Three Xeon E5 Server Systems From Intel, Tyan, And Supermicro

Intel R2208GZ4GC: Management Features And Serviceability

Intel's server management solution is also based on the MegaRAC product, so many of these features will look fairly familiar from the previous two machines. Intel does give the interface some attention, though.

One great feature is a check box to boot to the firmware. If you've used MegaRAC in the past, then you know that the Java-based KVM does have a bit of latency associated with it. If you need to get into a remote motherboard's BIOS, checking that box makes that operation a lot easier than trying to time an F2 or Del keystroke.

Intel also gives you access to power statistics, shedding some light on minimum, current, maximum, and average consumption. What you see in the shot above only reflects our power use during setup, not during the benchmarks. We'll give you those numbers shortly.

Another feature called Node Manager that facilitates management of each machine in the context of a complete rack. You can set a power budget that limits consumption, allowing a number of systems to operate concurrently without exceeding a data centre's limits.

One notable feature that the Intel Management WebGUI does not include is the ability to reset the baseboard management controller (BMC) from the Web interface. Though this doesn't sound like a show-stopper to anyone without experience using MegaRAC products, it's a problem if you get a Video Socket Error, where the Java KVM cannot open and refresh video. In a remote data centre, if the BMC errors out, you could end up needing hands on-site to perform a cold reboot. Intel should be able to address this, and it is something that every MegaRAC-based solution needs. I encountered this exact situation during a reboot for a BIOS setting change with the Intel platform, and I see this error from time to time during my normal work on ServeTheHome with boards from various vendors using the MegaRAC solution. And, if you search online, you'll see the problem isn't uncommon. The easiest way to fix it is rebooting the BMC.

Intel also offers a neat feature called the Virtual Front Panel, which shows the enclosure's front LEDs. It is an interesting feature that comes in useful if you want simple diagnostic information from a remote location.

With that said, Intel does provide much more complete sensor information in the IPMI interface.

Intel's KVM-over-IP feature, seen in the shot above, is similar to the implementations from Tyan and Supermicro.

Create a new thread in the UK Article comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
1 comment
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • Dr_M0rph3us
    An impressively well-written article, top to bottom, included all the information a barebones server review should have. I'm looking forward for more similar enterprise-oriented articles. Congrats!