Cyclades AlterPath Manager E200

Suggested Improvement

The APM is advertised as a way to unify management of various devices Cyclades produces. These include Power Management (PM Series), KVM (Keyboard Video and Mouse switches over IP) and ACS (Console Management). At this time, there is no integration for PM or KVM devices other than to connect and manage them individually through their console ports. According to Cyclades, future releases of the APM software will include tightly integrated support for PM and KVM ports. Right now, the APM is targeted mainly at managing serial console ports.

One other wish-list feature I would like to see is some ability for the APM to do all the initial configuration of a new ACS/TS unit. I would like to be able to unbox a new, factory-fresh ACS, plug it in to the APM's private network or AUX serial port and have the APM do the configuration from the ground up.

Conclusion

The APM does a great job at unifying configuration of Cyclades' various serial console management devices. It also provides a global naming system for console ports, a truly valuable feature. Overall, the APM is a good product, comprising well-designed hardware and software. Some issues should be addressed by the designers as stated above, but these do not affect the overall usability of the device. The security issues I listed above can be worked around by not allowing local shell access to non-administrative users. The APM can manage a maximum of 2,048 console ports (or 42 ACS 48-port units), with a maximum of 256 ports in use at any one time.

Matthew Hoskins is a Senior Linux/UNIX System Administrator for The New Jersey Institute of Technology where he maintains many of the corporate administrative systems. He enjoys trying to get wildly different systems and software working together, usually with a thin layer of Perl (locally known as MattGlue). When not hacking systems, he often can be found hacking in the kitchen. Matt can be reached at matt@njit.edu.

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