Great serial port concentrator: Raritan Dominion

Intro
Every now and then you find a product that is a leap ahead of where you were. Such is the case for us with regards to our product of choice for serial consoles.

The old
For Bluecoat (Symantec) proxy and AV systems, we had been using an ancient Avocent CPS device. It permitted ssh connection. It was slow and the menu very limited. But it did permit us to connect multiple serial consoles to one concentrator device at least.
For low-end firewalls we had been using DigiConnects, one per firewall. They are small, which may be thir one advantage. They are tricky to initially set up. Then they are slow to use.

In with the new
We heard about the Raritan Dominion line of products, stranegly enough, from some IT guys in Europe. It’s strange because they are right here in New Jersey – the company name probably comes form the Raritan river. But our usual reseller never heard of them. The specific device is a Dominion SXII.

It’s so much better than those older products. You can use their GUI to connect. This is a vendor who got their act together and eliminated Java. So many other security vendors have yet to do that, incredible as it is to say that.
It tries to autosense the wiring of the serial connector. That doesn’t always work, but it’s very easy for you to hardwire a port as DCE, or if that dosn’t work, try DTE. I use one type for my Symantec devices, another for firewalls.

Labelling the port with meaningful names is a snap, of course.

The Digis would interfere with the reboot process of the firewall so we’d have to detach them if we were going to rbeoot the firewall. These do not. So much better…

You can combine them with power control but we aren’t going to do that.

Don’t want to use the GUI? No problem, console access through ssh is also possible. Of configure dedicated ports that you ssh to for individual consoles.

Sending signals and cleanly disconnecting is easy with their menuss. Connecting to multiple consoles is alsono problem.

They have something called in-the-rack access. I know this will be useful but I haven’t figured out how to use it yet. But if it is what it sounds like it is, it will allow me to be in the server room and access any console by using a direct connection of some sort to the Dominion SXII.

And they’re just plain faster. A lot faster.

And, considering, they’re not so expensive.

They worked so much better than expected that we pretty much immediately filled up the ports with firewalls and other stuff.

Conclusion
A leap forward in productivity was realized by utilizing Raritn’s Dominion SXII serial port concentrator. Commissioning new security gear has never been esaier…

References and related
Raritan’s web site: https://www.raritan.com

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