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Remote Access to Servers: Sun vs. Dell

2007-05-04 17:22:11

I'm evaluating some Sun and Dell servers for work. They are pretty closely matched in terms of price, speed and features. One thing that is a quite a bit different is the remote access feature. Both systems have little dedicated tiny computers with their own ethernet cards. They let you connect to the machine over the network, via a web browser (or ssh) and power up and power down the server. They also have remote KVM (keyboard, mouse and video) access via their web interfaces.

I like the Sun implementation better.

  1. The Dell implementation is an ActiveX Control, which means I have to use IE in my Windows VM. That's a pain.
  2. Dell doesn't have menu items for sending F-keys, like F2 (used to enter the BIOS); and because of keyboard mapping or whatever, the F2 key was intercepted by something (either Mac OS X, or Parallels or Windows, it's hard to tell) before it could get to the the virtual console. So no BIOS settings for me.
  3. Dell has a horrible roll-down menu that is either in your way or invisible.
  4. The Sun version is Java (of course) and it works on anything that has Java 1.5, including my Mac with FireFox.

Still, both implementations are better than the super-expensive and super-crappy Raritan hardware KVM over IP we had been using.