Acronym Soup: What is SOL?
In today's "Acronym Soup" blog post, we remain over on the manageability side of things and ask the question: what is SOL?
To begin, SOL is an acronym for "Serial over LAN", which is a remote access communication protocol that harnesses the power of the server's Baseboard Management Controller, or BMC, to provide access to critical system information like power control, fan speed and event logs.
For many servers without access to serial ports, a hardware-based solution such as a dedicated expansion card (like a Dell DRAC card, for example) were typically required to send and receive serial commands. This is because for many managed systems such as blade servers, the serial ports are often not connected to a physical serial port socket.
As such, the input/output of the serial port must be redirected to the network to allow administrators to these systems via the serial port. This is where SOL steps in, to mitigate the need for such dedicated hardware to enable serial port communication with the server. It is an ideal solution for connecting to a serial device over LAN to a machine with no COM port, or for connecting to a serial device in a remote location.
SOL, which is also a part of the IPMI protocol discussed in a previous "Acronym Soup" blog post and other posts here on our Tech Blog, is a key component for full interaction with the server BMC. Once IPMI and SOL are working in tandem, all the tools need to remotely manage the machine will be available.
As our other posts have mentioned before, SOL was one of the biggest additions to IPMI v2.0 and is often referred to as "console redirection" as it gives administrators the ability to re-route text-based console output via the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) on board the server to virtually anywhere to perform OS updates, administer utilities and commands, and similar tasks.
The SOL - MegaRAC Connection
Support for the latest version of IPMI support, and the SOL functionality contained within it, is a key feature of many of AMI's MegaRAC® BMC firmware and manageability products. In particular, MegaRAC firmware products such as MegaRAC SP-X BMC Firmware are known for their deep and innovative implementations of SOL and other out-of-band BMC communication methods. To learn more about SOL and IPMI implementation in MegaRAC SP-X, AMI's flagship BMC management firmware, please visit: https://ami.com/en/products/remote-management/service-processor/
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