Flexible ManageMent tools For Dell reMote Console switChes

Systems Management
Flexible Management
Tools for Dell
Remote Console
By Max A. Benham
William Muscato
Related Categories:
Keyboard, video,
mouse (KVM)
The latest firmware updates for Dell™ 2161DS-2 and 4161DS
remote console switches enhance remote server management through an on-board Web browser–based interface,
virtual media features, and support for Avocent® KVM
(keyboard, video, mouse) over IP technology and Avocent
DSView® 3 management software.
vailability and security are cornerstones of data
flexible, centralized server control while helping significantly
center operations and maintenance. Network admin-
reduce cable volume and enabling secure remote access.
istrators continue to require access to and real-time
The local port provides the analog connection for server
control over their servers and other IT assets while maintain-
access. This connection accommodates access for either a data
ing a largely automated environment. The latest firmware
center crash cart or a rack-mounted KVM solution. A
updates for Dell 2161DS-2 and 4161DS remote console switches
10/100/1,000 Mbps Ethernet interface provides the digital
help meet these remote management needs through Avocent
remote connection for server access, digitizing the server image
KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) over IP technology in conjunc-
and then transporting it through a TCP/IP connection across a
tion with Avocent DSView 3 management software.
corporate intranet or over the Internet to a remote user.
For more information about the advantages of KVM tech-
Understanding KVM over IP technology
nology, see the “Key advantages of KVM technology” sidebar
KVM over IP digitizes keyboard, video, and mouse data and
in this article.
Remote management
can then send it over TCP/IP connections. It can connect
Storage management
directly to a server using existing network infrastructure, does
Virtual media
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not require adding software or hardware to computers, and
Integrating Dell KVM console switches
with Avocent DSView3 software
supports both local and remote users. It is designed to work
The latest firmware updates for Dell 2161DS-2 and 4161DS
in heterogeneous hardware environments and is well suited
remote console switches are designed to broaden and deepen
for managing multilocation data centers and branch offices.
the reach of KVM over IP infrastructure control for network
Utilizing Dell 2161DS-2 or 4161 remote console switches
administrators. The enhancements include the following:
with Avocent KVM over IP technology requires two components: the switch and a server interface pod (SIP). The hardware consists of a rack-mountable KVM switch that integrates
• An on-board Web browser–based interface that allows
direct access to the switch
the traditional functionality of analog KVM switches with the
• A virtual media implementation within the switch that
digital technology of KVM over IP. The switches can use 1U of
enables out-of-band file transfers as well as application
rack space or be mounted in the 0U area of a Dell rack. Each
and OS patch deployment
switch can manage up to 128 servers, or connect to Dell
• Integration with Avocent DSView 3 software, which allows
analog KVM switches to manage up to 256 servers. By combin-
administrators to control switch power and manage other
ing analog and digital technology, these switches can provide
devices from a single console
Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, November 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
systems management
Figure 1 shows the basic elements of a data
• The on-board Web browser–based interface,
center environment incorporating Dell remote
which provides a secure connection to
console switches, Cyclades® ACS advanced con-
individual switches using a standard
sole servers from Avocent, Cyclades PM intelli-
Web browser
gent power distribution units (IPDUs) from
• Dell RCS, which runs on a Java platform and
Avocent, and an Avocent MergePoint 5200 ser-
enables administrators to manage multiple
vice processor (SP) manager. In addition, this
switches at once
Key advantages
of KVM technology
KVM infrastructures can provide multiple
advantages in enterprise environments,
including the following:
• Centralized management: Switches utiliz-
figure shows the three tools through which
• Avocent DSView 3 management software,
administrators can access such an environment:
which offers comprehensive data center
ing KVM over IP technology provide access
Dell Remote Console Software (RCS), the remote
control and enhanced security
to servers and devices from a central location that administrators can easily access
console switch Web browser–based interface,
Each of these options provides access to
and Avocent DSView 3.
Using Dell remote console switches in con-
the system during reboot, even at the BIOS
• Out-of-band server access: Because they
junction with Avocent KVM over IP technology
level, without requiring software installation on
provide a direct connection to keyboard,
and Avocent DSView 3 software can offer mul-
the target browser. To transmit KVM signals,
video, and mouse ports, KVM switches
tiple advantages, including simplified control
Dell RCS uses industry-standard TCP/IP connec-
enable BIOS-level access independent of
over multiple systems, easy integration into
tions and confirms 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer
servers or networks—meaning adminis-
existing infrastructures, comprehensive man-
(SSL) encryption. Administrators can also select
trators can still manage servers even if the
agement capabilities, increased efficiency and
Data Encryption Standard (DES) or Triple DES
security, and enhanced availability.
(3DES) encryption.
Simplified control over multiple systems
Dell remote console switches support several
Easy integration into existing
methods of remotely managing, viewing, and
SIPs connect to the KVM port of target servers and
controlling attached servers:
send analog signals over a Category 5 (Cat 5)
network fails.
