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 255.255.255.0
- 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.
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.