Aten Purchase Shores Up IPMI Position

IPMI is a standard protocol that allows different devices in a data center to communicate with each other without the need for additional hardware or software, said Victor Wang, vice president of operations at Irvine, Calif.-based Aten. IPMI can be used to monitor nearly everything in a data center, including temperature, humidity, motion and power surges, Wang said.

Taiwan-based Wellsyn provides IPMI system-on-chip technology, which will be integrated into Aten&s product line, said Miranda Su, vice president of sales and marketing at Aten.

“We didn&t have an IPMI solution before. We had a bus solution,” Su said. “With IPMI, we can have a board-based solution and can add it to our products without an external box.”

IPMI is a feature that Aten needs to be competitive with other KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) vendors, nearly all of which already offer IPMI-compatible products, said Doris Yeh, director of sales at Mirapath, a Cupertino, Calif.-based solution provider.

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Anyone doing anything with remote management needs to consider IPMI, Yeh said. “A lot of motherboards already have IPMI,” she said. “Intel has been pushing it as a standard. It&s really starting to be picked up. We&ve already been telling customers about it.”

Today&s non-IPMI KVM switches allow remote management but don&t provide many details about problems, Yeh said. IPMI provides those details.

“If your server is overheating or if the fan is not spinning, IPMI can send a warning before it becomes a problem,” she said. “The warnings can be done over Ethernet, so there&s no need to run any new cables.”

Wang said he hopes Aten will make its first generation of IPMI-enabled KVM switches available to the channel by the first quarter of 2006. Between 50 percent and 60 percent of Aten&s sales are through the channel, he said.