Using IPMI Serial-over-LAN for server consoles

I’ve been trying to learn linux networking and virtualisation using a donated server in a remote lab. The server didn’t have an IP-KVM attached but it did have a working IPMI connection. Not that I’d need it of course; I was experimenting with network settings whilst ssh’d into a server that was four and a half thousand miles away. What’s the worst that could happen?

Of course the inevitable happened and I haplessly disabled my eth0 interface. I was locked out of the server, but was happy to learn that the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) was a powerful tool indeed.

Both the IPMI protocol and HP’s iLO allow you to connect to the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) on high-end servers. The BMC is a micro-controller embedded on the server motherboard which allows remote management without relying upon the server OS. The two specific functions I would need were the ability to remotely reset the server, and a view of the server console. Continue reading

AirConsole Review

 

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If you need regular console port access then nothing beats a fixed console router. However there are many times when that simply isn’t an option. For occasional console connections I use a Keyspan USB/Serial adaptor with my MacBook. It’s an acceptable solution but not sometimes is far from ideal. You can find yourself tethered to the rack in question, often sitting on the floor or a crappy stool, dealing with datacenter noise and temps and have console cables traipsed across the aisles. Surely there’s a better way to do this?

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