Need a new console server



  • I want to build a new "console server" for my network and lab soon. my current one is an energy hog for what it does.  It's an old XP machine with dual Moxa 8 port serial cards installed.  It's a Pentium 4 3.6 GHZ, not a bad machine but wasteful for a console server.

    I really want to build a rack mount machine, but I'm having trouble finding an atom motherboard that will accept 2 PCIe x1 expansion cards. I guess I could use a Celeron as well. I'll probably stick with Windows, although I could go Linux and use VNC for remote operation.

    any Ideas?



  • Have you considered cisco? I use a Cisco 2511 you can get them on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cisco-AS2511-RJ-Router-Access-Ser-16Port-Async-Fast-Shipping-/171509620389?pt=US_Enterprise_Routers&hash=item27eec51ea5

    At work we use MRVs similar to this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/MRV-4000T-Series-LX-4000T-101AC-8-Port-Remote-Presence-Manager-Console-Server-/251686474456?pt=US_Network_Switches&hash=item3a99aed2d8

    The MRV can be managed from the browser (with java) or the command line. The cisco 2511 is telnet and I don't think that they can be setup with SSH like the MRVs, if encrypting your telnet session is a priority.



  • I'd definitely go with an appliance of some sort, along the lines of the MRV mikeisfly linked. Should be able to find those cheap on ebay. Unless you need to run a machine for some other reason, will already have it running regardless, and might as well throw in the serial cards. The power that P4 is chewing up is costing you serious money over time. A console appliance would pay for itself in power savings pretty quickly (likely under 6 months, potentially much less than that, depending on power cost).



  • I'm not necessarily opposed to one of these appliances, but I failed to mention that the current machine is also my tftp server on the network where all my IOS files and config backups are stored. It would be a simple matter to move that to a different machine. I'll have to do some more planning.

    I just installed the TFTP package on pfSense but I'm not sure how to work it yet.

    Thanks.



  • @iraiam:

    I want to build a new "console server" for my network and lab soon. my current one is an energy hog for what it does.  It's an old XP machine with dual Moxa 8 port serial cards installed. It's a Pentium 4 3.6 GHZ, not a bad machine but wasteful for a console server.

    I really want to build a rack mount machine, but I'm having trouble finding an atom motherboard that will accept 2 PCIe x1 expansion cards. I guess I could use a Celeron as well. I'll probably stick with Windows, although I could go Linux and use VNC for remote operation.
         
    any Ideas?

    You might be able to claim your free $15 from Intel
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/31/fifteen_whole_dollars_on_offer_for_cranky_pentiums_4_buyers/