The following article documents some of the tips for connecting the serial
port of a UNIX Server (Sun SPARC / Linux) to the serial port (console) of
a Sun Server. This is often helpful and even necessary when performing
routine administrative tasks or initiating critical and/or long running
processes. Access to the serial console for many Sun servers is the only
way to perform administrative tasks given these servers do not come with
a frame buffer (i.e. video card).
There are times when I need to initiate a long running job but cannot
remain connected to the network for the duration of its execution. In cases
like this, I can connect to the serial console of the Sun server, initiate the
job and disconnect. The job will remain running even when I drop my
connection to the serial port. I can, at a later time, reconnect to the serial
console to determine the results.
The first two sections of this article explain the applications (programs)
used from a Sun SPARC server and then a Linux server for obtaining a
serial console connection. The remainder of this article attempts to
describe the details (cables, connections, adapters) of obtaining a serial
console connection to/from different Sun SPARC servers.
From a Sun machine, if you wanted to access the serial console of another
computer (ie. Linux, Sun, etc.), you would use thetip command. The
configuration file fortip is/etc/remote. In most cases, you will be
concerned with thehardwire entry in this file. First, connect the two
machines by their serial ports (null modem if required), and from the Sun
SPARC (Solaris) machine, type the following at the command-line to
connect to the serial console of the other machine (Solaris / Linux):
Below is an example/etc/remote file from the Sun SPARC (Solaris)
machine that contains thehardwire entry to go through serial port B
(/dev/term/b). If you wanted to change this entry to go out through serial
port A instead, change "/dev/term/b" to "/dev/term/a".
The first application I'll talk about is "minicom". Most
Linux distributions (i.e. Red Hat) already include minicom.
If your particular distribution does not include minicom,
Once you have Minicom installed, start it up with the
command "minicom". Press "Ctrl-A Z" to get to the main
menu. Press "o" to configure minicom. Go to "Serial port
setup" and make sure that you are set to the correct "Serial
Device" and that the speed on line E matches the speed of
the serial console you are connecting to. (In most cases
with Sun, this is 9600.) Here are the settings I made when
using my Serial A / COM1 port on my Linux box:
After making all necessary changes, hit the ESC key to go
back to the "configurations" menu. Now go to "Modem and
dialing". Change the "Init string" to "~^M~". Save the
settings (as dflt), and then restart Minicom. You should now
see a login prompt.
Another common application to use in Linux for
connecting to a serial console is UUCP. Most Linux
distributions include the UUCP application. Start UUCP
with the command "cu -l [device] -s [speed]", where
[device] is the serial port you are using, such asttyS0
(COM1) or ttyS1 (COM2), and [speed] is the speed of the
serial console that you are connecting to.
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