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Emergency Management Services components

Emergency Management Services components

Emergency Management Services consists of components that are standard features of Windows Server 2003 operating systems, and to which console redirection functionality has been added. Emergency Management Services also includes two remote-management consoles that are unique to it.

Components that support Emergency Management Services console redirection

The components that support Emergency Management Services console redirection include Setup loader, text-mode Setup, the Recovery Console, Remote Installation Services (RIS), loader, and Stop error messages. When the operating system is configured to run with Emergency Management Services, these components will redirect their output to the out-of-band management port and to the video card, if one is attached. Emergency Management Services is available, however, with or without a video card. All Emergency Management Services output is accessible using a terminal emulator. For more information about console redirection, see Emergency Management Services console redirection.

There are also Emergency Management Services-specific versions of the Startrom.com file that is used in Remote Installation Services (RIS) installations. For more information about this, see RIS and PXE requirements.

Remote-management consoles: SAC and!SAC

The two remote-management consoles designed for Emergency Management Services are Special Administration Console (SAC) and !Special Administration Console (!SAC). You access these consoles through an out-of-band remote management port using terminal software that supports VT-UTF8, VT100+, or VT100.

Special Administration Console (SAC)

Special Administration Console (SAC) is the primary Emergency Management Services command-line environment hosted by Windows Server 2003 operating systems. It is separate from the command-line environment and provides different functionality.

Because SAC is available early in the boot process, you can use it to manage the server during normal system operation and initiation of most Windows Server 2003 family components. You can also use it when the system is in Safe Mode and during GUI-mode Setup. When Emergency Management Services is enabled, SAC remains active as long as the kernel is running.

SAC provides a set of commands you can use to perform a number of management tasks that help return your system to a normally functioning state. These tasks include:

  • Restarting or shutting down the server.
  • Viewing a list of processes that are currently active.
  • Ending processes.
  • Setting or viewing the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the server.
  • Generating a Stop error to create a memory dump file.
  • Starting and accessing command prompts.

For more information about using SAC commands, see Special Administration Console (SAC) and SAC commands.

!Special Administration Console (!SAC)

!Special Administration Console (!SAC) is an auxiliary Emergency Management Services command-line environment that is hosted by Windows Server 2003 operating systems. It also accepts input and sends output through the out-of-band port. !SAC is a separate entity from both SAC and Windows Server 2003 family command-line environments. After a specific failure point is reached, Emergency Management Services components determine when the shift should be made from SAC to !SAC. !SAC becomes available automatically if SAC fails to load or is not functioning.

!SAC provides a subset of SAC commands you can use to restore system functionality during a failure. Its two primary functions are:

  • To redirect Stop error message text.
  • To restart the computer if SAC becomes unavailable.

For more information about using !SAC commands, see !Special Administration Console (!SAC) and !SAC commands.

Windows command-prompt channels and Emergency Management Services

The Special Administration Console Helper service (Sacsvr) is a user-mode service you can use to create Windows command-prompt channels when you type cmd at the SAC prompt. With the command-prompt channels, you can use in-band tools on a remotely administered server when an in-band connection is not available.

For example, when the network is down, you can still run text-based utilities as you would through Telnet. These tools include command-shell utilities such as dir, and text-based console programs such as the boot configuration utility (Bootcfg.exe). You cannot run programs with a graphical user interface (GUI) such as Notepad.exe, however.

Although access to in-band tools through the command-prompt channels provides extensibility and convenience, it does not guarantee that the tools will perform as reliably as they would when run over an in-band connection; the out-of-band functionality and robustness of Emergency Management Services applies only to SAC. In addition, Windows command-prompt channels require system resources, which might cause SAC to be available but the command prompt to be unavailable.

To use a command-prompt channel, you must provide valid logon credentials to a local or domain account, and log on to each command-prompt instance. Press ESC+TAB to switch back and forth between the command prompt channels and SAC. If a command prompt channel becomes unresponsive, you can close it and then open another.

For more information about the SAC commands for managing channels, see Special Administration Console (SAC) and SAC commands.

Setup log access

SAC provides access to the setup logs during GUI-mode Setup. You can press ESC+TAB to switch between the setup logs and SAC. When accessing the setup logs from Emergency Management Services, you can see which portions of Setup have completed and whether any errors have occurred. This is a very useful way to check the progress of your setup and to diagnose setup failures.

The three setup log channels are as follows:

Monitors setup progress.
Displays any warnings during setup.
Displays any errors that might occur during setup.
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