[Beowulf] recommendation on crash cart for a cluster room: full cluster KVM is not an option I suppose?

Hearns, John john.hearns at mclaren.com
Wed Sep 30 06:19:48 PDT 2009

> thank goodness for lan IPMI (bios, serial console redirection) - it keeps me
> out of the machineroom 99% of the time.  heck, it keeps me out of the dozen
> other machinerooms that our ~30 clusters are in.

I am still a bit confused about the exact config. Trying to clarify the picture!

Question: Do you have:

(a)  a separate eth cable coming out of each server that takes the IPMI packets
(b) or are the packets pushed out over the primary eth cable already
consolidated at the eth card?

It depends. Supermicro use the shared-socket approach (actually it is a bridge
somewhere on the motherboard), or with Supermicro you can have a separate
socket using a little cable with a minu-USB connector onto the IPMI card.
Other manufacturers use (a) or (b).
On a blade setup the IPMI is carried over the backplane Ethernet links.

In case my option-(a)-picture is correct, then it means a doubling of
switch ports needed which wouldn't be so nice.

If you have a separate IPMI network (ILOM, DRAC, whatever they call it) you 
do not need the same type of switches. What you need is some cheap 10/100 switches,
one in each rack. Say Netgear or D-Link. Not a central switch with a huge backbone capacity.
Then you just connect the switches together in a loop.

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