April 30, 2013

What is an Integrated Lights-Out (ILO) Card?

HP's ILO technology is similar to the Lights Out Management technology offered by other companies (E.g : DARC (Dell Remote Access Card)). System administrators often manage servers that are housed in different locations. This can pose a significant issue if a server loses power or has another significant problem while its administrator is not nearby. Many HP servers feature an ILO, or Integrated Lights Out card that allows administrators to connect to the server to perform basic service functions.

An ILO card is a server management component that was developed by Hewlett Packard and is available as part of most HP ProLiant servers released since 2006. ILO cards were designed to replace earlier HP remote server management products that connected via a PCI card slot. ILO technology allows a network administrator to manage the server's basic processes remotely. The card has a network address that is different from the server's primary address, which allows remote management to proceed even when the server is not currently running.

Before using an ILO card you must plug an Ethernet cable in to the server's ILO Ethernet jack. Once the ILO card is connected to the Internet, you must set up an ILO user account and IP network address in the server's BIOS menu. A network administrator can connect to a server's ILO card via a secure HTTPS connection using the appropriate user name and password. Once the connection is initialized the administrator may select tasks to perform using a text-based or graphical remote console.

A network administrator may perform several management functions using an ILO card. ILO cards were originally designed for remotely booting a server that is turned off or has frozen. This task can be achieved using ILO technology because the card runs independently from the rest of the server's operations. The card's independence also allows administrators to install and configure operating systems and other disk images using ILO. The technology can also be used to operate system monitoring utilities and perform basic maintenance, although available features vary based on the version of ILO card installed on the server.

HP has released three primary types of ILO card. The original version of ILO includes power management functions, temperature sensors, power sensors and basic system management features. The second iteration of the technology, ILO2, adds a graphical console interface plus added security options and management utilities. ILO3 includes the same basic features as ILO2 but can execute remote media and console functions much more quickly. Both ILO2 and ILO3 cards can be upgraded by purchasing an advanced features licensed from HP; this upgrade provides further system maintenance and performance measurement utilities.

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