Daily Archives: October 2, 2020

TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode 49 – Professional Audio Production on Linux

Proluge

Creating musical melodies with a computer goes back as far as the 1950s in Australia with a computer originally named as CSIR Mark 1 which was programmed to play popular musical melodies from the very early 1950s. In 1950 the CSIR Mark 1 was used to play music, the first known use of a digital computer for the purpose. The music was never recorded

What is a DAW?

A digital audio workstation is an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files.

Some of the main functions of Digital Audio Workstations are:

Producing: From creating simple house loops and beats to full, expansive tracks, DAWs allow you to produce and finetune the creation and layering of these projects, usually with the help of VST plugins.

Tracking: During recording sessions, bands or orchestras are often recorded into multiple tracks at once. This allows the producer or engineer to capture the real-time sound of a group performance. These tracked performances can then be edited and mixed to perfection.

Mixing: This is the process of balancing and blending all the individual elements of a track by adjusting equalization/FX levels and parameters so that the track sounds as good as possible.

Live Performance: The process of building and editing tracks in real-time. Some DAWs are specifically designed for this process, as you’ll see below.

Composing: DAWs can also be used for the process of composing and constructing film/TV/game scores.

History

The first DAWs were conceived in the late 70s and early 80s. Soundstream, which developed the first digital recorder in 1977, developed what is considered the first DAW. Bringing together a minicomputer, disk drive, video display, and the software to run it all was the easy part.

Finding inexpensive storage and fast enough processing and disk speeds to run a commercially viable DAW proved the main challenge for the ensuing years. But as the home computer market exploded with the likes of Apple, Atari, and Commodore Amiga in the late 1980s, size and speed concerns were no longer an issue.

By the late 1980s, a number of consumer-level computers such as the MSX (Yamaha CX5M), Apple Macintosh, Atari ST and Commodore Amiga began to have enough power to handle digital audio editing. Engineers used Macromedia’s Soundedit, with Microdeal’s Replay Professional and Digidesign’s “Sound Tools” and “Sound Designer” to edit audio samples for sampling keyboards like the E-mu Emulator II and the Akai S900. Soon, people began to use them for simple two-track audio editing and audio mastering.

In 1989, Sonic Solutions released the first professional (48 kHz at 24 bit) disk-based nonlinear audio editing system. The Macintosh IIfx-based Sonic System, based on research done earlier at George Lucas’ Sprocket Systems, featured complete CD premastering, with integrated control of Sony’s industry-standard U-matic tape-based digital audio editor.

In 1994, a company in California named OSC produced a 4-track editing-recorder application called DECK that ran on Digidesign’s hardware system, which was used in the production of The Residents’ “Freakshow” [LP].

Many major recording studios finally “went digital” after Digidesign introduced its Pro Tools software in 1991, modeled after the traditional method and signal flow in most analog recording devices. At this time, most DAWs were Apple Mac based (e.g., Pro Tools, Studer Dyaxis, Sonic Solutions). Around 1992, the first Windows-based DAWs started to emerge from companies such as Innovative Quality Software (IQS) (now SAWStudio), Soundscape Digital Technology, SADiE, Echo Digital Audio, and Spectral Synthesis. All the systems at this point used dedicated hardware for their audio processing.

In 1993, the German company Steinberg released Cubase Audio on Atari Falcon 030. This version brought DSP built-in effects with 8-track audio recording & playback using only native hardware. The first Windows-based software-only product, introduced in 1993, was Samplitude (which already existed in 1992 as an audio editor for the Commodore Amiga).

In 1996, Steinberg introduced a revamped Cubase (which was originally launched in 1989 as a MIDI sequencing software for the Atari ST computer, later developed for Mac and Windows PC platforms, but had no audio capabilities until 1993’s Cubase Audio) which could record and play back up to 32 tracks of digital audio on an Apple Macintosh without the need of any external DSP hardware. Cubase not only modeled a tape-like interface for recording and editing, but, in addition, using VST also developed by Steinberg, modeled the entire mixing desk and effects rack common in analog studios. This revolutionized the DAW world, both in features and price tag, and was quickly imitated by most other contemporary DAW systems.

