[Feb 2012] - This document describes the rationale and operation of the OS-BMC communication link available on the latest generation of Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers. The baseboard management controller (BMC) is a specialized service processor that monitors the physical state of a server. The BMC, running specialized firmware, is responsible for monitoring the health of server components, maintaining thermal characteristics, and aiding in remote access and recovery. Dell’s BMC has evolved through several generations, expanding its monitoring capabilities and remote access and adding comprehensive remote management through the Lifecycle Controller. Dell’s current generation of BMC is known as the Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller 7 (iDRAC7). The iDRAC’s duties do not end at managing direct server management; the Dell OpenManage™ portfolio and other management consoles use iDRAC and Lifecycle Controller to simplify monitoring, deployment and updates.

The OS-to-BMC pass-through is another example of Dell’s investment in iDRAC’s management capabilities, and in this case, fabric convergence. Dell supports network I/O convergence in numerous ways, such as FCoE and iSCSI. In addition, OS-to-BMC is another way to converge iDRAC traffic over the Ethernet network controller by leveraging the LOM/NDC NC-SI communication channel. This provides many powerful capabilities for iDRAC and the management consoles that build on it.