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Re: Problems with IPMI and wm? sharing a physical Ethernet port

On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 02:54:24PM +0100, Matthias Scheler wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:15:12PM +0200, Manuel Bouyer wrote:
> > On systems with ethernet shared by bmc, I avoid touching the interface
> > from the system (there is usually a second ethernet port and I use this 
> > one).
> We made similar experiences at work with Linux on such hardware.
> We also ended up not using the shared port from the host.
> > Now I request a separate ethernet port for management.
> Same here.

A warning!  We specified one of the NetBSD Foundation's own servers
this way, only to discover that the very latest generation of IPMI
(actually, Baseboard Management Controller, BMC) embedded on the newest
SuperMicro Intel (not AMD, AFAIK) systems is not really suitable for use
with NetBSD at all.

These systems have a separate Ethernet for IPMI which is provided by
the BMC chip which also provides physical VGA and, during the boot
process, serial console redirection.

Unfortunately, unlike most IPMI serial console redirection, this chip
does not emulate the register-level serial port interface, only the
BIOS calls.  So as soon as the NetBSD kernel starts, serial console
output stops.

According to SuperMicro, the only supported means of console access once
the OS boots is using the pseudo-VNC (port 5900, clearly derived from VNC,
but won't talk to any open-source VNC client) VGA redirection also
implemented by this BMC.  Unfortunately, the only client available for
this protocol is "Java" with native methods signed by some random guy
in China, and which won't run on NetBSD anyway.

SuperMicro certainly makes some nice stuff, but if you're considering
using their IPMI-equipped systems with NetBSD -- make sure you don't get
that platform!  Mmmmm, compromising your management systems with dangerous
native code because the vendor didn't feel like properly implementing a
serial port.  Stay far away, is my advice.


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