Electronic music became the megalith it is today and anybody who wanted to make music in their bedroom, basement, or local park bench could do just that. Whether they should is still a point that’s up for debate.

Working with Audio on Linux – DAWs and Audio Applications


Linux which came on to existence by the end of 1991 as a form of the Linux kernel obviously are late to the Audio and Music scene but it is definitely trying to catch up.

Audacity

Cómo instalar Audacity en Ubuntu 18.10 y derivados?
Audacity

Audacity is one of the most basic yet a capable audio editor available for Linux. It is a free and open-source cross-platform tool. A lot of you must be already knowing about it.

It has improved a lot when compared to the time when it started trending. I do recall that I utilized it to “try” making karaokes by removing the voice from an audio file. Well, you can still do it – but it depends.

Features:

It also supports plug-ins that include VST effects. Of course, you should not expect it to support VST Instruments.

  • Live audio recording through a microphone or a mixer
  • Export/Import capability supporting multiple formats and multiple files at the same time
  • Plugin support: LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit effect plug-ins
  • Easy editing with cut, paste, delete and copy functions.
  • Spectogram view mode for analyzing frequencies

LMMS

http://linux-sound.org/images/blog/full-size/1-lmms-044.png
LMMS

LMMS is a free and open source (cross-platform) digital audio workstation. It includes all the basic audio editing functionalities along with a lot of advanced features.

You can mix sounds, arrange them, or create them using VST instruments. It does support them. Also, it comes baked in with some samples, presets, VST Instruments, and effects to get started. In addition, you also get a spectrum analyzer for some advanced audio editing.

Features:

  • Note playback via MIDI
  • VST Instrument support
  • Native multi-sample support
  • Built-in compressor, limiter, delay, reverb, distortion and bass enhancer

Ardour

ardour - the digital audio workstation
Ardour

Ardour is yet another free and open source digital audio workstation. If you have an audio interface, Ardour will support it. Of course, you can add unlimited multichannel tracks. The multichannel tracks can also be routed to different mixer tapes for the ease of editing and recording.

You can also import a video to it and edit the audio to export the whole thing. It comes with a lot of built-in plugins and supports VST plugins as well.

Features:

  • Non-linear editing
  • Vertical window stacking for easy navigation
  • Strip silence, push-pull trimming, Rhythm Ferret for transient and note onset-based editing



Mixxx

Alternativa para Virtual Dj: Mixxx 2.0 disponible para Linux
Mixxx

If you want to mix and record something while being able to have a virtual DJ tool, Mixxx would be a perfect tool. You get to know the BPM, key, and utilize the master sync feature to match the tempo and beats of a song. Also, do not forget that it is yet another free and open source application for Linux!

It supports custom DJ equipment as well. So, if you have one or a MIDI – you can record your live mixes using this tool.

Features

  • Broadcast and record DJ Mixes of your song
  • Ability to connect your equipment and perform live
  • Key detection and BPM detection



Rosegarden

Rosegarden: music software for Linux

Rosegarden is yet another impressive audio editor for Linux which is free and open source. It is neither a fully featured DAW nor a basic audio editing tool. It is a mixture of both with some scaled down functionalities.

I wouldn’t recommend this for professionals but if you have a home studio or just want to experiment, this would be one of the best audio editors for Linux to have installed.

Features:

  • Music notation editing
  • Recording, Mixing, and samples



Cecilia

Cecilia - ear-bending sonics - LinuxLinks
Cecilia

Cecilia is not an ordinary audio editor application. It is meant to be used by sound designers or if you are just in the process of becoming one. It is technically an audio signal processing environment. It lets you create ear-bending sound out of them.

