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Old 05-17-2010, 09:14 PM
Robert Brockway
Default cross-connecting console ports?

On Mon, 17 May 2010, Miles Fidelman wrote:

Has anybody done this? Any suggestions on where to start - both re. cabling
(USB vs. serial cross-over), and/or software?

Hi Miles. Many of us have done this for years and years. You can go with
a serial console over rj45 (including bios level tools) like iLO or DRAC
or you can get Linux to provide you with a 'software serial console' that
will be available from the bootloader (lilo or grub) onwards.

A quick Google should turn up howtos on how to configure Grub & friends.

I've always used true serial ports to do this although I understand it is
possible via usb-serial connectors.

You can use any serial terminal app to provide access to the serial port.
I prefer minicom but there are lots of options.

Keep security in mind when doing this. If soneone gets root access[1] to
one of the servers then they can 0wn the other one. Don't cross-connect
the serial consoles unless the servers are in the same 'security domain'.

[1] You can restrict who can talk to minicom for example.



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Old 05-18-2010, 03:21 AM
Andy Smith
Default cross-connecting console ports?

Hi Miles,

On Mon, May 17, 2010 at 04:59:38PM -0400, Miles Fidelman wrote:
> Short of buying a remote KVM, it occurs to me that it might be possible
> to cross-connect the serial ports on the two computers - using a terminal
> program on one, to access the other, and vice versa.

This works fine; I do it all the time when testing hardware.

> Has anybody done this? Any suggestions on where to start - both re.
> cabling (USB vs. serial cross-over), and/or software?

These days it becomes easier to have a bunch of USB ports than a
bunch of serial ports, so USB/serial converters are cheap and useful
and I've yet to find one that doesn't just work under Debian.

I used to use minicom, but lately I use "screen /dev/ttyUSB0 9600"
or whatever.


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