Sneak preview of the upcoming HTML5 version of Supermicro Xeon D iKVM remote management shows you can't jettison Java quite yet

Posted by Paul Braren on Jul 27 2016 (updated on Jul 28 2016) in
  • HomeServer
  • Storage
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  • You've likely been itching to get rid of that pesky Java requirement if you want to remotely administer your Supermicro gear that's blessed with free IPMI/BMC/iKVM. Especially if you read my closely-related posts earlier this year:

    I then dove in a little deeper:

    Admittedly, a creative workaround has emerged, but it would be even better to do away with browser-based Java entirely, making the out-of-box experience for first-time iKVM users much slicker.

    Back on July 22nd, TinkerTry commenter Jo reported success with upgrading from IPMI 3.26 to 3.31, blazing a trail, reducing my risk in trying to replicate his result. Don't get me wrong, there were some bumps in the road as you can see in the video below, as I performed the following lab test, at my own risk!

    That's right, I want to be very clear here. I am NOT recommending you go ahead and upgrade to IPMI 3.31 yet, on your SYS-5028D-TN4T system or bundle that's equipped with the X10SDV-TLN4F motherboard. I'm merely saying this is what the procedure and results might look like, once both of those product pages have their "BMC/IPMI Firmware" links updated to 3.31. It will also be interesting to see what levels of BIOS and IPMI are on the tiny new SYS-E300-8D and SYS-E200-8D SuperServers that I'll be evaluating this week!



    If you decide to proceed with this upgrade anyway, you are proceeding at your own risk, and you may have issues obtaining support from Supermicro, despite their public tweet about this.



    HTML5 iKVM

    Before getting into the video, let's get a peek at some screenshots of HTML5 iKVM in action!


    BIOS and IPMI tinkering

    Here's the steps I followed, as shown in the video below:

    1. started off with BIOS 1.1 and IPMI 3.26 (warning: IPMI 3.26 is not on the product page yet, this is kind of a beta test!), as most systems shipped in early 2016 would have, record BIOS and IPMI settings, since they'll be lost!
    2. change BIOS from UEFI to Dual
    3. uneventfully install BIOS 1.1a using Rufus-created DOS bootable USB, it resets BIOS settings to factory defaults, unplug power for 15 seconds
    4. reconfigure my BIOS as shown here, putting it back into UEFI mode
    5. "beta test" upgrade to the IPMI 3.31 that's not on Supermicro's product page quite yet, using the REDFISH_X10_331.bin file that's inside the downloaded file
    6. unplug power for 60 seconds
    7. test out HMTL5 iKVM from Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge
    8. once I figure out that restarting iKVM gets me reliable keyboard control, I note that there is no ability to easily mount ISO files quite yet
    9. demonstrate that hardware health monitoring still works fine in ESXi 6.0 Update 2


    Upgrading BIOS and IPMI of Xeon D-1541 Supermicro SuperServer, moving iKVM from Java to HTML5


    So far, these results look favorable. The framerate, the functionality, it's all there already. Crystal clear too. The big hold-up on jettisoning Java is now the wait for the ability to mount ISO files remotely.

    The tiny new SYS-E300-8D and SYS-E200-8D Xeon D offerings that arrive in August of 2016 will likely have something like BIOS 1.1b, just for this product launch. Typically, after a month or two, we should expect to see a BIOS 1.1c or 1.2 released, intended to work across all Xeon D-1500 Supermicro products. At that point, the IPMI 3.3x release is likely to also be generally available. I'll then revisit this article, and if needed, I'll try to create another detailed upgrade procedure at that time.

    JUL 28 2016


    Yesterday, I managed to forget to mention the best part. When using HTML5 iKVM with ESXi, it "just works," meaning there's no need to use Hotkey Settings to remap those crucial F2 and F12 keys. Way to go, Supermicro!

    See also at TinkerTry

    See also


    Special thanks for Jo, a commenter at TinkerTry, who was the first pioneer I know of to have success with testing IPMI 3.31 on his SYS-5028D-TN4T. Click the image to jump to the conversation!