ZPE Systems-Not Your Dad’s Console Server

ZPE was a presenter at Networking Field Day 26 and they showed a new approach to an age old networking problem. The old problem being how we’ve had to approach out-of-band networking. A lot of network engineers are familiar with the “build a network to run a network” problem. The costs of disparate management systems have exploded over the past decade and ZPE is on a consolidation path.

Long story short for ZPE Nodegrid is, instead of buying separate firewalls, switching, and console servers — why not run it all in one box? Then let’s throw in compute, make the platform modular, virtualize the security stack, add on cloud management, and boom.. Out-of-band-in-a-box!

Of course this is a bit of an over simplification of what ZPE Nodegrid is, but I hope that helped paint the first part of the picture. Why buy and run all separate components when I can get it all done in 1RU?

Thinking back to all of the out-of-band management systems I’ve worked with, ZPE seems to have addressed some of the biggest problems. One of which is the management and security of the system itself. ZPE is using a secure cloud first approach with their management platform and that’s a thumbs up from the start. I got the impression from their presentation that they really thought with a security first approach and that’s critical for enterprise buyers. The system and solution provides access to one of the most critical and sometimes most vulnerable parts of a device.

Building a modular first platform also shows they understand that there are vast differences in the networks and racks that customers build. I like the fact I can take their Net Services Router and add USB serial ports, compute to run a virtual firewall, and LTE modem. That may be all you need for a edge deployed automation reactor.

Pivoting away from looking at this as only an out-of-band solution, the Net Services Routers are in reality, a full SD-Branch ready platform for Secure Access Service Edge. Prevalidated virtual apps include Palo Alto, Check Point, Fortinet, Juniper, and Netgate. I think it’s a great approach to provide a validated platform and you have the flexibility to bring-your-own SASE.

Adding in a ZPE Nodegrid to connect to isolated networks such as control systems, industrial automation, audio/visual/broadcast may prove to be one of the most useful ways to bring in secure automation management. Nodegrid with ZPE Cloud will connect all the dots and provide easy and secure access to those networks.

Control, security, and flexibility are the three things I keep coming back to. I haven’t seen this amount of flexibility in any device from the competitors. ZPE looks positioned very well to become the leader in this space.

Link to ZPE Systems

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