Arula launches serial remote control

Any device with a serial port, from routers to light fixtures, can be remotely managed via the World Wide Web, according to Arula Systems Inc., a company announcing its formal launch today.

Arula Systems, a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard Co., also is officially launching its product suite, which is based on the Arula Universal Agent Platform. The platform enables a user to manage—via a Web interface—any device with a serial port.

The company already has signed up the Air Force as a customer, said Dickson Chu, vice president of business development at Arula.

"We have cleared a deal with the Air Force and are getting on the GSA schedule," Chu said. "Any device with a serial port, we can give it IP connectivity and a browser-based way of remotely controlling those devices."

Arula's product suite has four components:

SecureConsole, which enables an IT manager to plug any single device into it via the serial port and manage it remotely. SecureConsole SSL, which adds Secure Socket Layer encryption to the appliance with up to 128-bit encryption. Cerebus x8, which offers the same SSL security but can manage up to eight devices in a rack-mountable chassis. ConsoleManager, which will monitor a large number of Arula devices (up to 250 ports) in a single graphical user interface. The ConsoleManager will be available by the second quarter of this year, and the other devices are available immediately, said Juggy Krishnamurthy, vice president of engineering and operations at the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

"[The suite] can be custom-tailored for any device [the customer wants] to manage, and not just IT devices, but anything with a serial port that the customer wants to run through the Internet," Krishnamurthy said.

An aircraft manufacturer is using Arula products to reduce its energy bill by remotely managing the lights in its hangars, Chu said. "That whole implementation only took about a week and a half, and they can individually shut off each bulb through their IP addresses."

General Services Administration pricing for a single appliance with the added SSL will be $480, and Arula hopes to announce more government customers within the next few months, Chu said.

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