User:Aslantis/Getting a console to a power8 server

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You're here because you have an IBM Power8 server and don't know how to get a flipping shell to it. Let me (try to) save you the trip to hell.

Note: the following systems were tested: s824, s822L

Option 1: Serial

Most (if not all) IBM Power8 server serial ports use an RJ-45 connector. IBM calls this port the "System Port". However, it probably won't work with most normal RJ-45 serial cables. It needs a "null modem" (also called "crossover") cable. For this, there are three options:

  • Use the official cable. The part number is 46K5108. It can be found on ebay, but it's not extremely cheap.
  • Use any RJ-45 <-> DB9 cable and a DB9 <-> USB cable, where exactly one is a null modem cable, or there is a DB9 null modem adapter in the middle.
  • Adapt an existing RJ-45 <-> USB cable's pinouts. I tried this and was unsuccessful (In retrospect I think it possibly did work, but didn't try it when the system was actually powered on). There are two types of null modem cables: simple TX <-> RX wire swaps (easy to do) or a full "handshake" pinout.

You may need to open the webGUI and set Console Type to serial.

Because I was too stubborn to spend more $$$ and too irritated by constantly crossing wires, I spent a few hours to find another way to do it over a networked BMC (the service processor), the next option.

Option 2: Telnet

To do this option, the first step is to network your BMC to your LAN. To do this, use an 'ethernet cable' and connect one of the ports labeled HMC to your router. It will automatically connect with DHCP, figure out which IP it chose however you like. Then, connect to that IP in your web browser. Both the default username and password should be set to admin.

But wait!! The admin user doesn't have permission to connect to the console. But, they have the permission to CREATE the user who can connect to the console. Find User Access Policy near the bottom. Enable the celogin1 account. Choose a password, log out of admin, log into celogin1.

NOW, there should be an option called Debug Virtual TTY. Assuming you want to use OPAL (to use OPAL set it in Firmware Configuration), set 0 for both fields.

NOW, the BMC is running a telnet connection, on port 30002. Yes, it does not mention the port number anywhere. Connect to it with any telnet client you like, the telnet-bsd package in portage is what I'll be using. This telnet connection also times out after five minutes. It also only works when the system is powered on.

telnet 30002

Note: doing ^C or any other control character crashes the telnet server and it won't function again until a reboot. Also, sometimes a TUI will crash it. But TUIs aren't functional anyways. This is by far the worst possible option.

Option 3: ipmitool

ipmitool is jank and would not connect to my system for anything. Waste your time down this path at your own risk.

Option 4: HMC or vHMC

I am too stubborn to do this, but can get the instructions for this from a friend.