Systems Management Flexible Management Tools for Dell Remote Console Switches By Max A. Benham William Muscato A 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 Visit DELL.COM/PowerSolutions for the complete category index. 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. DELL.COM/PowerSolutions 93 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. remotely. 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 infrastructures 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- Spoke nology enables administrators to maintain Spoke servers in a secure environment while still Web browser–based interface enabling full access to those servers. It Hub Avocent DSView 3 management software Avocent MergePoint 5200 SP manager also provides additional security such as password control and detailed logging of Dell RCS NEED SCREENSHOT FOR THIS user access to servers. Internet Servers Cyclades ACS advanced console server Dell remote console switches Servers 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 Servers • Increased responsiveness and reduced Storage Servers Network Cyclades PM IPDU Cyclades PM IPDU Facilities problems in remote data centers and branch offices. • Reduced power and space requirements: By rendering multiple sets of redundant Servers peripherals unnecessary, KVM technology Cyclades PM IPDU helps enterprises reduce power and space requirements. Figure 1. Example environment incorporating Dell remote console switches, Avocent KVM over IP technology, and Avocent DSView 3 software 94 DELL POWER SOLUTIONS | November 2007 Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, November 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. systems management “By 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 access.” 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 Washington. 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. 96 DELL POWER SOLUTIONS | November 2007 QUICK LINK Avocent: www.avocent.com Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, November 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.