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Linux rescues KVM rack gear

Aug 4, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Opengear is shipping a uClinux-based console server designed for enterprises with unused KVM infrastructure. The KCS6000 KVM gateway console turns outdated rack-mounted keyboards and LCD screens into stations where users can remotely administer headless gear using an array of modern remote access protocols,… OpenGear says.

(Click for larger view of the KCS6000)

According to Opengear, datacenters and enterprise computer rooms still contain more than $3 billion in KVM infrastructure. Yet, KVM infrastructure is less than ideal or even useless for administrating modern blade or virtual servers, OpenGear says. According to OpenGear, in conjunction with legacy KVM setups, the KCS6000 gateway can provide both in-band and out-of-band management of a wide range of servers, networking gear, un-interruptible power supplies, and other devices with serial or USB interfaces.


Typical configuration for the KCS6000

Supported remote access “levels” for servers include:

  • At the “system” level, for example changing BIOS settings, or configuring IPMI service processors
  • At the OS level, for instance managing VMWare, Windows, Linux, or Solaris
  • At the application level, similar to using a thin client, with VNC, RDP, a Citrix ICA client

And, the KCS6000 lets users run Firefox and Sun's open source Java Runtime Edition (JRE) on old KVM stations, in order to “locally connect to VMWare servers, Cisco routers, or IBM-RSA/ Dell-DRAC/ HP-iLO/SUN-ALOM service processors,” OpenGear said. But wait, there's more. The KCS6000 also comes with tools for managing UPS gear with serial or USB interfaces, and terminal emulation software, for connecting to legacy serial console devices from KVM stations, the vendor says.


Opengear's 16-port KCS6116 model(rear view)
(Click to enlarge)

The KCS6000 comes in two versions. The KCS6116 offers 16 Serial ports, whereas the KCS6104 provides four. Otherwise, the models are identical, equipped with an AMD Geode LX800 clocked at 500MHz, 256MB DDR, 1GB CompactFlash, and a 4MB Award BIOS. The 17 x 6.7 x 1.75-inch, 1RU box is rack-mountable and consumes less than 10 Watts, says Opengear. The device offers a Serial console, an Ethernet port, and four USB 2.0 ports, plus VGA, MIC, and dual PS/2 interfaces. A uClinux-based development kit is available, with full source code access.

Founded by uClinux pioneer Bob Waldie, Opengear uses open-source software to reduce the cost of remote access and network center management equipment. Earlier this year, Opengear announced it had integrated components of the Nagios open-source network and device monitoring software in its remote access equipment. The resulting “SDT for Nagios” product is now a LinuxWorld award finalist for “Best Systems Management Tool,” says the company.


The KCS6000 in its techno-neighborhood

CEO Waldie stated, “In a market where space is king and more companies are moving to blade servers and virtual machines, useless devices are anything but welcome. With the new KCS6000, companies do not have to spend money replacing old units, instead they can extend the life of their investment.”

Availability

The KCS6116 is available for $1,500, and the KCS6104 costs $900, says Opengear. More information may be found here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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