[Beowulf] KVM to a compute node - ssh

Guy Coates gmpc at sanger.ac.uk
Thu Jun 3 09:15:33 PDT 2004

> PCs, even "server class" motherboard PCs, alas, have never been designed
> to have a "real" serial console as video cards are viewed to be
> essential, not optional.

> image.  This is a BETTER solution than a serial interface for this
> purpose, as serial interfaces to my experience have a real problem
> interpreting e.g. three finger salutes in all possible runtime states

Ok, I admit plain serial does have its limitations on PC hardware.

>made something of an end run around the problem, what I'd REALLY like at
> this point is a true network-based console -- one where one can connect
> to a brand new box's bios and console via the network.

That holy grail does just about exist.  I was plesantly surprised with the
latest intel server offering from HP.  As well as a serial port it comes
with an integrated management processor (ILO), basically just another rj45
port which you plug into your LAN. You can talk to the ILO via telnet or a
web interface, and do remote power, hard reset etc by firing carefully
crafted bits of XML at it.

The management processor is pretty clever; if it notices something on the
ILO or serial port it automatically changes the BIOS interface into its
command line version, and spits all its post stuff etc onto the ILO or
serial port. You can set user defined escape characters to send those
awkward CTRL-ALT-DELETE or magic SYSRQ sequences.

You get the best of both worlds; command line driven, out of band
management, a real console, but going across the network rather than
through an expensive terminal server.

Drawbacks; it is HP only, and I don't know if it is IPMI compliant. A
similar management interface that is the same on *all* pc hardware would
be even better, but it is at least a start.


Guy Coates,  Informatics System Group
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SA, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1223 834244 ex 7199

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