"With all of the redundancy in today's servers, its easy to
think that you will never need serial port access to your shiny new
server. But what do you do when you're at home and your server is
at the data center, and your trusty friend SSH fails you? Go back
to where remote access started--a console server.
"Trust me, there will be a time when the network goes down, or
maybe you'll need to get into a server's BIOS to change a setting,
or boot it in single-user mode. Without physical access, or an
expensive remote management card, none of this is possible.
However, with a little open source software and some cheap
hardware, you can set up a remote console server for multiple
machines. We'll take a look at two programs that can help: Minicom,
for when networking is down and to view BIOS and boot screens, and
conserver, for day-to-day console access..."
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