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Future Console Servers

Project ID: 
Current stage: 

Description: Review our options for "remote" console servers for the new building.
Implement something.


  1. A review of our options for "remote" console access to machines

  2. Implementation of one or more schemes as a result of the review and
    consultation with interested parties.

Customer: Anyone who needs "remote" access to a machine's console.

Case statement: At the moment we use one (or sometimes two) serial console server per
machine room, using particular hardware and lots of patch leads.
For the new building, we'll want to look at, and probably change,
the way we do things, for a couple of reasons:

  1. We are provisionally proposing having a console server per rack or
    group of racks, rather than a central provision, to avoid the need to run
    lots of serial cables around the server room. (Similarly, we are
    proposing having a network switch per rack or group of racks. Fibrechannel
    remains for discussion.)

  2. The hardware we are currently using is no longer available, and we
    need to see what else is out there to use.

Status: Was stalled due to lack of person-power. Now assigned to Ian Durkacz.

Timescales: At the very least, the review has to be done in plenty of time for us
to see where we're going for the new building (i.e. by July 2007).
If it is required to implement anything, that also has to be ready in time
to deploy in the new building.

Priority: High





  • Some suitably experienced person's time.

  • It is likely that we'll need to buy some kit to try out.



Dependencies: No dependencies on anything else. Console provision for the new building
depends on this project.

Risks: See "timescales"!



Proposed date Achieved date Name Description
2007-05-01 2007-05-01 ConsEval Evaluate existing console technology: Linux serial console servers, dedicated
serial and KVM console servers, in-built network console processors.
2007-10-18 2007-11-01 ConsComplete Practical completion of the new building, so a new console server system should be ready by now.
2007-08-01 2007-08-01 ConsSLC_AT Install, and make available for use, the Lantronix SLC32 console server in the AT machine room