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Serial console on Suse

[Feb 21, 2009] Configuring a Remote Serial Console for SLES

Configuration Steps
  1. Connect a null modem cable between the system that will act as the console and the server. Refer to the Wikipedia article Null modem for details, including pin mapping.
     
  2. If the server's BIOS supports serial console, configure the BIOS for it. The details of this procedure are dependent on the BIOS vendor - refer to vendor documentation.
     
  3. Configure GRUB on the server to use the first serial port. In the file /boot/grub/menu.lst, comment out the color and gfxmenu lines and add the following lines:
     

    serial --unit=0 --speed=115200
    terminal --timeout=15 serial console
     

  4. Configure the kernel (and hypervisor) on the server to use the serial port. This configuration differs between Xen setups and non-Xen setups.

    Non-Xen setup

    In the file /boot/grub/menu.lst, add the following options to the kernel command line:
     

    console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200
     

    Kernel messages will be written to both tty0 and ttyS0, but OS messages will only be written to ttyS0. OS messages go to the last console defined on the boot options line.

    A sample /boot/grub/menu.lst file illustrating these changes:

    #color white/blue black/light-gray
    default 0
    timeout 8
    #gfxmenu (hd0,1)/boot/message
    serial --unit=0 --speed=115200
    terminal --timeout=15 serial console

    title Linux ! SERIAL CONSOLE !
    kernel (hd0,1)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda3 selinux=0 splash=0 resume=/dev/sda1 showopts elevator=cfq vga=791 console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200
    initrd (hd0,1)/boot/initrd

     

    Xen setup

    When Xen virtualization is used, both the Xen hypervisor and the Dom0 kernel need to be instructed to use the serial connection:
     
    1. Add console=vga,com1 com1=115200 to the parameters for the hypervisor.
    2. Add console=tty0 console=xvc0,115200 to the parameters for the Dom0 kernel.
       

    A sample /boot/grub/menu.lst file illustrating these changes:
     

    #color white/blue black/light-gray
    default 0
    timeout 8
    #gfxmenu (hd1,0)/boot/message
    serial --unit=0 --speed=115200
    terminal --timeout=15 serial console

    title Linux - Xen ! SERIAL CONSOLE !
    kernel (hd0,1)/boot/xen.gz console=vga,com1 com1=115200
    module (hd0,1)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda3 console=tty0 console=xvc0,115200
    module (hd0,1)/boot/initrd
     


     
  5. Configure the server to allow logins over the serial connection. In the file /etc/inittab, add the following line.
     

    S0:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -L 115200 console vt102

     

    To allow single-user mode to work using the serial connection, additionally change the line
     

    ~~:S:respawn:/sbin/sulogin
     

    in /etc/inittab to
     

    ~~:S:respawn:/sbin/sulogin /dev/console
     

    NOTE: Single-user mode will only work on the serial console with this option. You will need to change it back, to run on the local console.

     
  6. Configure the serial port on the server as a secure port, so a login as root is possible on it without the need to log in as a regular user first.

    Add lines
     

    console
    ttyS0
    xvc0
     

    to the file /etc/securetty
  7. Ensure the package screen is installed on the server; this will be used later on to send control sequences to it.



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