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Out-of-band management

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Out-of-band management

When you are unable to manage a server over an in-band connection, you can access the server through an alternate but reliable connection called an out-of-band connection. An out-of-band connection does not depend upon operating-system network drivers, and is available even when your server has not loaded or is not functioning properly.

The following list describes situations in which you cannot use in-band management, and where it might therefore be appropriate to use out-of band management:

  • The system is turned off. Because Emergency Management Services is unavailable, special hardware or firmware is required to manage systems in this situation.

  • The basic input/output system (BIOS) is conducting the power-on self test (POST). Because Emergency Management Services is unavailable, special hardware or firmware is required to manage systems in this situation.

  • The server is not functioning properly due to a Stop message event.

  • The server is very low on resources, which causes the network driver to be very slow or makes it unable to respond to requests.

  • The network stack is malfunctioning or has failed.

  • An operating-system component is running (such as the loader or Recovery Console) that does not support in-band communication.

  • The server is not yet fully initialized

The serial port is the hardware interface most commonly used by Emergency Management Services. There are several advantages to this. First, the serial port is simple and reliable enough to allow flexibility and availability. Second, the communication standards that govern serial ports are well defined. This makes interoperability with non-Microsoft systems such as UNIX possible. The third advantage is that most x86-based servers have at least one serial port.

For more information about in-band connections and in-band administrative tools that are available in Windows Server 2003 operating systems, see In-band management.

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