[CentOS] using a Laptop as a KVM console?

Giles Coochey giles at coochey.net
Wed Oct 13 14:42:44 EDT 2010

  On 13/10/2010 20:35, Rudi Ahlers wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 7:51 PM, Giles Coochey<giles at coochey.net>  wrote:
>>   On 13/10/2010 19:31, Rudi Ahlers wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> Has anyone seen something like this before:
>>> I want to use a laptop as a KVM console. Basically when a technician
>>> goes to one of our datacentres, or clients he has to look for a free
>>> LCD, keyboard&    mouse to connect to a server (no network access,
>>> reinstall, troubleshoot failed kernel / HDD, etc). And then hopefully
>>> there's an open power socker in that cabinet.
>>> So I'm thinking why not just use a laptop instead? It already has an
>>> LCD, keyboard, mouse&    power. Surely someone has, or may still, build
>>> something that could connect to the laptop's USB port(s) and then to
>>> the server's VGA&    USB / PS2 ports, then act as a KVM?
>> Many servers have network console capability these days. HP's iLO
>> (Integrated Lights Out) and Dell's DRAC functions.
>> You can just boot up the laptop, connect a network cable to the iLO port
>> and the Laptop, set the IP, and use a browser to get a Java application
>> that includes a console (OS independant).
>> Most medium to large scale datacenter deployments will have a seperate
>> management network to which these iLO and DRAC systems are constantly
>> connected to for OOB management.
>> _______________________________________________
> This will only work for servers with iLO devices built-it, and / or
> network access to them.
> It doesn't help me much with smaller / cheaper servers (aka headless
> file server / mail server / router / etc in a 10-user office) which
> doesn't have remote management features. Many of our smaller Atom
> based servers, or older Pentium 4 / Core2Duo / Core2Quad's also don't
> have iLO or other network managed interfaces and we still need to use
> a LCD, keyboard&  mouse. Since many of our servers are colo we depend
> on the DC's to have these, but if there isn't any then the tech's
> can't work on the servers. So now they haul these with them in their
> cars, but that's not ideal as well. Especially if he needs his laptop
> with him already, and need to carry new server spares in, as well as
> the LCD / KB / mouse.
Yes, for the lower end of the market you won't find that capability 
built in, but going forward - if you're looking for a server that is 
going to be co-located then remote management built-in should be one of 
the things at the top of the list of requirements. The iLO / DRAC still 
works as a very good option, especially if you don't know what equipment 
the engineer will bring onto site... you can at least expect them to 
have a laptop with a RJ-45 port on it!

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