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Thread: mobo w/serial

  1. #1

    mobo w/serial

    I'm thinking about building a new linux server (my current server is actually a Gentoo VM sitting on top of a windows box), but I would like it to be headless. Anyone know of a good (cheap) motherboard with serial port BIOS support? I also want it to have hardware RAID 1 support. I've been tempted to give coreboot a try, but I'm not so sure yet...

    Thanks!
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
    now there's 63,005 bugs in the code!!

  2. #2
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    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813186116

    That handles a good server board with a serial port. As for hardware raid, its there, but I would get an addon card to ensure linux support and the ability to replace it in case it dies on you. This way you can swap the card for a replacement or just chuck the mobo if either dies, and not have to rebuild your raid.

    On the other hand, one technique that I have been fond of is use a host os (in my case CentOS) to just be there to run VMWare or XEN and run all services thru VMs. This way backup is easy. Migration is easy. Plus with a mirror, you can break the mirror, and boot it off of a new server with little hassle. Makes the migration thing much easier.

    My method includes segregating the services out. One for HHTPD, one for postfix, one for zimbra, one for nfs/openafs, and whatever else. Makes security a bit simpler.

  3. #3
    Good idea with the RAID controller... for some reason it didn't occur to me that you may have to rebuild the array in event of a hardware failure.
    I've played around a lot with Xen on RHEL5 and I've liked what I've seen. I did a lot of synthetic benchmarking with it and it did very well worst performance was disk I/O, which had a 9% loss. I haven't done networking benchmarks but I expect that might not do so hot either.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
    now there's 63,005 bugs in the code!!

  4. #4
    Really, just about any board is going to have an internal connector for a serial port add-on, but as for getting one with it built-in, you can't expect much.
    arrogance breeds ignorance

    Screaming Electron, Full of BSD Goodness

  5. #5
    Maybe I'm a little inexperienced with the motherboards, but do all BIOSes support serial I/O? I can't find how to configure mine. (I don't want to use KVM)
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
    now there's 63,005 bugs in the code!!

  6. #6
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    I would say thats more of an OS thing, rather than BIOS level. You can disable keyboard and video error halting in the BIOS and have a terminal setup that runs over a TTYS0 or whatnot, if that is what you mean. Otherwise ssh would do the trick (one less cable too )

  7. #7
    I know I can pass the kernel arguments to use the serial port as a terminal, I'm also looking for a bios that can be configured over serial, so that I would never have to plug in a VGA cable. I guess it's not too big of a deal if I can't find one. The box would be headless, and ssh would be the primary method to access, but it if doesn't have network connectivity at some point, it can be a real pain to hook a monitor and keyboard up.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
    now there's 63,005 bugs in the code!!

  8. #8
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    Well after initial setup, the BIOS would not need to be toyed with, right? So first boot you can configure the BIOS and have a monitor connected and install your OS, but after that it won't be needed.

  9. #9
    What he is looking for is something like an RS6000 which if it doesn't have a video card with use the serial port for all video output, keyboard, etc.

    I have one of these at home and one at work. I use a DB9 null modem cable from the serial port on the RS6000 to the serial port on my PC which runs putty with the serial port option (like cisco equipment).

    This allows for OS installs, diagnostics, etc.

    I don't know of any standard PC mobos that support this.

    -S9-

  10. #10
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    RE: mobo w/serial

    Just a thought, couldn't you configure BIOS to halt on no errors and then disable the on board video and then remove the pci video card then boot it up? Would it start? That would allow Countach to use a normal cheap garden variety board.

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