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Top Tier Data Centre Access Control

Opengear : 16 August, 2011  (Application Story)
German internet storage and web application company uses Opengear appliances for secure access control
STRATO Germany is using Opengear IM4200 series appliances to provide a flexible yet resilient secure console access platform to complement and replace legacy devices.

STRATO AG was founded in Berlin in 1997 and is now a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG. Over the last 14 years, it has quickly grown to become the second largest European provider of Internet storage and web applications with some 1.4 million customer contracts, 4 million domain names and more than 40,000 servers under management.

STRATO operates from two separate high-performance computing centers in Germany and was the first major European web host to receive internationally coveted German Technical Control Board ISO 27001 compliance, mandating strict information security management requirements. The ISO 27001 certification was awarded by the independent German testing organisation TÜV SÜD, for the reliability of its computing centres, security and data availability.

The Opengear IM4248-2’s out-of-band administration features give STRATO operators secure SSH access to rack server serial consoles, regardless of their primary network state.  Integration with existing rack power equipment allows direct hot-key control of power unit outlets from inside the console session, for swift problem remediation and to further safeguard availability.

STRATO have deployed IM4248-2 appliances specified with a Cyclades compatible serial pinout, allowing drop in replacement of legacy console servers. The Opengear IM4200 range of console servers is offered with three pinout options, including Cisco compatible RJ45 ports for connecting straight through to Cisco console ports without the need for adapters.

Each appliance features 16GB flash storage for audit trail logs and configuration backup, as well as extensive monitoring and alerting capabilities including serial data stream pattern-match notification to allow for proactive problem detection and resolution. Powered by a robust Linux core, the IM4200 series open source platform enables users to install custom scripts, custom alerts and embedded security agents, for a flexible solution that can be adapted as requirements evolve.

“If you talk to administrators within large data center environments, many have need of custom scripts to automate a range of tasks including troubleshooting, reporting and provisioning. Other proprietary console server offerings frustrate administrators by disallowing scripts and root access, drastically limiting their value,” explains Robert Waldie, VP Business Development for Opengear.

Waldie points out that the licensing model of certain manufacturers effectively charges for scripts dressed up as “additional features”, or via a “per managed device” cost model, meaning customers often end up paying “a lot extra” for relatively simple customisations or to connect additional devices. Opengear sells its hardware using a flat fee pricing model, offering a 4 year warranty as standard, free technical support and lifetime firmware updates, without forcing a maintenance contract.

“Giving our customers access to the core operating system allows them to tailor solutions to meet their individual needs and is a fundamental part of our open system philosophy.” He adds.
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