Martins Blog

Trying to explain complex things in simple terms

Lights-out management console on Supermicro boards

Posted by Martin Bach on August 2, 2012

So this is slightly off topic, as it doesn’t deal with anything directly related to Oracle, it’s more a reference to those who are using Supermicro boards like I do. The nice thing about professional hardware is that you do not need a keyboard or mouse, or even a monitor. The board I have comes with an IPMI interface, and has a KVM over IP ability. The interface can be accessed from a dedicated software or a web browser.

IPMIView

The suitable application to access your KVM is called IPMIView, and it’s available for MacOS, Linux and Windows.

Since I didn’t want to install a lot of application on my laptop I opted to install IPMIView for Linux on my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS desktop running within a virtual machine. However I couldn’t get it to install at all until I found a great source how to do so. Here are the steps:

  1. Download IPMIView from the Supermicro website: ftp://ftp.supermicro.com/utility/IPMIView
  2. Make the file executable: chmod u+x IPMIView…bin
  3. Execute the file (note it requires an X11 DISPLAY): ./IPMIView…bin

It will then open an installer wizard that guides you through the installation. Although JVM based, you don’t need to download a JRE beforehand. It comes with its own-just be sure not to use it for anything but IPMIView, it seems to be an old one: 1.6.03.

That’s it-change directory to where IPMIView has been installed and launch it. Bizarrely that fails unless you are root on my system!

To connect to your server, you obviously need a bridge network interface in your virtual machine. In VMware workstation you might have to change the bridged network definition and ensure that it is bridging to the LAN port, not WLAN as it did in my case.

If you are unsure which IP you assigned to your IPMI interface you can instruct the software to perform a scan which is quite useful. Once discovered, you can save your server(s) to the interface and connect. On initial contact, the default username is ADMIN, the default password (you are guessing it …) ADMIN in upper case.

I suggest you change the password RIGHT NOW (click on the USERS tab and do so). Here’s the one of the reasons I really like the IPMIView application:

OK it’s not that much of an advantage right now as I can easily reach under my desk but once the server is out of reach then the option to reboot is nice. Another great tool is the graphical KVM console! I can even use “virtual storage”, for example an ISO image on my laptop and present this as if it was inserted in the DVD drive. Even if there is no physical DVD drive at all :) There was a glitch with the software that prevented me from selecting installation media (I haven’t tried the Windows version of IPMIView) in the virtual media menu on my Linux VM. I could see from the manual that there should be an additional tab at the bottom, next to the KVM Console but for some reason it was greyed out. There might be a way to get it back but I didn’t explore it further-the virtual media worked with the web interface.

Web browser

This looks like the way to go: simply point your web browser to the IP address of the IPMI card and off you go! For the KVM to work you need a Java runtime on your host. To be fair, the web interface is a lot nicer than the Java client, especially since it allows you to resize the window and the UI elements will scale accordingly. When executed on Windows you finally have the opportunity to mount an ISO image to the server. A windows share (I assume Samba works as well) with the ISOs is required to boot, and it’s very simple to set up and mount.

Reference

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2 Responses to “Lights-out management console on Supermicro boards”

  1. alan said

    If you like the GUI, check out the command line access.

  2. Ben Tyger said

    You don’t really have to run it as root. If you download the jar zip package and unpack it to somewhere you always have writeable access, you can run it without being root. Then just run the IPMIview20.sh or IPMIivew20.bat to execute it. The issue is the program tries to write configuration files to where the program is installed instead of the user’s home directory. This issue also exists with the Windows installer too.

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