IPMI Overview

Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is a standardized message-based hardware management interface. At the core of the IPMI is a hardware chip that is known as the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC), or Management Controller (MC).

The BMC provides various interfaces that are needed for monitoring the health of the system hardware. There are different interfaces for user channels, monitoring elements (temperature, voltage, fan speed, bus errors, and other such elements), manually driven recovery (local or remote system resets and power on/off operations), and logging in without operating system intervention for abnormal or out-of-range conditions for later examination and alerting.
Note: The BMC is always powered on. It contains a small processor that runs the IPMI even when the main system is off, unless the operating system has crashed. The BMC can be configured to check the status of local hardware from another server for secure remote monitoring and recovery of the system (such as system reset) regardless of the status.

The following list shows the different aspects of IPMI for IBM® supported Linux® Distributions on Power Systems servers:

  • Creation of user IDs and passwords for securing BMC access.
    Note: The default user ID is ADMIN and the default password is ADMIN.
  • Logical Channels to support multiple communication paths to the BMC; for example, OpenIPMI kernel driver for inband communication, LAN for normal out-of-band communication, serial and other communication for other communication pathways.
  • System Event Log (SEL) for capturing important system events.
  • Sensor Data Records (SDR) for describing system devices and entities.
  • Standardized interface for the monitoring and control of system hardware and sensors.
  • Secure Serial Over LAN (SOL) for full remote monitoring and management.

IPMI on Linux is supported by the OpenIPMI Driver and the IPMItool utility that is included with most Linux distributions. When it is properly installed and configured, they enable access to the built-in IPMI hardware. IPMItool has flexible communication capability to monitor or manage the server that it is running on or any other server on the LAN that houses IPMI hardware.