The Super Micro IPMI Console + Java are killing me

I don’t know if it’s Java or the Super Micro IPMI developers to blame, or both. One thing is for sure – I rarely need it, but almost each time I want to use the server-critical “Console Redirection” feature on our Super Micro servers, there is some problem with the Java applet. Thus I’m not able to access the remote console of the server quickly, which in turn gets me real headache.

Today, it’s the “Launch Console” button doing absolutely nothing on my Kubuntu desktop – no errors, no action after clicking it, no nothing. I (always) have a “backup option” – a Windows 7 virtual machine running on my desktop, as Java tends to work better for me on Windows (cross-platform, eh?). Same problem on the Windows too. As I’m a real paranoid about having a backup, I have a backup of the “backup option” – X over VNC, running on
some not-so-bleeding-edge Linux machines, in order to have a “stable” Java installation there. Though the Java failed on them today as well, as they are running Debian “lenny”, which seems to be having the latest Java version 1.6.20 too.

Well… sorry Java applets + Super Micro IPMI, you really disappoint me! :-/

27/Mar/2012: Resolution: Use the IPMIView application which does not rely on web browsers. Tested with Java Version 6 Update 31 (build 1.6.0_31) on Windows 7. Note that IPMIView does not provide a KVM console for older versions of the Super Micro IPMI devices — the good news is that those devices work well within a web browser. :)

The (ugly) fix is to downgrade your Java to 1.6.19 (and disable automatic Java updates):
http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=953055

Update #1: I downgraded to Java 1.6.19 on my Windows 7 by:

  1. Uninstalling the Java 1.6.20 JRE update.
  2. Installing the Java 1.6.19 JRE update which I downloaded from the “Archive: Java[tm] Technology Products Download” page.
  3. Being able to get this working only with Chrome. Firefox and IE 8 failed to work.

Update #2: Linux doesn’t seem to be having any problems. Firefox 3.6.3 on Ubuntu and Gentoo with Sun Java 1.6.20 works fine.

Update #3: If you upgrade the IPMI firmware to version 2.02, the Windows problem is fixed.


Here is some debug info from the Debian “lenny” Iceweasel browser, the only one which issued an error:

Unable to launch ATEN Java iKVM Viewer.
An error occurred while launching/running the application.

Title: ATEN Java iKVM Viewer
Vendor: ATEN
Category: Download Error

Unable to load resource: (https://%IP%/iKVM.jar, 1.56.3.0×0)

Wrapped Exception: java.io.IOException: HTTP response 404.

At the same time, the Java test page works fine. The version on the Debian “lenny” “sun-java6-jre” package is “6-20-01lenny1″ (Java JRE 1.6.20).

The same problem is re-produced on:

  • Windows 7, running Java 1.6.20, under IE 8, Firefox 3.6.3 and Chrome 5.0.375.99.
  • Kubuntu Lucid, running OpenJDK 6 build b18, under Firefox 3.6.3.

The Firmware Revision of the IPMI interface on the X8DTL motherboard is 01.29, dated 2010-01-06. It’s not the latest one, but surely not a very old one. After all, you can’t reboot your production servers for every IPMI firmware release…

Anyway, I try not to write articles with negative attitude, but this time I just couldn’t resist.
Java, Java, Java… :)

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24 thoughts on “The Super Micro IPMI Console + Java are killing me

  1. Pingback: Review of the Super Micro BMC IPMI card for the X8DTL motherboards « /contrib/famzah

  2. I fully agree… I have the same sorts of problems.

    And even when it is working, it is sluggish, tent to be in VIDEO-ONLY mode all the time, does not respond correctly to screen refreshes and resolution changes etc etc etc…

    Supermicro’s driver/download site has horribly outdated versions of the firmware and I was lucky to find a German site that had a newer version of the IPMI2/BMC firmware for my X8SIL-F board. (which occording to Supermicro is still not available even months later)

    It was completely unusable before now after the upgrade it’s a pain… irritating like hell but at least it allows me to access grub every 10 tries ;-)

    It does not help that it’s Java… Java has enough problems of its own… my IPMI starts a Java console application through Java Webstart (I really really like JWS) but then you get to Java GUI apps… SUN (now Oracle) always has had trouble building there gui libs… specially under Linux, it steals focus from other applications on every gui update, does not work well with most window managers, does not work well with focus follows mouse… and the list goes on…

    But back to Supermicro :) It really feels like nobody at Supermicro is interested in the IPMI2/BMC functionality. I always wonder if somebody even used it there… cause there problems are very obvious and irritating when your actually using it. Combine that with there lack of updates and you get the idea that it’s not a seriously supported feature.

    Now let me end by saying that on general I like Supermicro products.. specially comparing price/quality wise. They always served me good and I expect them to continue to do so.

