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I work for a hosting company, where we offer colocation services.

Since we offer colocation for client hardware which we don't own, a lot of the client devices don't have an IPMI module to allow for a remote reboot. As a result, when one of these machines crashes, we get a call to reboot it, which we do by physically accessing the power button.

This is inconvenient, obviously, especially outside of business hours, when we don't have anyone on-site and have to come into the office to reboot a computer. I know that on servers from OEMs like HP and Dell and IBM, you get an out-of-band-management interface which provides essentially the same functionality as physical access would.

Is this kind of hardware available independent of the an OEM-specific model? I'm thinking of something like a PCI card (for example) that I could plug into any brand of computer to give me IPMI or remote power-cycling functionality, but that's just off the top of my head.

What hardware is typically used to do this?

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2 Answers 2

You're looking for a managed / remote power switch, I would guess.

There are a variety of controller power switches out there that will take RS-232 / serial management interfaces. (I'll include links to a couple products below. They are not inexpensive, typically.)

Some UPSs have switchable output groups and to allow you to power-cycle outlets on the UPS via its management interface. Be sure to look into that.

As you say, a "lights out" management card can typically power-cycle the host system from that management interface as well. I don't know of any third-party solutions for this as, typically, it requires the motherboard to "play along". You might be able to swing something with Intel vPro-based chipsets since, really, vPro is just a second computer built into the motherboard chipset.

Finally, here's a how-to "do it yourself" article, but I'd highly recommend against doing anything like this for a serious datacenter environment.

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Yes, it's called a stonith (shoot the other node in the head) and is built into to some UPS devices.

Look for hardware stonith

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Okay will have a look around, thanks –  user14930 Aug 18 '09 at 15:22
    
That seems to be a linux tool, is there a windows equivalent that you know of? –  user14930 Aug 18 '09 at 15:24

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