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Brice Goglin's Blog - Remote Console Access with IPMI on Dell 2950

Oct. 14th, 2007

11:57 - Remote Console Access with IPMI on Dell 2950

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Update: New guide for Dell R710 servers.

I have been installing several Dell 2950 boxes recently and managed to configure Remote Console Access through IPMI 2.0. Since there are no nice/complete how-to in Google, here's one.

You should first choose a new sub-network for IPMI. Although the IPMI network traffic uses the same physical network than the first interface of the boxes (make sure this one is connected), it has different MAC addresses and should use different IP addresses. If your boxes have 10.0.0.x regular IP addresses, you may for instance use 10.0.99.x for IPMI. Adding corresponding hostnames (for instance xxx-ipmi for host xxx) in your DNS or /etc/hosts file might be good too.

At the end of the BIOS boot, press Ctrl-e to enter the Remote Access Setup and enable actual IPMI Remote Access (note that all this may also be configured from Linux using ipmitool after loading some ipmi kernel modules).

  • Set IPMI over LAN to on
  • Enter the LAN parameters menu:
    • Set IP Address source to static
    • Set Ethernet IP Address to 10.0.99.x
    • Set Subnet Mask to
    • Set Hostname string to something like xxx-ipmi
  • Enter the LAN User Configuration menu:
    • Set Account User Name to some login
    • Enter a password in Enter Password and again below in Confirm Password

IPMI is now configured correctly. You should be able to ping the IPMI IP addresses.

    $ ping 10.0.99.x

Now, you may for instance reboot a node using the following line. Replace cycle with status to see the status, off to shutdown, on to start.

    $ ipmitool -I lan -H 10.0.99.x -U login -P passwd chassis power cycle

Now we need to configure console redirection. It makes it possible to send the BIOS, Grub, and ttyS1 output through IPMI on the network on the first network interface. Note that COM2/ttyS1 is mandatory, it may not be COM1/ttyS0 instead. After booting, press F2 to enter the BIOS. Go in the Serial Communication menu:

  • Set Serial Communication to On with Console Redirection via COM2
  • Set Remote Terminal Type to VT100/VT220
  • Set Redirection After Boot to Enabled

With this configuration, you should see the BIOS and Grub output remotely using:

    $ ipmitool -I lanplus -H 10.0.99.x -U login -P password sol activate

Then we want to see the kernel booting remotely. This is done by adding the following to the kernel command line. With Grub, you might want to add it to # kopt=... and then run update-grub to update all automatic entries.

    console=ttyS1,57600 console=tty0

And finally, you might want to get a console login remotely through IPMI. To do so, add the following line to /etc/inittab:

    T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS1 57600 vt100

With all this setup, the above ipmitool sol activate line will display the same thing than the physical console on the machine, which makes it very nice to configure the BIOS, change the kernel, debug, ... Note that ~ is the control character when using the console redirection. And ~. may be used to leave the console. Also ipmitool sol deactivate may help if somebody did not leave the console correctly.

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Date:November 16th, 2007 23:00 (UTC)

2950 IPMI Not Working - Thoughts?

Thanks for the guide. I have followed this guide along with snippets from many other posts online.. I'm not able to get IPMI with my Dell 2950 to work.

Perhaps you can confirm what version of the bios you are running?

BIOS 1.3.7
Remote Access Configuration Utility 1.03
Baseboard Management Controller Revision 1.33
Primary Backplane Firmware Revision 1.05

Here is a description of my problem:

I cannot get IPMI Over Lan to respond *unless* it is set for:
IPMI Over Lan: On
Nic Selection: Failover
LAN Parameters: DHCP (I need it to be static)
And... The system *has* to be powered off.
Only under these circumstances... can I ping the device.

My understanding is... I should be able to ping the IPMI/BMC Ip address while the system is running with or without the OS (in case the OS was damaged). Can you confirm that you should be able to ping the server while it is on?

What I need is
Nic Selection: Shared
LAN Parameters: Static
And.... ping-able while power is on

Can you confirm the versions of the BIOS you are running are?

Any additional tips / tricks would be helpful.


--Notes on What I have Tried so far:
I have 2 devices to test with:
-- The 2950 server
-- And a laptop to remotely test

I have impitools installed and working correctly on the laptop and server.

I have been able to power on the 2950 server in IPMI DHCP mode remotely via the laptop using
"ipmitool -I lan -H 10.0.99.x -U login -P passwd chassis power on"

Once the server is turned on... I can no longer ping or issue any ipmitool commands to the server.

I find it extremely odd that I can only get IPMI Over Lan to work using DHCP while the server is off.
--I have tried many different static settings including:
---- Same IP as Operating System
---- Different IP as Operating System
---- Different Subnet than Operating System
---- Different Subnet than Operating System and Router
--I have tried 2 different routers (one cisco / one netgear)
--I have triple checked the static settings with coworkers a number of times
--I have replaced cables and power cycled everything numerous times.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Date:December 8th, 2007 10:35 (UTC)

Re: 2950 IPMI Not Working - Thoughts?

I am running the same BIOS/firmware versions.
Date:December 7th, 2007 02:17 (UTC)

Regular Serial via ttyS1/COM1

I can't even get a regular serial connection to work correctly! Actually everything runs smoothly until I try to reboot, with endless lines of this:

drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received
drivers/usb/input/hid-core.c: input irq status -71 received

Incredibly frustrating. I'm on RHEL4. I'm sure RHEL5 would probably solve the problem but... we aren't there yet.

Anyone seen this before?
Date:December 7th, 2007 02:18 (UTC)

Re: Regular Serial via ttyS1/COM1

Err, I meant to have the Subject say ttyS0/COM1

Date:February 11th, 2009 10:39 (UTC)

use of ttyS1 on Debian Etch

in Debian Etch add ttyS1 to /etc/securetty for console access
From:Aaron Shumaker
Date:October 26th, 2013 03:43 (UTC)


I get STATUS_ACCESS_VIOLATION exception anytime I try to type and ipmitool then crashes back to windows prompt. I can connect successfully and watch console stream by during boot, but that's about it.