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Thread: Console Port

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Console Port

    I've noticed on some rackmount servers and firewall appliances there are ports labelled console, and look like serial ports. Are these related to connecting to KVM? I am looking for a cheap appliance for some rackmount servers I have (1U half depth would be ideal), to remotely recover the server if it goes down. I figured they'd connect through PS2 connectors, but then I thought that if the console port was related, then going through that might have the option for power cycling or something.

  2. #2
    Theese console ports, are serial ports. They can be used to manage your appliance and server via a serial connection. On servers you can do serial redirection of the "console" so that you can use a text based serial device to e.g. login to your linux server. There are a number of manufacturers who make 1u applicanes which have a ethernet port and multiple serial ports so that you can manage many console/serial based devices/servers from a single device. However, you will not usually be able to hard power off/on your server via the serial port.

    If your server supports BMC/IPMI or another kind of lights-out-management you can remote hard-reboot and in some cases also obtain virtual media, serial redirection and kvm via a webinterface or application, sometimes the increased functionality of the management card will be enabled with buying extra licenses from your hardware vendor.

    Other options include PDUs where you can address each outlet uniquely and power cycle your server and applicance KVM solutions where you connect a KVM device with multiple VGA/DVI+PS2/USB inputs and they will be administrateable remotely via a provided application.
    Last edited by ehjelle; 07-20-2009 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Fixed language.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    It looks like my server has ipmi. I have two ethernet ports, so I'm guessing I can configure one for IPMI? Is this done in the bios (give it an ip, etc)? Sounds like this may be easiest because it won't require additional equipment.

  4. #4
    Some server vendors include the IPMI/management on a dedicated port and some include it on the LAN1 port, usually the port to the left on the server. Usually you can set the IP addresses in either the BIOS or in the BMC/IPMI's own management BIOS which often starts shortly after the BIOS is done loading. You can also configure most IPMI cards through a local interface with tools like ipmitool (available in most linux repositories).

    With ipmitool you could e.g. do
    /usr/bin/ipmitool -I open lan set 1 ipaddr
    /usr/bin/ipmitool -I open lan set 1 defgw ipaddr
    /usr/bin/ipmitool -I open lan set 1 netmask
    /usr/bin/ipmitool -I open lan set 1 access on

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Supermicro has the best kvm over ip and virtual media I have seen.
    Dell has something similar as well..DRAC. I was promised a DRAC 4 and ended up with a DRAC 3..useless. No virtual media I was not so amused with that.

    Softlayer also has this on the private network something horrible happens (been there) with the public lan still can login to the server on the private side and fix it.

    You can then do anything..and I mean anything. upload a virtual disk and boot the server into dos. Format the drive..make partitions. Install several os's..boot managers..etc.

    I love IPMI and complete remote management tools.

    >>>Oh. Some are completely web based (ie: no local client install) like Dell's. Supermicro's has a client you have to download and install.

    Bryon L Harvey
    Soil Relocation Engineer

  6. #6
    As I own a few racks full of SuperMicro SuperServers, I would like to point out that, contradictonary to what bryonhost1 claims, you can infact connect to the IPMI/KVM and Remote Media on theese servers via either web-java applet (http or https) or via SuperMicro's standalone client (which is Java based and runs on Linux/Windows etc.).

  7. #7
    Replies post is the moral excellence.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Does IMPI work with a Windows machine as well? I only see people here using it to admin linux machines. Also, my server has a SuperMicro motherboard, so it sounds like I'm in luck with the remote control tools.

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