[Beowulf] Re: Any industry-standards that allow automated BIOS modifications and dumping? IPMI cannot do it, can it?

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Thu Oct 22 17:15:52 EDT 2009

On Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 11:26:43PM -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:

> definitely not in general.  a vendor could certainly provide IPMI
> extensions that manipulate bios settings.  but the market doesn't seem to 
> find this kind of HPC-mostly concern worthwhile :(

Well, it's not just for HPC anymore, all the warehouse computing guys
(cloud) want this, too. I believe someone explained to me a long time
ago that there is a standard way to read and write (but not interpret)
the BIOS flash saved state, but the state is now too large to fit into
the standard-sized area.

> I wonder though, whether it would kill vendors just to publish the source 
> for their bios.

Yes, it would. Not only is the source owned by AMI & Phoenix, and not
mobo vendors, but it includes licensed stuff, and also secret
workarounds to hardware bugs in lots of devices. Even IBM's BIOS
(still used in a few high-end IBM x86 servers) is probably polluted
that way.

-- greg

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