Brice Goglin (bgoglin) wrote,
Brice Goglin

Remote Console Access with IPMI on Dell R710

Our local servers are moving from Dell Poweredge 2950 to R710. A couple years ago, I wrote a guide for Remote Console Access through IPMI 2.0 on the 2950. Some noticeable changes are needed for R710, so here's a new updated guide. I also added some notes about R815 and R720 at the end, since they are very similar.

You should first choose a new sub-network for IPMI. Although the IPMI network traffic uses a regular physical interface, it has a different MAC address and should use different IP address. 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 some models can also be configured from Linux using ipmitool after loading some ipmi kernel modules).

  • Set IPMI over LAN to on (requires iDRAC6 LAN)
  • Enter the LAN parameters menu:
    • Keep NIC Selection on Shared
    • Set IPv4 Address source to Static
    • Set IPv4 Address to 10.0.99.x
    • Set Subnet Mask to and set Default Gateway if needed
    • You may set Host Name string to something like xxx-ipmi but it does not seem that useful anyway
  • 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
  • By the way, while you're there, you may enter LCD Configuration and set your user-defined string in LCD Line 1

IPMI is now configured correctly. You should be able to ping the IPMI IP addresses for the master node (assuming you properly enabled the 10.0.99.x network there).

    $ 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 kernel output through IPMI on the network. Note that the Second Serial port should be used. So usually you will use COM2/ttyS1. After booting, press F2 to enter the BIOS. Go in the Serial Communication menu:

  • Set Serial Communication to On with Console Redirection via COM2
  • Keep External Port Address to Serial Device1=COM1,Serial Device2=COM2 (some models enforce Device2 for the serial redirection)
  • Set External Serial Connector to Serial Device1 (some models don't allow using the same device here and for console redirection)
  • Keep Failsafe Baud Rate to 115200
  • Keep 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:

    console=tty0 console=ttyS1,115200n8

With GRUB2 on Debian, you should open /etc/default/grub and add these options to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX. By the way, you probably want to uncomment GRUB_TERMINAL=console and remove the quiet option nearby. Everything will be propagated to /boot/grub/grub.cfg when running update-grub.

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 115200n8 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.

Update for R815 (2012/05/30): The configuration for the R815 is very similar. I met some harder constraints about serial device configuration in the BIOS, everything is already explained above.

Update for R720 (2012/05/31): On recent PowerEdge models, the IPMI config is directly available in the BIOS setup menus, no need to hit Ctrl-e during boot anymore. Just go in the BIOS with F2 as usual, then enter the iDRAC config. The following menus are similar to those described above. The other difference is that the R720 doesn't seem to work well with the IPMI lan interface. Always passing lanplus instead of lan to ipmitool -I seems to work fine.

Tags: ipmi, linux

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