Dell, HP, NEC and Intel have announced version 2.0 of the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) specification, technology to help users manage servers.

IPMI 2.0 adds several features, including new authentication and encryption algorithms, serial over LAN for remote interaction with serial-based applications, a firmware firewall and new user login and configuration options.

Version 2.0 of IPMI is backward compatible with IPMI 1.5, which is currently supported in servers from many vendors, including HP, Dell and NEC. The specification defines interfaces that allow network managers to receive status alerts and send instructions to industry-standard servers and run diagnostics over a network instead of locally at the server, the IPMI backers said.

IPMI is a message-based hardware management specification that deals with monitoring basic server parts such as power supplies, fans, voltage and temperature. It is implemented at the silicon level and uses a baseboard management controller. IPMI enables remote monitoring, management and recovery capabilities, regardless of the status of the server.

IPMI is best used in conjunction with system management software, but it can also be used without the additional management software. The technology is meant to help users manage servers from various vendors in disparate locations.