C H A P T E R  1

Introduction to Sun Advanced Lights Out Manager

This chapter provides an overview of the Sun Advanced Lights Out Manager. The following topics are discussed:

Subsequent chapters contain detailed instructions for configuring and using ALOM.

ALOM Features

Sun Advanced Lights Out Manager is a system controller that enables you to remotely manage and administer your server.

The ALOM software comes preinstalled on your host server. Therefore, ALOM works as soon as you install and power on the server. You can then customize ALOM to work with your particular installation. See Configuring ALOM.

ALOM enables you to monitor and control your server, either over a network or by using a dedicated serial port for connection to a terminal or terminal server. ALOM provides a command-line interface that you can use to remotely administer geographically distributed or physically inaccessible machines. See ALOM Shell Commands.

In addition, ALOM enables you to run diagnostics remotely such as power-on self-test (POST) that would otherwise require physical proximity to the server's serial port. See Troubleshooting ALOM Problems. You can also configure ALOM to send email alerts of hardware failures, hardware warnings, and other events related to the server or to ALOM.

The ALOM circuitry runs independently of the server, using the server's standby power. Therefore, ALOM firmware and software continue to function when the server operating system goes offline or when the server is powered off.

What ALOM Monitors

This section shows some components that ALOM can monitor on the host server.

Component Monitored

What ALOM Reveals

Disk drives

Whether each slot has a drive present, and whether it reports OK status


Whether a fan is present, fan speed and whether the fans report OK status


Whether a CPU is present, the temperature measured at the CPU, and any thermal warning or failure conditions

Power supplies

Whether each bay has a power supply present and whether it reports OK status

System enclosure temperature

System ambient temperature, as well as any enclosure thermal warning or failure conditions

Circuit breakers

Whether circuit breakers have been tripped

Server front panel

Operation mode switch, keyswitch, or rotary switch position and status of LEDs


Whether voltages are within operating range

Alarm port

Status of the alarm port

Using ALOM

The ALOM software comes preinstalled on your host server. Therefore, ALOM works as soon as you install and power on the server. You can connect an external ASCII terminal to the serial management port (SERIAL MGT) and start using ALOM right away without configuring the ALOM software. For more information about connecting an external terminal, refer to the installation guide that came with your host server.

Note - The label for your server's serial management port could say either SERIAL MGT or SER MGT.

On some servers (Sun Firetrademark V215, V245, and V445), ALOM can obtain its network configuration by default using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). For these servers, a network session can be established without requiring initial configuration through the serial management port. See Default DHCP Connection (Sun Fire V215, V245, and V445 Servers) for more information.

You can use the ALOM software to monitor the host server in which the ALOM hardware is installed. This means that you can monitor only the host server, but not other servers on the network. Multiple users can monitor the host server, but only one user at a time can issue any commands that require permissions. The other connections are read-only; other users may issue commands that allow them to view the system console and ALOM output, but other users may not change any settings.

There are several ways to connect to ALOM:

1. Connect an ASCII terminal directly to the SERIAL MGT port. See Serial Management Port.

2. Use the telnet or ssh command to connect to ALOM through the Ethernet connection attached to the net management (NET MGT) port. Network Management (Ethernet) Port.

3. Connect an external modem to the SERIAL MGT port and dial in to the modem. Note that this port does not support outgoing calls to the external modem. See Configuring an External Modem.

4. Connect a port on a terminal server to the SERIAL MGT port, and then use the telnet or ssh command to connect to the terminal server.

When you first apply power to the server, ALOM automatically begins monitoring the system. It also monitors the serial management port for login activity. If there is no activity within 60 seconds, ALOM redirects the serial management port to the host system console. This allows access to the host system console without having to log into the system controller (SC).

There is a preconfigured administrative account available by default. The default account user name is admin, and has full (cuar) permissions. Upon initial login to the admin account, an administrator is required to create a password before any commands that change configuration can be invoked. See Permission Levels for more information on permissions.

To log in to ALOM and to specify a password for admin, perform the following step:

If you do not log in before ALOM times out, ALOM reverts to the system console and displays the following message:

Enter #. to return to ALOM.

If desired, after you log in to ALOM, you can customize ALOM to work with your particular installation. See Configuring ALOM.

You can now perform some common administrative tasks, such as adding ALOM user accounts. See Common ALOM Tasks.

Fault and Failure Terminology

All Sun servers show two operational states that you can view and monitor using ALOM: ok, and failed or failure. Some servers have an additional operational state: fault. This section explains the differences between the fault state and the failed state.

Fault State

A fault indicates that a device is operating in a degraded state, but the device is still operational. Due to this degradation, the device might not be as reliable as a device that does not show a fault. A device in the fault state is still able to perform its primary function.

For example, a power supply shows a fault state when an internal fan has failed. However, the power supply can still provide regulated power as long as its temperature does not exceed the critical threshold. In this fault state, the power supply might not be able to function indefinitely, depending on the temperature, load, and efficiency. Therefore, it is not as reliable as a non-faulted power supply.

Failed State

A failure indicates that a device is no longer operational as required by the system. A device fails due to some critical fault condition or combination of fault conditions. When a device enters a failed state, it ceases to function and is no longer available as a system resource.

Using the example of the power supply, the power supply is considered failed when it ceases to provide regulated power.

Server-Specific Information

This ALOM 1.6 release supports the following servers:

Keyswitch/Operation Mode Switch/Rotary Switch

The Sun Fire V210 server does not have a front panel keyswitch. The Sun Fire V240 and V440 servers do have keyswitches. The Sun Fire V250 server has an operation mode switch on the front panel, which supports the same functionality as the keyswitch but does not require a key to operate. The Netra 240 server and Netra 440 server have a rotary switch. The Sun Fire V215, V245, and V445 servers have a virtual keyswitch, which you can set using the setkeyswitch command.

Before you update the ALOM firmware using either the flashupdate or scadm download command, make sure that the rotary switch, keyswitch, or operation mode switch is set to the Normal position or unlocked position.

For more information, refer to the administration guide or installation guide for your server.

ALOM System Controller Card

On the Sun Fire V210, V240, V215, V245 servers and the Netra 210 and 240 servers, the ALOM hardware is an integral component of the server's motherboard.

On the Sun Fire V440 and V445 servers and Netra 440 server, the ALOM hardware consists of a discrete system controller card. The card connects into a dedicated slot on the server's motherboard. The serial management (SERIAL MGT) and network management (NET MGT) ports are located on the back of the card, and can be accessed from the back of the server.

On the Sun Fire V250 server, the ALOM hardware consists of the system controller card located above the PCI slots. The serial management (SERIAL MGT) and network management (NET MGT) ports are located on the back of the ALOM card and can be accessed from the back of the server.

System Configuration Card

The system configuration card (SCC) stores important information for the host server, including network and OpenBoot PROM information, and ALOM user and configuration data. If your host server fails and needs to be replaced, you can migrate the SCC from the failed server to a new server. The new server starts up using the original server's configuration data. This minimizes downtime and removes the need to completely configure the new server.

Note - The Sun Fire V215, V245, and V445 servers do not have an SCC card. Instead, these servers have the equivalent of the SCC on a pluggable chip module directly mounted on the motherboard or discrete controller card. This is replaceable by authorized service personnel.

ALOM interacts with the SCC as follows:

For more information about the SCC, refer to the administration guide or installation guide for your server.