• Increased efficiency and reduced costs:
By providing centralized access to IT infrastructures, KVM technology enables
administrators to centralize expertise,
increase response times, and reduce the
cost and time of physically going to the
server room.
• Increased data center security: KVM tech-
nology enables administrators to maintain
servers in a secure environment while still
Web browser–based
enabling full access to those servers. It
Avocent DSView 3
Avocent MergePoint 5200
SP manager
also provides additional security such as
password control and detailed logging of
Dell RCS
user access to servers.
Cyclades ACS
advanced console server
Dell remote console switches
downtime: With KVM technology, administrators can respond immediately to problems from any location. Expert centralized
staff can immediately diagnose and repair
Cyclades ACS
advanced console server
• Increased responsiveness and reduced
Cyclades PM IPDU
Cyclades PM IPDU
problems in remote data centers and
branch offices.
• Reduced power and space requirements:
By rendering multiple sets of redundant
peripherals unnecessary, KVM technology
Cyclades PM IPDU
helps enterprises reduce power and space
Figure 1. Example environment incorporating Dell remote console switches, Avocent KVM over IP
technology, and Avocent DSView 3 software
Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, November 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
systems management
combining analog and digital technology, Dell
2161DS-2 and 4161DS switches can provide flexible,
Simplifying management
in KVM infrastructures
Dell 2161DS-2 and 4161DS remote console
centralized server control while helping significantly
switches coupled with Avocent KVM over IP
reduce cable volume and enabling secure remote
can provide a single console for cost-effective
out-of-band access, management, and power
technology and Avocent DSView 3 software
control—helping reduce mean time to repair
while maintaining the security of the physical
environment. Implementing these elements in
data centers utilizing eighth- and ninth-
unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable back to the
The virtual media capability added in the latest
generation Dell PowerEdge servers enables
switch. Designed to reduce cable volume, SIPs
firmware updates to Dell remote console
administrators to enhance their out-of-band
can help save rack space and allow administra-
switches is designed to address these prob-
management capabilities, increase efficiency,
tors to position servers more than 50 feet from
lems. By enabling administrators to map CDs
and simplify data center management.
the switch.
and other storage media to a remote server to
perform file transfers, application and OS
Max A. Benham is the Dell appliance account
Comprehensive management capabilities
patches, and diagnostics, virtual media helps
manager at Avocent. Previously, he led the
In the past, switch administrators have had
increase efficiency without compromising phys-
Avocent Original Equipment Manufacturer
access to and control over servers. When serv-
ical security.
(OEM) Program Management organization. Max
has a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Slavic
ers failed or when hub, router, or headless
server problems arose, however, they could not
Enhanced availability
Languages and Literature from the University of
rely on their KVM switch infrastructure to
Failed servers can cause major difficulties
resolve them.
when administrators are working remotely or
The latest firmware updates for Dell remote
in environments with tightly controlled physi-
William Muscato is a Dell product marketing
console switches add support for Avocent
cal access. Dell remote console switches and
manager for rack and rack infrastructure prod-
DSView 3 software, providing enhanced man-
Avocent KVM technology provide administra-
ucts. He has previously held executive posi-
agement capabilities and allowing administra-
tors with multiple ways to resolve server
tions in the technology, finance, and travel
tors to manage additional devices from their
problems in these types of environments.
industries, providing business, sales, and
KVM management console. Specifically, admin-
If the failed server is an eighth- or ninth-
product management expertise in emerging
istrators can now implement Avocent MergePoint
generation Dell PowerEdge server with IPMI
technologies and online services. William has
SP managers to utilize the Intelligent Platform
2.0 enabled, administrators can remotely view
an engineering degree from the Rochester
Management Interface (IPMI) software in eighth-
the system event log to help identify the prob-
Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the
Ohio State University.
and ninth-generation Dell PowerEdge servers.
lem. They can then use the Avocent MergePoint
They can also implement serial console switches
SP manager to power down or power cycle the
to manage hubs, routers, and headless servers
server if necessary. If the server does not sup-
as well as IPDUs. Incorporating this hardware
port IPMI, administrators can use Avocent
into their Dell KVM over IP infrastructure can
DSView 3 to access the IPDU infrastructure and
provide administrators with comprehensive out-
power cycle the server.
of-band access and control over heterogeneous
data center environments.
If a problem occurs with a server that uses
a serial console as its management port,
administrators can access the serial console
Increased efficiency and security
switch through DSView 3 to help identify the
Physically getting up and going to the server
problem. They can then use either the
room to install a patch or run diagnostics costs
command-line interface to reboot the device or
administrators valuable time, and the increased
the IPDU infrastructure to power cycle the
foot traffic through the data center can also
server, and view the server reboot using the
increase exposure to potential security risks.
KVM over IP connection.
Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, November 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.