|Reader Feedback on Remote AC Power Switches
Reports last Updated: 1/7/2010
This page is a catch-all for replies to a reader (Jim) request for feedback on remote AC power switches (for his company server) in the Jan 5th, 2010 news page. Jim had also mentioned problems w/Retrospect 6 but later replied using the latest update to v8 seems to have solved that.
"We have been running a few of the APC PDU AP7920 combined with Linux Cluster Nodes and Dejal on Simon on Mac for some xserves with great success. You can also login to the web interface or via telnet, both of which we use infrequently but have worked well.
I think the Dejal Simon support is good to note, it's a superb piece of monitoring software that only gets better.
"I have been using two APC AP7900 for the last 4 years without a glitch. I have it configured with users so that each machine owner can reboot their server when needed. The only limitation is that it is single simultaneous user but that has not been a problem in real use.
We use the APC 8 Port remote Switch. Requires it's own public IP address. Make life easier than having to trek to the colo to force a reboot
I've used Dataprobe iBoots (http://dataprobe.com/iboot-remote-reboot.html) successfully in the past. One handy thing is its ability to monitor the connected device & power cycle if it does not respond to pings.. though it doesn't sound like that will apply to this particular situation since the original poster can still SSH in.
If this server happens to be an XServe, there's always lights-out management... I'm surprised how XServe owners I encounter know about it: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA24506 (Apple kbase doc "What is Lights Out Management?")
One more thought for Jim W. and his Retrospect 6 server -- I've discovered (and it has been confirmed by the Retrospect developers) that Retro 6 cannot handle more than 2GB of RAM. I specifically had to downgrade our Retrospect 6 machine when I took it over to keep it from spontaneously locking up every few days.
(name witheld by request)"
Jim later wrote he's upgraded to Retrospect v8 (w/latest patch) and it seemed to be OK now.
I've been using this device very successfully: http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=9258T&cat=NET (IP Power 9258T Network AC Power Controller)
I had relocated to Tokyo for several months, and had left my Mac running as a server at home (and I had also installed a SlingBox to keep in touch with the culture of American television...). After a few months, I'd have a problem where I couldn't access my server or the SlingBox. I asked a neighbor to investigate, and it turned out to be either the DSL modem or the router. It started happening frequently, so on my next trip home, I pre-ordered one of these units and installed it to power the modem and router separately (it has 4 ports). I then wrote a little bash script that uses curl to check a few sites from the Mac server, and if it can't reach any of the sites, it turns off the modem for a minute, then turns it back on. If that fails, it cycles power to the router. (It turns out that the modem is the culprit.) The script is kicked off by launchd.
Anyway, it probably would've been easier to replace the modem, but I didn't know if it was a modem or a router issue at the time, and I wasn't home long enough to troubleshoot it (it actually never failed while I was home). This was a quick fix solution that is still working now - though the script is a little fancier now (it e-mails me when it reboots anything), but the device is the same.
It looks like geeks.com has a new unit that automatically cycles power to one or more ports in response to failed pings - that would've suited my needs perfectly.
We've had one of these (iBootBar) for a few years and been happy with it:
Setup an X-10 switch and a telephone call-in. Dial your number and then enter a code.
I used to use this to remotely turn on and off my solar system depending on the weather.
"I still use a Powerkey 650 ... it works, mostly. Snow Leopard seems to have confused the software a bit - it unloads itself after random events and you have to reinstall the deamons. Very annoying. Repeated emails and voicemails to Sophisticated Circuits have gone unanswered ... I would be interested if anybody has found a way to make the last release (4.3.1b1) from several years ago more reliable.
There's lots of options out there - they get MUCH cheaper if you can find a way to use an old serial (RS-232) terminal connection to log-in. Western Telematic (WTI) has lots of bullet-proof solutions. I had an old RS-232 version that I would use in conjunction with a ping script to reboot my flakey router (an RPB-115) back in the olden days before DD-WRT and the like.
eBay is a great source for these things - as data centers get liquidated, these get put on there for 10% of the original cost. A new WTI switch will run $500!
(Several links to ebay auctions sent but not posted here since the expire over time and anyone interested can just search ebay for current items.)
These guys have one you can reboot with a phone, too - no experience, but it's not really rocket science. Just a niche market! http://www.remotepowerswitch.com/
"Dataprobe.com page of Remote Reboot and Power Management products
seems to have solutions to the problem...
Best Regards, Darryl S."
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