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Re: Dell IPMI and PERC utils

On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 09:31:39PM +0000, Michael van Elst wrote:
> ("Perry E. Metzger") writes:
> >I don't think IPMI is an operating system issue -- it is handled by
> >the hardware below the level of the OS.
> This is one side.
> Usually you also have ipmi drivers in the operating system to
> make the data available.
> Our ipmi(4) driver does something similar and feeds some of
> the data to the envsys(4) driver, but this looks different
> from say the OpenIPMI drivers in Linux where you can use
> the same ipmitool for local and remote queries.

You don't need, and often don't want, to access ipmi through an on-box
ipmi(4) pass-through device.  It's handy, but it doesn't address the
most useful aspect of ipmi, which is monitoring and control even when
the box is down (including figuring out *why* it is down). 

Instead, you use ipmitool on another monitoring host, to poke at the
BMC on your servers over IP (or serial) remotely.  On dells, the grey
'spanner' port is used for this purpose and can be configured from the
bios; most other comparable manufacturers have something similar.

Dell (and most of the others) can also sell you a DRAC (and other
names), an additional card with more functionality. These offer web
UI's onto the ipmi data, and vnc-like remote KVM, but they're
not necessary to use IPMI with something like ipmitool remotely,
especially if serial bios console is more useful to you than kvm.

Dell has some whitepapers and other documents specifically describing
using ipmitool for server management, which a search should find
easily enough.


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