Out of Band Management, the ultimate Cyber-Resilience within a Data Centre

EBRC data centers
By S. Lambotte 22/03/2019
Banking, Insurance & Fintech
Health & Life Sciences
Public Sector & European Institutions
Defense & Space
Technology & Software Providers
Energy, Logistics & Industry

By integrating Out of Band Management technology with the RAHI-ZPE partners at the heart of its Data Centres, EBRC eliminates residual “Single Points of Failure” in order to guarantee an optimal level of availability for stakeholders’ systems and improve Cyber-Resilience.

Although Data Centres make extensive use of equipment redundancy to ensure the resilience of the hosted systems, infrastructures still have some SPOF (Single Points of Failure) that can affect their availability rates. By implementing “Out of Band Management” (OOB) technology, EBRC intends to eliminate those SPOF and provide its customers with an additional and optimal level of availability.

Eliminating the residual risk that can affect the business

OOB technology makes it possible to keep control of the active components of the network, even if the latter should fail. “Despite all the security measures adopted to ensure a high level of resilience, some weaknesses remain and create a minimal residual risk for business continuity, said Michel Ackerman, Business Consultant at EBRC. Those weaknesses are most often located in the active elements of the network. As an example, a firewall experiencing a partial failure could render its entire cluster inoperative, causing a loss of accessibility to the platform. In such cases, a physical reboot of the equipment is required. If that operation requires human on-site intervention, the resolution time may be incompatible with the platform user’s business requirements. Anticipating this kind of event using various technologies is the aim of Out of Band Management technology.”

Avoiding paralysis and improving Cyber-Resilience

Several large companies around the world, including major European banks, have already faced situations in which access to the network is impossible. The systems’ users and administrators are paralysed as a result. “The only way of remedying this situation involves a physical intervention in each Data Centre concerned in order to reboot the failing components, said Michel Ackerman. Such an intervention, which depends on the teams’ intervention and travel times, may cause a business impact exceeding the company’s accepted tolerance depending on its industry and the application in question. However, high availability is becoming the standard in a digital and interconnected economic environment. Out of Band Management is therefore positioned as a crucial technological building block of Cyber-Resilience.”

Maintaining control over the equipment in all circumstances

EBRC and RAHI Systems, integrator of the ZPE Systems technology, now offer an original solution to cover the residual risks associated with IT infrastructure management. “Out of Band Management makes it possible to remotely control components that are considered critical, said Bruno Paolini, Director Europe at RAHI Systems (see picture). Its aim is to enable administrators to access critical infrastructures through the ‘NodeGrid Services Routers’ by using a parallel communication service (Internet, MPLS, 4G, etc.). Thanks to this OOB infrastructure, it is possible to use a remote administration console with an ‘HTML5’ interface to carry out operations that previously required an on-site intervention, such as activating/deactivating, reconfiguring or monitoring a given active component (firewall, router, Load-Balancer, network, server, storage array, PDU, and many others).”

Improving the maintenance service and reducing human error

In addition to avoiding time-consuming travel, its ergonomics provide the added benefit of reducing the probability of human error and optimising maintenance operations. “The CRM interface linked to the Out of Band Management solution enables the manager to access the 360° overview of all components in the network, making it easier to target remote interventions in the event of a problem, while also making it possible to more easily carry out several maintenance operations on those components, said Bruno Paolini. In addition, the open architecture developed in an Open Source world under Linux/Intel adds a potential for automation for more proactivity in order to prevent rather than cure.”

A recognized and proven technology

“The benefits offered by OOB within infrastructures is such that the world’s leading stakeholders of the Internet and the world of Finance have adopted it, said Bruno Paolini, thus making the platforms within their many Data Centres accessible and remotely operable in all circumstances.”

Out of Band Management Cyber-Resilience available from EBRC “as a Service”

EBRC now integrates this technology in its own Data Centres, “we are the first to offer this technology ‘As a Service’, said Michel Ackerman. We have invested in the infrastructure and are taking advantages offered by the management interface in terms of multi-tenant segmentation and segregation in order to share it with our customers. The cost to users will be based on the number of components they decide to manage using these tools, in OPEX mode.”