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IPMI motherboard feature

Posted on 2013-05-26
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Last Modified: 2013-05-29
Dear all,

I am looking for new motherboard and I see some Xeon workstatoin motherboard has IPMI feature, what is it ? I can't see why it is for remote monitoring.

Why can't I just use Remote desktop connection to remote to that server and manage it?

DBA100.
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Question by:marrowyung
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Expert Comment

by:tailoreddigital
ID: 39198495
I personally have no experience with it (hopefully an experienced expert will chime in),  but after reading about it,  it looks like it's for remote access to the lower level BIOS functions,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_Platform_Management_Interface
It doesn't sound like a replacement for RDP
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by:marrowyung
ID: 39198531
ok, remote access the bios function ? not secure, right?
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by:garycase
ID: 39198550
IPMI runs over a different network -- in fact it has a dedicated NIC on the server.   It can be secured to an extent; but the best security is to simply not let the network that runs your IPMI BMC's to have any outside access.

A few interesting thoughts on IPMI security:  http://fish2.com/ipmi/bp.pdf

Nevertheless, IPMI is kinda like a Microwave oven was 35 years ago ... nobody thought they needed one ==> but once they got it, they'd never do without it again :-)

... i.e. once you've experienced a board with IPMI, you'll never want one without it !!
You can configure your BIOS;  mount an ISO remotely to install your OS;  configure everything;  and NEVER connect a keyboard, mouse, or monitor to the system !!
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by:marrowyung
ID: 39198695
garycase,

So this means you are already using it.

"mount an ISO remotely to install your OS; "

this means CD-ROM mount in other PC but IPMI make it looks like mount locally ?

and therefore the keyboard and mouse install locally and this allow us control other server?

Remote desktop can also simulate the keyboard an mouse, right?
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 39198835
Yes, you can mount an ISO remotely and then "boot" from it via IPMI.

Remote desktop requires that you're already running an OS that supports remote desktop.   It is not even close to the capability of IPMI ==>  with IPMI you can do ANYTHING you could do from the system itself ... flash a new BIOS version;  go into the BIOS and change settings;  change the boot device;  and even boot from an ISO image provided through IPMI.

I don' personally have an IPMI board in either of my two servers -- but I've used them for a few others that I've built for other people -- and I will NEVER buy another server board that doesn't have it !!    It's simply a game-changing feature for servers -- you never need to even bother with a keyboard, mouse, or monitor.
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by:marrowyung
ID: 39204047
ok ,thanks. good.

Any good link on how to use it ?
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39204131
SuperMicro has many servers with IPMI (those are the ones I've used).    Their IPMIView utility lets you manage all of your IPMI systems, and provides some really "cool" features.

Here's the User's Guide for IPMIView:  ftp://ftp.supermicro.com/utility/IPMIView/IPMIView20.pdf

There's a lot of details on setting up the various systems for easy selection/access in the first bit;  but the parts you probably want to look over are how you can "see" the actual remote system just as if you were at a console on the system -- starting on Page 30;  and the virtual devices (Floppy, CD, etc.) that you can "connect" just as if you had loaded them on the remote system (Page 40).

It LOOKs much more complex than it is.   As I noted above, once you've used a system with IPMI, you'll ALWAYS want that feature !!
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