The Target Server Requirements state that the Spider supports multiple operating systems, including Windows, UNIX, Linux and Mac OS X. I run a separate Linux machine as an Asterisk PBX, which served as a perfect candidate to test another OS. My Linux machine (Figure 13), running the Ubuntu distro, is also running headless, and enabled for Virtual Network Computing (VNC) remote control. Connecting the Spider was simply a matter of powering down the server, connecting the PS/2 cables, the USB cable, and connecting a LAN drop to the Ethernet port.
Figure 13: Linux on a remote machine via the Spider
Upon initial boot-up, it seemed everything was working; the Linux server completed its boot cycle and was fully accessible via a VNC connection. However, I couldn’t use the mouse and keyboard via the Spider Console interface as I could with the Windows machine. The fix was easy, though. Under the Spider’s KVM Settings Menu, the default for Keyboard/Mouse settings is Auto, with choices for USB and PS/2. Selecting PS/2 and clicking Apply (Figure 14) fixed the problem without rebooting either the Spider or the server.
Figure 14: The fix to use a PS/2 mouse and keyboard with the Spider on Linux
The mouse lag was greater on the Linux server in Console mode than on the Windows server. There was also greater perceptible delay with the keyboard between pressing the key and seeing it displayed. You could still do what you wanted, such as select menus and click on various options on the server, but patience was required.
I found myself moving the mouse slowly and deliberately to ensure accuracy. I did all of my testing over a lightly loaded 100 Mbps LAN, so bandwidth wasn’t an issue. I tried various different compression settings (Figure 15), but I didn’t find any to significantly improve the lag condition.
Figure 15: Compression settings for various link speeds
I didn’t consider lag an issue, however, as the Spider isn’t intended solely as a direct server access tool. RDC for the Windows server and VNC for the Linux server function without lag, even with the Spider connected, so I could easily interact with my servers. The Spider’s primary goal is to provide OOB/BIOS access over IP, something you can’t do with RDC and VNC.