You get in-build modules and plugins for sound effects and synthesis. It is tailored for a specific use – if that is what you were looking for – look no further!

Features:

  • Modules to achieve more (UltimateGrainer – A state-of-the-art granulation processing, RandomAccumulator – Variable speed recording accumulator,
    UpDistoRes – Distortion with upsampling and resonant lowpass filter)
  • Automatic Saving of modulations



Davinci Resolve 16

How To Install DaVinci Resolve 16.2 In Ubuntu, Linux Mint Or Debian  (Generate DEB Package) - Linux Uprising Blog
Davinci Resolve on Linux


DaVinci Resolve (originally known as da Vinci Resolve) is a color correction and non-linear video editing (NLE) application for macOS, Windows, and Linux, originally developed by da Vinci Systems, and now developed by Blackmagic Design following its acquisition in 2009.

In addition to the commercial version of the software (known as DaVinci Resolve Studio), Blackmagic Design also distributes a free edition, with reduced functionality, simply named DaVinci Resolve (formerly known as DaVinci Resolve Lite)


Renoise

Screenshots | Renoise
Renoise


Renoise is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) with a refreshing twist. It lets you record, compose, edit, process and render production-quality audio using a tracker-based approach.

In a tracker, the music runs from top to bottom in an easily understood grid known as a pattern. Several patterns arranged in a certain order make up a song. Step-editing in a pattern grid lends itself well to a fast and immediate workflow. On top of this, Renoise features a wide range of modern features: dozens of built-in audio processors, alongside support for all commonly used virtual instrument and effect plug-in formats. And the software can be extended too: with scripting, you can use all of your MIDI or OSC controller to control it in exactly the way you want.


Harrison Mixbus

*90 USD license with Free Demo Option*

Special offer – Get Mixbus for $19 instead of $89
https://harrisonconsoles.com/site/specials.html

Harrison Mixbus

Harrison Mixbus is a digital audio workstation (DAW) available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems and version 1 was released in 2009.

Mixbus provides a modern DAW model incorporating a “traditional” analog mixing workflow. It includes built in proprietary analog modeled processing, based on Harrison’s 32-series and MR-series analog music consoles.

Mixbus is based on Ardour, the open source DAW, but is sold and marketed commercially by Harrison Audio Consoles

It comes in two versions:

Mixbus ($79) and Mixbus 32c ($299)
There is a Specials offer on their page You can get Mixbus for $19 just like I did and even get their EQ XT-ME Mastering Equalizer plugin for only $9 instead of $109 the link is in the shownotes for the special offer.

Mixbus is a full-featured digital audio workstation for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering your music.

Engineered and supported by Harrison; and developed in collaboration with an open-source community; Mixbus represents the finest sound quality of any DAW at a great price.

Mixbus 32c improves on the Mixbus platform with an exact emulation of the original Harrison 32C parametric four-band sweepable EQ, and 4 additional stereo summing buses.


Reaper

REAPER (an acronym for Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software created by Cockos. The current version is available for Microsoft Windows (XP and newer) and macOS (10.5 and newer) – beta versions are also available for Linux. REAPER acts as a host to most industry-standard plug-in formats (such as VST and AU) and can import all commonly used media formats, including video. REAPER and its included plug-ins are available in 32-bit and 64-bit format.

REAPER provides a free, fully functional 60-day evaluation period. For further use two licenses are available – a commercial and a discounted one. They are identical in features and differ only in price and target audience, with the discount license being offered for private use, schools and small businesses. Any paid license includes the current version with all of its future updates and a free upgrade to the next major version and all of its subsequent updates, when they are released. Any license is valid for all configurations (x64 and x86) and allows for multiple installations, as long it is being run on one computer at a time.

Extensive customization opportunities are provided through the use of ReaScript (edit, run and debug scripts within REAPER) and user-created themes and functionality extensions.

