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BackApril 19, 2022
Author: Tom Daly

Out of Band Datacenter Networking Solved…by Big Network

Introduction

The team at Big Network comes from the world of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Building high availability services for customers requires that you build your network and services on a solid foundation, and we believe that one of those foundations is your out-of-band (OOB) access network. An out-of-band access network provides remote access to your core infrastructure, independent of your typical production data plane, so that if something goes wrong, you can access, recover, and repair your infrastructure. Lack of an available out of band network can mean you’re heading to the datacenter in the middle of the night, or flying across the world.

Constructing a robust OOB access network means taking the time to design, deploy, and maintain parallel infrastructure to your main production network. Often this goes underinvested and underappreciated, until an outage strikes. OOB networks take all shapes and sizes; 20 years ago the industry used dial-up modems for OOB; 10 years ago T-1s and leased lines were used; today data centers offer IP transit service for OOB, and some folks even use LTE/5G modems. The key challenge is maintaining and securing that parallel network.

New challenges

In the dial-up era, I wrote scripts to command a centrally located modem to dial out to every POP I was responsible for once per week to know that our OOB network was working. Funny things happen to dial up networks; modems die, modems lock up, providers rip out your POTS lines for no reason, bills get missed and forgotten to be paid, etc. It takes regular testing to have confidence that your dial-up OOB network is working!

The era of T-1 and leased lines comes with different complexities - namely more equipment and configuration. Depending on the network design, a ring or mesh topology requires routing protocols like RIP or OSPF to be deployed. Simpler topologies such as hub and spoke may not require dynamic routing, but they offer less resiliency to outages.

Finally, the world of broadband lines, such as cable, DSL, DIA, and LTE/5G offer the most flexibility, but can be hampered by device compatibility, dynamic IP addresses NATs, firewalls, and configuration complexity.

Our solution — Edge Pro

Edge Pro is a phenomenal cloud managed device to help you build your OOB network. Here’s some things we do to make life easy:

  • Edge Pro is a cloud managed device. As long as Edge Pro has an active Internet connection, you can remotely configure, upgrade, and manage the device.
  • 10/100/1000 Mbit/sec copper interfaces AND 1G/10G SFP+ fiber interfaces offer you flexible WAN connectivity options.
  • Intelligent NAT / CGNAT traversal works around dynamic IP addresses, NATs, and firewalls with zero configuration.
  • Multi-WAN support means you get high availability for your OOB network instantly.
  • Fully meshed SD-WAN functionality means that active and failover paths are automatically built and monitored for availability.
  • Remotely configurable NAT and DHCP functionality means lights out and hands off deployments in the datacenter.
  • Remote access is enabled for your team with Big Apps for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, and Android; keeping your team connected to your critical infrastructure anywhere in the world anytime of the day.

Deployment of Edge Pro for OOB networking is simple to do. Define your Cloud Network to link your data centers and remote team members together. Deploy Edge Pro and on-board your device from the Cloud. Bridge your Cloud Network into physical LAN ports as needed. Deploy NAT and DHCP as required. Use Big Apps to connect. Sit back and watch Big Network monitor and maintain your network. Done.

We invite you to learn a bit more about Edge Pro and our SD-WAN solution. If you’d like to learn more, schedule a demo with us, and we can tell you all about it.