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shared access to console ports (was: conserver and gdb)

David Harris zonker@certaintysolutions.com
Tue, 26 Feb 2002 16:18:07 -0800 (PST)

  There may be one way to solve at least one of these problems...


  ASP Technologies makes a clever box (at the URL above) which was
intended to let you put a local VT Terminal near the gear, and 
plug that into the box (CatWalk)...you then also plug in a cable
from your console server as well, and a third lead that goes to
the device that you care about....

  Normally, the console server gets access...but someone can go
to the 'local' VT terminal, and use that, by pressing a button
on the box. This toggles the write access to the local port,
while the console server is effectively in read-only mode.
However, the console server can also pull control back, using
(if I recall correctly) a handshaking line to reset the box.

  So, change the model a bit...use two ports from the console
server, and plug the 'common' to the UPS, or whatever you
really care about...Allow the conserver host to connect to
one port of the console console server...and then use a
reverse-TCP session to the second console server port be
used for debugging (using the hardware control to steal 
control if it is needed)...or put both ports on conserver,
and use the client to take the port (force-attach if needed),
and when you relinquish it, 'regular' users can have 
their access to it again?

  Just a thought...

  { ASP Technologies sells a commercial console server called
    Vantage, and the http://www.asptech.com/ website is really
    only built to sell Vantage...however, the Data Com Ideas
    website (above) is managed by one of ASP's technical
    leaders, and covers a lot of the hardware hacks they
    have developed to make Vantage more useful. The team
    at ASP have their hats screwed on right, and I like
    the hardware hacks they've put together. -Z- }