Intel® Sideband Technology: Server Manageability Interfaces
This document provides an overview for the manageability side-band interface available in Intel Ethernet Controllers for servers. The side band interface provides a mechanism by which dedicated management controllers (MCs) can send and receive Ethernet data.
Management Controller In nearly all modern servers, there is a processor dedicated to managing the server. Such dedicated processors are called by many names. Among these are: Management Controllers (MC), Management Controllers (MC)1 and IPMI Management Controllers (IPMC). This document consistently uses the MC term.
No matter what name is used, the MC’s purpose is to monitor the health of the server. This is almost always done by monitoring sensors. These include temperature, voltage, and fan sensors, to name just a few.
In addition to sensors, there are logs which record key activities (such as power actions, events defined as sensor events, and opening the chassis). Using sensors and the logs, it is possible to do predictive failure. For example, if a fan over a period of time becomes slower, the issue may be an indication that the fan is failing.
MCs can come with the ability to perform power actions (power up, power down and reset) and can usually perform autonomous tasks based upon rules. For example, if the temperature sensor on a processor crosses a critical threshold level, an MC can usually turn off the system in order to prevent system from being damaged.
More advanced MCs provide features such as embedded web interfaces, KVM redirection, Remote Media (USB, CD-ROM), FTP, remote updates of BIOS and more.
Read the full Intel® Sideband Technology Server Manageability Interfaces Application Note.