I recently bought an HP Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card for one of my HP Proliant ML110/115 VMware ESX(i) home lab servers.
Over the many years of working with HP Proliants I have used extensively the various incarnations of the Lights Out Card, eg: Remote Insight Board (RIB), Remote Insight Lights Out Edition (RILOE), iLO, iLO 2, though was curious to see what functionality the Lights-Out 100c (LO100c) provided to HP’s entry level range of servers.
By default the ML110 or ML115 doesn’t come with Lights Out functionality (eg: virtual power button, remote control, etc) that can be found on HP’s Proliant 300 series and above servers in the form of the Integrated Lights Out (iLO 2) feature. Despite not having any Lights Out functionality integrated on the motherboard HP have left a convenient slot that allows for a Lights-Out 100c card to be inserted.
Below is a break-down of what you get when you buy an HP Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card and the steps required to install and configure it.
Firstly though here is a link to HP’s product details on the Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card – worth a browse if you’re looking at buying one.
Also here are a couple of useful links and a table outlining the HP part code for the Lights Out 100 cards required for the ML110 G4, ML115 G1 and the ML110 G5 and ML115 G5.
|Server Make & Model:
|HP Part Code:
|HP ProLiant 100 G5 Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card
|HP ProLiant ML110 G4 Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card
|HP ProLiant ML115 Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card
The Physical HP Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card.
As you can see the Lights-Out 100c card comes in a standard brown HP box – though it should be noted that it is of a sensible size for the physical dimensions of the card unlike some HP kit you may receive. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then have a read of these ‘The Register’ articles here and here. 🙂
Upon opening said non-descript cardboard box you are presented with an anti-static bag containing the Remote Management Card, a couple of mounting brackets of different sizes (ie: full and half height) and an install and guarantee booklets/sheets.
The first thing you notice about the Remote Management Card is how small it is. This particular card is for the 5th Generation (G5) ML110 and ML115’s (and others – see the bottom of this posting for a complete list).
This is probably a good time to highlight that there is a difference between the LO100c card used for a ML110 G4, the ML115 G1 and those of the later G5 models. The picture below is of the internals of an ML110 G4 and as you can see (red arrows) the 100c Lights Out card is using a much wider card interface.
Below (red arrow) is the Lights Out 100c interface in an ML115 G5 (the ML110 G5 is the same). This is a much more narrow interface. So take care when purchasing a Lights Out 100c card for your ML110/ML115 and make sure you get the correct one. See the table at the start of this article for the HP part codes for each of the LO100c card types.
Here’s one for all you anoraks out there – a close up of the Broadcom (BCM5221) NIC transceiver chip. 🙂
In the back of your servers casing you will notice a covered square hole like the one seen at the bottom of the picture below. When the LO100c is inserted this is where the NIC port is exposed to the back of chassis.
On my ML115’s all you had to do was push the small square tab covering the Lights Out port inwards and it snaps straight off leaving the hole for the NIC.
However on my ML115 G5 there as a proper blanking type plate (see photo below) that will need unscrewing first via a screw on the back of the chassis. This is much neater as if you ever remove your LO100c card you have a blanking plate to cover up the hole – as opposed to the disposable push-in type tab that you throw away.
Once you have opened up the NIC port for the LO100c on the back of the chassis then inserting the card into the server is straight forward.
Once the card has been seated you will now see the LO100c’s NIC port around the back of the server – all ready for a network cable. Just a quick note: When the LO100c card is installed then both HTTP and Telnet services are enabled on the server to enable you to manage it via one or both of these protocols.
Upon starting your ML110/ML115 G5 for the first time since fitting the card you will see on the BIOS screen the message “BMC Updating”. The BMC stands for “Base Management Controller”.
To ensure that your newly installed LO100c card has been detected by the server enter the BIOS setup utility and go to the ‘Advanced’ tab. In here you should see the ‘LO100 Device Status’ showing as ‘Present’. Whilst you are in this menu go ahead and configure (ie: ‘LAN Configuration’) up a fixed IP for it to enable you to access it via the web browser.
