Suggestions for remote admin of linux machines

Discussion in 'Linux Networking' started by George Patton, May 18, 2004.

  1. I believe he did mean X10. Google for details, all I know is that it's
    a "home automation" protocol.
     
    John-Paul Stewart, May 19, 2004
    #21
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  2. George Patton

    Ming He Guest

    #4: Using a remote power on/off switch. Those device you can telnet in or
    modem in. But I don't know if they support ssh.

    Also, if you have more than 1 machine there. You can inter-connect their
    serial port, so you can, from a local machine, see what happened before
    network comes up.

    But for BIOS, the only way I assume is KVM (over ip maybe). Serial KVM
    would be too slow, even if such a beast exists.

    Ssh, like many mentioned, is pretty much the standard way. Almost everything
    can go though ssh.

    BTW, X server, if you not actively using it locally to the machine, would
    not use much resouces. You don't need to start a local X server at all
    anyway.

    /ming
     
    Ming He, May 19, 2004
    #22
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  3. George Patton

    Ming He Guest

    LOL, heiming the linux geek, X10 is home automation protocol. There sure
    more things than X11.

    /ming
     
    Ming He, May 19, 2004
    #23
  4. X10 is a low speed networking system for single-point automation
    devices. ALthough developed in Scotland in the 1980s it never took
    off in Europe, but is popular in the USA. Ther are hundreds of web
    sites about it, have a look at:
    http://www.x10.com/products/products.htm
    http://www.yolinux.com/TUTORIALS/LinuxTutorialX10SmartHomeNetworking.html
    among others.

    There are several home automation systems available, but all of them
    require you to have a _working_ system to dial into, to allow you to
    reboot your _broken_ system. Even if you purchase a dedicated remote
    management unit (esentially a modem with addressable switches) what
    are you going to do if that fails? This single point of failure will
    always exist.

    More expensive solutions include:
    http://www.webpowerswitch.com/

    You could do what some of the early embedded people used to do, before
    embedded code became reliable and watchdogs became more sophisticated.
    And that is to deliberatley issue a hard reset at intervals. A
    normal clockwork mains timer set to go off in the middle of the night
    could interrupt the power every night!


    have a look at:
    http://www.cyberresearch.com/store/product/3119.2.htm
    http://www.quancom.de/qprod01/eng/pb/pwdog1.htm
    http://www.ieci.com.au/products/Product_Page2.asp?Product_ID=324
    http://www.sphinxcomputer.de/html_d/produkte/sphinx/weitere.html
    for other watchdog solutions
     
    Robert E A Harvey, May 19, 2004
    #24
  5. (To the tune of the football chant "here we go"): "VNC, VNC, VNC. VNC, VNC, VNC"
     
    Robert E A Harvey, May 19, 2004
    #25
  6. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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    (From the opposing bench): "X over SSH, X over SSH, X over SSH."
    - --
    Kirk Strauser
    The Strauser Group
    Open. Solutions. Simple.
    http://www.strausergroup.com/
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    Kirk Strauser, May 19, 2004
    #26
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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Thx for reading!
    Wow, thx for the URL, never saw something like this and I don't
    know of anyone who is using something like this over here:

    [http://www.x10.com/automation/homeautomation.htm]

    "Never drive up to a dark house again."

    LOL...Good one, over here our cars have pretty good lights built
    in.

    Or from the same URL:

    "SuperRemote Home Control Kit 45% OFF!
    Remotely control every function in your TV/Family room AND your
    lights and appliances - from across the room - or across the
    house, all with a single remote!"

    This one isn't that bad either, honestly why would one want it,
    unless someone is handicapped or/and really old and moving hurts?

    Sure you can probably get those parts and built something like
    this over here, but I haven't seen all those parts packaged to a
    "home automation system".

    Thx for the info.;)

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #27
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    Perhaps where you come from, someone kindly provided an URL, over
    here none will know about "networked home automation board".

    [..]
    LOL...Nope over here, there might be biometric access control in
    place for large server rooms, no cheapo "networked home automation
    board" here.
    ;)

    BTW
    Please try trimming your posts.

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #28
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    Now that was a useful post, thx for taking the time while
    snipping away that I stated in the above post "Never heard about
    "networked home automation board"".

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #29
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    Yep, looks like. Someone kindly provided an URL, there's no such
    thing over here, I don't know of anyone controlling his house
    with his TV remote. The idea sounds really absurd to me, perhaps
    people from north America shouldn't take it for granted that
    anyone in the world shares their way of living?
    ;)

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #30
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    You can work up from the lilo: prompt via serial just with
    configuring lilo.
    Not really, there are add-on cards:

    http://www.realweasel.com/

    Other then that modern x86 server have serial BIOS redirection
    or/and somekind off "lights off cards" built in.
    Yep.

