[clug] [Spam?]linux Digest, Vol 99, Issue 14

Michael Hirt linux at incanberra.com.au
Wed Mar 9 01:06:16 MST 2011

On 08/03/2011, at 08:11:53 +1100, Nathan O'Sullivan <nathan at mammoth.com.au> wrote:

> We have two racks in a commercial datacentre stuffed with servers, 
> switches, firewalls, routers, etc. We normally access a management VLAN 
> via VPN, and configure the devices over IP.
> However we recently had a misconfiguration incident that left the 
> network inaccessible, so what I'm looking for is a backup method to 
> access that hardware remotely that is not dependent on the network; the 
> obvious (only?) answer being to hook up the serial port interface on all 
> our hardware.

Sounds like you are looking for an IP KVM.  As long as all of your devices have usb or ps2 keyboard & mouse & DVI or VGA video ports.

I have used these from DELL (2161DS) but I would recommend you see what else is around.

These ones attach to the KVM ports on the servers using a SIP (Dongle) that connects using CAT5 cable to the IP KVM switch so you can use standard cabling to route the connections.

You then run custom software to configure and connect to the switches and devices.  The DELL software is Java based and is slow & annoying but would definitely get you out of a pinch if you had network problems on a host.  Has helped me out with unresponsive servers where even ssh was not responding.  Again check around as there may be less proprietary (more open) options available.  You should be able to tunnel the software over your existing VPN.

Also check with your server vendor as most should now provide additional management cards as an option.  Dell offer the DRAC (Dell Remote Access Card?) which can be connected to a management network and used to hard reboot servers as well as inventory management etc.


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