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Intelligent platform management interface (IPMI) is a common system management interface that is used to monitor a server's physical health. The IPMI also includes other system administration capabilities that aid in cutting down the total cost of ownership. The IPMI development was initiated by Intel Corporation and is supported by computer system manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and NEC.
IPMI specification defines remote management interfaces to the server hardware that could be used to monitor the physical health of a server including temperature, voltage, fans and power supplies. IPMI enables IT administrators to monitor a server without requiring operating system or system management software on the remote server. IPMI supports automatic system shutdown and restart, remote power on and asset tracking capabilities. The control capabilities of an IPMI-based server always remain accessible because of the use of intelligent hardware that remains operational regardless of the processor's state. IT administrators gain easy access to key platform management information.
The "intelligence" in IPMI is derived from a management microcontroller known as the baseboard management controller (BMC). The BMC controller forms the main controller of an IPMI subsystem, which is capable of operating on standby power. The BMC controller independently checks for system health status and also performs actions such as event logging, generating alerts, and system resets and restarts. BMC is associated with the storage repository that contains the sensor data record (SDR), field-replaceable unit and system event log information.
Since its release in 1998, several versions of IPMI have been developed.