ReaScript can be used to create anything from advanced macros to full-featured REAPER extensions. ReaScripts can be written in EEL2 (JSFX script), Lua and Python. SWS / S&M is a popular, open-source extension to REAPER, providing workflow enhancements and advanced tempo/groove manipulation functionality.

REAPER’s interface can be customized with user-built themes. Each previous version’s default theme is included with REAPER and theming allows for complete overhauls of the GUI. REAPER has been translated into multiple languages and downloadable language packs are available. Users as well as developers can create language packs for REAPER.

Reaper comes with a variety of commonly used audio production effects. They include tools such as ReaEQ, ReaVerb, ReaGate, ReaDelay, ReaPitch and ReaComp. The included Rea-plug-ins are also available as a separate download for users of other DAWs, as the ReaPlugs VST FX Suite.

Also included are hundreds of JSFX plug-ins ranging from standard effects to specific applications for MIDI and audio. JSFX scripts are text files, which when loaded into REAPER (exactly like a VST or other plug-in) become full-featured plug-ins ranging from simple audio effects (e.g delay, distortion, compression) to instruments (synths, samplers) and other special purpose tools (drum triggering, surround panning). All JSFX plug-ins are editable in any text editor and thus are fully user customizable.

REAPER includes no third-party software, but is fully compatible with all versions of the VST standard (currently VST3) and thus works with the vast majority of both free and commercial plug-ins available. REAPER x64 can also run 32-bit plug-ins alongside 64-bit processes.

While not a dedicated video editor, REAPER can be used to cut and trim video files and to edit or replace the audio within. Common video effects such as fades, wipes and cross-fades are available. REAPER aligns video files in a project, as it would an audio track, and the video part of a file can be viewed in separate video window while working on the project.

Linux REAPER works! - Page 9 - LinuxMusicians
Reaper on Linux

Two Very Important pieces of Applications for Linux when it comes to Audio Routing

Jack

Jack is a low latency capable audio and midi server, designed for pro audio use. It enables all Jack capable applications to connect to each other. It is included in Linux Distributions geared towards Audio Production like AVLinux and Ubuntu Studio .. Ubuntu Studio even has its own Ubuntu Studio Controls ( see screenshot later) to interact with Jack:

(( I left a great article in the shownotes for starting out with Jack under Linux the easy way ))

  • provides low latency (less than 5 milliseconds with the right hardware)
  • allows multiple audo devices to be used at once
  • recognizes hotplugged USB audio devices
Qjackctl main window, also with connection window showing

Carla

Carla is a virtual Audio Rack and Patchbay, otherwise known as a plugin host, that can use audio plugins normally used in a DAW such as Ardour as if it was a rack of audio hardware. Some of its features include:

  • Saving virtual racks and connections
  • Interacting with several plugins types, including LADSPA, LV2, DSSI, and VST.
  • Has a plugin bridge that utilizes WINE to use plugins compiled for Windows devices (experimental, not installed by default).
KXStudio News
Carla

Linux Distributions Dedicated to Audio Production on Linux


AVLinux

https://www.hitsquad.com/files/av-linux.jpg
AV Linux



AV Linux is a Linux-based operating system aimed for multimedia content creators. Available for the i386 and x86-64 architectures with a kernel customised for maximum performance and low-latency audio production, it has been recommended as a supported Linux platform for Harrison Mixbus

AV Linux is built on top of Debian.
AV Linux is bundled with software for both everyday use and media production.

Preinstalled audio software includes: Ardour, Audacity, Calf Studio Gear, Carla, Guitarix, Hydrogen and MuseScore.

Ubuntu Studio 20

https://ubuntustudio.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/165e/image.png
Ubuntu Studio 20

KX.Studio

Not a Linux distribution as such but a repository for Debian / Ubuntu based distros and a custom set of their own applications and plugins for working with audio on Linux ( also has some apps for Windows.

Carla is for example one of KX.Studios application.

PLUGINS

VST under Linux and Other Plugins for / under Linux

LADSPA
( Linux Audio Developers Simple Plugin API) released in 2000 just a year after Steinberg released VST 2.0 in 1999 which is the most famous.

