IPMI, or Intelligent Platform Management Interface, provides the following benefits when used in server administration;
- Greater access
- Easy-to-use interface
- Predictive monitoring & advanced diagnosis
- More configuration options via ISO
- Maintains functionality before system boot or after OS failure
IPMI is a monitoring and management system that works in conjunction with a specialized microcontroller (the BMC, or baseboard management controller) and provides an additional interface when managing a server. IPMI allows a consumer to access a server via KVM over IP and can be used to issue simple commands to a server, such as reboot, power on/off, etc. Most importantly, IPMI acts independently of the CPU; this allows IPMI to provide access to a server even in cases where the operating system is frozen or failing.
Through the use of the BMC’s sensors, IPMI allows a consumer to predictively monitor a server’s health and performance in order to ensure most hardware components are running smoothly. The BMC’s sensors monitor power supply, fans, & the CPU’s temperature and power levels. Conventional management applications do not monitor these components, which delays the time in isolating hardware errors. Additionally, IPMI can check hardware logs for the sensors and BIOS and can be configured to send alerts based on a customer’s preferences.
IPMI may also be used to upload software utilizing an ISO image. Currently, Take2Hosting provides the following options for operating systems when purchasing a server;
- XenServer 5.6 sp2
- Ubuntu 12.04
- XenServer 6.2
- CentOS 6.5
- CentOS 7.2
However, if you have access to any operating system’s ISO, you can upload and install it via IPMI.
Some industry specialists claim utilizing IPMI creates unnecessary and potentially dangerous security gaps. In order to protect from this, our switches place access control lists on all servers with IPMI that bans traffic from all IPMI ports excluding 2 IP addresses at a time; one for KVM access and one for file sharing access. This type of extra security allows our customers to enjoy the benefits of IPMI without having to worry about the drawbacks.