|C H A P T E R 1|
Configuring the System Console
This chapter explains what the system console is, describes the different ways of configuring it on your server, and helps you understand its relation to the system controller.
Topics covered in this chapter include:
To install your system software or to diagnose problems, you need some way to interact at a low level with the system. The system console is the facility for this interaction. You use the system console to view messages and issue commands. There can be only one system console per computer.
The system console must be accessed through the ALOM CMT system controller during initial system installation. After installation, you can configure the system console to accept input from and send output to different devices.
The system console displays status and error messages generated by firmware-based tests during system startup. After running those tests, you can enter special commands that affect the firmware and alter system behavior.
After the operating system is booted, the system console displays UNIX system messages and accepts UNIX commands. You can access the system console using the ALOM console command.
The ALOM system controller displays the results of the ALOM boot diagnostics and initialization. If it receives no user input within 60 seconds, the ALOM system controller console automatically connects to the system console. To return to the ALOM system controller, type the console escape sequence #. (Hash-Period).
To use the system console, you need to attach an I/O device to the server module or the chassis. Initially, you might have to configure that hardware, and load and configure appropriate software as well.
You must also ensure that the system console is directed to the appropriate port, generally, the one to which your hardware console device is attached. You do this by setting the input-device and output-device OpenBoot configuration variables.
On your server, the system console comes preconfigured to allow input and output only by means of the ALOM CMT system controller. The ALOM CMT system controller must be accessed either through the serial port or the network management port. By default, the network management port is configured to retrieve network configuration using DHCP and to allow connections using Secure Shell (SSH).
Typically, you connect one of the following hardware devices to the serial port:
These constraints provide for secure access at the installation site.
Using a TIP line enables you to use windowing and operating system features on the system making the connection to your server.
After the network management port has been assigned an IP address by a DHCP server, you can connect to the ALOM system controller using Secure Shell (SSH). As an alternative to the (default) DHCP configuration, you can configure the network management port with a static IP address and change the communication protocol from SSH to Telnet. Up to eight simultaneous connections to the system controller sc> prompt are available through the network management port. For more information, see Activating the Network Management Port.
This section describes ways of accessing the system controller.
When you are accessing the ALOM system controller using a device connected to the serial port, you will see the output of the ALOM diagnostics when AC power is first applied or when ALOM resets. After the diagnostics have completed the serial port is available for login.
For more information about the ALOM system controller card, refer to the Advanced Lights Out Management (ALOM) CMT v1.3 Guide.
1. Ensure that the serial port on your connecting device is set to the following parameters:
2. Establish an ALOM system controller session.
For instructions on how to use the ALOM system controller, see the Advanced Lights Out Management (ALOM) CMT v1.3 Guide.
The network management port is configured on the chassis to retrieve network settings using DHCP and to allow connections using SSH. You might need to modify these settings for your network. If you are unable to use DHCP and SSH on your network, you must connect to the ALOM system controller using the serial port.
For instructions on how to activate the network management port on the chassis, refer to the Sun Blade T6000 Chassis Installation Guide for instructions.
The following procedure assumes that you are accessing the ALOM system controller by connecting a terminal server to the serial port.
1. Complete the physical connection from the serial port to your terminal server.
The serial port on the server is a data terminal equipment (DTE) port. The pinouts for the serial port correspond with the pinouts for the RJ-45 ports on the serial interface breakout cable supplied by Cisco for use with the Cisco AS2511-RJ terminal server. If you use a terminal server made by another manufacturer, check that the serial port pinouts of the server match those of the terminal server you plan to use.
TABLE 1-1 shows the crossovers that the cable must perform.
2. Open a terminal session on the connecting device, and type:
For example, for a server connected to port 10000 on a terminal server whose IP address is 126.96.36.199, you would type:
Use this procedure to access the server system console by connecting the dongle serial port to the serial port of another Sun system.
1. Connect the RJ-45 serial cable and, if required, a DB-9 or DB-25 adapter.
The cable and adapter connect between another server's serial port (typically TTYB) and the dongle serial port.
2. Ensure that the /etc/remote file on the Sun system contains an entry for hardwire.
Most releases of Solaris OS software shipped since 1992 contain an /etc/remote file with the appropriate hardwire entry. However, if the Sun system is running an older version of Solaris OS software or if the /etc/remote file has been modified, you might need to edit the file. See Modifying the /etc/remote File for details.
