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Remote-Controlled Power Strips? 23

Posted by Cliff
from the cycling-recalcitrant-servers-from-home dept.
Quixote asks: "We've all seen power strips; but are there ones that can be controlled via TCP/IP ? Can you turn on/off each of the outlets remotely? Such a puppy would be ideal in a machine-room or co-lo environment. Are there any drawbacks/risks to such devices?" I know such devices exist because I've used them before, but I don't know if they are exactly power-strips, but you get the idea. Plug in your servers, and a network cable and never worry about leaving home/office to restart dead servers again!
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Remote-Controlled Power Strips?

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  • APC MasterSwitch (Score:2, Informative)

    by 3waygeek (58990)
    APC makes something [apcc.com] pretty close to what you're asking for.
    • It meets the requirement exactly - it offers management by HTTP, which is a form of TCP/IP protocol. You can just hit the thing from a browser (or Perl script with LWP) and flick the sockets on and off (of course, don't use a browser on a machine it's powering :-)

      I have one here under my desk (no troll, it isn't on the internet).

  • The only concern I cound see is if a PC/Server had a soft power switch instead of a hard switch. Not all PC's will power-on when plugged in to an outlet, while others would requior a setting in the BIOS to be changed if the option exits. I only bring this up because I am not a fan of Wake on LAN support in a PC's NIC. I've seen to many PC's powerup at users' desks just because it recieved a false signal. We were not even using the Wake feature with any PC on the network. It would be a neat thing to see in use though, but I cannot see a valid reason unless there was a central command post for several remote networks, and no remote admins, or trained monkeys at the other end of a phone. (No offence ment by this, but I've been the monkey.) This however can be delt with by use of PC Anywhere, Telnet, Proxy (a PC Anywhere competitor,) VNC or the use of a remote management card that many manufatures are now offering for servers, if they are not built in to the mainboard, with a modem.
  • Check out www.mgeups.com's ESV+ line - you can control individual outlets on the back of their UPS's: http://www.mgeups.com/products/pdt120/1ph/esv/html /page23.htm

    I've haven't used these personally, but they work well for a friend of mine in a colocation facility. Their software seems to be windows only.

    BBK
  • by malice95 (40013) <Michael...Cunningham...USA@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 21, 2001 @01:50PM (#2330884)
    My company uses dozens of these for our remote
    colo's. You can via a tcp/ip telnet session shut off one specific outlet or specific groups of outlets or all the outlets. It allows you to label electronically each outlet so you know what you are turning on and off. They cost ~350$ each
    I would recommend them.

    Malice95
  • by bluestar (17362)
    If you don't mind the massively obnoxious pop-ups and pop-unders that X10 is so fond of you can get a pretty good solution from them (http://www.x10.com).

    My monitor and speakers are plugged in to separate X10 boxes. The PC (Linux of course) has an X10 transmitter. So I can ssh in from work, run "br --house b -n 3 -r 3" and freak out the burglars.

    Although the switch boxes don't always like being on the safe side of a surge protector or UPS. It helps to have one of the transceiver boxes on the safe side as well.
    • Yah, X10's actually pretty fun, despite the annoying ads. The system is slightly flaky, (my lights will occasionally turn themselves on or off) so you wouldn't wanna put anything critical on it. Maybe you could get creative, and plug the machine into 2 modules in parallel, so the loss of one module wouldn't shut you down.

      The appliance module is limited to 500 watts, so don't stuff your computer too full. But if you already have a Linux firewall, you can hang the X10 transmitter off that, and run everything. Protecting the firewall itself is left as an exercise for the reader.

      -B
    • haven't had time to check myself, but my friend said his ups ran down really really fast, when he had an x10 receiver sitting on the battery side of it. worth checking out first, i suppose
  • We have used Teleboots [teleboot.com] to power cycle outlets using a touch-tone phone. They work well even when you have no network connectivity.

  • But I can't get my hardware to boot of my compact flash card... But my sketches for it are here http://stderr.net/cf/ [stderr.net]
  • Bay Tech [baytechdcd.com] makes another network connected powerstrip. I've these and the APC MasterSwitches in colo's. They also have a series of remote terminal servers.
  • Just go to www.baytech.net and lust.

    They've got all the remote-power and remote
    serial-console stuff you can imagine. We have
    three of their DS-9 serial-console --> ethernet
    boxes and about 5 of their RPC series power strips.

    The power strips can be controlled via a serial
    line to one of their serial console boxes or
    directly over the ethernet.

    This stuff is the reason that I now work from
    home instead of commuting 50 miles each way.

    --chuck
    • I've also used these. They seem to work pretty well. YMMV

      We hacked up a Tivoli add-in to control them via SNMP. That gave us point and click control, from a centralised console. You can also script it so that all outlets to a server are turned off - e.g if you have a big box with multiple inlets.

      My only real concern with them is security - what would happen if someone else got in?

      - Lindsay

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