Santa Clara, Calif. - A single-chip baseboard management controller (BMC) from National Semiconductor Corp. is billed as offering remote management capabilities of the kind usually found only in high-end servers. The PC87431M is the first in a series of remote management controllers that will support version 1.5 of the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) spec.
Ulrich Seif, National's chief information officer, said the chip will let makers of low- and medium-end servers offer IT managers remote access at less than half the cost of other BMCs. "The IPMI specification is essential in managing complex environments from a single access point," he noted. "Our chip is designed to give IT managers remote access to their complete server networks via the LAN, receiving alerts when there is a problem with a server, from wherever the manager is located." It can predict hardware failures, diagnose hardware problems and initiate recovery actions, he said.
The device consists of a processor, internal sensors, flash memory and preprogrammed firmware to monitor a server's baseboard power supply and SCSI termination voltages as well as other system voltages, temperature sensors and fan failure indicators. It combines remote manageability, alerting and BIOS checking/switching as defined by IPMI, and features secure remote chassis control; system health monitoring; autonomous corrective action on critical sensor events; and LAN alerts.
The PC87431 is in production, packaged in a 44-pin LLP or a 48-pin TSSOP. It's priced from $8.50 in lots of 1,000.
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