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RE: Proper Break entry for Ctrl-Alt-Del

nathan r. hruby nhruby@uga.edu
Tue, 22 Mar 2005 12:32:09 -0800 (PST)

Huh.. I seem to have caused a ruckus! Sorry!

Comments inline..

On Tue, 22 Mar 2005, Zonker Harris wrote:

 There *are* a few BIOS makers who have incorporated
some console redirection to the console...but I cannot
name them today. (HP? Compaq? Award? Version(s)?)

Dell and HP/Compaq do, we have both. This machine in question is actually a HP DL360 G4. The first thing I do with these machines is: - Boot with head from crash-cart - Disable Menus in BIOS - Enable Serial Console redirection - Power off - Connect serial console - Disconnect crash cart - Reboot

From there about the only time I touch that machine is to replace disks.

This machine also has iLo, we just tend to not use it because we need real serial consoles for the Sun gear and burning yet another IP/port/cable run on management stuff I rarely use seems silly, especially when I have a staffed data center and serial consoles already.

 The main downside was when the BIOS handed over the
Power-On Self-Test to 'smart' drive and network adapters,
which would then write directly to the screen again,
versus reporting through the BIOS.

The recent HP/Compaq gear we've gotten is very very nice. You can see and interact with all of the BIOS, RAID, PXE, and SCSI loaders. It's about as close one can get to a console.

The older Dell gear we have has no Serial redirection.  The semi-newer
Dell gear we have does this ok, but it's a little fussy.  We're EOL'ing
our Dell gear, so the newer IMPI based machines (x8yy series ) I have no
experience with.

 I haven't heard of BIOS makers watching for BREAK when
they are in this console-redirection mode. It may not have
been intuitive, since most of these "Lights-Out Management"
BIOS hacks *ALL* seem to presume that you're attaching
a modem to the port (requiring DCD to be invoked, before
the port will talk/listen), so they may have actively
decided to IGNORE a BREAK signal on the data leads, so
that a modem reset wouldn't crash the box. (This is my
own supposition, based on limited experiences. I don't
have access to a PC with BIOS that supports this feature.)

I tested this on a lark. BREAK doesn't seem to do anything.

 Finally, just a reminder about the PC Weasel card, for
managing PCs at that kind of level *without* special BIOS.
(http://www.realweasel.com/) While pricey, it lets you
use a serial console to fuss with BIOS settings, logically
'press the reset button', and will also capture the screen
output of most 'smart' controllers. If you haven't looked
into these cards, you should at least check out the website,
and try the demo. (I have no affiliation, but I like the
implementation! :-)

The serial console does this already, and iLo (and RiLoE if you want the extra stuff) handles the rest should you choose to use it.

I finally got the machine working, evidently the Raid controller backplane
was loose.  Reseated it and it's happy once again

Thanks all!


nathan hruby <nhruby@uga.edu>
uga enterprise information technology services
production systems support
metaphysically wrinkle-free