[CentOS] using a Laptop as a KVM console?

Wed Oct 13 18:37:18 UTC 2010
Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com>

On 10/13/2010 12:51 PM, Giles Coochey 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.

I've always wondered if it would be possible to emulate this with a 
CD/USB boot that could get to the point where you would be if you boot a 
Centos install disk with 'linux vnc vncconnect=ip_address:port'.  If you 
haven't done that, it is a handy way to do most of the install choices 
from your desk instead of near the server being installed - just start 
your local vnc viewer in 'listen' mode and wait for the connection.

Anyway, the trick would be to avoid any interaction up to that point, 
somehow getting the right NIC selected for DCHP or a hard-coded IP 
address, and probably trying to get into rescue mode with the old system 
detected and mounted if possible.

Assuming a working network infrastructure, this might even make remote 
rescue work possible with just enough hands-on support to plug in a USB 
device or CD and hit the reset button on the failed box.

   Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at gmail.com