LADSPA plugins are only effects processors.

No fancy GUI simple generic GUI

DSSI (Disposable Soft Synth Interface) in 2004 sometimes referred to as LADSPA-for-instruments

LV2 – LADSPA v2

Combines the best and can be the replacement for both DSSI and LADSPA.

Vamp

VAMP plugins does not make or modify audio or midi data. They analyze sound and extract its features. Audacity and Mixxx for example uses them to analyze tempo and key of the songs

VST-s under Linux

VST’s that can be used in Linux come in two flavors:

  • Natively compiled VST plug-ins, also known as LinuxVST’s. These are plug-ins that are compiled or can be compiled on Linux systems with the help of either the Steinberg header files from the VST SDK or the Vestige header (the open source equivalent of the Steinberg headers).
  • VST’s compiled for Windows. These can be used with the help of Wine and any host that supports Windows VST’s.

Personally one of the things I miss is more commercial plugins to be available under Linux as well. Many commercial plugins developed only for Windows / Mac — I would assume most of the time because of the larger user base and all the fancy propietary licensing and other protection methods involved ( Waves plugins, Plugin Alliance, etc.)

Links

https://www.recordingconnection.com/what-are-digital-audio-workstations-daw/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_music

Best Youtube Linux Channel related to Audio production:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAYKj_peyESIMDp5LtHlH2A

Talk on Plugin Formats * Filipe Coelho *
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DJ5aEU-JkA

https://harrisonconsoles.com/site/index.html

https://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/vst_support_and_commercial_apps

https://forum.renoise.com/t/list-of-freeware-and-commercial-linux-vst-i/47242

https://www.reaper.fm/reaplugs/

https://libremusicproduction.com/articles/demystifying-jack-%E2%80%93-beginners-guide-getting-started-jack.html

https://kx.studio/

TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode 50 – Interview with Dr Marshall Kirk McKusick

Questions

What do you feel when you look back on the history of BSD and what it became today including FreeBSD?

Did You get involved eventually with FreeBSD after BSD ceased to exist because you felt FreeBSD could be the proper continuation of the BSD flag so to say?

Text editor of your choice, Which one are you using?

What do you think of the ZFS file system?

If BSD was not frozen up for 3 long years during the AT&T Lawsuit period which allowed Linux to get a head start.. Would BSD be what Linux is today?

Linus Torvalds wrote an article back in 2004 about the prediction of the death of BSD, How much of Linus’ prediction has come true?

Kirk’s comments on my statement regarding the Linux Foundation receiving a lot of money through major corporations as Gold and Platinum sponsors (Microsoft, etc.) which is kind of a takeover is already happening in place steering its focus towards what these company’s have in their interests while the FreeBSD Foundation receiving very little money compared to the Linux Foundation while still the FreeBSD Foundation is doing an impressive job with the much smaller amount they are getting.

Did You ever miss the chance you were given to go and work for Sun Microsystems?

Links

https://www.mckusick.com

https://freebsdfoundation.org

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Kirk_McKusick

TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode 47 – Remote Management Tools

Prologue

Today it is about the System and Network Administrators. Specially the ones who would do everything remotely from the comfort of their own chair and desk preferably using their own computer and just do what needs to be done or dealt with at the company infrastructure or network. I know this cause I am one of those people.

Solutions from Remote Management/Support Tools to IPMI and Managed PDU-s, All and Everything which helps You be far away but work just as efficiently from Your own comfort just like if You were there.

In-Band Vs Out of Band Management

In-Band management is the ability to administer resources or network devices via the corporate LAN while Out of Band management is a solution that provides a secure dedicated alternate access method into an IT network infrastructure to administer connected devices and IT assets without using the corporate LAN.

