What Is Emergency Management Services?

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

What Is Emergency Management Services?

In this section

  • Common Emergency Management Services Scenarios

  • Technologies Related to Emergency Management Services

  • Emergency Management Services Dependencies

  • Related Information

Before the introduction of Windows Server 2003, you could remotely manage servers running the Windows operating system only by using a conventional in-band connection — one that uses a computer’s standard communication channel, typically a network connection. If a server stopped responding, you had to manage it locally. With Windows Server 2003, you can use Emergency Management Services to manage servers remotely even when they are not responding over the network. Emergency Management Services is included with Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, and Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

Emergency Management Services supports out-of-band connections — those using an alternate communication channel, most commonly a serial port. Unlike in-band connections, out-of-band connections do not rely on operating system network drivers to function. If you use Emergency Management Services with the appropriate hardware, you can remotely perform almost all management tasks. This capability can help you to efficiently manage large numbers of servers with high availability requirements, especially servers configured without a locally attached keyboard, monitor, and mouse. Some computer firmware may also allow you to configure a server without a keyboard controller and video adapter. Because these components are optional, Emergency Management Services can present significant savings in space, energy consumption, and hardware costs.

Common Emergency Management Services Scenarios

You can use Emergency Management Services to remotely troubleshoot problems that arise during any of the following system states:

Powering on or off

The computer is powering up or is in the process of shutting down.

Firmware initializing the system

The computer is running the Power on Self Test (POST), performing rudimentary hardware checks, and determining the devices that are available.

Windows loading

This is the startup phase in which the Windows loader and kernel load and initialize system components such as drivers and services. For multiple-boot systems, the Windows loader might display a boot menu listing the operating systems that are installed. Based on your selection, the appropriate system files are loaded and initialized.

Windows running

Windows Server 2003 starts without problems and transitions into one of the following states:

  • Text-mode setup phase

  • GUI-mode setup phase

  • Normal operation

Windows experiencing problems

Windows Server 2003 is experiencing software or hardware problems that might adversely affect system responsiveness or might interrupt network connectivity. Certain processes might have depleted system resources, a situation that prevents you from accessing the remote server using an in-band connection.

Windows unresponsive

If Windows Server 2003 is unresponsive to normal in-band connection methods, you can use Emergency Management Services to attempt recovery. For example, if a Stop error occurs, you can use Emergency Management Services to view Stop message information and restart the system. However, if software or hardware problems are sufficiently severe, Emergency Management Services might become unavailable. In these situations, the ability to remotely recover from problems depends on the hardware features built into the system firmware, motherboard, service processor, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

When servers can be accessed over the standard network, you should manage them using an in-band connection. Examples of Windows Server technologies that use an in-band connection include:

  • Group Policy

  • Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

  • Systems Management Server

  • Telnet

  • Terminal Services Remote Desktop for Administration

  • Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC)

  • Windows Script Host (WSH)

The purpose of Emergency Management Services is to help you return a server to a state where in-band management is possible. Unexpected events, however, can interrupt in-band connectivity. For example, a network adapter problem or system instability can cause a server to become unresponsive to management attempts from client computers that use an in-band connection. Because Emergency Management Services removes dependence on operating system network drivers, client computers can communicate with servers through the out-of-band port in situations such as these, so you can attempt to bring the servers back into service remotely. Emergency Management Services is designed to be a last resort option for remote management. You should first try in-band tools.

Emergency Management Services Dependencies

Emergency Management Services has the following dependencies:

  • Windows loader or Windows kernel (Ntoskrnl.exe). Emergency Management Services requires that the loader or the kernel of the Windows Server 2003 operating system be at least partially functioning.

  • Serial ports. To perform out-of-band management, you need to establish a secure connection through a serial port, phone line, or additional network connection. The serial port, also known as a communication (COM) port, is the most common out-of-band interface. It is the default out-of-band device for Emergency Management Services. The serial port used for Emergency Management Services must be a 16550 Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART). If your system firmware is compatible with Emergency Management Services, we recommend that you configure it to use the same serial port settings.

    It is important to note that Emergency Management Services and the Windows debugger cannot share the same COM port. The system can have only a single out-of-band management port. Windows Server 2003 does not support a configuration in which one out-of-band port sends outgoing communication and a different out-of-band port (on a second device) receives incoming data.

  • Client terminal software. You can access all Emergency Management Services output by using terminal emulation software such as Telnet and HyperTerminal. The software you choose should support serial port and terminal definition settings that are compatible with Emergency Management Services, as well as with your system firmware. If possible, use software that supports the VT-UTF8 protocol because it provides for multilingual versions of Windows. If English is the only language you need to support, the VT100+ terminal definition is sufficient. At a minimum, you can use the VT100 terminal definition.

The following resources contain additional information that is relevant to this section.

  • For more information about Emergency Management Services and Group Policy, click “Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools Help” in Tools and Settings Collection.

  • For more information about Microsoft Management Console (MMC), click “Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools Help” in Tools and Settings Collection.

  • For more information about Systems Management Server, see MSDN and type the appropriate key words in the “Search MSDN For” text box.

  • For more information about Telnet, click “Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools Help” in Tools and Settings Collection.

  • For more information about Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC), click “Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools Help” in Tools and Settings Collection.

  • For more information about Windows Script Host (WSH), click “Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools Help” in Tools and Settings Collection.