    Sometimes you just expect that little bit more :)

  3. The Console is not working well two mouse are coming and with no controls on the view.
    used ipmi 1.5 webconsole to view linux consoles. Can anyone suggest me how to overcome it.?
    Installed ipmitool 2.0 in redhat as5.2

  4. This blog helped me a lot not to waste my time any more. Too much effort and time had been already taken for this ridiculous problem. Motivated and encouraged with all your comments here, I finally decided to use kickstart to install Linux on my X8SIE motherboard. So far seems promising although in progress.

    However, just for those who still want to or have to use the IPMI console, I would like to share what I found. In particular, the JRE 6u10 version seems fine on X8SIE (at least the screen was not broken). https://cds.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/CDS-CDS_Developer-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductRef=jre-6u10-oth-JPR@CDS-CDS_Developer

    So the situation is even worse in the sense that each motherboard model seems to have its own different working version of JRE…which is crazy…

  5. NJ:
    AFAIK there is no problem with ipmi console, at least I have never had any.
    There are only problems with the iKVM viever. If you use ipmi console over serial or over SOL, there is no any issues.
    Just special keys don’t work like on local console, but this is standard behaviour on serial consoles.
    I see only two possible reasons to use the iKVM viever:
    – first because it allows you to use virtual storage with is usefull especjally for initial system bulding
    – second it is like KVM so you actual see the server console even in graphical mode

    From the other hand did someone try to connect to the VNC port on IPMI module, maybe if one could know the exact parameters needed to establish connection there would be no need to use the iKVM at all?:)

  6. Hey mate, downgrading my Java from update 26 to 19 did the trick. Im using the latest IPMI firmware (2.50) but it refused to launch the console using the latest java update. Too bad now im using an old and unsecure java build. Congrats for the great job.

  7. Strange, I have no any problems with IPMI control on my server that I access from Ubuntu (worked nicely also under Fedora), running SuperMicro stuff on the top of OpenJDK 1.6. Power on/off works, id led works, I see all sensors no problem, also when I want I can easily get the KVM console (while I see SSH session as more convenient). I use Supermicro 5016T-MTFB.

    • Do you work for SuperMicro or what?
      SuperMicro IPMI is a big pile…
      I just spent the last hour on the DPC trying to get it working without luck, it didnt even send any ARP.

      • If I was working for Super Micro, they’d have fired me long time ago for a blog post like that. :)

        If you are having server-side problems with the IPMI, try to update to a newer firmware from a running OS. I’ve tried that with Linux and it successfully resurrected my dead IPMI. When uploading the firmware, I also selected the option to reset the settings to factory defaults. You may need to re-power the server.

        Or alternatively contact Super Micro support. They are very responsive by e-mail.

  8. I had an issue with a supermicro IPMI 2.0 and the KVM Jviewer java window that strangely remained black after login, The IPMIView (that I didn’t knew, thanks to you for pointing it out) did reset a obscure timeout parameter upon launch and now everything is back to normal. Thanks ! (even if my issue is somehow not really related ;)

    • Newer IPMI’s are actually having this strange issue where the KVM video + keyboard are not working. In the Java window I get “Connection refused”.

      This is fixed by resetting the IPMI Unit from the web interface.

      • I have to “Unit Reset” _every_ single time I login to a KVM for proper console access. I work in a datacenter. We use Supermicro exclusively. Someone just needs to script a reboot of those dumb things once a day into the Supermicro release firmware…

      • This thing is driving me crazy. At least it’s working for several weeks but quite often we have a rack that suddenly doesn’t want to be accesed by the console, and we have either a black screen showing up in jviewer, or other nice bugs… I keep updating the firmwares but nothing seems to be solved yet…

  9. Even though this post and thread were started 3 years ago the problem remains. I have newer and older supermicro all with latest ipmi firmware and I still have all these problems people have mentioned all the time. WebGUI won’t work until I downgrade to JRE 6 update19. So I have to use IPMIView but that only works when I use older versions of that!

    v2.9.6 works reliably fine on all my Supermicro’s. However when I upgrade to the latest version which is I think v2.9.25 I get that stupid blank java console. Downgrade and it works again. 100% reproducible. Trouble is SuperMicro doesn’t have that older version posted as far as I can tell. So I have to make sure I have a copy saved for when I need remote access from a new PC. So dumb!

    Also as others have stated, I almost always have to reset IPMI first in order for the console to work at all regardless of versions. Yet another frustrating problem. Considering the times that I really need to use this are during emergencies it’s quite unacceptable.

  10. Regarding the resource failed to load error… It was driving me fucking batty, until I found the problem. You just need to edit the jnlp and tell java to try and load the resource from the network.

    For the version I’m using there is a resources tag near the top, in that tag there are two property tags with the names jnlp.packEnabled and jnlp.versionEnabled. Simply copy these two lines into the following resource tag with the matching os, arch properties below. Then voila it should work :D

  11. basically if the keyboard does not respond in the web management section goto maintenance -> iKVM reset, click the reset button and all works again.

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