Hardware and Software solutions both exist for In-Band and Out of Band management to help a system or network administrator achieve what he/she has to either from inside the corporate LAN while working from the corporate office or on site and also from remotely working from home or while being half way on the other side of the country or continent.

Money invested in all of these solutions are fruitful in the long term when a technician has to travel less often, can work securely from a remote location without being put in harms way unnecessarily not even mentioning a situation when there is just no possibility to get to the location to deal with an emergency f.e at 2am in the morning and the closest technician lives 1,5h with regular commute.

As We will see some of these built in OOB or In Band solutions are coming as standard on some devices and optional on some others or even requires a completely separate appliance dedicated to serve a given task or purpose.

When it comes to software some exists from far back from the 70s

Some solutions both HW & SW can be used for both In-Band and Out of Band (OOB) access or management while others are more suited or dedicated to one approach or the other.

OOB management mostly serves for emergency operations/maintenance while In-Band management is more suited as per the nature of having direct network access to the resources via Corporate LAN during the normal Business Hours when its possible as well to a technician to walk up to the machine or server if he/she has to.


Software Solutions

Some of these You already know maybe You even use it on a daily basis just never thought of it consciously that it is indeed a tool in the toolbox of Remote Management Solutions.

Telnet / SSH

Telnet is an application protocol used on the Internet or local area network to provide a bidirectional interactive text-oriented communication facility using a virtual terminal connection. User data is interspersed in-band with Telnet control information in an 8-bit byte oriented data connection over the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

Telnet was developed in 1969 and became one of the first Internet standards. The name stands for “teletype-network”

Historically, Telnet provided access to a command-line interface on a remote host. However, because of serious security concerns when using Telnet over an open network such as the Internet, its use for this purpose has waned significantly in favor of SSH.

The term telnet is also used to refer to the software that implements the client part of the protocol. Telnet client applications are available for virtually all computer platforms. Telnet is also used as a verb. To telnet means to establish a connection using the Telnet protocol, either with a command line client or with a graphical interface. For example, a common directive might be: “To change your password, telnet into the server, log in and run the passwd command.” In most cases, a user would be telnetting into a Unix-like server system or a network device (such as a router).

Secure Shell (SSH) is a cryptographic network protocol for operating network services securely over an unsecured network.Typical applications include remote command-line, login, and remote command execution, but any network service can be secured with SSH.

SSH provides a secure channel over an unsecured network by using a client–server architecture, connecting an SSH client application with an SSH server. The protocol specification distinguishes between two major versions, referred to as SSH-1 and SSH-2. The standard TCP port for SSH is 22. SSH is generally used to access Unix-like operating systems, but it can also be used on Microsoft Windows. Windows 10 uses OpenSSH as its default SSH client and SSH server.

Despite popular misconception, SSH is not an implementation of Telnet with cryptography provided by the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

SSH was designed as a replacement for Telnet and for unsecured remote shell protocols such as the Berkeley rsh and the related rlogin and rexec protocols. Those protocols send information, notably passwords, in plaintext, rendering them susceptible to interception and disclosure using packet analysis.The encryption used by SSH is intended to provide confidentiality and integrity of data over an unsecured network, such as the Internet, although files leaked by Edward Snowden indicate that the National Security Agency can sometimes decrypt SSH, allowing them to read, modify and selectively suppress the contents of SSH sessions.

SSH can also be run using SCTP rather than TCP as the connection oriented transport layer protocol. The IANA has assigned TCP port 22, UDP port 22 and SCTP port 22 for this protocol.

VNC / RDP

VNC

In computing, Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop-sharing system that uses the Remote Frame Buffer protocol (RFB) to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse events from one computer to another, relaying the graphical-screen updates back in the other direction, over a network.

VNC is platform-independent – there are clients and servers for many GUI-based operating systems and for Java. Multiple clients may connect to a VNC server at the same time. Popular uses for this technology include remote technical support and accessing files on one’s work computer from one’s home computer, or vice versa.