Below is a photo of the post-installation procedure instructions. Reading through this it gets you to the point of installing the LO100c and powering the server back on and then…… nothing. It just leaves you hanging without any explanation on how to configure or access the LO100c. For this extra information keep reading below or download and read the ‘HP ProLiant Lights-Out 100 Remote Management User Guide’ available here.
Once the LO100 has been installed, a network connection established and the IP, subnet, etc on the card configured (via the BIOS – see a couple of sections above) then all that is left is to connect to the LO100 and see what it has to offer.
The LO100 Web Interface
After successfully logging onto the LO100 using a web browser then you are presented with a ‘Summary’ screen. This just gives some basic details on the LO100 and BMC itself such as firmware and hardware version. There is also a ‘System Status’ that should, assuming everything is ok with the server, be green in colour.
The next section in the menu is ‘Virtual Power’ as the name suggests this is where you can power up, down and restart the server via this interface. It also tells you how long the server has been powered up for for which could come in useful if the server was located at a remote site.
The third section is ‘Monitoring Sensors’. As you can see below this gives environmental feedback on the temperature, voltage and fan speeds along with a few other sensor types for the server.
This is where I was a little disappointed, though not 100% surprised, that no environmental or sensor data was fed back regarding the state of the hard disks. Either those attached to the onboard SATA controller or the HP e200 RAID controller I had installed. As it stands there is nothing to indicate if a disk in a RAID set has failed if running the likes of VMware ESX. The reason for this being that apparently HP Smart Array Controllers are not currently supported by CIM which provides this information to ESX.
Next is the area where you can read, and clear the ‘System Event Log’. As you can see from the screen shot below I didn’t have any thing in the log. Which is no bad thing. 🙂
The next section in the LO100c’s web interface, the ‘Virtual KVM/Media’ is probably the biggest reason why someone would buy one. As with the LO100’s bigger brother the iLO this feature allows you to remote control the server irrelevant of what state it is in (apart from it being turned off – in which case you’d use the ‘Virtual Power’ button to turn it on). It certainly comes in useful when a server becomes unresponsive and is unable to be contacted remotely via the usual remote methods such as RDP.
The LO100 virtual media option provides you with a virtual media drive, which can direct a remote host server to boot and use standard media from anywhere on the network. Virtual media devices are available while the host system boots.
Next is the ‘Hardware Inventory’ section which is completely lacking in any sort of details apart from confirming that your CPU in in fact still in the server and that the LO100c card, that you are using to connect to the server in the first place, is also installed. Once again, it was disappointing to see that my HP e200 RAID controller card was not being detected and displayed.
‘User Administration’ is exactly what you’d expect, ie: the place to configure who has access to what and to add, remove user accounts and reset passwords.
In the ‘Network Settings’ you can change any of the network values for the LO100 that you’d previously set in the BIOS screen.
The ‘IPMI PEF Configuration’ section is where you can set an alarm or specified condition originating on the server to alert an IPMI 2.0-supported systems management console.
The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is a specification that defines common interfaces that allow IT admins to receive status alerts, send instructions to industry-standard servers and run diagnostics over a network versus locally at the server.
The final section is the ‘Security Settings’ where you can install new keys and certificates for SSL and SSH connections..
My thoughts on the HP Lights Out 100:
In all the the Lights Out 100 card is a good addition to your ML110/ML115 though when you factor in the cost of it (£120 approx) then unless you are going to use the server in a remote small office type environment (ie: your not using it for a home/work lab server) then you’re probably not going to make much use of the couple of really useful features that the LO100 gives you:
- Remote Control
- Virtual Power
- IPIM monitoring
That said I have no regrets buying one for the peace of mind that I can still control this server in my home lab when working remotely whatever state it is in.
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