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Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by mnaumann on Fri 20 Nov 2009 at 03:44
Friends of mine were looking for a new dedicated server provider, and I may end up managing their systems. They don't want to spend enough to be able to have fail-over, i.e. they can only a single server, but they cannot afford lots of downtime either. And they may want virtualization, so I was looking for offers with multiple public IPv4 addresses, too.

So I was wondering which german dedicated server providers offer affordable servers with out-of-band / lights-out management, baseboard management controllers or serial console switch access.

I already knew about Strato, one of the cheapest providers here, which do provide serial console switch access via SSHv2. Probably the ideal solution if it is most of all supposed to be cheap (and you don't need more than 2 or 3 IP addresses, since you will not get more). Unfortunately they provide no means to check the fingerprint, the password is displayed in plain text in their (access protected) web interface, there is no way to install an SSH key, there is no BIOS access via the serial console and while break signalling (such as for magic sysrq) is possible, it requires you to type ~break (each of these letters) and does not work very reliably.

1&1 is a direct competitor of Strato. They offer a similar price structure (but start a bit higher) and just like Stratos', their website looks like a food discounter ad. 1&1 also offers serial consoles (which I have never used), and allows for having more IP addresses.

But then, a serial console, while it is often sufficient, is not the same as a KVM or remotely scriptable interface such as IPMI. And finally a serial console switch usually allows the provider to snoop on you, which this is more difficult when you're directly connected to the server hardware (of course, the BMC can still be backdoored). So I also looked into similar offers.

Serverloft offer Fujitsu Siemens Servers which come with their iRMC (integrated Remote Management Controller) which can be controlled using the proprietary Linux/Windows Fujitsu ServerView Suite, or via IPMI. I have not checked whether it supports IPMI 2.0, in which case it would also support transport encryption and an authentication which is strong enough to make sense. Their pricing seems to be good and the SLAs (4 hour hardware replacement) are, too.

HostEurope is a Dell contractor and therefor offers DRAC BMCs. The cheaper server have DRAC 4, which is rather dated now, but others come with DRAC 6. All of them provide KVM functionality and a serial console. HostEurope has remarkable setup costs and their cheaper servers come with only a single IP address but you can have 8 more for EUR 50,- one time setup fee (thanks for the hint, Marc).

Hetzner is currently one of my faviourites, they have a good mixture of features and pricing. That is, unless you need more than the default stack of IPv4 addresses or want a dedicated KVM device (they offer Raritan eRIC), which is when you can end up doubling your server costs. However, they also offer free access to a stack of shared (amongst all customers) eRICs which can be used for scheduled maintenances (my requests have never been declined so far). You get it for two hours, if you need it longer, you'll pay extra, but not that much. If you can move your maintenance to the night shift, you can use them all night for no extra costs.

Manitu, an ISP I like for their resistance to the data retention crap (probably also for financial reasons, though) and rather open approach (a few years ago you would end up talking to their boss on the phone when calling support), offer KVMs, too, but you pay extra to use them (EUR 25,- for 24 hours, which is pretty cheap). Unfortunately, being one of the smaller dedicated server providers, their monthly charges aren't cheap. On the other hand, their support is really good.

If you know of other german providers offering similar deals, I'll appreciate your comments.

 

Comments on this Entry

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by Anonymous (79.219.xx.xx) on Fri 20 Nov 2009 at 09:20
Hi !
have a look here http://www.xencon.net/
i have been using the 5 Euro deal (i only have the need to start mutt via ssh from the office) and i am very pleased with the good support when i had problems after a system upgrade.

[ Parent ]

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by mnaumann (91.64.xx.xx) on Tue 5 Jan 2010 at 00:41
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Thanks for the hint. However, this would be virtual servers, while the scope of this article is dedicated servers, so this is somewhat off-topic.

[ Parent ]

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by GhostR (80.128.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Nov 2009 at 22:56
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Went through the same and I am still with Hetzner. I run xen there for a while with 6 IPs so this is good enough. I guess you have heard about the ESXi features, I would like to do it, but still got the old hardware and dont want to spend the $ on the Custom Pack.

[ Parent ]

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by tinus (82.93.xx.xx) on Thu 26 Nov 2009 at 23:52
I'm running xen at Hetzner as well. Only thing I'm not so happy about is the fact that they put my server on 10Mbit (instead of 100Mbit) because it did over 2TB p/m a couple of months ago. They only want to change it back to 100Mbit if I agree to pay for any traffic over 2TB p/m in the future. I did not read the contract or their ads that way.
(And besides, their own traffic statistics indicate the traffic in that month was 1.945TB in total, not over 2TB)

I haven't heard about the ESXi features. Could you tell about it?

[ Parent ]

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by mnaumann (91.64.xx.xx) on Tue 5 Jan 2010 at 00:46
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Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately, they seem to be out of the scope of this article. So this is somewhat off-topic. So if you wish to discuss the ESXi features (which I will be happy to read up on), please do it elsewhere (such as on your own weblog). Thanks.

[ Parent ]

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by Anonymous (82.131.xx.xx) on Mon 4 Jan 2010 at 07:24
Does it needs to be german?
I doubt any other datacenter can beat OVH in quality and in prices in europe.

[ Parent ]

Re: Dedicated servers w/ LOM/serial console in Germany
Posted by mnaumann (91.64.xx.xx) on Tue 5 Jan 2010 at 01:13
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'In Germany' wasn't spelled out very well. My intention was to have an enforcable contract with a company (ideally) registered in Germany.

Since there is a german subsidiary for OVH (www.ovh.de) they would be within the boundaries I had intended to setup. Now what's left to be determined is whether they offer serial console switch ports or KVM over IP. According to http://www.ovh.de/items/kvm_ip.xml (german language) they do offer the latter. Here, too, the pricing isn't cheap.

[ Parent ]