VNC was originally developed at the Olivetti & Oracle Research Lab in Cambridge, United Kingdom. The original VNC source code and many modern derivatives are open source under the GNU General Public License.
VNC in KDE 3.1

There are a number of variants of VNC which offer their own particular functionality; e.g., some optimised for Microsoft Windows, or offering file transfer (not part of VNC proper), etc. Many are compatible (without their added features) with VNC proper in the sense that a viewer of one flavour can connect with a server of another; others are based on VNC code but not compatible with standard VNC.

VNC and RFB are registered trademarks of RealVNC Ltd. in the US and some other countries.

RDP

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft which provides a user with a graphical interface to connect to another computer over a network connection. The user employs RDP client software for this purpose, while the other computer must run RDP server software.

Clients exist for most versions of Microsoft Windows (including Windows Mobile), Linux, Unix, macOS, iOS, Android, and other operating systems. RDP servers are built into Windows operating systems; an RDP server for Unix and OS X also exists. By default, the server listens on TCP port 3389 and UDP port 3389.

Microsoft currently refers to their official RDP client software as Remote Desktop Connection, formerly “Terminal Services Client”.




Hardware Solutions


iLO – DRAC – ILOM management interfaces

All the above 3 solutions are silicon based (custom chip by the manufacturer) built in either as standard or as optional for their server products. These special hardware chips with an rj45 port with the embeeded software offers complete access to manage and troubleshoot and also to interact with the server f.e set it up from zero without any OS installed and being powered down just by connecting to power and network.

Servers can be racked with minimal effort and configuration required ( only power to be plugged and a network cable to be plugged into these management interfaces) and a System Administrator remotely can power on the server , boot an iso format of an operating system to be installed on the server like a virtual CD, see and be able to interact with the server just like if He/She had the keyboard mouse and monitor plugged in locally also being to able to access BIOS and other management consoles on the server and see all console messages also pre-boot, etc.

Console Servers

Console servers are dedicated 19″ rackmount 1u or 2u purpose built devices with most of the time propietary embeeded operating system (lately many of those are taking over by embeeded linux os-es like busybox).

They enable secure remote console management of any device with a serial or usb console port including Cisco routers, switches and firewalls, Servers and PBXs and more.

Single purpose built hardware solution which provides a secure alternate route to monitor IT, networking security and power devices from multiple vendors.

While software management tools can be used for performance monitoring and some remote troubleshooting they only work when the network is up.

A Console server ensures that the on site infrastructure is accessible even during network outages.

They can be used to reconfigure, reboot and reimage remotely across the internet or WANs. Disruption and downtime are minimized by providing better visibility of the physical environment and the physical status of equipment. This ensure business continuity through improved uptime and efficiencies.

Normally Console servers provide various ways to securely access on-site infrastructure such as 4G/LTE Modem, Wifi, V.92 modem or like a dual redundant uplinks in form of copper and SFP fiber network access ports.

I have two older models myself.

https://www.perle.com/productimages/iolan-scgru-modular-380px.jpg
console server example
https://www.perle.com/images/diagrams/scglwm-remote-console-management-md.gif
Various routes provided for secure OOB access.


KVM over IP

Remote Server Access (KVM Over IP) products are a new breed of non-intrusive hardware based solutions which allow you both in-band and out-of-band network access to all the servers connected to your KVM switch. Utilizing advanced security and regardless of operating system, these KVM Over IP products allow you to remotely control all your servers/CPU’s – including pre-boot functions such as editing CMOS settings and power cycling your servers. KVM Over IP products allow you access via your internal LAN/WAN, and connectivity via the Internet or dial in access via ISDN or standard 56K modems. Access to the IP KVMs is secured with military grade network security.

Utilizing all these advanced features in conjunction is critical for remote maintenance, support, and failure recovery of data center devices.


