Remote Server Management after power outage

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Several times, I have found the unRAID implementation of WireGuard very useful when traveling.  I have been able to access server resources and perform server maintenance without issue.  However, WireGuard in unRAID is not very useful if the server is powered off as recently happened when there was a power outage at my home while I was traveling.


My server is on a UPS and shut down gracefully, but, of course, it did shut down. Some BIOS/UEFI do allow for automatic restart when power is restored.  My BIOS may have that setting but I prefer not to use it as I prefer to monitor my server a bit more closely after a power outage.


Since my server motherboard does have IPMI, I simply needed a way to access the server remotely when the server is down.  I already had a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ on my network running Pi-Hole and I thought "why not add WireGuard to it as well?"  I  did so following this guide. It was very easy and worked just as outlined.  I have successfully tested remote access to my server GUI and the IPMI admin page from my phone and laptop via WireGuard on the RPi.


IPMI is a wonderful thing for remote management.



But what if your server does not have IPMI?

If this is the case, you might want to consider a PiKVM.  The PiKVM is a nifty little box built on a Raspberry Pi (included) which provides remote server management, even powering it on and off.  In many ways it is superior to IPMI and allows you to do more. 


The linked page primarily discusses assembling a PiKVM yourself as a DIY project but you can also buy one pre-assembled here in the U.S.


If you prefer an inside-the-case solution there is this kit if you have a Raspberry Pi 4 and this one that uses a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.  Both require you to purchase the RPi boards separately.


Taking it one step further, I decided I wanted to make sure the RPi also powered up automatically when power was restored so I installed a PoE (power over Ethernet) HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) on the Raspberry Pi.  This provides power to the device through the Ethernet cable.  No external power supply is needed.  There are many PoE HATs available but they are supported by the Pi 3 B+ and Pi 4 models only. They may also support different PoE standards.


My Unifi switch supports PoE so I enabled it on the port to which the RPi is connected.  As seen below, it is drawing about 4 watts from the PoE switch.




But what if your switch does not support PoE?

In this case, you can use a PoE injector such as this one (there are many others):


Here is the RPi powered on with only an Ethernet cable connected to it:



Some Raspberry Pi power supplies, like mine, have a switch that requires the switch to be toggled in order to power on the unit.  Others will power it on automatically if it is plugged into the RPi and there is power. 


PoE for me is simply more reliable.  If the switch has power, the RPi has power.


Since the PoE HAT I installed has a fan that is positioned right over the RPi CPU, the CPU temp has dropped 10C from where it used to be.  A nice added bonus.


Edited by Hoopster
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  • Hoopster changed the title to Remote Server Management after power outage
  • 2 weeks later...

I have a UPS on my unRaid server, but I think my home had brownouts recently, and despite the UPS being connected, and configured correctly I think!, the UnRaid box still went into a state of hard-locked-up and needed a hard reset. My mobo does not have IPMI, and I'd be happy to get one: but that pivpn you linked above! That's the same price as an IPMI enabled motherboard, and I can move it from this machine to future machines without being locked into only IPMI options. The pre-assembled $300 PIVPN is on the way, and I hope to report back success!


Edited by dkerlee
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1 hour ago, dkerlee said:

The pre-assembled $300 PIVPN is on the way, and I hope to report back success!

Looking forward to your report on how it works for you.  It definitely has the advantage of not being tied to a particular computer/motherboard and makes future upgrades more worry (and cost) free!

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On 11/21/2022 at 8:21 PM, dkerlee said:

Wowee is that thing awesome. I wrote it up here.


Very nice write up. Yeah, it's awesome. 


[SOLD] I am selling the same unit + cables and power supply.


I will add a link to your review in my For Sale post.

Edited by Hoopster
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19 hours ago, dkerlee said:

have you been able to wiggle the mouse, mash keyboard, wake the server up AND type into the console to login, all via the PiKVM?

I'll have to do some more testing tomorrow.  I have just done very basic tests so far as I hooked them up for the first time today. I have not yet hooked up and tested the power management piece. 


I have one Geekworm PiKVM and one just like yours (which I am selling) which I will test some more in the next couple of days.

Edited by Hoopster
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