Feeds

Idle gear: It's too darn hot

Power management - use it or lose it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A lot of devices can be controlled via SNMP as well. I have some reasonably rudimentary uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes), but they do come with network management cards and I can do really neat things to them through either their built-in web server or via SNMP. Although I currently don’t have any, there are also power distribution units (PDUs) which are in essence glorified power bars that also offer network management capabilities.

I also have a growing fleet of Intel vPro desktops that make up a little over 50 per cent of the non thin client PCs I have to manage. vPro is a complete LOM system for an individual PC, so this is a huge bonus for this project. Similarly my newer generation of servers could be upgraded to use Asus’ ASWM 2.0 LOM card, though in truth none of the servers in place are actually equipped with them.

It is also worth noting that I have also based my entire fleet of file servers off of Intel vPro motherboards. Though technically not considered a server platform, I was so impressed by the Q35 chipset that I decided to base our file servers off of it.

Field systems have to meet some pretty extreme I/O requirements here; it is not uncommon to push them past their thermal limits and have a southbridge go up in a puff of smoke. Sadly, as a general rule, Intel chipsets have been the first to fold under extreme load. Not so the vPro chipsets; the Q35 and Q57 chipsets have impressed me deeply. It was because the Q35 survived our I/O testing, in combination with the LOM capabilities inherent in the board that I felt it would be a decent basis for my file server fleet. (With the addition of a real RAID card, natch.)

You won’t see me evangelize many products, but if you are thinking about putting an Intel processor in your box make absolutely sure it has vPro. Not only because it offers neat LOM tools, but in my experience vPro chipsets can simply take more punishment than the more standard Intel fare. (Why that may be I have absolutely no idea, but prototype testing bears it out with consistency.)

So while I have some desktops and some servers will full blown LOM setups, I can’t count on all my systems to be so equipped. It is fortunate then that I have invested in a small IPKVM. This, combined with WOL, can provide me full LOM for the servers in my DC. Desktops without vPro however, are going to have to muddle through without full LOM abilities.

Time to gather banners. If I put all the tools I have at my disposal together, I should be able to do some neat stuff that can help me conserve power, reduce heat generation, and still remotely manage my systems regardless of the power state they are in.

PCs and servers will pretty universally respond to WOL. Their operating systems can shut them down when idle, and with the right management software, I can wake them up on a predetermined schedule, or just whenever I need to poke at them remotely. Between vPro, my IPKVM, and possibly some as-yet-unpurchased server LOM cards I should be able to get complete remote console access to these systems as well. I can’t cover off all systems in service this way, but I’ll take what I can get.

I have printers and UPSes that will respond to SNMP, and I will have to pick up some PDUs that can do the same. With SNMP controlled PDUs, I can set up smaller devices, monitors or anything I can find that is pulling down a fair amount of juice to turn themselves off after hours. Perhaps more importantly I can rig up critical items, such as switches or my IPKVM such that if they do something strange and need a reboot, I can cycle the power on them remotely.

What I lack is the key bit that ties this all together; management software. There are plenty of alternatives from plenty of vendors, and in my next article I will take the time to dive in and tear a few of them up. While there are of course a plethora of commercial offerings to help you with your enterprise desktop and device management, the Open Source community’s offerings are a little bit more impenetrable. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.