A brief intro to IPMI and why you want it

Every Arxys VideoX server includes IPMI to allow for remote monitoring and management.

An overview of IPMI
The official definition of IPMI (short for Intelligent Platform Management Interface) is a set of standardized specifications for hardware-based platform management systems making it possible to control and monitor servers centrally. The simpler definition is that IPMI is a security guard for your server that also allows you to remotely manage it without rolling trucks or going onsite.

Some primary functions of IPMI are to monitor hardware status (including temperatures, power consumption, voltage, etc.), log server data, and allow access to the server even when an operating system is not installed or is malfunctioning. It’s obviously quite handy for anyone concerned about the status of their servers and the information contained within.

IPMI is basically set of standardized specifications for hardware hardware-based platform management systems. It helps in enabling remote control and server monitoring. 

It is crucial for the security of the server. Some of the main functions of IPMI are to monitor the hardware state (including temperature, power consumption, voltage, etc.), record server data and allow access to the server even if the operating system is not installed or fails.

What is IPMI and what are its key benefits?
IPMI is a hardware solution for controlling and managing your servers. It has significant differences and benefits compared to system diagnosis software. For example, IPMI gives you the ability to manage servers in remote physical locations regardless of the installed operating system. This is because IPMI is an industry standard, developed by Intel in cooperation with Dell, Hewlett Packard, and NEC.

IPMI key benefits:

  • It constantly monitors server health and issues advance warnings of possible system failures.
  • IPMI acts independently of the server and is always accessible.
  • Configuration changes are simple.
  • Enables user to access and make BIOS changes without SSH login or operating system access.
  • Server recovery is possible even if it’s switched off.
  • IPMI is a universal standard supported by the vast majority of hardware vendors.

Main IPMI features and components
By design, IPMI strives for a software-neutral approach while functioning independently from a server’s BIOS, CPU, and operating system. This may seem like some form of high magic, but the secret sauce behind IPMI’s success and versatility is its ability to execute the following four features effectively:

  • Monitor and supervise servers
  • Recover and restart servers
  • Log server states
  • List all server inventory

However, none of this would be possible without the following key components:

  • Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) – A micro-controller that’s a central and essential component of any IPMI.
  • Intelligent Chassis Management Bus (ICMB) – An interface that allows communication from one chassis to another.
  • Intelligent Platform Management Bus (IPMB) – Extends the BMC with management controllers while complying with IPMB communications protocol.
  • IPMI Memory – The IPMI’s Sensor Data Record, System Event Log, Field Replaceable Units, and Repository store data.
  • Communications Interfaces – These consist of local system interfaces, serial interface, LAN interface, ICMB and PCI Management Bus.

IPMI v2.0 Key Features

  • Firmware Firewall
  • SMBus System Interface
  • Serial Over LAN
  • VLAN Support
  • Encryption Support
  • Extended User Login Options
  • Enhanced Authentication
  • Standardized and OEM-specific Payload Types

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