3. In a shell tool window on the Sun system, type:
The Sun system responds by displaying:
The shell tool is now a TIP window directed to the Sun Blade T6300 server module through the Sun system's serial port. This connection is established and maintained even when the server is completely powered off or just starting up.
This procedure might be necessary if you are accessing the server module using a TIP connection from a Sun system running an older version of the Solaris OS software. You might also need to perform this procedure if the /etc/remote file on the Sun system has been altered and no longer contains an appropriate hardwire entry.
Log in as superuser to the system console of a Sun system that you intend to use to establish a TIP connection to the server module.
1. Determine the release level of Solaris OS software installed on the Sun system. Type:
The system responds with a release number.
2. Do one of the following, depending on the number displayed.
The Solaris OS software shipped with an appropriate entry for hardwire in the /etc/remote file. If you suspect that this file was altered, and the hardwire entry modified or deleted, check the entry against the following example, and edit the file as needed.
Check the /etc/remote file and add the following entry, if it does not already exist.
If you have redirected the system console to TTYB and want to change the system console settings back to use the serial port and network management ports, see System Console OpenBoot Configuration Variable Settings.
Use this procedure when you access the system console by connecting the serial port of an alphanumeric terminal to the serial port of the server.
1. Attach one end of the serial cable to the alphanumeric terminal's serial port.
Use a null modem serial cable, or an RJ-45 serial cable, and null modem adapter. Connect this cable to the terminal's serial port connector.
2. Attach the opposite end of the serial cable to the serial port on the dongle cable.
3. Connect the alphanumeric terminal's power cord to an AC outlet.
4. Set the alphanumeric terminal to receive:
Refer to the documentation accompanying your terminal for information about how to configure the terminal.
You can issue system commands and view system messages using the alphanumeric terminal. Continue with your installation or diagnostic procedure, as needed. When you are finished, type the alphanumeric terminal's escape sequence.
For more information about connecting to and using the ALOM system controller, refer to the Advanced Lights Out Management (ALOM) CMT v1.3 Guide.
If the system console is directed to the virtual-console device (its default configuration), the serial port and the network management port provide access to both the system console and the ALOM system controller (see FIGURE 1-1).
[ D ]
If the system console is configured to use the virtual-console device, when you connect through one of these ports you can access either the ALOM command-line interface or the system console. You can switch between the ALOM system controller and the system console at any time, but you cannot access both at the same time from a single terminal or shell tool.
The prompt displayed on the terminal or shell tool indicates which channel you are accessing:
Note - If no text or prompt appears, it might be that no console messages were recently generated by the system. If this happens, pressing the terminal's Enter or Return key should produce a prompt. If the ALOM session has timed out, pressing the terminal's Enter or Return key might not be effective. In that case, it might be necessary to issue the escape sequence, #. (Hash-Period), to return to ALOM.
To reach the system console from the ALOM system controller,
To reach the ALOM system controller from the system console,
By default, the escape sequence is #. (Hash-Period).
For more information about communicating with the ALOM system controller and system console, see the following:
The ALOM system controller runs independently of the server module and regardless of system power state. When you install the server module, the ALOM system controller immediately starts up and begins monitoring the system.
You can log in to the ALOM system controller at any time, regardless of system power state, as long as you have a way of interacting with the system. The sc> prompt indicates that you are interacting with the ALOM system controller directly. The sc> prompt is the first prompt you see when you log in to the system through the serial port or network management port.
Note - When you access the ALOM system controller for the first time and you issue an administrative command, you must create a password for the default username, admin, for subsequent access. After this initial configuration, you will be prompted to enter a user name and password every time you access the ALOM system controller.
For more information about navigating between the system console and the ALOM system controller, see Obtaining the ok Prompt
Up to nine ALOM system controller sessions can be active concurrently, one session through the serial port and up to eight sessions through the network management port. Users of each of these sessions can issue commands at the sc> prompt. For more information, see the following:
Note - Only one user has active control of the system console at any time. Any additional ALOM system controller sessions afford passive views of system console activity, until the active user of the system console logs out. However, the console -f command enables users to seize access to the system console from one another. For more information, see the Advanced Lights Out Management (ALOM) CMT v1.3 Guide.
There are several ways to obtain the sc> prompt:
The server with the Solaris OS installed is capable of operating at different run levels. A synopsis of run levels follows. For a full description of run levels, refer to the Solaris system administration documentation.
