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Re: DATACENTER: Serial console concentrator/server


At 12:31 PM 11/7/99 -0800, R.P. Aditya wrote:
> > E250/E450/Netra T1, but there are a few Intel (LB440GX-based gray boxes)
> > and Compaq that support console redirect to serial port.
>We have a bunch of Dell PowerEdge 4350's which are based on the Intel 440GX
>chipset. It sounds like you're using Compaq's? with what BIOS? is the console
>redirect a BIOS setting or a motherboard jumper setting? I would be very
>interested in having that work on our Dells.

The Intel box is built by Intel (for OEMs and rebadging by resellers, also 
known as "gray boxes") and it has console redirect to serial port built-in 
as one of the features. Very nice 2U rack boxes. Check 
http://support.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/lb440gx/ for details. 
The Compaq servers are Proliant 850Rs, 1600Rs, and 1850Rs. Like the Intel, 
they too have the console redirect to serial port built-in. So you can 
monitor the boot-up sequence to just before the system enters graphic mode. 
It seems like a standard feature on higher-end PC servers (HP NetServers 
have them too), but I don't know anything about the Dell PowerEdge.

To be honest, other than a few occasional fiddling in the lab, I haven't 
used these PC server console redirect to serial port in a production 
environment. RealWorld(tm) comments from anyone who have used such features 
in battle-tested environments would be much appreciated.

Those PC servers are currently running NT, but a majority will be switched 
to Linux and Solaris x86 (depending on application) in the next six months. 
Console access to these boxes are currently done via the very nice Cybex 
4xP KVM switches. But the idea of of being able to aggregate their console 
access, along with those of the Sun boxes, makes sense. One big reason for 
serial console access is that off-site console access (via LAN and dial-up) 
is much easier (most of our facilities are Lights Out)! Cybex has the also 
very nice Keyview II for LAN and dial-up console access to their KVM 
switches, but it is hideously expensive ($7k CDN)! Btw, the 4xP has serial 
console port support available too, but also very pricey! We are not a 
nickle-and-dime operation, but I still like to get good value for my 
(investors' :-) $$$.