Console and Power Management Solutions for Oil and Gas Applications

Challenge:

When vital network elements at remote petroleum production or transportation facilities suddenly become unresponsive, administrators need a means to correct the problem immediately, without delay. In order to avoid unacceptable outages and prevent excessive downtime, network problems must be resolved at once; there just isn’t time to wait for a tech support team to travel to the remote site.

In cases where network issues disrupt access to important capabilities and services at distant oil and gas facilities, NOC personnel need secure remote access to power control and console port command functions on remote network elements in order to restore communication with remote devices before outages interfere with production. Administrators need a fast solution to problems at remote sites to prevent lapses in productivity caused by simple network issues.

To ensure the ability to quickly deal with network emergencies at remote production and transportation facilities, administrators need an out-of-band support solution that provides the following capabilities:

  • Reboot Remote Network Elements
  • Access Console Port Command Functions on Remote Devices
  • Enable Power Redundancy for Single Corded Equipment
  • Provide Secure Remote Access via Network plus 4G LTE Cellular, Dial-Up, and Satellite
  • Allow Out-of-Band Access when Primary Network is Down
  • Monitor, Report and Log Conditions and Events at Remote Site
  • Provide Centralized Enterprise Management Interface

Solution:

In oil and gas industry applications, WTI’s CPM Series Remote Site Managers can provide network administrators with a quick, economical solution for dealing with problems at remote production sites without the delays and expenses associated with a physical service call. The CPM combines two of the most effective tools for out of band management (remote console access and power control) with optional built-in ATS capabilities to furnish network administrators with a compact, convenient, single rack unit solution for dealing with most common emergencies at remote sites, plus the added benefit of automatic power fallback for single corded network elements.

Rather than sending out a support team and waiting for technicians to arrive on site, administrators at your NOC can immediately employ the CPM Remote Site Manager to reconfigure distant network elements, run diagnostic routines and reboot unresponsive devices without the delays and dangers of a long trek over arctic tundra or a cold, choppy boat ride to remote drilling or production facilities. These capabilities can prove extremely valuable for minimizing downtime and avoiding expensive, unplanned production delays caused by relatively minor network dilemmas.

The CPM Remote Site Manager features optinal dual Ethernet ports to simplify connection to both a primary and secondary network. In addition, the CPM also offers an internal dial-up modem option or a 4G LTE Cellular option. This provides a variety of alternative avenues for out-of-band communication with the CPM, ensuring reliable access to power control and console access functions even when your primary network is down or unavailable.

In order to ensure that remote power control and console port access capabilities are safely protected from unauthorized users, the CPM Remote Site Manager includes a formidable assortment of security, encryption and authentication features. The CPM supports SSH and HTTPS communication to ensure reliable, secure communication and also features an embedded FIPS-140-2 cryptographic module to provide the highest level of security available, while also allowing quick easy communication for authorized users. A versatile user directory allows administrators to manage passwords and determine access privileges for each user account. The identity of each potential user is positively confirmed via widely used authentication protocols such as TACACS+, LDAP, Kerberos and RADIUS. In order to prevent unauthorized dial-up access, a callback security feature effectively verifies the identity of each user.

In addition to providing secure, reliable access to remote console ports, power switching and reboot functions, the CPM Remote Site Manager also includes a versatile selection of monitoring and alarm features that simplify the process of tracking significant events and environmental factors at remote sites. When desired, the CPM can be configured to immediately notify support personnel when high temperatures, excessive current consumption, invalid command access attempts, unresponsive devices, power supply irregularities and other signs of trouble are detected at a remote equipment site. When an alarm is triggered the CPM can also automatically perform user-defined actions such as shutting down nonessential devices or locking down network access. In order to provide a more comprehensive picture of conditions at distant network equipment racks, the CPM can also log each alarm event for future review.

The versatile design of the CPM Remote Site Manager allows the unit to fit a variety of different functions in oil and gas industry applications as described in the examples that follow.


Remote Network Management in Oil and Gas Production Applications

Remote Network Management in Oil and Gas Production Applications

In the example shown above, a CPM-800-1-ECAM Remote Site Manager is used to provide administrators and tech support personnel with remote access to power switching, reboot and console port command functions at various remote network equipment racks. The configuration shown in the illustration allows network technicians to establish a connection to the CPM-800-1-ECAM unit via secure broadband satellite and then manage network elements at drilling rigs, production platforms, support vessels and other remote oil and gas related facilities.

When a network element at one of these remote facilities becomes unresponsive, support personnel can then employ the CPM-800-1-ECAM to reboot routers, firewalls and switches at distant sites or access console port command functions on other devices in the remote equipment rack. In some applications, the remote power switching capabilities provided by the CPM-800-1-ECAM can also be used to power down devices that are not in use or switch on auxiliary devices based on need.

In addition to providing remote reboot and console access capabilities, the CPM-800-1-ECAM Remote Site Manager also includes monitoring and alarm functions that enable administrators to keep track of conditions at distant drilling rigs and support operations. When unusual current consumption levels, extreme temperatures, excessive invalid access attempts and other significant events are detected at a remote site, the CPM-800-1-ECAM can provide immediate notification via email, text message or SNMP trap, or automatically perform user-defined actions such as shutting down nonessential devices or locking down network access. The CPM-800-1-ECAM can also log alarm events, providing support personnel with an audit trail that can be used to track the source of recurring problems and events.

