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Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and IPMItool

Who got idea?

Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) was designed by Intel, HP, NEC and Dell. 

What the purpose is?

The purpose is management of local and remote servers (out-of-band) whose hardware supports IPMI (1.5 version and above).  

IPMI allows you to check inventory of FRU (field replaceable unit), do hardware monitoring, etc. This is done independently of the BIOS, CPU and OS. 

Any requirements (except that h/w has to be IPMI compliant)?

In order to manage local hardware, compatible IPMI kernel driver has to be installed. Solaris 10 comes with it and its called BMC.
# modinfo |grep BMC
174 ffffffffefe69000   3160 177   1  bmc (BMC 1.0)
For monitoring remote hardware, you need to setup remote management interface (ideally on separate management subnet) and to have login credentials.


Sun already has ILOM (Integrated Lights Out Manager) for out-of-band managements of its x86 platforms (like Sun Fire X4200). 

ILOM and Service processors (SP) are compliant with IPMI (1.5 version and above). 

How it works?

1. SP is managing platform and provide logging. 
2. IPMI is interface to SP. 
3. IPMI reads sensor data record (SRD) repository and display it. 
4. IPMI also has control over chassis power. 

For example, x4200 has IPMI compliant sensors that monitor hardware (temperature, voltage, etc). 

If something happens, these sensors create IPMI Platform Event Trap (PET). 

ILOM reads these Traps and puts them in event logs. 
See options that come with ipmitool: 
# ipmitool --help
ipmitool: illegal option -- help
ipmitool version 1.8.8

usage: ipmitool [options...] 

       -h             This help
       -V             Show version information
       -v             Verbose (can use multiple times)
       -c             Display output in comma separated format
       -I intf        Interface to use
       -H hostname    Remote host name for LAN interface
       -p port        Remote RMCP port [default=623]
       -U username    Remote session username
       -f file        Read remote session password from file
       -S sdr         Use local file for remote SDR cache

        lan           IPMI v1.5 LAN Interface [default]
        lanplus       IPMI v2.0 RMCP+ LAN Interface

        raw           Send a RAW IPMI request and print response
        i2c           Send an I2C Master Write-Read command and print response
        lan           Configure LAN Channels
        chassis       Get chassis status and set power state
        power         Shortcut to chassis power commands
        event         Send pre-defined events to MC
        mc            Management Controller status and global enables
        sdr           Print Sensor Data Repository entries and readings
        sensor        Print detailed sensor information
        fru           Print built-in FRU and scan SDR for FRU locators
        sel           Print System Event Log (SEL)
        pef           Configure Platform Event Filtering (PEF)
        sol           Configure and connect IPMIv2.0 Serial-over-LAN
        tsol          Configure and connect with Tyan IPMIv1.5 Serial-over-LAN
        isol          Configure IPMIv1.5 Serial-over-LAN
        user          Configure Management Controller users
        channel       Configure Management Controller channels
        session       Print session information
        sunoem        OEM Commands for Sun servers
        kontronoem    OEM Commands for Kontron devices
        picmg         Run a PICMG/ATCA extended cmd
        fwum          Update IPMC using Kontron OEM Firmware Update Manager
        exec          Run list of commands from file
        set           Set runtime variable for shell and exec
And one example how to check FRUs on remote system. Note that hostname.ilom is name for management interface on management subnet, so all work is done out-of-band.
# ipmitool -H hostname.ilom -U admin fru
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