), and $2,595 with 48 serial ports (IM4248)|
|Platforms||Reasonably platform-independent. The SDT Connector client is available only for Windows, but non-Windows users can use SSH and Web.|
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