Obviously, security is an important concern in any remote network management application, and this is especially true in the oil and gas industry where unsecured network devices can potentially result in costly downtime and environmental mishaps. All WTI remote management products utilize an embedded FIPS-140-2 cryptographic module to provide the highest level of security available, while also allowing quick, easy access for authorized users. WTI remote management products also support secure communication protocols such as SSH and HTTPS as well as encryption formats such as FIPS and SSHv2 to ensure that data sent to and from the CPM-800-1-ECAM unit remains protected from interception by unauthorized users. In order to verify the identity of each potential user, WTI products also feature popular authentication protocols, such as TACACS+, LDAP, Kerberos and RADIUS and a callback security feature to protect access via modem.


Out-of-Band Management for Pipeline Applications

Out-of-Band Management for Pipeline Applications

When a CPM-1600-1-ECA Remote Site Manager equipped with the 4G LTE Cellular option is deployed in a pipeline application, this provides support personnel with a reliable means to quickly respond to network problems at distant pipeline monitoring stations and other inaccessible networked equipment associated with the pipeline. In this case, the CPM-1600-1-ECA can be employed to reboot devices such as sensors and security cameras at isolated monitoring stations and also provide a means to establish out-of-band communication with routers, switches, alarm managers and other devices at the remote site.

If the primary in-band connection to these monitoring stations fails or if inclement weather makes satellite communication unviable, then a CPM-1600-1-ECA Remote Site Manager equipped with the 4G Cellular option often provides the only workable alternative for back-up, out-of-band communication with remote pipeline monitoring stations. In this case, remote administrators and IT support personnel can connect to the network at the remote pipeline monitoring station via cellular broadband in order to restore the primary network using the remote console access and power control functions provided by the CPM-1600-1-ECA. Since rack space is often fairly cramped at these remote monitoring stations, a hybrid device, such as the CPM-1600-1-ECA can provide the ideal solution, by allowing access to console port functions on remote devices, plus remote control of power switching and reboot functions in a single device.

The monitoring and alarm functions provided by the CPM-1600-1-ECA are also very useful for tracking conditions and events in distant pipeline monitoring stations. When power supply irregularities, unresponsive devices and other detrimental conditions and events are observed at the monitoring station, the CPM-1600-1-ECA can notify support personnel allowing quick response to potential problems and a more proactive approach to pipeline management.


Remote Management and Power Fallback Solutions for Oil Tanker Applications

Remote Management and Power Fallback Solutions for Oil Tanker Applications

In this oil tanker application example, the CPM-800-1-ECAM Remote Site Manager is used to provide both remote reboot control and console port access capabilities plus power supply redundancy for single-corded on-board devices.

A CPM-800-1-ECAM unit deployed in an equipment rack on the tanker’s bridge allows on-shore or shipboard support personnel to reboot unresponsive network elements or access console port command functions on vital network devices in order to run diagnostic routines or change configuration parameters as a remedy for network outages and other problems. This proves equally useful for both local and remote technicians by providing quick access to networked devices and a centralized management interface that can be used to reboot or access multiple networked elements spread throughout the ship. Shipboard personnel can communicate with the CPM-800-1-ECAM via LAN, while on-shore personnel communicate with the unit via broadband satellite.

Since the CPM-800-1-ECAM includes dual power inlets plus a built-in automatic transfer switch, the Remote Site Manager also lends itself to power redundancy applications. These capabilities can be used to provide reliable power fallback for single corded devices such as helideck monitors, asset tracking systems and public address systems.

Access to the CPM-800-1-ECAM’s command functions is protected by state of the art security and authentication features, plus encrypted communication and an IP address filter. The Remote Site Manager’s monitoring and alarm functions also prove very useful in shipboard applications by allowing bridge personnel to keep tabs on conditions in network equipment enclosures throughout the ship without the need to physically check each enclosure.

Results:

The remote, out-of-band management capabilities and power fallback functions provided by the CPM Series Remote Site Manager provide the perfect fit for managing network elements at off-shore drilling rigs and production platforms as well as pipeline monitoring applications and tanker communications systems. In any petroleum industry application that requires management and maintenance of network devices at far-flung locations, the CPM can provide administrators with a valuable tool for both keeping tabs on conditions at the remote site and for dealing with emergencies as they arise.

In larger network deployments that require more than the sixteen switched outlets and sixteen RJ45 console ports provided by the CPM-1600 Series Remote Site Manager, WTI’s DSM Series GigE Console Servers, VMR Series Metered Switched PDUs, NPS Series Switched PDUs, NBB Series Vertical Format Switched PDUs and PTS Series Power Transfer Switches can provide a perfect solution. In cases that require remote access to more than sixteen console ports, WTI’s DSM Series Dual GigE Console Servers can provide secure, out-of-band communication for up to 40 console ports. Likewise, in applications that exceed the power switching and reboot capabilities supplied by the CPM Series Remote Site Manager, WTI’s VMR, NPS or NBB Series Switched PDUs can provide up to 20 remotely switched outlets. And for larger power failover applications, our PTS series Automatic Transfer Switches can provide power redundancy for up to 14 single corded devices.



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