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #31
  12. Hmm. Are you basing this judgment on analysis of PC hardware designed
    for home automation? If so, you need to look beyond PCs. Contact your
    local security or burglar alarm distributor, and even electrical
    wholesalers in some areas. *NOT* your local PC dealer.

    The home automation boards that I've examined recently are essentially
    standalone systems. Example: HAI and OnQ. In addition, I vaguely
    recall that Leviton sells a standalone "lighting" controller that talks
    with X10 switches and recepticals. HAI and OnQ controller installation
    mechanics typically use a computer for programming so-called "zone
    trigger" events -- although you could probably program these same zone
    triggers via a keypad if you don't mind wasting your time -- but I don't
    believe that any of these controllers *require* an on-site computer to
    "dial into". To illustrate, HAI products can be controlled with
    through a builtin ethernet port that would allow you to cycle
    power/lights/etc on off from an ordinary web browser anywhere in the
    world... although you would probably want to tunnel this access through
    a suitable firewall. :) Using a web interface for control, you would
    need a computer to "dial from" while connecting to these controllers but
    not a computer to dial "into". :)

    I've described previously how this kind of setup could be useful for the
    administration of remote machines: power-cycling, video surveillance,
    remote entry via electrically controlled door strikes, etc. Could this
    be used to handle a crude reboot? "Hitting the big red switch, so to
    speak"? Yes, if the bios has been set to allow booting on "power on"
    and your boot-loader (grub for instance) has a suitable default OS in
    the configuration file.

    I'm more concerned about finetuning the system before, during, and after
    reboot so that it can be reconfigured or retasked remotely. Apart from
    using remote power-on/off features provided by networked UPS units, home
    automation boards, etc, there are at least two solutions for bios-level
    remote control. 1) KVM switches with IP interfaces: These appear to be
    expensive on a per-port basis but I finally figured out last night that
    I could use an inexpensive single port KVM/IP switch and CASCADE this
    single port KVM/IP switch to ordinary (cheap) multiport KVM switches
    costing much, much less. This reduces the per port cost significantly
    while still allowing access via the internet. Startech in Canada makes
    and sells this kind of switch. Features include a web interface and 128
    bit SSL encryption.

    http://www.startech.com


    2) The other alternative would be a terminal server or computer with a
    multiport serial card -- assuming that you have new machines that will
    redirect bios communication to the serial port.

    Could such hardware break down? Gee, let me think! :) I suppose
    that components of any system could fail eventually, and if the failure
    occurs at a remote site, I suppose a technician would need to pay a
    visit with replacement parts. Ditto for on-site failures. However, in
    my experience software config problems are much more common than
    hardware problems, and with the aforementioned tools in place I suspect
    that I could do anything to the software on a remote system that I could
    do to a system on my desktop... including reloading an entire operating
    system from scratch.
    This solution seems relatively cheaper than the one I described and it's
    a "turnkey" solution. The vendor doesn't provide specs, however, and I
    suspect that it's rated for only 15A (total) if it's rated at all. I
    called the company and asked the salesperson to read the UL label on the
    back of the device and he informed me that there was no label. Not
    good. This might be marginally acceptable for a single machine but not
    for a small server farm in a commercial or government or educational
    setting. By contrast, the solution that I described previously would
    use multiple UL rated recepticals and/or switches that are rated for 15A
    or 20A EACH.

    I'm going to check out the watchdog solutions linked into your posting.
    Many thanks for posting them.
     
    George Patton, May 19, 2004
    #32
  13. George Patton

    DaveG Guest

    Haha, reminds me of someone who once asked why anyone would want more
    than 640kb in a PC.

    dg
     
    DaveG, May 19, 2004
    #33
  14. Michael Heiming wrote:

    Home automation significantly enhances the safety and security of daily
    life as well as comfort. For example, the controller can be programmed
    to automatically turn on lights in a stairwell, for instance, as soon as
    someone approaches the top or bottom landing. Or call the cops, turn on
    the lights, and sound a siren if the controller senses someone hanging
    around a back window of the house. Most important -- now that oil
    prices are continuing to soar -- the controller can turn off lights,
    under appropriate circumstances, when someone leaves a room for more
    than x minutes.
     
