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I'm having to frequently access servers via ilo - ssh only, no web interface. Am I meant to be able to bring a server back up through just this tool? Or utilize others like ipmtool to be able to do things? Similarly when the server's stuck in boot, how can I tell from this interface? So far all I can tel is how to power on/off, not obtain any useful information from the server. There seems to be various syntax as well, one where I can go into map1, another with admin1. Also although there is a power command, there is no view status option that I'm aware of.

Can I get advice, or a point to the right direction to find out this information?

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To view the "status" of the OS without being able to look at the screen you will need some hook back into the OS (otherwise you only have things like CPU or disk usage to indicate potentially still booting etc. to run off), HP provides an iLO agent driver that you may be able to query while the OS (and therefore HP iLO driver) is running to check health but I am assuming you are logging into the machine as you are aware it has some issue (and so the agent is unlikely to be running) and therefore want to see blue screens of death etc. This is known as "out-of-band" management.

The Windows 2003 bootloader and above supports a little known feature called Emergency Management Services (EMS), this allows you to interact with Windows on a very low level and view bug check (BSOD) information. Due to the low level EMS is sent over a serial port rather than a network connection.

HP iLO however allows you access to that serial port.

Now, SSH to your iLO IP address, log in and type ‘power on’ to boot the server.

Type in ‘vsp’ to open the virtual console and you’ll get BIOS messages, Windows progress bar, and EMS prompt (SAC>) on the display!

Type ‘?’ to list available options.

Source: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ODh3V_Y4XUkJ:www.netexpertise.eu/en/windows/hp-ilo-console.html+&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

See also : http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=174352&seqNum=3

Linux will no doubt have something equivalent (something like : http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/linux-and-open-source/learn-to-use-a-serial-console-on-linux/ and https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SerialConsoleHowto ).

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Just use the textcons command once you're connected to the ILO via ssh.

That will provide you BIOS and basic boot activity screens.

The rest of the ILO command set is simple and has inline help.

  • power off|on|reset
  • vm cdrom
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I can suggest you to use ipmitool for any operations and get current info from the servers using SNMP (snmpwalk).

HP has their own SNMP MIB pack where almost all vital information can be retrieved by SNMP.

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As already mentioned by ewwhite, the textcons mode can allow you access to text-mode display. With Linux, this means you can access the text console if X11-based GUI login has been disabled, or if you use boot parameters to force the system into single-user/emergency mode.

But since the textcons display is based on scraping the memory of the VGA controller, and the keyboard input requires mapping the characters sent over SSH back to scancodes which the OS will then re-translate to characters, this can be clunky and error-prone.

In Linux and the *BSDs, OpenSolaris and the like, you can configure a getty process on any serial port to allow traditional Unix terminal-based login - this includes the virtual serial port provided by iLO. With the vsp command, you can access the virtual serial port through a SSH connection to iLO. GRUB bootloader can also be configured to communicate over a serial port, instead or in addition to the regular VGA console access. And on server systems with a iLO or similar remote console, the system firmware can often be also configured to send its boot messages to the serial port - either automatically when a connection is detected, or by changing a BIOS setup option.

As a result, with appropriate preparations, you can have full control of a system over a SSH connection to iLO: first you can see the firmware boot messages and even make changes to the BIOS/UEFI setup, although the interface might not necessarily be the same as on a VGA console. Then, with appropriate configuration, you can command GRUB over the VSP virtual serial connection too. And if you use a boot parameter to switch the Linux console to a serial port, or set up an extra getty process, you can even log in to the OS.

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