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The IPMI platform specifies a stack that includes hardware and software. It is also designed to work with other standard software such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Desktop Management Interface (DMI). The hardware-level specification is designed to be software agnostic, and there are open-source tools in addition to a wide range of closed-source commercial products for IPMI-based management.
A management controller (MC) is the center of an IPMI system. A baseboard management controller (BMC) provides out-of-band capabilities for a typical motherboard-based system like a PC server, and it usually is linked to the outside world via an Ethernet connection (see the figure). It can track a range of statistics like temperature, cooling fan speeds, processor status, and power supply status. It can even check operating system (OS) status via watchdog timers. Devices can be identified, allowing real-time inventory of system components.
This method has been deprecated in favor of more modern platforms such as DMTF’s Redfish standard. (from redfish.dmtf.org)