What is IPMI?

What is IPMI?

Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is a common solution for out-of-band device management. Out-of-band management refers to solutions that allow administrators to manage and monitor a hardware device through a subsystem that is independent of the main system processors, BIOS, and operating system.

IPMI is a message-based hardware management interface. The independent monitoring, logging, and access functions available through IPMI provide a level of manageability that comes built-in to the platform hardware. 

Several major features are enabled by IPMI:

– Monitoring parameters of the hardware like temperature, voltage, fan speed, and bus errors.

– System recovery/reboot – local or remote system resets and power on/off operations.

– The logging of abnormal or ‘out-of-range’ conditions for later examination.

– Sending alerts when abnormal conditions arise, without the need for additional software.

– Inventorying all hardware components of the system. 

The major benefit of IPMI is that the functionality can be executed remotely, and completely independent of the CPU, BIOS, and operating system of the hardware.

Until recently, IPMI was utilized primarily in server hardware. However, the COM-HPC standard, introduced in 2021, incorporated IPMI into embedded devices. For a more detailed look into both the COM-HPC specification and the use of IPMI in embedded systems, read the article, “IPMI for Remote Control & Monitoring of Embedded Computers” or check out our case study on how IPMI enables remote management of tactical servers.