Most of the time, you operate the server at run level 2 or run level 3, which are multiuser states with access to full system and network resources. Occasionally, you might operate the system at run level 1, which is a single-user administrative state. However, the lowest operational state is run level 0. At this state, it is safe to turn off power to the system.
When your server is at run level 0, the ok prompt appears. This prompt indicates that the OpenBoot PROM firmware is in control of the system.
There are a number of scenarios under which OpenBoot firmware control can occur.
The last of these scenarios most often concerns you as an administrator, since there will be times when you need to reach the ok prompt. The section Methods to Reach the ok Prompt lists several ways. For detailed instructions, see Obtaining the ok Prompt.
There are several ways to reach the ok prompt, depending on the state of the system and the means by which you are accessing the system console.
Note - These methods of reaching the ok prompt work only if the system console has been redirected to the appropriate port. For details, see System Console OpenBoot Configuration Variable Settings.
The methods are:
A discussion of each method follows. For step-by-step instructions, see Obtaining the ok Prompt.
Note - As a rule, before suspending the operating system, you should back up files, warn users of the impending shutdown, and halt the system in an orderly manner. However, it is not always possible to take such precautions, especially if the system is malfunctioning.
The preferred method of reaching the ok prompt is to shut down the operating system by issuing an appropriate command (for example, the shutdown, init, or uadmin command) as described in Solaris system administration documentation. You can also use the system Power button to initiate a graceful system shutdown.
Gracefully shutting down the system prevents data loss, enables you to warn users beforehand, and causes minimal disruption. You can usually perform a graceful shutdown, provided the Solaris OS is running and the hardware has not experienced serious failure.
Typing break from the sc> prompt forces a running server to drop into OpenBoot firmware control. If the operating system is already halted, you can use the console command instead of break to reach the ok prompt.
When it is impossible or impractical to shut down the system gracefully, you can get to the ok prompt by typing the L1-A (Stop-A) key sequence from a keyboard connected to the server (that is, if OpenBoot input-device=keyboard ). If you have an alphanumeric terminal attached to the server, press the Break key.
This section explains how to execute a manual reset and what happens when a manual reset occurs.
Caution - Forcing a manual system reset results in loss of system state data, and should be attempted only as a last resort. After a manual system reset, all state information is lost, which inhibits troubleshooting the cause of the problem until the problem reoccurs.
Use the ALOM system controller reset command, or poweron and poweroff commands, to reset the server. Reaching the ok prompt by performing a manual system reset or by power-cycling the system should be the method of last resort. Using these commands results in the loss of all system coherence and state information. A manual system reset could corrupt the server's file systems, although the fsck command usually restores them. Use this method only when nothing else works.
When you access the ok prompt from a functioning server, you are suspending the Solaris OS and placing the system under firmware control. Any processes that were running under the operating system are also suspended, and the state of such processes might not be recoverable.
After a manual system reset the system can be configured to boot automatically if the OpenBoot auto-boot? configuration variable is set to true. See System Console OpenBoot Configuration Variable Settings. If the server begins to boot automatically after a reset, you must abort the boot with the ALOM system controller break command or perform a graceful shutdown of the Solaris Operating System after the boot has completed.
The commands you run from the ok prompt have the potential to affect the state of the system. This means that it is not always possible to resume execution of the operating system from the point at which it was suspended. Although the go command will resume execution in most circumstances, in general, each time you obtain the ok prompt, you should expect to have to reboot the system to get back to the operating system.
For more information about the OpenBoot firmware, refer to the OpenBoot 4.x Command Reference Manual. You can obtain an online version of the manual at
This procedure provides several ways of reaching the ok prompt. For details about when to use each method, see OpenBoot ok Prompt.
Caution - Forcing the server to the okprompt suspends all application and operating system software. After you issue firmware commands and run firmware-based tests from the okprompt, the system might not be able to resume where it left off.
If at all possible, back up system data before starting this procedure. Also exit or stop all applications and warn users of the impending loss of service. For information about the appropriate backup and shutdown procedures, see Solaris system administration documentation.
1. Decide which method you need to use to reach the ok prompt.
See OpenBoot ok Prompt for details.
2. Follow the appropriate instructions in TABLE 1-2.
Certain OpenBoot configuration variables control from where system console input is taken and to where its output is directed. The table below shows how to set these variables in order to use the serial port and network management port.
In addition to the OpenBoot configuration variables described in TABLE 1-3, there are other variables that affect and determine system behavior. These variables are discussed in more detail in Appendix A.