18 April 2003 02:00
Yesterday I stumbled upon conserver (www.conserver.com) which should make for more convenience when I have to manage remote hosts in our data center via serial console. Previous to now, I have had to ssh to our console host, become root, and use a little script which coaxes minicom to connect to the appropriate serial port (we use some multi-port serial cards). conserver allows me now to simply run a command from my local machine which connects to a daemon running on our console host and connects right to the appropriate serial line. Very nice. It also encrypts the connection between my host and the console server. It supports PAM authentication, so you can set it up to allow console sessions to anyone who has a shell on the console host. I had to do some dancing with rpms to get an up-to-date openssl (our console host is a badly-needs-to-be-upgraded RedHat 6.1 box), but I managed ok, and after applying an rpm update of the pam package from RedHat, everything was working great. One bash alias later, and I'm ready to start adding more hosts to the config file.
One problem I've found as I've been configuring this is that apparently I can't have two entries in conserver.cf pointing to the same serial port. Rats. So much for machine aliases. Still a very useful tool, though.