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So the server I ordered long ago for tifa has two hard drives. It wasn’t until later I remembered this and realized it was not setup in a RAID. I finally got around to ordering a KVM-over-IP device from The Planet so I could work in single user mode to move filesystems around to an array. In the meantime, I had been playing with racoon and configured a ipsec0 interface that started on boot. At the tail end of the ifup-ipsec script, I had ran racoon in the foreground. and forgot about this.

Tonight I reboot tifa to get the new KVM working. Of course, the ipsec0 interface happily comes up, racoon has fired up in the foreground, preventing any other services from starting, e.g. ssh or login or virtual terminals.

What I didn’t expect is the KVM device (Lantronix Spider) apparently gets its power from the USB ports of the server. And the power isn’t persistent through reboots. It’s not just a dongle leading back to a central device like an Avocent AV2000, but a one-piece brick that’s daisy-chained with ethernet in, USB/VGA out. I’d send a ctrl-alt-del, and it’d take the KVM down with it as the server rebooted. My first clue was the java applet losing connection after reboot. It took a few minutes of troubleshooting to prove my hypothesis with several reboots with a running ping.

It takes about 5-8 seconds for the web service to start on the KVM device, and by the time I re-login and fire off the java applet, the OS is well on its way to booting. One couldn’t just close the applet and remain at the login page, as the reboot of the KVM caused it to lose state of http sessions, forcing me to re-auth all over again.

It took well over 30 minutes of constant reboots to finally get in fast enough to hit “I” at the prompt to go into interactive boot to stop networking from loading. The Planet sells it as “BIOS-level”, but it’s pretty untrue in my case. I can’t even do anything like change kernels from the grub menu or rescue mode. Allegedly there’s an external power source available for it. Time will tell if they will provide one to me or tell me to fuckoff.


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