Chapter 1. Multiplexer Features and Capabilities

This chapter introduces and explains the operational features, functions, and capabilities of the multiplexer system. Topics covered include

Site Administration

The ST-1600 or ST-1616 multiplexer (see Figure 1-1) is a high-performance serial port multiplexer that acts as an integral part of the IRISconsole station (see Figure 1-2). The IRISconsole allows the system administrator or other responsible individual to monitor onsite systems.

Note: Both multiplexers operate similarly. The ST-1616 is required for Europe.

Figure 1-1. ST-1616 and ST-1600 Multiplexers

Note: Although the figures in this guide show a specific model of multiplexer and a specific workstation (Indy), they and the references and descriptions in this guide also apply to the ST-1600 multiplexer and the other workstations supported for IRISconsole.

Using the multiplexer and the IRISconsole graphical user interface (GUI), you can set up and administer Challenge, Onyx, and Origin “sites.” A site is a group of Onyx, Onyx2, or POWER Onyx workstations and Challenge, POWER Challenge, Origin200, or Origin2000 servers that you physically connect to and administer through the multiplexer and the workstation.

Once the Challenge, Onyx, and Origin systems are connected to the multiplexer and the workstation, you can use the IRISconsole GUI to do some or all of the following:

  • set up a site or add or delete the systems in a site

  • display, view, or take control of the console of a system

  • generate a nonmaskable interrupt (NMI) or hardware reset, or power cycle a system

  • view real-time graphs of hardware operating statistics of a system in a site, such as voltage, operating temperature, and blower speeds; save the graphs as files and display them

  • set a threshold for operating statistics so that an alarm is activated and various activities are triggered when the threshold is exceeded

  • view activity logs and other system reports

Note: In order to perform all of the functions listed, the IRISconsole must be connected to the Challenge, Onyx, and Origin systems by network interface as well as RS-232 cables.

Chapters in the IRISconsole Administrator's Guide (P/N 007-2872-nnn) explain how to set up sites and administer sites.

Figure 1-3 shows an example of a IRISconsole site installation.

Figure 1-2. Example of an IRISconsole Station

Figure 1-3. IRISconsole Site Example

Functional Checklist

In order for the multiplexer to function properly as a part of a site administration console, you must have the following three main subsystems:

  • Silicon Graphics workstation

  • IRISconsole serial port multiplexer kit and optional serial cables

  • IRISconsole software

IRISconsole System Administration Components

This section provides information on the three main hardware subsystems that compose a working IRISconsole system.

To have a fully functional IRISconsole site, you must have all the hardware components connected in the proper manner. See Chapter 2 for complete details on connecting the multiplexer to both the Indy or O2 workstation and the Challenge, Onyx, or Origin systems.

Workstation Components

If you purchased an Indy or O2 workstation as part of the IRISconsole package, you should familiarize yourself with the unit. Read at least the first two chapters of the owner's guide before connecting the multiplexer system.

This guide provides information only on how to properly connect the workstation to the multiplexer. It does not describe how to install or configure the workstation.

Required Hardware and Software

If you already have a system designated to work as part of your multiplexer station, then be sure that it meets or exceeds the following functional criteria. Your workstation must have

  • a system disk with at least 20 MB of available space

  • at least 32 MB of RAM

  • proper operating system and IRISconsole software drivers (see Table 1-1)

    Table 1-1. Required Software to Support the IRISconsole

    IRISconsole software version

    Indy IRIX version

    O2 IRIX version




Recommended Options

The following workstation options are recommended but not required:

  • 24-bit graphics capability (for 1024 x 1280 presentation)

  • a 20-inch monitor

Note: The managed Challenge, Onyx, or Origin systems at the site are not required to run IRIX® 6.2 or 6.3.

If you are using an existing workstation with your multiplexer system, you must upgrade it if it does not meet the specifications described in the “must have” list. Contact your sales or service representative to arrange for the appropriate upgrades.

Chapter 2 provides detailed examples of how to connect all the hardware components to make the multiplexer work.

The Serial Port Multiplexer

The Indy or O2 workstation interfaces to the various systems at the site by way of the high-performance serial multiplexer (see Figure 1-3 and Figure 1-4). The multiplexer has two microprocessors; one is dedicated to all the character processing for the 16 serial ports and the other handles the SCSI traffic.

The multiplexer connects to the Indy or O2 workstation's external SCSI connector. Serial cables connect from the multiplexer to each system at the site.

See the documentation included with the multiplexer for technical information pertaining to that model.

Multiplexer Kit Components

Your multiplexer kit should contain the serial port multiplexer, which includes

  • the multiplexer's auto-ranging power supply

  • a power cord for 110V applications

  • a 0.5-meter SCSI cable with 50-pin high-density connectors on each end

  • an external SCSI terminator

Note: Each connection between the multiplexer and a Challenge, Onyx, or Origin system requires two serial cables. Optional 25-foot (7.62 m) serial cables (marketing code XVIC25, part number 018-0527-001) are available specifically for this application.

Figure 1-4 shows the parts in the serial port multiplexer kit.

Figure 1-4. Multiplexer Kit Components

The multiplexer has two SCSI-2 connector receptacles, a SCSI ID switch, and a power supply receptacle on the back. The multiplexer has two SCSI connectors and can be “daisy-chained” with additional units or connected to other types of SCSI devices. Be sure to review the cabling and configuration information in Chapter 2 carefully before making additional SCSI connections to the multiplexer.

Challenge, Onyx, and Origin Systems

When you have the Indy or O2 host system, multiplexer, serial cables, and IRISconsole software, you are ready to monitor a Challenge, Onyx, or Origin site.

The Challenge, Onyx, or Origin onsite systems that are monitored and administered from the IRISconsole should be as centrally located as possible. Silicon Graphics sells serial cables (see Chapter 2) for use with the multiplexer that measures 25 feet (7.62 meters). Use of serial cables that exceed 50 feet (15.2 meters) is not recommended, unless an electrical serial signal-extending device is used as well.

If you are monitoring a large group of systems from the console, connecting serial cables to them all may not be possible without electrical serial signal extenders.

Be sure that each Challenge or Onyx system you wish to monitor and control has a 9-pin connector labeled Remote Sys Control SSE Use Only located just to the right of the main I/O panel assembly. See Figure 1-5 for an example connector.

Note: You cannot reset a system or access the hardware status monitor on a Challenge or Onyx system if it does not have the Remote System Control connector. Other monitoring functions are available if you have network and tty_1 connections to the system. If you need to monitor a Challenge or Onyx system that does not have the remote system control connector, contact your service provider to order an upgrade (P/N 013-0624-003).

Figure 1-5. Remote System Control 9-Pin Connector Example

Figure 1-6 shows a site with a combination of different systems being monitored.

Figure 1-6. Four Different Systems and IRISconsole

Figure 1-7 shows a site with a Challenge and Origin2000 system being monitored.

Figure 1-7. Challenge, Origin2000, and IRISconsole