Console Server Recommendation

Saku Ytti saku at
Wed Feb 1 07:32:00 UTC 2012

On (2012-01-31 11:09 -0800), Owen DeLong wrote:
> > - IP address mappable to a console port. So that accessing device normally
> >  is 'ssh router' and via OOB 'ssh router.oob' no need to train people
> How about normal is 'ssh device' and OOB is 'console device'?

Home-baked systems are certainly good option to many, but for some of us it
means we need to either hire worker to design, acquire, build and support
them or consultant. And as you can find devices which support above
requirements (opengear) TCO for us is simply just lower to buy one ready.

'console device' is what we do today, which is script someone needs to
maintain (it picks up from DNS TXT records OOB and port where to connect).
I prefer giving each port an IP and just use it via ssh (at least cyclades
and opengear do this), if you are brave you could even setup same IP
address for console and on-band loop, but I found that to be suboptimal, as
you sometimes want to connect to OOB even when on-band is working.

> There are other tools that do this, such as rancid. I'm not sure I see significant advantage
> to integrating it.

This was exactly for easy integration to rancid, if you cannot puke all
config easily from one place, doing rancid module is lot more work. Few of
the boxes I've seen, need to have some files hacked via linux cli and are
PITA to backup.
But as it was nice to have, it by no means is no show-stopper.

> I agree that RS232 on a management plane would be a better choice. Personally,
> I like the idea of having both RS232 and ethernet on dedicated management plane.
> The RS232 allows you to deal with failures on the ethernet and the ethernet provides
> support for image transfers, etc.

You can get that from Nexus7k and Sup7. I wouldn't use the RS232 at all
myself. Probably it's easier to sell this at day1 with RS232 port, as it is
required in many RFPs and when everyone has migrated to ethernet OOB,
phase-out RS232.
So people please add to your 'nice to have' requirements in RFP, proper OOB
:). (Can't tell how many times we've had to power-cycle CSCO or JNPR due to
control-plane console not responding)

> I will point out that the intel mobo OOB has not completely eliminated the need for
> IPKVM in the datacenter. YMMV.

This is bit drifting on the subject, but what are you missing specifically?
You get VNC KVM, all the way from boot to bios, to GUI or CLI. You also get
IDE redirection, to boot the remote box from your laptop CDROM. And you get
API to automatically install factory fresh boxes without ever touching the


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