The following is my personal review of the Digital Loggers, Inc Web Power Switch. Own Web Now Corp is a Digital Loggers, Inc customer that has paid for all the units in use, we/I have not been compensated or enticed to write this review in any way, it is offered to the general public as-is with no warranty.
I first found out about the Web Power Switch from Randall Richardson from our partner MicroLogix Information Systems. He spoke about this $89 power switch on one of the forums and I initially dismissed it as a joke as we’re an all APC company. We have tried a number of power switches over the years but only APC ever lived up to the promise, even given the price tag. But less than a $100 for an industrial quality 15 AMP power switch? Might as well give it a shot.
And I did. Ironically enough, we already used DLI products in one of our remote data centers. One of our DC partners provides a Digital Loggers, Inc Ethernet Power Controller II which has a number of cooler features albeit at a higher price. So, what do you get for $89?
First, the Web Power Switch comes with a standard plug, meaning you can just plug it into your current battery power supply or other PDU. It includes 8 remotely controllable ports and two unswitched (always on) ports that are not controlled over the web. The unit itself is sturdy and loud, believe me, you hear it when the port is switched on/off. Top of the unit has several controller lights, indicating system status, remote access and power. Side of the unit has a 10/100 network port and a power switch. Aside from a registration postcard, that’s all you get.
The main screen (Outlet Control) is pretty simple and self-explanatory. It shows you a list of what is connected to each switched port and gives you an option to either switch the port on/off or cycle (reboot). You can also shut off/on all outlets or cycle the outlets sequentially one at a time. On the cheap ($89) unit I found that the cycle does not work – it shuts the server off but does not power it back on. However, on/off works. Cycle also works perfectly on the more expensive power switch.
Setup is straight forward as well. First, you can configure outlet names so you know what is connected to which switch port. Network configuration and authentication credentials are also pretty simple to configure. One caveat is that the switch is HTTP only, meaning all data sent to it is sent in clear text. If that bothers you, you can always put the power switch on the private network and there is a setting in network configuration that allows you to only accept connections from the local subnet.
Finally, there is some control over the behavior of the device itself. You can enforce password lockouts. You can control how the device behaves after it comes back from a power loss state. There is also a handy list of links.
On an upgraded model, one with Autoping for $37 more, you can also setup the web power switch to ping the target host and reboot it. As you can tell from the reboot counts, we’re making ours pay for itself.
If its in the budget, go for the more expensive switch. The more expensive switch has all the features described here along with an auto reboot built in plus it gives you access control. The device is simply accessed with an htaccess authentication prompt and can be easilly scripted whereas the $89 web power switch requires you to to authenticate as a form post first.
The verdict: You’ve got to be kidding me, right? First, a 15 AMP switch tends to cost well over $100 even for the ghetto brands like Triplite. To have those ports remotely controllable, with authentication, with autoping.. $89 is a steal. If it even saves you one after-hours emergency trip to reboot a server it will more than pay for itself. No, it’s not APC but you can’t spend $89 any better than this.