Dell Poweredge servers remote console access?

Dell Poweredge servers remote console access?

Post by Troy » Wed, 29 Mar 2006 02:38:04



We're considering Dell PowerEdge servers and I've read through much of
the Dell marketing docs and talked to sales people and the OpenManage
people but can't get an answer to this question, which is surprising,
since it seems pretty basic.

How can I get console access (meaning a linux shell login) to a
Poweredge server remotely, i.e., over the internet and not on the same
subnet as the server I want to manage?

Today, we use a console server that connects to the servers via the
serial port, we config the linux servers to direct the console to the
serial port, we ssh to the console server and then connect to teh
server to be managed from there. That works perfectly. But it requires
more console servers as we grow (more stuff to manage!) and another
cable to run through the cabinets to the servers.

IPMI's serial-over-LAN seems like a perfect solution, but our current
vendor sells SuperMicro servers which do not support IPMI
serial-over-LAN until Supermicro supports IPMI 2.0 (whenever that is)
but Dell's servers support IPMI 1.5 which should work. Does it work?
And if so, does it work with ipmitool so that I can connect from
another linux box to the server to be managed? Or do I need proprietary
Dell software and/or a Windows box?

I also understand that DRAC may work for this as well, but I can't get
an answer on how DRAC works exactly. For example, does it require
proprietary Dell software? Can it work remotely, i.e., across the
internet from a remote computer? Does that computer have to run Windows?

 
 
 

Dell Poweredge servers remote console access?

Post by Bob Boowumb » Sun, 02 Apr 2006 02:17:50



> How can I get console access (meaning a linux shell login) to a
> Poweredge server remotely, i.e., over the internet and not on the same
> subnet as the server I want to manage?

Through Dell's DRAC card.

Quote:> I also understand that DRAC may work for this as well, but I can't get
> an answer on how DRAC works exactly. For example, does it require
> proprietary Dell software?

More like proprietary Dell firmware.  It sits in the server, but is
more of a computer within the larger computer.  The card itself
connects via the PCI bus, but it also has numerous flat ribbon
connectors that tie it into the system's motherboard.  

Quote:> Can it work remotely, i.e., across the internet from a remote
> computer?

Yes.  The DRAC card has its own Ethernet connector, and you assign it
its own IP address.

Quote:> Does that computer have to run Windows?

No.  You connect to the DRAC via a web browser that can do Java.  When
the browser connects, the DRAC pushes a Java applet to the remote
machine, and once all that loads, your remote machine is running a
Java program which is what is then used to talk to the DRAC card.
NOTE: Older versions of OS X, such as 10.3.X, and the distribution of
Java that comes from Apple don't work right.  Current versions of OS X
v10.4.X work fine.

The remote access via the DRAC is all fine for doing emergency type
repairs and it will give you the same view to the machine that you'd
get from a keyboard and VGA monitor attached to the system.  Thus,
you can use this to even change the BIOS of the server, reboot, or
even login to the "console".  You won't want to use this for regular
access to the machine though as it's fairly slow.  Workable in
emergency situations, but for day-to-day use you'll want to use SSH
or perhaps something like VNC for graphical stuff.