Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is FreeBSD clobbering your IPMI LAN access?

We've been enabling IPMI/BMC on our servers for environment monitoring, remote control, etc. Our newer Dell R300 servers share NIC #1 with IPMI and the Operating System. I noticed that IPMI works before FreeBSD starts the Ethernet drivers, then it stops responding. It turns out that this behavior can be stopped by adding a line to loader.conf. Here are the steps to do this (found on this page):
  1. Edit /boot/loader.conf, appending the following line:
  2. Save the file and reboot.
This also works if you have configured the BMC to use VLAN tagging.

On a side note, it is worth noting that IPMI != DRAC; IPMI == BMC. DRAC refers to the enhanced management tools provided by an add-in DRAC card or integrated into some higher-end Dell servers. This includes a web interface for configuration/monitoring and remote console (in the higher-end implementations). DRAC provides IPMI instrumentation and control, but IPMI does not provide DRAC functionality.

Update/Big Fat Warning: using IPMI on the same interface as your LAN can cause BIG problems with the bge driver. See this post.

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