During my all too brief visit to Interop in New York last year, I did a quick tour of the expo hall to see if there were any interesting products around. I followed Greg Ferro’s suggestion which, to paraphrase, is to seek out the booths around the edge of the show in preference to the huge booths in the middle of the floor, because the small booths around the outside are more likely to be the startups with interesting products.
Towards the end of my “small booth” tour, I bumped into some familiar faces at the Opengear booth. I first heard of OpenGear at Networking Field Day 4 where they impressed me with the flexibility of their console server products, though to call the products “console servers” rather understates some of the product capabilities which can include RPS control, TTL I/O, GPS and 3G cellular capabilities. If you haven’t seen these products before I would encourage you to look at some of my other posts about OpenGear.
New for OpenGear at Interop was their CM7100 Console Server.
There’s not a lot going on on the front panel of the device, but as you’d probably expect, the back panel is a little busier:
So what do we have here? Well, it’s a 48-port console server. Like the other OpenGear products, you get full access to the console server, and if you have particular interesting needs there’s a CDK (Custom Development Kit) if you want to roll your own firmware. The serial ports are Cisco pinout which is the de facto standard these days, and there are dual Ethernet connections for management, in addition to dual power supplies on this particular model. Plug in EMD5000–02 devices and you can connect sensors that can monitor door opening and environmentals as well.
So far this sounds like a number of other terminal servers out there, though if you read my previous posts you’ll know that I think the OpenGear devices are easy to manage and extremely flexible, which is a differentiator to some of the other offerings. That is not, though, the big selling point of this console server.
Let’s look at a nominally comparable console server – the Avocent ACS6048. List price for the 6048 is around $8,500, though a quick search shows a street price in the region of $5000, which includes a two year warranty. OpenGear’s CM7100 on the other hand – with dual AC power supplies – has a list price of $3,345, and comes with four years of standard warranty cover.
That’s pretty impressive. You can see the prices for the whole range, which includes 48 port, 32 port and 16 port options with single or dual AC power supplies, plus all the accesories on the CM7100 page on OpenGear’s website. I really do like companies that put the list pricing right out there so you know what you’re dealing with; certain other vendors might consider doing the same.
Finally, the CM7100 can be managed with your other OpenGear products using the Lighthouse product, which I reviewed in 2013 in its previous life as VCMS; you’ll want to try a more recent version though as I’m sure it will have moved on in the last two years.
My 10 Bits
If I were in the market for a console server right now, I would have to put OpenGear on the list. The price point is extremely attractive, and my previous experience of OpenGear’s operating system is very positive. I don’t know how they got the price down this low, but I’m impressed. One for the shopping list, I think.
No disclosures, really, but I wanted to make it clear that I attended Interop as a guest of Tech Field Day Xtra, and that OpenGear didn’t have any involvement in that activity.