KVM Over IP Solution Diagram

KVM Over IP (Out-Of-Band)


Most KVM Over IP devices offer remote out-of-band access from anywhere in the world using a web browser or alternative protocol. KVM Over IP devices can be wired to a single server or computer with a KVM Over IP Gateway, or to KVM Switch with multiple sources that can easily be switched between.

IP KVM Application

Networked KVM (In-Band)

Another type of IP KVM product is known as Desktop over IP. Desktop over IP is similar to a KVM extender solution, but is routed via the internal LAN/WLAN network to provide a true desktop experience in a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint configuration. This type of solution is very popular in the broadcast market, clean rooms, secure computing environments and many other solutions that require high resolution, USB peripheral flexibility or environments that you cannot simply run a Cat5 or fiber cable.

Desktop Over IP Application

Web Browser Access

Most IP KVMs allow local (in-bound) and remote (out-of-bound) operators the ability to monitor and access their servers, storage, and network devices over the network using a web-based browser (Java or Javascript / HTTPS – IPv4, IPv6). Web based control methods employ high specification security techniques to ensure that only authorized users may gain access.

VNC Viewer Access

Real VNC (Virtual Network Computer) software was devised to enable users to access and control remote computers. An IP KVM switch with Real VNC protocol embedded into the security layer provides the benefits of both hardware and software based solutions – universal compatibility, superior graphical performance, and reliable BIOS level access together with encryption to assure the safety of your enterprise.

Serial Console Access (CLI – Command Line Only)

A lot of IP KVMs feature RS232, DB-15, Ethernet, or USB based Serial ports for managing external devices such as servers, switches, and IP routers through a command line interface (CLI). Serial Console access allows for text-based administrative tasks such as accessing the BIOS or boot loader, the kernel, the init system, or the system logger. Serial control requires very little IP bandwidth and can be especially effective in low bandwidth applications.


Remote Power

As last resort action if system hung or need to force reboot as no other means or management interface/s as discussed previously responds.

Many types of PDUs and ATS ( Automated Transfer Systems)

Basic
Metered
Monitored
Switched
Switched-Metered-by-Outlet

Metered ATS
Switched ATS


Cyberpower PDU83102
Switched Metered-by-Outlet PDU


Links



https://www.perle.com/supportfiles/out-of-band-management.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stream_Control_Transmission_Protocol

https://drwetter.eu/talks/oob-management,sagehh.pdf

https://www.perle.com/products/console-server.shtml

https://opengear.com/products/cm7100-console-server/

TSR – The Server Room Show – Episode XX – #WFH The IT Industry are Ready for it But are Businesses Ready for Working from Home?

Prologue

OOB Management and Remote Support Solutions are long existing for those System and Network Administrators who do not wish to go in or perhaps sit in a chilled Datacenter to do what needs to be done or support for what needs to be dealt with.

We did discuss those technologies in a previous episode already.

But this time I want to talk about the rest of the workers. Those other workers man and woman whos job would perfectly allow them to conduct their daily tasks and responsabilities without the need to be hands on or in person on a given specific location aka the corporate office.

WFH – Working From Home – The IT Industry is Ready Are The Companies too?

With Lockdowns all over the world in 2020 and restrictions imposed at our everyday lives #WorkingFromHome became a new phenomenon to many companies and
Will working from home be the new normal? will we go back to the offices or companies will cut and optimize costs to make everyone who can do their job from home being able to do it… saving the time and money on commute… reduce unnecesarry travels back and forth and only attend in person meetings with clients when necessary ( perhaps in meeting or business centers where You pay per hour for a full fledged service like a conference center), of course jobs where hands on and physical presence required will be still done on site and on location
But with the rest of the jobs which could shift to WFH , both employee and employer could save a BIG chunk of money reducing office space and monthly costs… OK You would need to start paying for Your own coffe from now on 🙂

IT industry is ready with remote working solutions, online reunions, teamwork and collaboration offerings/sw already.
Count in VDI as We discussed in a previous episode and with Thin Clients if You wish , You have low cost HW in the hands of Your employees who can work from home.