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Serial Console Management

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Honored Contributor [Founder]

Serial Console Management

I'm looking for a solution that will allow my to connect to remote serial console ports across a variety of platforms.

I need to be able to do software installs / updates on remote systems (HP, Sun, and AIX). I was thinking of something similar to Web Console...or a terminal server.

Something that has an IP address that I can connect to that will then pass traffic thru an rs-232 direct connection, as it were.

Anyone have thoughts / experiences / recommendations....

Any suggestions welcomed
4 REPLIES
Honored Contributor [Founder]

Re: Serial Console Management

Several vendors have products that would do this. We use Lantronix console servers. lantronix.com
Honored Contributor [Founder]

Re: Serial Console Management

These are called port concentrators or console/terminal servers, but are sometimes confused with KVM switches (which you don't want). The HP Web Console is OK for one or two boxes but is definitely not secure. Leading manufacturers are:

Avocent
Cyclades
Digi
Lantronix
Logical Solutions
Raritan

Look for Linux-based switches (just 'cause they seem to more featured), and ideally ROM or flash drive based code so you don't have to worry about a hard disk. Features that are very useful:

- SSH access to the concentrator
- multi-users at the same time
- previous lines buffer (so you can see what happened before you connected)
- simple config interface
- For Sun boxes, a break-safe option
- Inexpensive RJ-45 to RJ-11 adapters, both straight and crossover

These boxes are very important (and often overlooked) to connect to the real consoles of not only servers, but also to switches, routers, firewalls and other appliances. Connect the terminal server to a protected network - the general network is too risky with all those consoles. Some concentrators have a modem backup so even when external access fails (ie, a firewall), you can still get to the box by phone. Also look at the user interface -- some are just (long) command lines, or powered by vi. Others have a web interface but may be tricky to access if it is on a restricted LAN. EXpect to pay about $1K-3K for 24 to 32 ports.
Honored Contributor [Founder]

Re: Serial Console Management

yep...knew I didn't want a kvm.

couldn't remember what these were called...and from the looks of it, the mfg's try to differential terminal servers from console servers w/ additional security and/or features.

Looks like cyclades and avocent are the same company (at least now) and that lantronix or cyclades are the way to go.

thx.....
Honored Contributor [Founder]

Re: Serial Console Management

information provided above answered what I was looking for