Remote Connection Manager (Remote CM)

Remote Network Monitoring

Today’s corporate networks are geographically diverse which presents a number of problems when monitoring them across the Internet from a centralized monitoring location:

  1. High security is a high concern when using non-dedicated “pipes” on the Internet. Typically full period VPNs are used. However, VPNs are prone to connection failures that often require manual intervention, add additional data overhead to low bandwidth WAN circuits, and have a high cost of implementation in a larger collection of remote LANs.
  2. Round-trip network latency limits the frequency of polls performed by the Connection Manager’s polling protocol providers, sometimes to unacceptably low periodicity.
  3. Many protocols that interact with network elements are verbose, requiring high bandwidth between the remote LAN and the centralized NOC (Network Operation Center) or monitoring location. When the connection is across a VPN, the data received often contains a large percentage of messages that are of no interest in monitoring the remote network. Bandwidth is wasted and unnecessary WAN bottlenecking can occur.
  4. Often, the local networks use the same sub-network IP ranges, preventing the use of full period VPN connections without the use of expensive routers with double NAT capability. Double NAT requires difficult and inflexible configuration on both ends, thus imposing additional management and maintenance procedures.

The Remote Connection Manager solves all of the above problems by connecting and polling inside the remote local area network without the need of full period VPNs while maintaining securely encrypted connectivity across the Internet. It provides filtering of network events, and does not suffer from round trip latency. It can be installed on pico-PC’s and small servers often for less than the price of an inexpensive VPN router.

The Remote Connection Manager is a very lightweight implementation of the ArTrac G5 Connection Manager. It provides all of the protocols supported by ArTrac G5 in the larger configuration.

Most of our competitors offer their network management products as a monolithic piece of software. To extend the reach of their products, you will need to purchase another full license to their product and monitor each local network independently or deal with the problems discussed above. That is not the case with the Remote CM. It is an inexpensive, secure, and hassle free extension that allows you to monitor many geographically remote local area networks from a central location.

When Should the Remote CM be Used?

A Remote CM is a small footprint installation of the Connection Manager on inexpensive hardware. It operates behind the remote LAN firewall. Think of it as an intelligent remote “front end” to the ArTrac G5 Network Management Suite and other network management systems.

It is most commonly used when there is a need to monitor geographically distant LANs that have no direct connectivity, where connectivity exists but the round trip latency in the network makes polling at a reasonable frequency impractical, or the cost or practicality of implementing VPN solutions is unacceptable.

The Remote CM does all of the polling, event message reception, filtering, and packaging at the remote LAN then forwards what is important to the network operations center (NOC) or central monitoring location via securely encrypted SSH packets across the Internet. We’re sure you’ll find other uses for it but these are the main ones.

The following diagram shows the architecture of the Remote CM:

The Remote CM can be purchased as software only to install on your computer or as a fully installed and configured package on a mini server which requires very little setup.

The Remote CM Supports the following network protocols:

  • • SNMP Discovery - Automatically discover all of the network elements in your diverse network.
  • • SNMP Polling - Versions 1, 2C, and 3. Polling by interval, time of day and even astronomical time. Time zone and relative time offsets supported.
  • • SNMP Traps and Notifications - Versions 1, 2C and 3
  • • WMI Polling - monitor disk capacity, CPU performance, memory, and processes in mission critical servers and WMI enabled network devices.
  • • Web Services Polling - monitor key indicators and states in web services.2
  • • NetFlow® Collector - Versions 5, 9 and 10 - Capture and store NetFlow network performance data for analysis.
  • • IPFIX Collector (NetFlow Version 10) - Capture and store IPFIX network performance data for analysis.
  • • JFlow® Collector - Capture and store JFlow network performance data for analysis.
  • • UDP/IP - monitor UDP datagrams from network elements that report status via the UDP protocol.
  • • SyslogD - monitor security equipment, and other network elements that report status via the SyslogD protocol.
  • • SOAP - monitor switches, soft switches, and brokering platforms that report status via Simple Object Access Protocol (HTTPS supported).
  • • XML over HTTP or HTTPS - monitor XML structured messages across HTTP and HTTPS protocols.
  • • ICMP Poller - tests for network element availability, correct routing, and round-trip network latency.
  • • HTTP Poller - tests for web site availability and response times.
  • • MQTT & MQTT-SN (IoT) - monitor MQTT based industrial / environmental controls and sensors. Fully compliant with version 3.1.1 and all QoS levels, including 5.0.1,2
  • • AMQP (IoT) - monitor AMQP based industrial / environmental controls and sensors. Versions 1.0 and 0.9.1 fully supported.1,2
  • • STOMP (IoT) - monitor STOMP based industrial / environmental controls and sensors. Versions 1.1 and 1.2 support.1,2
  • • Oracle® ODP data connector - query Oracle® databases.
  • • MS SQL® ADO data connector - query Microsoft® databases.
  • • PostGreSQL® data connector - query PostGreSQL® databases.
  • • ODBC data connector - query any other database with ODBC integration
  • • BNSI - a full implementation of the ITU-T X.736 Series X recommendations for Data Networks and Open System Communications. This protocol is supported by many 3GPP switching systems, including L.M. Ericsson cellular switches.
  • • Raw Sockets Host and Client - monitor events in network elements that have simple TCP/IP interfaces.
  • • Telnet Host and Client - monitor legacy network elements that communicate their status via Telnet connections (all major device emulations supported)
  • • Telnet (Nokia® implementation) Host and Client - Monitor Nokia switches and network elements that implement the proprietary Nokia version of Telnet.
  • • SSH Host and Client - Monitor Linux, UNIX, and other network elements that communicate their status using the Secure SHell cryptographic network protocol.
  • • LDAP / Active Directory support - import and manage users via the LDAP protocol.
  • • FTP - download and analyze data files.
  • • TL-1 Request and Response - suitable for monitoring SCADA and other telemetry systems.
  • • MCI API interface to exchange information with Mapcom's MC4® Managment Platform.1
  • • Form C contact, door sensors, voltage, current, moisture, temperature, and other environmental monitoring.1
  • • 3rd Party protocol and brokering application integration fully supported.

Is there something you need that’s not in the lists above? Chances are we have what you need, or can recommend a tested 3rd party product, or can custom build it to your exact requirements. Ask us in the request form below.

1 = Optional feature/module cost.
2 = Available in next minor release (free to ArTrac G5 systems under a current support contract)
NOTE: All protocols listed above are available in the Remote Connection Manager.