Opengear, a leading provider of solutions that deliver secure, resilient network access and automation to critical IT infrastructure, has announced CSC – IT Center for Science Ltd, a Finnish centre of expertise in Information and Communications Technology, has deployed Opengear Smart Out-of-band appliances to streamline a major upgrade project and improve day-to-day remote management.
CSC, a non-profit organisation with 70% ownership by the state of Finland and 30% controlled by Finnish higher education institutions, provides services for research, education, culture, public administration and enterprises to help them thrive and benefit society at large. CSC’s primary customers are the Ministry of Education and Culture and organisations within its field of operations, higher education and research institutes and public administration sector.
As Antti Ristimäki, Senior Network Specialist for CSC, explained: “Getting from our data centres to some of the sites we look after might take many hours and so having remote out-of-band access is vital for us.” CSC has used a legacy out-of-band (OOB) console server solution for several years, but with a major network upgrade planned for 2018-2020, it was decided that more flexibility was needed to help the small networking team support clients at around 40 sites spread across the country.
“What we liked most about Opengear was its small footprint and high-quality software, along with the 4G mobile connectivity option which provides us with the opportunity to deploy the OOB console server at site before we have any working in-band access,” said Ristimäki.
CSC has already deployed Opengear ACM7004-5-LMR – Resilience Gateway appliances at around 10 locations across the country, which were initially used to help remotely configure networking equipment at sites connecting to its newly upgraded backbone network. Having a remote access server at distant locations makes it easier to reliably commission and configure new network equipment from its main offices at Espoo and Kajaani. At the final stage, there will be around 40 Opengear Resilience Gateway appliances across the country.
“Setting up the devices took very little time and we are now remotely managing the process – which has proved surprisingly simple using 4G LTE and even 3G connections,” Ristimäki added.
The built-in CLI tools provided by the Opengear software have proven to be useful, especially when commissioning the console server itself. Through this accessibility, CSC has integrated the management of its Opengear Smart OOB devices into its own internally developed network management and orchestration platform based on Ansible. CSC is also using Opengear to help record and in the event of any problems, rollback critical firmware upgrades and configuration changes for core networking elements at remote sites.
As more critical sites are added to the network, Ristimäki is impressed with its switch to Opengear Smart OOB. “The Opengear appliances are small, easy to deploy and we haven’t had a single issue with reliability. It is also very nice to be able to implement the ‘Call Home’ functionality over IPv6. The hardware has proven perfect for our needs and we will continue rolling them out to every site we look after over the upcoming months,” he concluded.
Alan Stewart-Brown, VP Sales EMEA for Opengear, added: “The implementation of Opengear technology at CSC is a great example of the transformative benefits that our smart out-of-band appliances with cellular connectivity can have on both large-scale projects and day-to-day operations. As organisations move towards hybrid IT with more centralised technical teams, the ability to securely manage remote infrastructure is now a vital capability that is delivering tangible advantages in terms of reliability, security and cost.”