HP iLO2 Virtual Serial Console on Ubuntu

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To get a virtual serial console, you need to enable the iLO virtual serial port. I had mine set up like this:

  • iLO 2 Virtual Serial Port: COM2 0x2F8 IRQ 3

I also enabled ssh access in the iLO web interface. This way I can ssh into the iLO and see all BIOS messages using the “vsp” command. I can even go to the BIOS setup (RBSU) by pressing “ESC-9”.

To be able to control GRUB via the virtual serial port, it has to be configured. I changed the following lines in /etc/default/grub:

You must run “update-grub” after editing that file to generate the boot configuration.

The GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT is the number of seconds to wait for ESC before booting the default kernel. You can press ESC and select another kernel using the virtual serial console.

The GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=false shows a countdown, so you know when exactly to press ESC.

The GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX directs Linux kernel messages to both console (tty0) and serial port COM2 (ttyS1). You can configure the speed (115200) in the iLO setup.

To get a login prompt after boot, I added a file named /etc/init/ttyS1.conf with the following contents:

That will start a getty on the virtual serial port.

Now I can log in via the iLO if I mess up the network configuration. I can also perform salvage operations at boot time in case filesystem checks fail.

This has been tested on Ubuntu Server 12.04.2 LTS x86_64.

One thought on “HP iLO2 Virtual Serial Console on Ubuntu”

  1. The iLO2 is a bit fussy about ssh public keys. You can upload your key, but I had to make a copy of my id_dsa.pub and change the userid part in the end to exactly match the iLO2 username. You have to remove any @host after the username.

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