Using IPMI for administrating a server

Using IPMI for administrating a server

Author: HostZealot Team
2 min.

What you will learn about in this article?

IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) is an interface designed for server control and monitoring, which can be carried out independently of the OS installed and current state of the server.

On a hardware level IPMI is a separate BMC (Baseboard management controller) microcontroller that operates regardless of server's hardware and software configuration. Also, the device has its own network interface, which allows user to establish connection even when the server is powered off. 

Main functions of IPMI

You can use the most helpful power management functions of IPMI (to power on/power off/ power cycle the server) directly in your Client Area. There are several ways to do it:

  • by using Quick Server Management icons (picture 1) – select Services, enter My Services. Find a line with dedicated server in question and run the function you need by pressing a corresponding icon in the QM column;
  • by pressing View Details button next to the server you've chosen you can access the Information page (picture 2) and use either Power management button at the bottom of the page or a similar menu item on the Management Actions tab.

using ipmi for administrating a serverPicture 1

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 2

IPMI or IPMI management menu items located on the product information page (see above) allow you to enter IPMI management section (picture 3). This section provides:

  • link to the IPMI control web page;
  • additional information from knowledgebase on how to access IPMI;
  • link for downloading OpenVPN configuration file (see below);
  • tools for IPMI Soft Reset and Hard Reset;
  • chassis power action list - power on, power off, power cycle.

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 3

Accessing IPMI and managing your server is totally secured while connection can be established only through HostZealot's private network. So, you need to set up OpenVPN connection first. Start with downloading configuration file using the corresponding link in IPMI Management section (see picture 3). 

There is an information on OpenVPN configuration for Window OS in the client portal knowledgebase. Use “How Can I Access IPMI” link and follow the instructions (picture 3). 

If you have Linux OS installed on you computer you should take these steps: 

  • copy HostZealot-IPMI.ovpn file that you have downloaded to /etc/openvpn folder and change the file extension to .conf;

sudo cp /yourfolder/HostZealot-IPMI.ovpn /etc/openvpn/HostZealot-IPMI.conf

  • run OpenVPN client;

sudo service openvpn restart

  • enter your Client Area login and password.

Once VPN connection is established follow the “IPMI IP address” link and enter IPMI credentials (IPMI username/password — see picture 3). In some cases you may be prompted for security exception and connection set up confirmation.

There is a number of tabs on the main page of IPMI web interface, which provide you with a range of available IPMI functions (see picture 4). Here you can also find power management options same as in your Client Area (see above).

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 4

Below we’ll focus on some common actions like running Console Redirection and mounting an ISO image to install OS.

Note that you might need to install Java Runtime updates to work with Console. Choose the appropriate installation package for your OS and download it directly from Java official web site


Installing OS on server

Take these steps to install OS:

  • select CD-ROM Image from Virtual Media menu (picture 4);
  • enter the IP-address of your host and the path of your ISO image of an OS to install (picture 5);
  • press the Mount button and check the information message next to one of the Devices saying that ISO file was mounted (picture 5);
  • reboot the server using Remote control menu→ Power Control → Reset Server (picture 6);
  • don’t forget to unmount the ISO image and reboot once again after the installation is successfully completed. 

You can use the Console to monitor OS installation process.

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 5

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 6

Console Redirection launch

Console interface allows you to manage your system by simply typing commands and also has some additional server administration tools.

To launch Console Redirection go to Remote Control menu, select Console Redirection and press Launch Console button. If you get a security warning like shown on the picture 7 select Keep and open the downloaded file to start Java application.

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 7


After some more confirmation requests you will see a Console window open. If the OS was successfully installed there will be normal system welcome screen (picture 8). Log in using credentials of the user you have created during the OS installation process.

using ipmi for administrating a server

Picture 8

Check out some useful tools like Virtual Keyboard, Macro at Virtual Media and Macro tabs. These might be helpful while some of the keyboard combinations are utilized by your local OS and you can’t use them for your remote server.

To close Console window press Exit at the top right corner of the window.

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