[SASAG] network-enabled ILO-ish device for desktops?

Paul English tallpaul at engmooski.net
Mon Aug 3 14:42:08 PDT 2020

On 2020-08-03 14:10, Nathaniel Middleton wrote:
> Greetings everyone!
> During Covid- it has become apparent that I have a few linux desktops
> that could use an ILO/BMC for remote management- where OS-dependent
> tools are failing to provide manageability.

No doubt!

> While the DIY community has some tempting options (pykvm being one of
> them [1]), I have been having issues finding a device that seems like
> it would work all that well.

I think part of the reason the DIY-ers are doing this is *because* there 
aren't good options, I'm afraid.

> I would like to find something that can support DVI/ USB
> inputs/outputs, a html5 remote console (avoid Java), and be able to
> find the device as it travels around a remote location with the first
> level techs (also not require a client/server pair for management as
> you typically see in server rooms).

DVI is a particularly unusual requirement these days. Many (most?) 
servers still use VGA as their primary (ie: BIOS/UEFI) video connection, 
and I think it is near impossible to find current desktop/workstation 
grade systems with DVI out rather than HDMI or DisplayPort.

But for all the rest - I *do* think there are good/reasonable and 
reasonably priced options out there - *IF*:
* you're buying in quantity of 10's at least, more for discounts, and to 
spread out the cost of the central device
* which hook up to a central device that provides CPU/RAM/network 
connection etc (and reduces the cost of each additional server added)
* you're spending $THOUSANDS on a server and retiring them every 3-5 
years, and $hundreds additional for an IP KVM add-on is reasonable if 
for some business/security/time saving reasons you don't want to use the 
built-in (typically) ILO/BMC
** eg: some server providers build it in but up-charge you to use the 
management software..which also is lousy. So why pay them extra when you 
can buy a better after-market add-on?
* you're already planning on building a separate management network with 
1x1Gbps port per server, plus isolation routers/firewall/whatever as 
part of the cost, regardless

> Anyone come across good options for this in your wanderings?

Best I can tell is that the reason the DIY ones exist is that there *is* 
no option for:
* quantity < 10
* no separate management network(?) - someone is roaming around with a 
physical KVM that they now plug in wherever?
* commercial grade

because there isn't enough of a market for it.

All the brands and prices here are what I'd expect:

That said - pikvm looks pretty neat, and seems like *precisely* the 
right solution for your exact market (minus DVI), *and* they say they 
are going to produce a commercial one, which should be a bit more 
reliable and include some amount of support.

You might want to consider upgrading your server(s) to HDMI (assuming 
you can figure out a way to get BIOS/UEFI to cooperate properly) just so 
you can use the pikvm!

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