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I'm working on a remote server installation entirely through ILO (but this also applies to IPMI and VMWare console sessions). Due to the software application and environment, my access is restricted to a Windows server that I must access through RDP. Going from that system to the target server is accomplished via HP ILO2 or ILO3.

I'm trying to run a CentOS installation in an environment where I can't use a fully-automated deployment system. I'm doing this via text mode, but the keystrokes are repeating randomly and it's difficult to select the proper installation options. For example:

ks=http://all.yourbase.org/kickstart/ks.cfg

ends up looking like:

ks====httttttp://allll..yourbaseee.....org/kicksstart/ks.cccfg

I'm doing this using Microsoft's RDP client (on Mac and Windows). I've also noticed this before when running installations or doing remote work in nested sessions.

enter image description here

Is there a nice fix for this, or it it simply a function of the protocol(s)?

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2  
I'd expect admins who have a good number of remote systems, or consultants who need to remote into a variety of systems to have experienced this. –  ewwhite Jan 18 '11 at 21:37
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I hate to say this, but I too have this problem routinely and have yet to find a way around it sorry. –  Chopper3 Jan 27 '11 at 22:30
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This doesn't solve your problem, but if your remote endpoint is a VMware console, this document from VMware suggests a solution. –  larsks Jan 29 '11 at 22:59
    
Is this repeated keystroke issue only happening between the RDP session and the ilo console? –  Rqomey Dec 28 '12 at 11:18
    
@Rqomey I'm not sure at which layer the issue surfaces. The end result is the same. Assume something like: Mac -> RDP Windows session running connection to ILO or vSphere client console. –  ewwhite Dec 30 '12 at 19:17

6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted
+100

Whereas an SSH connection transmits keystrokes, an HP ILO connection transmits key states. Each time you press a key, the server receives separate KeyDown and KeyUp events. The repeated keystrokes result when the KeyUp event is received late.

The two most likely reasons for the KeyUp event to be received late are:

  1. Network congestion/performance issues.
  2. Poor performance of the client system initiating the ILO connection. If the client is a virtual machine, is the underlying host system overloaded, or does the VM have inadequate memory/CPU resources allocated?

If the root cause cannot be addressed:

  1. The key repeat problem can be worked around by disabling an ILO2 setting called "Key Up/Down". This will cause ILO2 to transmit keystrokes instead of key states. Unfortunately, this setting was removed from ILO3.
  2. If the target operating system is Linux, you may be able to work around the issue by redirecting the console to ttyS0 and using a Virtual Serial Port (VSP) session instead of a virtual console. This will eliminate the Key Up/Down issue, because serial connections transmit keystrokes instead of key up/down events.
  3. It may be helpful to adjust the key repeat rate and/or disable autorepeat entirely on the target system. I acknowledge that this may not be easy to accomplish, depending on the severity of the key repeat problem.
  4. Given that you're using a Mac as your local workstation, it might be worthwhile to try pasting complete commands into your Mac RDP client using Command-V. I do not know whether this is a viable workaround, but it might have an interesting effect. I've often appreciated working on remote Windows machines from a Mac workstation specifically because local command-hotkey combinations continue to work predictably.

References:

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Any insight on the VMWare remote console side of this? I see the same thing there. –  ewwhite Dec 28 '12 at 19:18
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It's pretty easy to work around in VMware just by changing the key repeat delay to 2 seconds, but there's no way to do it globally (the .vmx file has to be changed for each VM): kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/… –  Skyhawk Dec 28 '12 at 19:30
    
Along these same lines, it might be helpful to nest YET ANOTHER Windows session. RDP'ing to a server on the same network segment as the iLO may reduce your inter-key delay enough to not be a problem. –  longneck Dec 28 '12 at 20:38

you need to edit the .vmx file to add the following line:

keyboard.typematicMinDelay = "2000000"

it takes out the "bounce".

With my version of vmware, I have to make this change when the VM is down. I understand that it can be made from an edit window, but I have not been able to find that place.

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In my experience it has helped me if I try to forget all I have learned about touch typing and try to punch the keys one by one and very, very quickly. Preferably use only one finger so that you don't get too comfortable and start typing too fast. It also lets you concentrate on trying to press the key quickly. This whole thing may sound like a joke, but I have found that my right middle finger (I am right handed) is by far most capable of pushing keys quickly.

And of course, I try to get SSH up and running as quickly as possible after that. If are too restricted to be allowed to do that... ouch.

Also try to use the different consoles. Normally the Java version would be the worst, but if you are having problems with the .NET version, then you may want to give the Java a try. Just be prepared that the java plugin may crash your browser (this is only a problem with iLO 2; iLO 3 moved from a plugin to a web start app).

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That's a rough solution. Any idea why this happens? –  ewwhite Dec 26 '12 at 16:24
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Calling it "a solution" is quite generous. No, I have no idea why it happens, but I always blamed the remote connection protocol. Now that you made me think about it though, I had this other idea... have you ever tried reproducing this with the On Screen Keyboard from the Accessibility windows apps? I have the nagging feeling that the on-screen keyboard app might work flawlessly. –  chutz Dec 28 '12 at 12:46
    
I tried the on-screen keyboard approach with a VMWare vCloud issue this week. The pop-up console was in contention with the on-screen keyboard for focus, so they weren't compatible. –  ewwhite Dec 30 '12 at 19:21

Is the problem happening with your connection to the rdp (can you type in notepad correctly?) or between the RDP and the iLO)?

If between RDP and iLO (I know you have done this already)

  1. Using the Java remote console was near impossible. I found if I used the "remote console" (it may be called .Net), resulted in a massive improvement. The latency was less, the latency was not jittery, and repeated and lost keystrokes didn't happen.

  2. Boot off live cd, install openssh server, and use ssh to connect. Do our install over ssh (if connection is bad use screen also.

If between you and RDP:

Use freenx or vnc tuned to low bandwith to your windows box. This should at least clean up the keystrokes. Is the connection to the RDP ok (is that where the keystroke problems are happening?

If both: Write out commands in a notepad, then copy and paste if you can, hopefully it will work better than typing.

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I'm definitely using the .NET console. –  ewwhite Nov 26 '12 at 19:08

This looks likes it's just a problem with the protocol. I've reduced the issue somewhat by using Ericom Blaze as the RDP transport for the central server I connect from; e.g. "jump box".

Other things:

I'm trying to avoid multiple nested sessions.

I'm running VMWare Fusion with Windows 7 on my Mac to allow me to use the native RDP from Windows in certain cases.

That's about all I can see for now.

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I know you said you're restricted, but I can't think of anything better than: install VNC or TeamViewer, at least just to do the critical part of your install.

Second solution is to use a Media Center type forwarding proxy for input messages, so you would hook up a second keyboard to your computer, and using HID, forward only that keyboard over TCP/SOAP to the server. But as that involves installing software daemons on the server, you might as well start with VNC.

I've never experienced repeated keystrokes, but I do get major mouse lag when working with VMware over RDP, when the Guest OS doesn't have VMware Tools loaded.

The final option I have, if none above are suitable, is to contact Microsoft Support, and report the resolution they give you here.. like an opensource ticket.

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