Remote Management – vPro, IPMI, others?

nukeman

New Member
Nov 29, 2013
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Cross posted over at the unraid forums

Just starting research for a new build. Overall goals are some sort of bare metal hypervisor (esxi or xen) with unraid as a guest. This box will also host SAB/Sickbeard/Couchpotato as well as various other linux and windows vm’s. One feature that appeals to me is remote management at the BIOS level. So far I’ve read about vPro and IPMI. Are there other similar technologies out there?

For vPro, looks like if I want to go with Haswell (LGA 1150) I’ll need:
  • Q87 chipset
  • At least an i5 processor - $200ish, would try to find a T model for lower TDP
  • RealVNC plus license - $99 (don't know if this is required)

Supermicro seems to be the main motherboard vendor with IPMI. Those motherboards are more expensive but the extra cost may be justified if I don’t need the RealVNC plus license. X9 series are LGA 1155 and X10 are LGA 1150, right? Also, I need to find one with “F†to get IPMI, right?

I haven’t even begun to look at esxi/xen hardware compatibility.

Anyone have any opinions one which route to persue?
 

PigLover

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Jan 26, 2011
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I've used both with ESXi. Highly recommend IPMI over vPRO.

Both work, even work well. vPRO remote console using RealVNC is a PITA compared to IPMIs Java-based remote console - but that could just be an issue of perception and preference. If you set up the certificates you can encrypt the vPRO/RealVNC remote console which could be an advantage in some cases.

vPRO almost always uses a "shared" NIC and splits off management traffic at the port level. The IP address for the management access is the same as the IP address for your host OS (in your case, the ESXi management address). This works OK with two issues: (1) makes it difficult/impossible to isolate the IMPI onto a separate VLAN & subnet for security and (2) makes it hard to predict and manage the IP address of your management port - it follows the OS.

With ESXi if you do pass-through of the USB ports it will interfere with vPRO. You can still do remote console, but the remote keyboard/mouse functions don't work after you pass through the USB ports. With IPMI the keyboard/mouse it is a separate pathway through the BMC so no unwanted interactions.
 

nukeman

New Member
Nov 29, 2013
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For this application I would also go with IPMI. Most vendors support this type of functionality though.

Did you see the Supermicro X10SL7-F review? http://www.servethehome.com/Server-...erboard-review-haswell-intel-xeon-e3-1200-v3/

That is easily one of the best values around when including the onboard LSI HBA for storage servers.
Yes, I saw the review on that board. So, that's a $250 board. Looks like, if remote management is really that important, I'm going to have to spend some money to get there. Thanks for the help.