[Beowulf] non-proprietary IPMI card?

Bogdan Costescu Bogdan.Costescu at iwr.uni-heidelberg.de
Sun Nov 26 16:25:12 PST 2006

On Sun, 26 Nov 2006, Mark Hahn wrote:

> has anyone ever seen a PCI add-in card that offered IPMI-like functions?

Such a card would need to be powered from the PCI/PCI-E bus even when 
the power is (soft-)off. I'm not sure that the bus offers the amount 
of power needed for the functionality.

> it could be plugged into the MB reset and power switches (interpose)

I looked at making something like this without a special card (due to 
lack of physical space in the computer - a SFF) using a serial/USB 
attached microcontroller which could switch some relays; the device 
was available from German electronics shop Conrad for something like 
50-60EUR for 16 relays and could be cascaded - I don't have details at 
hand now, but I could look them up if there's enough interest. I have 
made a test with one computer which worked, but I didn't follow 
through as I would have had to do the rewiring for 80 nodes...

So, if this is the main functionality that you're after, such a device 
could be more cost effective, provided that it's not you the one who 
does all the cabling and connections.

> it could have a serial port on the cardedge to connect to 
> bios/console serial redirection, if the bios supports that.

How many general purpose mainboards have you seen with console 
redirection ? I didn't see any and in fact I sometimes still have 
troubles getting console redirection from server grade mainboards to 
function well.

> (would require per-MB configuration, of course, but for an optional 
> feature, that's not crazy.)

Well, that would require data from the mainboard manufacturer for the 
calibration of the sensors - same problem as lm_sensors has. Don't 
know if a company making such boards would have more success...

> the real appeal is that you could stick one of these into a normal PC...

I dream of something like this for ever since I learnt the value of 
reading temperature and fan data and with only this functionality it 
could be useful also in a desktop PC (as our desktop PCs run 24/7, I 
don't find remote power switching so interesting).

Bogdan Costescu

IWR - Interdisziplinaeres Zentrum fuer Wissenschaftliches Rechnen
Universitaet Heidelberg, INF 368, D-69120 Heidelberg, GERMANY
Telephone: +49 6221 54 8869, Telefax: +49 6221 54 8868
E-mail: Bogdan.Costescu at IWR.Uni-Heidelberg.De

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