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10 Mar

Understanding the difference between resilience and redundancy to ensure uptime and business continuity

The distinction between network resilience and network redundancy may remain puzzling for many businesses, but the importance of understanding such differences is absolutely essential. While a resilient network may contain some redundancy, a redundant system isn’t always resilient to a competent standard.
Redundancy is a process through which alternate or additional instances of network devices, utilities and equipment are installed within the network infrastructure
and other elements such as backup generators, or alternate cooling circuits are brought in to support the smooth operation of the network.

Typically, a redundant network duplicates critical elements and devices that keep the network running, so that if one path fails, another can be used. That’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t solve the problem of business continuity – far from it. After all, if there’s a primary network failure or something goes wrong with any piece of equipment other than the redundant elements, the network remains down.

Just adding switches or routers won’t resolve this issue. If an engineer cuts through a cable, the network may go down no matter how much duplicate equipment is in place. Redundancy can often be expensive too. Unsurprisingly, organisations often baulk at spending large sums on data connections that will be idle most of the time.

Maximising uptime with resilience

If a business is serious about maximising network uptime, it has to go beyond redundant equipment. That’s where end to end resilience is so important. Resilience is all about recovering quickly to ensure that the company is operating normally soon after a network outage. Part of this is knowing there’s a problem in the first place. Many organisations today face issues in being able to quickly identify and remediate reliability or resilience issues. Again, redundancy on its own won’t deliver this awareness, but resilience can. Take a large organisation with a Network Operations Centre. They may have lots of offices around the world with attendant time zone issues. As a result, they may struggle to learn that an outage has even occurred because they’re not proactively notified if something goes offline. Even when they are aware, it may be difficult to understand which piece of equipment, at which location, has a problem if no one is onsite to physically check.

Dealing with outages

True network resilience is not just about providing resilience to a single piece of equipment, whether that be a router or core switch, for example. In a global economy, it’s important that any such solution can plug into all of the equipment at any data centre or edge site, map it and establish what’s online and offline at any given time.

This enables a system reboot to be quickly carried out remotely. And if that doesn’t work, it might well be that an issue with a software update that’s the root of the problem. With the latest smart out-of-band (OOB) management devices this can be readily addressed because an image of the core equipment and its configuration can be retained, and the device quickly rebuilt remotely without the need for an engineer visit. In the event of an outage, therefore, it’s possible to deliver network resilience via failover to cellular, while the original fault is remotely addressed, enabling business continuity even while the primary network is down. Building in resilience through the OOB approach is expensive, but it’s money well spent. You might use this alternate access path infrequently but when you need it, you really need it. Moreover, resilience is typically far cheaper than having to buy in large volumes of redundant equipment, for example. This is increasingly the case as the deployment of edge locations increases. An organisation may be able to afford redundancy at a core data centre, powering multiple businesses and processes, but that same redundancy can’t be built into every single data rack or data closet at a small remote location.

Maintaining continuity
So, network redundancy can help businesses mitigate the risk of unplanned outages and help ensure business continuity, but it doesn’t necessarily bring resilience. Simply implementing redundant equipment will never ensure that a business can get its full network ecosystem from core to edge up and running normally again quickly. Ultimately, it’s having that resilience in place that’s key to businesses. After all, networks are the fundamental backbone to the success of organisations today, and many businesses will benefit from bringing network resilience into the heart of their approach from the very outset.

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28 Jun

Virtual1 select Opengear to deliver resiliency to its network operations

Opengear, a leading provider of solutions that deliver secure, resilient network access and automation to critical IT infrastructure, has announced that Virtual1, a major UK network services wholesaler has selected Opengear’s Smart OOB platform to provide remote console connectivity across its growing UK network.

With a network spanning 180 cities and towns across the UK, Virtual1 is fast becoming the UK’s leading Digital Service Provider. Working exclusively for the wholesale markets, Virtual1 operates an advanced platform delivering high capacity, low latency networking which is also privately connected to market-leading UC, SIP and Cloud solutions.
Reliability is a vital attribute as Rich Adam, head of architecture for Virtual1 explains: “Our network reaches around 75% of UK businesses and the criticality of network and internet access means that any outage or disruption can be incredibly damaging. As such, we take monitoring, proactive maintenance and rapid problem resolution incredibly seriously.”

With major data centres located in the UK’s largest cities, Virtual1 also maintains hundreds of additional sites housing core routing and switching technology.“We have traditionally used Cisco consoles server for remote management but our rapid growth required us to become more streamlined across areas such as cabling, space and power footprint,” explains Adam, “After looking at the market, Opengear offered us the best long-term option for out-of-band (OOB) connectivity – especially around flexibility.”

Working closely with Flow Communications, a highly regarded Opengear partner; Virtual1 has deployed a resilient OOB architecture that uses secondary DSL circuits and even traditional modems to provide a triple layer of resilient IP based accessibility to key switches, servers and PDUs across its network.

