This article explores the core elements of IBM's remote systems management solution and how they work with Opengear console servers.
Opengear offers a variety of connectivity methods to access IBM Systems Management securely from a remote location. Our solutions provide an aggregate gateway to remote sites, branch offices, co-location facilities and data centers both in-band and out-of-band. The unique blend of security filters offered in our software and hardware platforms gives administrators enhanced access control and log file granularity for audit trails. Best of all, our solutions are low cost - starting at just a few hundred dollars.
We make managing IBM servers easier, more secure from anywhere in the world. To manage IBM servers at the remote site we offer our small form factor ACM5000
products. For the larger branch office site, colocation, or data center we offer our IMG4216-25
line of products. When IBM RSA and virtual console is not ideal for remote management administrators can implement true KVM over IP with our IP-KVM
product line. Contact our sales team today for assistance in finding which product best fits your IBM management application.
IBM's eServer, xSeries and BladeCenter families all offer systems management hardware for around-the-clock remote management. A baseboard management controller (BMC) is a built-in system component in xSeries and BladeCenter servers and it provides basic monitoring and troubleshooting facilities, such as sending alerts and remote power control.
However it is IBM's Remote Supervisor Adapter (and the popular RSA II) that represents the next generation of comprehensive server management. The IBM RSA II is a PCI card service processor and it is standard in some servers and an option in others. It manages the BMC located on the server motherboard, and augments the BMC capability so you can perform systems management functions whether your server is operational or not.
As shown in the table below, the RSA II provides an extensive range of remote server management features. The Virtual KVM feature for example provides full graphic console redirection. You can use a local desktop to access and control a remote server, run applications and receive system alerts in whatever form you choose. So no longer is there a need for any external KVMoIP appliances at the remote site.
Another model is the RSA SlimLine which is an internal card that includes the BMC and uses a dedicated Ethernet connector on the server for communication. The BladeCenter's management module also uses a modified version of the RSA with an integrated KVM switch to provide access to individual server blades.
|IBM||RSA (Remote Supervisor Adapter)||IBM Director||RSA II, SlimLine RSA||PCI Card||Command line & Web interface; Virtual KVM (with logging of last screen before failure); Virtual media access; UDP/TCP Ethernet connection; Remote power control; Local logs & alerts; Secure SSH, SSL & LDAP access|
More details can be found in the IBM Redbook
which describes the integrated BMC, the RSA II family of adapters and the BladeCenter management module.
IBM + Opengear
Opengear IM42xx managers and IMG4xxx gateways, and the SDTConnector client, all ship preconfigured with support for IBM's BMCs and RSA cards and associated management software. IBM best practice recommends that the RSA II cards not be connected directly to the production network, and the IMG4xxx gateway provides the ideal solution for securely accessing and controlling these service processors.
In the branches with only a few servers and network devices to administer, the integrated IM4004-5 and IMG4216-25 solutions offers a single point of access and control to all the serial consoles, network consoles, service processors and power units at the site. For enterprises with larger branch offices the IMG4216-25 gateway provides a more powerful integrated solution. And in the larger data centers with racks of servers to administer, the IM42xx can serve as the management LAN gateway to external LAN switches that securely isolate the service processors.
For remote administration, the SDTConnector client provides a simple centralized solution. RSA II, BladeCenter and BMC each use a variety of TCP/IP and UDP ports for communication
only some of which the administrator can change. So the enterprise network firewalls and routers would need to allow communications through all these ports for the adapters to function properly.
However with an IM/IMG solution all TCP and UDP access to the distributed servers is securely tunneled thru SHH over the one selectable port. SDTConnector also then gives the sys admin secure access to all these local and remote servers and sites from the one screen on his/her desktop, and the RSA management software for each of these servers can then be initiated with a simple point-n-click
For data center customers, with rows of racked IBM servers, the IM/IMG families provide the most reliable solution for accessing the service processors - with redundant power supplies, Ethernet failover, authentication and logs of all accesses.
IBM's service processors can accessed with the IM/IMG then managed using IBM Director
, an integrated suite of system management tools that enables administrators to locally or remotely track the usage and performance of their server's processors, disks, and memory. IBM Director extends the basic RSA II software by providing a central platform for monitoring and managing all the IBM hardware resources. And the IBM + Opengear service management can be extended even further as Director also will seamlessly integrate with higher-level systems management offerings such as Tivoli, HP OpenView, Microsoft SMS and MOM, CA Unicenter, BMC and Altiris.
The Using SDTConnector with IBM Servers
Application Note explores this in more details.