Low end servers, including the original ML110 and ML115 G5 servers, and the newer Microserver do not come with this functionality. However, it can be added as an extra.
I was out of spare slots on my KVM, so when I bought the Microserver, I included the Remote Access Card (RAC) in the purchase. The Microserver has a PCIe 16x and PCIe 1x slot. The RAC fits into the 1x slot, leaving another card free for upgrades.
The easiest way to configure the card is to initially use a keyboard and monitor.
The back of the card has a standard RJ45 Ethernet connector and a VGA port. The monitor needs to be connected to this port and not the onboard VGA port. Once connected, the machine can be powered on.
When prompted, press F10 to enter the ROM setup. From here, select the Advanced page and IPMI Configuration:
Select Set LAN Configuration:
Set the BMC LAN Configuration option to Static and then enter and IP address, subnet mask and default gateway:
While in here, it's also worth tuning the VGA configuration. Since this server isn't running anything graphical, I dropped the VGA RAM allocated down to the minumum. From the Advanced page, select PCI Express Configuration:
Under VGA Memory Size, select 32MB.
Exit the ROM setup and save settings. Reboot the server. If everything has been configured successfully, you can now disconnect the monitor and keyboard.
Once configured, open a browser to the IP port and you should get the login screen:
The default username is admin and the default password is password.
I've had problems sometimes getting past the login. My username/password is accepted, but I'm returned to the login page. To avoid, I always go to the index.html and not the login.html, and I use Firefox's Private Browsing mode. I assume a cookie is getting set incorrectly sometimes and this process seems to work around it.
Once logged in, the RAC presents a menu down the left hand side, with the main content on the right. Most is pretty self-explanatory.
|Remote power control|
|SNMP trap configuration|
The most interesting are at the bottom and provide access to the virtual media and virtual KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse):
|Virtual KVM and Media configuration|
The Virtual Media is a Java application (loads through Java Webstart) and allows either the local CD/DVD drive, or an ISO image to be connected remotely to the server:
The Virtual KVM is also a Jave Webstart application and provides access to the server console. Special keystrokes such as CTRL-ALT-DEL can be sent using the Macro menu. The following screenshot shows ESXi 5.0 running on the Microserver:
The only problem I had with the Java applications is when I attempted to access them with my Mac. For some reason it had problems opening the file. So I used Windows instead.
So how good is the RAC? While it's probably true to say that I won't be using it all that often, it's a very useful addition to the Microserver, especially if you want to put it somewhere out of the way like the garage or loft.
Unlike the more expensive ILO cards, the RAC does not have an onboard battery, so if the Microserver loses power completely, it's not possible to connect to it. However, if power is connected to the Microserver, you should be able to connect.
** Update 12-FEB-2013: My thanks to Tom Hall who commented that there is a 1.3 firmware for the RAC that fixes a problem where it becomes unresponsive to the network. I've seen this problem a couple of times and it's a pain as it basically makes the RAC useless. The new firmware should resolve this issue. **