[c-nsp] OT: Gauging interest for "smart" Terminal/Console server

Garry gkg at gmx.de
Wed Mar 9 06:02:03 EST 2016

Just out of curiosity ... I've been experimenting with some alternatives
to either "old" 250x-series Cisco console servers, or other brand
solutions in order to cover our requirements for in-band/OOB management
access to our DC infrastructure. While the Cisco console server is a
viable, working solution, the old routers are getting both hard to get
and aging, too, and alternative NM cards aren't exactly cheap (plus
putting a router in the rack to use them in might not be the technically
and economical solution). Other solutions also work, but are usually
either not low(er) cost, or not flexible. I've did some proof-of-concept
setups based on micro-servers (like RasPi) and USB UARTs, which turned
out quite nicely, allowing for cool features (like e.g. forwarding all
incoming data to a syslog server, or implementing some automation, etc.)

With that basis, I was thinking about designing a circuit that will
allow for a high-density (1U) setup with 24 or even 48 serial ports,
connectable to a user-supplied server via a USB port (though a 48 port
solution might be better connected through two ports). A (halfway)
careful first estimate could result in cost somewhere in the range of
200-300$ for a finished product with 24 ports. Is this something - both
from a technical as well as financial POV - that folks might be
interested in?

tnx for any feedback, -garry

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