What is IPMI?
- by Oliver K
- in Dedicated Server
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What is IPMI?
IPMI (i.e. Intelligent Platform Management Interface) is a set of standardized specifications for hardware-based platform management systems that provides management and monitoring capabilities independently of the host's CPU, firmware (BIOS or UEFI) and operating system. You can use it to connect to the server over IP, to be exact it is KVM over IP.
Nowadays, nearly all of the modern servers have this technology built in to the motherboard, however it could also be added as an extra module to the older servers that do not come with it.
IPMI can be configured through BIOS or UEFI, however please note that to do so you will need to have an IP and the default username and password. When the server is out of the main network, it can be monitored and contolled with the help of IPMI. There are multiple methods that can be used to manage a server over IPMI. They include web access or special applications such as IPMI VIEW, FREEIPMI and OPEN IPMI.
So far there have been three official releases of IPMI: 1, 1.5 and 2. There were many significant improvements done across the new releases, however this is how they could be best summarized:
- v1.0 - released in late 1998
- v1.5 - published in March 2001; added features including IPMI over LAN, IPMI over Serial/Modem and LAN Alerting
- v2.0 - published in February 2004; added features including Serial over LAN, Group Management Systems, Enhanced Authentication, Firmware Firewall and VLAN Support
- v2.0 revision 1.1 - published in February 2014; amended for errata, clarifications, and addenda, plus addition of support for IPv6 addressing
- v2.0 revision 1.1 Errata 7 - published in April 2015; amended for errata, clarifications and addenda
With the help of IPMI, we can perform the following actions and much more, completely remotely, even if the server is turned off (i.e. if it has electricity and internet supplied to it):
- Server console management
- Start up or shut down the server
- Do a server reboot
- Read information from the sensors (i.e. fan speed, cpu temperature, etc.)
There are also other similar technologies available with different names, depending on the hardware manufacturer and sometimes even with different options. For example, HP products use ILO technology, which is similar to IPMI.