    George Patton, May 19, 2004
    #34
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    While getting fat?
    Various bulbs with an included IR sensor is what is used here for
    something like this, dirt cheap, no extra cabling needed, which
    is a great advantage.
    I'd seriously check if this is the area where I want to live?
    Yep, but using a simple switch does the same.

    You need various extra cabling for something like this, those are
    expensive to mount in an old house. Buildings are mostly made
    "forever" over here.

    The house I reside is much older then the USA.
    ;)

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #35
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    LOL...Wasn't that the guy who "designed" the "OS" you were using
    to bring us this amazing message...
    ;)

    --
    Michael Heiming (GPG-Key ID: 0xEDD27B94)
    mail: echo | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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    Michael Heiming, May 19, 2004
    #36
  17. Steve Ciarca (ex of Byte Magazine) used to publish articles on the use
    of this sort of thing for all sorts of purposes. He was hooking up
    X10 devices to RS-434 and other such sorts of "mutant serial lines" in
    order to do neat stuff like having a computer-controlled security
    system, complete with cameras, motion detectors, and such, relatively
    on the cheap, back before folks were building IP-based versions that
    you could buy cheaply.

    He had designs for things like home-brew 6809 and Z-80 systems and the
    like; one of the favorites, in Byte's latter days was the super-duper
    CP/M-in-a-lunchbox system, the SB180. It used a souped-up Hitachi
    version of the Z80 that had 256K of bank-switchable memory, and was
    wondrous because it all fit on one board. It even had a hard drive!
    (Those that didn't live through the floppy-only system era will think
    this to be exceedingly quaint.)

    They would have considered the "Gumstix.com" StrongARM board to be
    just magical!

    There's a set of Americans that are into engineering that find this
    sort of thing to be Way Cool stuff; they may have to do 8 weeks work
    to get it working, in a kludgy way, and then save 30 seconds a day.
    It's a hobby; they could be out doing more dangerous things :).
    --
    If this was helpful, <http://svcs.affero.net/rm.php?r=cbbrowne> rate me
    http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/unix.html
    Rules of the Evil Overlord #31. "All naive, busty tavern wenches in my
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    provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the
    hero or his sidekick." <http://www.eviloverlord.com/>
     
    Christopher Browne, May 19, 2004
    #37
  18. It's hard to have perfection :). And neighbourhoods can degrade,
    over time. There's an area a couple miles from where I live that has
    a pretty startling murder rate; probably the worst in Canada :-(. And
    that's a pretty new change.
    Yeah, and it may take considerable programming effort to get the
    controller to do everything you want.
    See the .sig...
    --
    let name="cbbrowne" and tld="ntlug.org" in String.concat "@" [name;tld];;
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/cbbrowne/multiplexor.html
    "I can't believe my room doesn't have Ethernet! Why wasn't it wired
    when the house was built?"
    "The house was built in 1576."
    -- Alex Kamilewicz on the Oxford breed of `conference American.'
     
    Christopher Browne, May 19, 2004
    #38
  19. You're unfamiliar with the technology and the cultural context, but
    that's ok. :)
     
    George Patton, May 20, 2004
    #39
  20. ====================================================================
    "I can't believe my room doesn't have Ethernet! Why wasn't it wired
    when the house was built?"
    "The house was built in 1576."
    -- Alex Kamilewicz on the Oxford breed of `conference American.'
    ====================================================================

    Since it predates Thomas Edison's invention of the light bulb as well as
    the USA, I was wondering to myself if Michael Heiming's house has
    electrical lighting. Then I remembered how lazy the modern german
    "leute" can be -- given the fact that so many of them would rather flick
    a light switch than take just a few minutes every day or so to refill
    the reservoirs in their kerosene lanterns. :) Thinking about this
    reverence for past glories a bit more deeply, I began to ponder the
    issue of indoor toilets. Although the romans were effectively using
    terra cotta plumbing pipes roughly two thousand years ago, "modern"
    plumbing pretty much disappeared from european culture until the 19th
    century... long after Michael's house was built, but here again I'm
    sure that Michael's house now has indoor FLUSH toilets for the same
    reason that it has electric lights. Basically, his modern lifestyle is
    so decadent -- just like the american lifestyle -- that no one in his
    lazy, fat family has the courage and stamina to simply get off their
    butts to empty the chamber pots once or twice a day. :)

    I'm kidding, of course. Seriously, there's nothing immoral about home
    automation... just as there's nothing immoral about the adoption of
    plumbing and electrical lighting. The fact that germans haven't
    explored and adopted this type of technology(yet) isn't a function of
    their innate virtue. :)
     
    George Patton, May 20, 2004
    #40
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