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Alpha Server remote console connection

 
Philip Gegen
Occasional Advisor

Alpha Server remote console connection

I am looking for a recommendation on a current technology device that will let me make a network connection to the console serial port on an ES45 & DS20E server (both running OpenVMS 8.3) that will be located in a high security area (i.e. limited physical access).

I have used DECServer IP terminal servers in the past, but those are getting hard to find.

A "must" is that I will need to access the system while it is online, and at the SRM prompt. A "want" is that I can access RCM and be able to perform operating system upgrades remotely.

What are people using to access the serial consoles on Alpha Servers. It does not need to be an HP solution.


Thank you for your time.

Phil
13 REPLIES 13
EdgarZamora_1
Respected Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

I was tasked with moving our VMS systems off the DECserver 700 terminal servers and I eventually went with Digi Passport console servers (www.digi.com). It pretty much has all the features and requirements that you had with the DECservers and much more. There are some nice features such as logging all console output to a syslog server (or nfs, samba, USB drive, etc.), filtering of output strings (for example, you could set up an email alert to be sent to you if the string "CPU 0 halted" ever came out.), ssh or telnet access to the ports, multiple levels of access to ports (read only, read/write), two ethernet ports for redundancy, automatic backup of your config files, etc.

It has an embedded linux kernel. I currently have ES45s, DS25s, DS15s, Sun systems and MSA1000s connected to them.
EdgarZamora_1
Respected Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Oh and if I had to complain at all... my one minor complaint is that we had to crimp our own custom cables to connect our systems to the Digi console servers. Basically just had to wire the two wires - transmit and receive correctly.
Rob Leadbeater
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Hi,

I've not personally used them, but our company recently standardised on Raritan devices.

http://www.raritan.com/products/serial-console-management/dominion-sx/

From the spec. sheets they look to be pretty well equipped.

Cheers,

Rob
Philip Gegen
Occasional Advisor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Thanks for the information. I only have 2 servers at each location, so a 4-port solution is all that is required.
B Claremont
Frequent Advisor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Lantronix UDS-1100 (www.lantronix.com). Available in single and multiport configurations. Note they can be a bit funny about double echoing characters when used with raw telnet or PuTTY. I use Hyperterm or Keaterm to get around this issue.
www.MigrationSpecialties.com
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

DECserver 700 and similar are available from
Vnetek

http://www.vnetek.com/c-137-console-servers.aspx
____________________
Purely Personal Opinion
Tim Winders
Occasional Visitor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

I have many old Decserver 700-16 servers which we used to have terminals and printers connected to. We've finally retired all these devices and the servers are sitting idle.

I'd love to be able to use them as a simple console server for routers, switches, servers with console ports, etc.

But, I've not been able to find a configuration guide on how to get these ports working this way. Any pointers or guidance?
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Setting up a serial printer and setting up a serial console is basically the same sequence out on the terminal server, and you may or may not want to set up a host device and associate it with the terminal server.

Here are some how-to pages for LAT and IP:

http://labs.hoffmanlabs.com/node/288
http://labs.hoffmanlabs.com/node/129

And a quick intro:

http://labs.hoffmanlabs.com/node/1185

You can set up specific LT or TN device on the OpenVMS host and connect to that, or you can SET HOST /LAT or telnet out from anywhere. Most folks follow the latter course and connect out from whatever client they have, but I've seen a few folks set up devices for various host-local access.

And these days, I'd likely set the terminal server for telnet.

Remember that it's a console, which means you might want to protect the connections.

And also look at setting up a Linux or BSD box with extra serial lines out to the console serial ports, and run tmux or GNU screen or minicom or such out on the box; roll your own console server.
Andy Bustamante
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Welcome to forum Tim,

I've used terminal servers to manage networking equipment, storage and servers. Pull the pin out information and connect the dots. A modem into the terminal server can give access to your local equipment and can be one of the best troubleshooting tools whne things aren't behaving.

It's generally accepted that a new question will be started from scratch rather than on a similiar post.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? Reach me at first_name + "." + last_name at sysmanager net
Tim Winders
Occasional Visitor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Thanks, Hoff and Andy. I didn't mean to steal the thread, I apologize.

I'll start a new thread as I understand the basic concepts, but am having difficulty with the exact mechanics...
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

For the mechanical parts of the connections; pinouts, wiring, whatever, I've posted links to the DECconnect adapters and parts, and links to pinouts from there:

http://labs.hoffmanlabs.com/node/467
Bob Blunt
Respected Contributor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Phil, has anyone asked what your connection to this remote site will be? That can limit your capabilities unless you have full VPN or "terminal server" (the Microsoft version, not a simple DECserver) access.

For instance, if you have only MODEM access to the remote site then you will probably need some remote server to handle the load of logging and connection to the consoles. That might mean you need to use one of the console monitoring systems like CA's Console Manager or TDI's ConsoleWorks at the remote location with a modem to make the initial connection. You, naturally, have more flexibility if the remote location connects to your corporate WAN and you "get there" using TELNET or a similar solution.

bob
Philip Gegen
Occasional Advisor

Re: Alpha Server remote console connection

Bob,

I will connect to the device over the company wide area network using TCPIP.