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Introduction to IPMI

Q: What is IPMI?

A: IPMI stands for Intelligent Platform Management Interface. It is in essence a web server that runs internally on your motherboard, powered by a separate ARM-based chip, also known as the baseboard management controller (BMC). The BMCs in Supermicro motherboards run a lightweight, proprietary build of Linux, and will operate independently from the OS.

IPMI is provided by default on several Supermicro server motherboards as a means to enable out of band (OOB) management, providing a suite of tools for troubleshooting and monitoring that would normally require additional hardware and software. Motherboards that include embedded IPMI will have a "-F" appended to the motherboard model number, such as X9SCM (non-IPMI) and X9SCM-F (IPMI).

Supermicro's implementation of IPMI shares similar functionality to other well-known OOB management interfaces from Intel, Cisco, HP, and Dell, and most of its features are also supported with various open IPMI tools in Linux and UNIX systems.

Common usage cases for IPMI include: 

  • IP-based KVM Over LAN 
      • Full keyboard, mouse, and video, as well as macros
      • Virtual storage capabilities, allowing remote boot from .iso files
      • Allows access to BIOS configuration and other pre-boot environments
  • IP-based Serial Over LAN 
      • Full serial console to CLI-based operating systems
  • Web-based Administration
      • Sensor readings, power control, and event logging
      • SNMP and Active Directory integration available
  • CLI-based Administration 
    • Sensor readings, power control, and event logging through SSH
    • Advanced scripting capabilities available with third-party utilities
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