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Re: KVM question - skip this technology entirely

 On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 8:34 AM, Rich Braun <[hidden email]> wrote: 
> Regarding KVM solutions, how about *none*? 
> I inherited a network of about 150 Linux boxes that have a mix of no console 
> port, a Raritan Dominion port, or an Avocent port.  Most of the boxes came 
> from Dell and contain a card called the "Dell Remote Assistant Card" (DRAC) 
> but none of those had ever been plugged in; I only vaguely knew what those 
> were for. 
> What I hate about the Raritan:  unless you pay for a super-duper-high price 
> for multi-user support (on top of an already-expensive box), only one person 
> can use a given chassis.  Unless you buy their management server, each box is 
> separate so you have to remember which of N Raritan boxes your target machine 
> is connected to.  And most vexing of all, the device has a nasty piece of 
> key-bounce logic that inserts unwanted keystrokes into your input stream if 
> you type faster than 25wpm. 
> What I hate about the Avocent:  we have a stripped-down version so I'm sure 
> their higher end ones are better, but as with the Raritan they are separate 
> non-centrally-managed units and the ones we have don't provide remote access 
> so you have to walk into the computer room to use it. 
> What I like about the DRAC:  each one is its own separate thing with its own 
> separate IP address so you can develop your own DNS/DHCP-based central 
> management environment and make everything work the way you want.  If you've 
> been around since the old DEC days, think of the front-end processor that 
> you'd find on the larger systems:  it was usually a PDP-11 that you'd use to 
> boot up and otherwise control a VAX or PDP10.  Same idea:  this is a front-end 
> processor that stays powered up all the time and provides you with far more 
> capability than a KVM switch.  Need to power down half your servers to save 
> electricity during the off-peak period?  Write a script and you can do that. 
> Need to push the reset button because you inevitably have to run some silly 
> Windows box that periodically gets hosed in a location 30 or 3000 miles from 
> you?  No problem. 
> HP has a similar (but better-coded) product called the ILO (Intelligent Lights 
> Out).  These big-name brands cost $300 per server.  There are white-box 
> equivalents on the market for a whole lot less. 
> By the time you buy a remote KVM switch with its cabling, and run all the 
> requisite cables, you're looking at more money and labor for the KVM solution 
> than the console front-end solution. 
> I look forward to the day I finally have the time to finish yanking out our 
> Raritans so you can find me posting them on eBay. 
> -rich 

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