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How to restart servers after power outage when server shut down properly

Posted on 2008-11-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-11
We purchased a Tripp Lite SmartOnline UPS device to use for our entire server rack.  We have 12 Dell servers, so they communicate with the UPS using a SNMP card in the UPS.  Using a shutdown agent provided by Tripp Lite, I can gracefully shutdown the servers while on battery power.

Tripp Lite support told me that the servers should come back up when power is restored.  This is true IF the server did not get shutdown gracefully.  However, if the OS did unload and shutdown the hardware properly (which is, of course, the way we want it), the server does not "know" it should restart -- it is in the same state it would be in if I had used "start/shutdown".

Tripp Lite doesn't seem to have any suggestions for getting servers restarted.  

Can anyone suggest to a strategy using the SNMP card in conjuction with wake on lan functionality of the servers?  Perhaps some code to recieve snmp calls and then send WOL packets to the servers' NICs after the UPS is on AND no longer on battery?
Question by:PenningtonTech
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 22907937
In the IBM server that I used to support there was a bios option to boot the server on power restortation regaurdless of what state the server was in prior to power loss.  We set that on the server we wanted to come up and let me do it's thing.  Never had a problem with it.  I don't remember exactly where the settings was but it was definitly in the BIOS.

Expert Comment

ID: 22908408
When the system was shutdown properly the power still there from the battery and the system can't detect if the power restored or not, so if SNMP card can be configured to disconnect the power then connect it again when the power restored then it is done. If not then the card firmware should be modified to do either way to send WOL packets, or disconnect then connect again; That process can't be done without source code of the firmware, only Tripp Lite can do it or if they can provide you the code to hire someone to do it for you.
LVL 18

Assisted Solution

Americom earned 200 total points
ID: 22908580
Before you pursue such WOL functionality, you may want to think through this.
What you have already good where you can shutdown the servers gracefully. When your power is back online, you don't want your servers to be back online automatically for good reasons. There is a chance that your building power is back online for 2 minutes and lost again, or your building batteries got toasted and need to switch to generator temperoarily.  There are too many reasons that your servers should remain shutdown regardless of the power status. To prevent your servers being damaged(HW or OS) by these situation, you should only turn your server back online when your building manager or whoever in charge the building power give you an okay and is safe to turn your server back online. This way, any server damaged due to unexpected power status you would not be the one to blamed.
With that, what you should probably look for is that your server and see how the built-in or add-on features such as the Dell Remote Access Card III(DRAC III) works in the Dell servers.
We use HP servers where remote management is not an issue even when the power is back online and the server is still in shutdown status, it should be. Then we use the built-in iLO or addon RILOE II to turn the server back on without depending on the OS. You can also monitor and see the boot up screen remotely. This technology has been around as a part of the HP/Compaq sever feature for over 13+years or even longer. I know at the time, Dell servers do not come with such feature back then but I'm sure since after y2k, Dell has enhanced their Remote Access Card to do the same. If it's really the same, then you should be able to get to the card and turn the server back on remotely like you're at the server locally. Of course assuming you would have access to your VPN etc. Usually Switches, appliance, and Routers are not as sensitive as the Windows OS and the Server HW. So those equiptment usually up running before your servers and with proper configuration, you should have access to your servers remotely.
Of course
LVL 56

Accepted Solution

andyalder earned 300 total points
ID: 22932214
This is a common problem, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/819760/en-us tells how to get the server to sit at the "safe to power off" screen rather than power off. Ignore the first half of the doc about hotfixes, go straight to the "more information" section.

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