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What is a Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) and how do I use it?

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Applies to

  • AFF A700s
  • AFF A800
  • FAS27x0, AFF A220 , AFF C190
  • AFF A250
  • FAS500f
  • AFF A320
  • AFF A400, FAS8300, FAS8700
  • AFF A900/FAS9500


The Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) provides remote management capabilities including console redirection, sensor monitoring, logging, and power control.

It also extends AutoSupport by sending additional system event alerts. The AutoSupport settings are used for sending these alerts through e-mail over the BMC LAN interface.

How to configure a BMC

  1. When setting up a storage system for the first time, there will be a prompt to configure the BMC.

Would you like to configure the BMC? (y/n)? y
Would you like to enable DHCP on BMC LAN interface? (y/n)? n
Please enter the IP address for the BMC [ ]:
Please enter the netmask for the BMC [ ]:
Please enter the IP address for the BMC gateway [ ]:
Please enter the gratuitous ARP Interval for the BMC [(max 60)]: 60

2. The BMC can also  be reconfigured at any time from within ONTAP by running system service-processor network modify
ClusterA::> system service-processor network modify -node <node_name> -address-family IPv<4/6> -enable true -dhcp <none/v4> -ip-address <ip_address> -netmask <mask> -gateway <gateway>

Sometimes, a BMC reboot is required before SSH connections are allowed. The BMC can be rebooted by running the "bmc reboot" command from the command line interface.


How to log in to the BMC

There are two ways to access BMC:

  1. From the serial console port, access the BMC shell by pressing Ctrl+G and end the session by pressing Ctrl+D. Pressing Ctrl+G, while connected to the console port will not prompt for a username or password even if a root password is set.

  2. From an Ethernet connection, access the BMC through SSH. The SSH connection will prompt for a username and password. Credentials for the BMC are synced from ONTAP and the "admin" account can be used.
    login as: admin
    Password: xxxx

Can the BMC logs still be collected if the BMC has not been configured?

  • Yes. You can still gather command output from the BMC using the console port and pressing Ctrl+G.
  • The console log itself is not committed to disk, but remains in memory buffer even if the storage system is reinitialized. Due to limited buffer space, the system log will be overwritten on an as-needed basis in order to accommodate the latest events.



  • Beginning with AFF-A700s models, the BMC is being utilized as opposed to SP as seen in previous models.
  • While many of the commands share similar syntax, it is important to take note of the applicable commands for the newer version of the BMC being utilized on future platforms.

Basic Commands:

  • system log - Displays historical output of the console (bak - Adding this will extend the console log)
  • system console - Switch the prompt over to the console from the BMC.
  • system core - Dump the system core, and reset the node
  • system fru show - List all FRUs  to the node
  • system fw [rev | upgrade]
    • rev - Display the current firmware information
    • upgrade - Upgrade the BMC firmware
  • system power [cycle | off | on | status]
    • cycle - Power cycle the node
    • off - Power off the node
    • on - Power on the node
    • status - Display the status of the node
  • system reset [primary | backup| current] - Reset the controller.
  • bmc reset - Reset/ reboot the BMC


Basic Commands: (AFF A700s specific)

Note: the bmc prompt on this platform is: admin@BMC01:~$

  • system log console [bak] - Display historic output of the console (bak - Adding this will extend the console log)
  • system log sel - Display the system event log; events reported by the BMC
  • system console - Switch the prompt over to the console from the BMC.
    • **NOTE** : For A700s systems to return to the BMC prompt you will need to hit 'Esc-T' and not 'Ctrl-D' as you would normally on an SP or RLM.
  • To get to the BMC prompt from the console port, use 'Ctrl-G'


ONTAP Commands for the BMC:

  • system environment sensors show - Display the status of the current reporting sensors
  • system environment shutdown [modify | show]
    • modify - Modify the automatic shutdown option
    • show - Display the automatic shutdown option
  • system service-processor image [modify | show | update]
    • modify - Modify the currently installed BMC image
    • show - Display the currently installed BMC image
    • update - Update the currently installed BMC image
  • system service-processor image update-progress show - Track the status of the current BMC upgrade operation
  • system service-processor reboot-sp - Reboot the BMC
  • system service-processor network [modify | show]
    • modify - Modify the BMC network configuration
    • show - Display the BMC network configuration

Note: The BMC is cabled to it's own separate port, it does not share the e0M port used by the cluster managment LIF.

Additional Information

Via the IPMI, plain text logs are created for the BMC information that could be useful to collect. They are as follows:


The easiest way to collect this is to have the output displayed on the console and collect as you normally would from the customer. The commands look similar to the following:

::>system node run -node <node_name> rdfile /etc/log/sp/latest/sp_configuration.txt
::>system node run -node <node_name> rdfile /etc/log/sp/latest/sp_system_event.txt

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