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Managing 15 Win 2000 Servers remotely

Posted on 2005-05-16
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I have about 15-20 Remote servers I have to manage, and was wondering if anyone new of a good application that allowed me to fully control and manage these machines from one location.
Most of these servers are able to have hadware vpns or already have them. I am currently using Remote Desktop.
If this is the best way I will continue down this path. However I am open to any recommendations.
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Question by:stevegw62
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sirbounty earned 750 total points
ID: 14010662
I'd say stick with Remote Desktop.
By far, it's been the best for me in my environment of 90+ servers.
We have also used SMS, and a few VNC options, but they're cumbersome and slow by comparison.
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by:stevegw62
ID: 14010786
If I don't have a hardware VPN at a couple of the sites, is R desktop still secure enough or can I make it more so
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by:mikeleebrla
ID: 14010995
R desktop uses 128 bit encryption (probably the same as the VPN youd be using anyway)
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 14011058
For "real" management, you need a remotely accessible KVM switch - something like this:  http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/rack-options/kvm/index-console.html

These allow you to remotely control your servers, without relying on the OS, some daemon/app which has to be running, or even NIC functionality.  For instance, what if you had to change all the network settings on the NIC remotely?  As soon as you did so, you'd lose connectivity, but what if you needed to reboot?  You'd be walking to the server.

With a remote KVM switch, you can control the machine as if you were sitting in front of it with a keyboard and mouse.  Additionally, you can control the machine outside of the OS - for instance from a safe mode command line.  Or you can access specialized vendor/hardware utilities like a RAID controller or specialized utilities in a different partition - none of which Remote Desktop can do.
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by:mikeleebrla
ID: 14011193
but if the machine is remote (ie in another state or country) you are gonna need some really long KVM cables in order to use a KVM switch. That is why R-desktop is used instead.  Of course the nic/network has to be working and the service will have to be up as well.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 14011206
No, the KVM switch is local to the server.  The KBM cables go from the switch to the server.  The KVM switch is accessible over the same network, a third network, or even modem - or a combination.
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by:mikeleebrla
ID: 14011221
yeah, but the network still has to be up.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 14011238
They can be managed over a third network, or modem.  The network the server is on does NOT have to be up.
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by:mikeleebrla
ID: 14011295
so you are saying a network between them has to be up, which is what i said several posts ago???
the point is, for both solutions you need a network up and running between them, so no real advantage is gained other than
1. nic problems
2. remote application service hung/not turned on.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 14011357
>>so you are saying a network between them has to be up, which is what i said several posts ago???

A network between who?  Who is them?  A KVM switch is a Keyboard, Video, and Mouse switch.  There are keyboard, video, and mous cables coming out of the server into the KVM switch.  There is NO network between the server and the KVM switch.  Now, to access the KVM switch, you can either have:
1.) Another computer on the same KVM switch.
2.) Access the KVM switch over a network - either the same one for the server or a totally different one - like a back end management VLAN.
3.) A modem connected to the KVM switch.

Look at any professional Data Center - solely relying on Remote Desktop is NOT the way to go for lights out operations.  Sure, SA's use it for quick and easy management.  But when the OS hangs ( ... wait, that never happens on Windows servers ...) or there's other unidentified problems, it's the KVM switches that come into play - unless the SA gets up and goes/travels to the server.

Did you look at the link I posted?  There's lots more - AND they can manage other OS' - Novell, xNix, etc.
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by:Marakush
ID: 14011492
Okay to end this really quick.

pseudocyber is correct with his suggestion, it will work.

You logon to the KVM remotely via any network access you can get. Via the net, via dial-up how ever you can.

Consider the KVM switch its own device that you connect to, from there you connect to the servers.

This is an expencive solution esp if you have only one server at one location.

As for remote desktop, yes if you have a VPN connection to most locations its cool to use, esp if you have a body at that location to push the reset button and type in what you tell them when the system can not boot and get to the OS.

It becomes a matter of cost to go pseudocyber, if you can swing the cost do it. if you can't continue using RD.

Marakush
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