21 June 2018

Natalia Trifonova

ISPsystem Product manager

How DCImanager works with IPMI

IPMI doesn’t depend on the OS, it works even if the server is off and allows to remotely control, diagnose, and recover the server on the physical level. These features make IPMI one of the most popular function of DCIM solutions.

DCImanager supports the IPMI console directly from the panel interface. After the connection is set up (in just two steps), a user can perform the following operations

  1. directly connect through web interface in a public IP address;
  2. connect through the default proxy methods in a private network;
  3. manage the IPMI console from the panel interface;
  4. automatically configure IPMI when the server is released.

Let’s take a closer look at every feature.

IPMI in a public network

When working with IPMI in the public networks, DCImanager makes it easy to connect to them and allows to load the console directly from the interface, saving the user time.

Usually, you need to enter the device address to connect to IPMI. This simple action takes time: first of all, you need to find the address of the particular IPMI and enter it manually into the browser. You can get an access to IPMI from DCImanager by pressing just one button. It applies the settings which are determined in the parameters of server connection to IPMI.

Very often users have to download the console from the IPMI interface. A user needs to get into the IPMI interface, enter his login and password, open the console download tab, and finally download and run. In DCImanager, clicking the "IPMI Console" button sends a request to start a session with IPMI and download a .jnlp file. The user needs just to open this file using the JavaWS utility, and the complete IPMI management tool, familiar to administrators, is ready for use.

IPMI in a private network

It's not always possible to work in public networks and usually providers use private IP-addresses. First of all, due to the limited number of available external IPv4 addresses. Secondly, the usage of private networks protects an access to IPMI with the older and insecure firmware.

If you work in a private network, you can face difficulties. For example, if the server with IPMI has an internal IP address, the private networks may have the problems with an access to the web interface. DCImanager eliminates several difficulties that users are likely to face in case of manual configuration of IPMI in private networks:

  1. allows to work in private networks in the same way as in public, without any additional actions;
  2. helps to avoid issues when installing and configuring Java. For example, you need a Java-plugin in the browser to work with the local server console via some Hewlett-Packard IPMI or if the browser doesn’t support it anymore;
  3. allows you to install and configure the outdated versions of browsers. Some of IPMIs work only with the outdated versions, which means that the administrator needs an extra time to find and install the third-party software.

To solve the above problems and improve customer convenience DCImanager supports two proxy methods.

Ihttpd proxy

In this case you get access through the default ihttpd web server. This method is good for its simplicity: you click on the switch button in the IPMI interface, it opens an authorized session, so you do not need to enter your login and password. If you use this method, the IPMI console boot processing is available directly from DCImanager, likewise the public networks. Due to technical limitations, ihttpd proxy works only on Supermicro, HP, and ASUS servers.

Proxy via noVNC and additional server

You get an access by connecting the client’s VNC HTML5 to the selected server with CentOS 7. Almost all new IPMIs work through noVNC proxy. The environment is deployed on the server to open the browser with the IPMI web interface page. The buttons "login" and "password" imitate the clipboard, so you don’t need to enter the data manually. For administrator it works by default, but he should activate it for his users in the IPMI settings. Due to the technical specifications, noVNC proxy can download the console only from the IPMI web interface.

Both proxy types work perfectly in parallel. If you enable or disable one of them, it doesn’t affect the other. DCImanager users can work in private network with any IPMI on any servers.

Automatic configuration of IPMI when the server is released

DCImanager diagnoses each server when it is released from a client. If the "Add IPMI automatically" option is enabled in the settings, if the IPMI is found, the panel configures it: sets up an IP address, mask and gateway, adds the user and password. It simplifies the IPMI configuration and also allows you to automate the process of changing access when the server is released.

IPMI is one of the most popular features in DCImanager, so we are constantly updating and expanding its functionality. Stay tuned at our Changelog.

Natalia Trifonova

ISPsystem Product manager