Introduction to MegaRAC® Remote and BMC Management
One of the brands in the AMI product family that may not get as much attention as BIOS is the MegaRAC® brand, which is the home for all of the remote and baseboard management controller (BMC) management technologies that AMI has developed and marketed over the years. With this in mind, today’s Tech Blog Post will take a closer look at the products and history of MegaRAC, as well as some of the key strengths and opportunities we see for this product line.
To begin, MegaRAC products are typically marketed towards OEM and ODM customers of AMI who develop server technologies, from backplane interfaces for storage media to blade servers to high-performance enterprise-class server systems.
The MegaRAC brand entered the remote management space in the late 1990’s with the MegaRAC Remote Access Controller (RAC), which would go on to become the namesake of the brand. It was followed by hardware products like the MegaRAC K1 KVM (Keyboard-Video-Mouse) Controller, explained in more detail in an earlier Tech Blog post. Successful early products also include the award-winning MegaRAC G1, G2 and similar plug-in PCI cards and peripheral products.
Over the years, MegaRAC products followed industry trends and transcended their physical limitations, evolving primarily into software and firmware-based products rather than hardware. One of the most long-standing and widely used MegaRAC products is MegaRAC SP-X, a hybrid firmware/software suite that uses industry-standard communication protocols to enable administrators to interact with key system components via a web-based interface. The modular core architecture of SP-X is also the foundational technology for many other MegaRAC management products, such as MegaRAC CM-X Chassis Management Firmware, MegaRAC PM-X Firmware for the Intel® Innovation Engine architecture for data center platforms and several others. Additionally, almost all of these products utilize a common independent development environment (IDE) called MegaRAC Development Studio (DS) to customize, enhance and package remote management firmware for individual OEM/ODM needs.
However, no matter what niche of manageability or components they address, the common goal for nearly all MegaRAC products is the same: to provide lights-out, bare metal system management from anywhere in the world, for a wide range of devices and systems - from baseboard management controllers (BMC) all the way to hyperscale data centers. One way to simplify this core mission is to say that MegaRAC remote management tools give an IT manager or data center administrator the power to check the status, troubleshoot and manage a data center from anywhere in the world, even from a lounge on the beach!
Naturally, standards and communication protocols are very important in remote management. Protocols like IPMI, Serial over LAN (SOL), Redfish™, SMASH, WS-Management and more are all integral to ensuring that management can be performed efficiently and effectively on such a diverse range of devices and systems. To ensure it stays on top of the latest developments in the field, AMI is a member of key industry consortiums such as the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) and actively participates in discussions on the setting of communication standards and protocols.
Looking to the future, key opportunities on the horizon for MegaRAC include hyper-scale and data center management. Also, a number of industry consortiums around data centers such as the Open Compute Forum, Open Power Forum and Open Data Center Committee drive the trend towards increased standardization, whether it is for hardware components, communication protocols or power management, meaning that opportunities will arise for AMI to incorporate those standards and make its MegaRAC remote management toolseven more robust and widespread.
But this only scratches the surface of the MegaRAC product family and what these powerful and ubiquitous products are capable of. Do you have any experience using MegaRAC products, either of the older hardware-based variety, or any of the new software and firmware-based tools? Drop us a line via social media or our Contact Us form and let us know and as always, thanks for reading!