Using IPMI Serial-over-LAN for server consoles

I’ve been trying to learn linux networking and virtualisation using a donated server in a remote lab. The server didn’t have an IP-KVM attached but it did have a working IPMI connection. Not that I’d need it of course; I was experimenting with network settings whilst ssh’d into a server that was four and a half thousand miles away. What’s the worst that could happen?

Of course the inevitable happened and I haplessly disabled my eth0 interface. I was locked out of the server, but was happy to learn that the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) was a powerful tool indeed.

Both the IPMI protocol and HP’s iLO allow you to connect to the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) on high-end servers. The BMC is a micro-controller embedded on the server motherboard which allows remote management without relying upon the server OS. The two specific functions I would need were the ability to remotely reset the server, and a view of the server console. Continue reading