“Flow Communications provided everything from 32 port Opengear units at our main datacentres all the way down to 4 port models at smaller sites,” explains Adam. “In terms of day-to-day usage, alongside out-of-band console server, we also use the Opengear devices for port mirroring during diagnostic activities. Over the years, Opengear has proven incredibly reliable and robust when it has been called upon.”

The Virtual1 core network comprises over 350 routers and switches deployed nationwide providing service via Gigabit and 10Gb ports passing 7.5M premises, delivering a potential 15Tbps of capability. This infrastructure is supplemented with the 300th recently installed Opengear ACM7000 Remote Site Gateway appliance.

“We have consistently delivered industry leading services through our innovative architecture and partner centric approach,” says Adam, “and our investing in network management technologies such as Opengear is part of a long-term commitment to ensure that we continue to meet our customers’ expectation for the best price, performance and reliability.”
Alan Stewart Brown, VP sales EMEA for Opengear added, “Virtual1 is a fantastic example of a market leader that recognises the importance of always-on availability. Opengear is delighted that Virtual1 chose our technology to deliver the scalability and flexibility they need – whether it’s a major data centre or smallest remote site.”

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28 Jun

Smart Out of Band – Remote Access to critical devices any time, even when the network goes down

With Opengear’s Smart Out of Band Solutions, your customers can remote access to their critical devices any time, anywhere, even when the network goes down.

With Opengear’s Lighthouse Centralised Management Software, allows single pane of glass platform that enables engineers to seamlessly connect and manage all devices remotely.

Download the latest brochure here from Opengear

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15 Dec

Did your customers handle the busiest time of year?

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for your Retail & Finance customers, so what happened if their IT network went down?

Did they have solutions in place enabling them to get their critical IT infrastructure back up and running quickly?

Connected customer services and 24-hour business models are putting increasing pressure on network infrastructures and are driving intelligence to the network edge.

As a result, the need for proactive monitoring and remediation are critical to maintaining operations.

With Opengear Smart Out-of-Band Management, your customers can deliver an always-on network with maximum uptime, with a solution that is quick to deploy, easy to manage and can scale to hundreds (or thousands) of branches and stores.

Industries who can benefit include retail, financial, healthcare, telecom and cloud services.

Watch the overview video https://youtu.be/1nINitbgaNo
Book an account mapping session today for your chance to win vouchers!

T: 0161 250 0930
E: team@mbtechnology.co.uk

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28 Sep
28 Sep
24 Mar

What is Smart Out-of-Band Management?

Smart OOB™ is out-of-band management, auto-response and remediation for network resilience raised to a new level

The continued exponential growth and increased complexity of IT infrastructure — M2M, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things — drives the need for smarter real-time decision-making, deeper data analysis, and more robust data storage at the network edge. The demand for always-on connectivity and resilience in the face of network failure events means that more is needed from out-of-band management. Rapid identification and remediation of connectivity issues between dispersed Internet-connected devices and remote infrastructure is critical.

Smart OOB out-of-band management with auto-response and remediation

Opengear delivers a new generation of remote management solutions to meet the growing necessities of always-on connectivity and resilience. By utilizing Opengear’s Smart OOB, businesses are able to monitor, access, and manage virtually any electronic device on their network — remotely and securely — from anywhere, even when the network is down. The unique combination of remote access and monitoring capabilities include auto-response and remediation, plus OOB over cell/dial and Failover to Cellular™ backup. All features are easily managed from a centralized console.

Out-of-band management is at the heart of network resilience, and Opengear continues to focus on Smart OOB solutions that keep critical infrastructure running by developing faster access and monitoring, with more efficient management and control, and wider decision-making options. By moving computation to the data, as opposed to moving data to the computation, Opengear gives businesses unmatched speed and effectiveness in managing remote devices.

Delivering resilience, remote troubleshooting and remediation to improve availability, uptime, and the efficiency of networks

Opengear provides automated remote management solutions that integrate the features needed to monitor, access, and control all critical infrastructure at all local and remote sites. From applications, computers and networking equipment, to security cameras, power supplies and door sensors Opengear ensures resilience, and does so intelligently. Smart OOB dashboards provide secure remote interaction with key data — such as statuses on power levels, network availability, server performance, temperature conditions, cage door positions, etc. — from any web interface, including via mobile phones and tablets.

Leveraging cellular for cost effectiveness

For many network environments, the traditional path to access network equipment has been through analog telephone lines.  The cost of service for analog lines becomes significant when managing a large number of devices and locations.  By leveraging an Opengear device’s embedded 4G LTE cellular, IT departments can free up budget by utilizing M2M data plans that may cost less than $10 per month.  The growing speed and reliability of 4G LTE also introduces a new level of confidence for admins when considering the need to access remote networks during a crisis.

Benefits

  • Ensure infrastructure is accessible from anywhere — even during system or network outage
  • Proactively detect faults before they become failures by monitoring everything including the physical environment
  • Faster recovery from network and IT failures with Failover to Cellular
  • Minimises disruption and downtime, providing the highest levels of business continuity

Watch the video

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