Remote Power Control

I’m going to be putting some servers into a data centre and manage them remotely. That means power control and optionally an IP KVM. Does anyone know the best way to do this? Do I need an IP KVM? What do they do that would mean I use an IP KVM rather than a normal KVM, both if I had to visit or if I worked from home?

The options I’m looking at at the moment are either some kind of remote power control device, using servers like Sun X2100s with either ” Optional System Management Daughter Cards” or “Standard Service Processor with embedded LOM” which use IPMI. Or maybe regular Dell or other servers, with the same kind of cards.

Are these cards any good? Do they work with Linux. Will IPMI 1.5 do what I want or do I need IPMI 2? It’s a minefield I tell ya. Can anyone make recommendations for remote power control devices, or BMC manufacturers and suppliers? What is preferable? A card or a separate device? I don’t know.

Oh yes and all of these servers will be running Linux…

4 thoughts on “Remote Power Control

  1. Hello Adam,

    Where abouts are you based?

    I would say that using KVM-via-IP or KVM-over-IP will provide you with the most flexible management options. A ‘normal’ KVM switch will only give you control from a few meters/feet away, of tens of meters if you use a KVM extender but this will still require you to be in the same building. Using IP means that you can have KVM control from any PC anywhere.

    There are a few advantages of using KVM-via-IP over alternates such as remote control software. Remote control software is an application that needs to be installed on the server, some people are unhappy with this as it adds another unknown on to sensitive computers. It’s biggest weakness is that when the O/S stops working, so does the software. Because a computer is completely unaware of a KVM switch it cannot be intrusive but as a user you will see what ever the computer would normally output on it’s local screen keyboard and mouse. Using KVM-via-IP allows you to do this from anywhere. To put this in context, if you were looking at an XP machine you can see the entire boot process and enter BIOS set up.

    A KVM solution can also help with your other question, power control. Many KVM switches allow for the integration of power control devices, normally through a serial interface. This means that you can have KVM control and power control through a single interface.

    I am more than happy to provide you with more detail should you need it or talk through your particular application, I have provided my e-mail details and company url. I’m in the UK office if you wish to call or I have colleagues all over the world if you need some local support.


    Richard Cawdery

  2. I use a fair few HP servers, ML370s, DL145s and DL320s and all the modern ones have ILO built in, integrated lights out… that been said I haven´t had a chance to look into it yet, but they all, bar 2 run Linux. Project Iḿ needing to ge the finger out and work on to be honest..

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