Mac Mini - Network Enabled Power Button

Just looking for some general advice here on the project I'm about to start. Some background info:

My organization is currently looking to deploy Mac Minis in dozens of different areas. We have a similar deployment for our trial run that we used PCs for. We want to be able to have full remote control over these computers, so that means the ability to remotely power on or shut off the computer via the network completely independent of the OS. The PCs had no problem with this task because they all had Intel AMT integrated into their motherboards and we could restart the PC even if Windows blue screened. Unfortunately Apple does not have any LOM (lights out management) capability in their products. Only the Apple Xserve servers had LOM. WOL is not an option because it does not give us the ability to shut the machine down. We then considered an ethernet controlled powerstrip, but after some testing with the Mac Mini we realized that you can't configure it to automatically power on when AC power is restored if Mac OS gracefully shuts down the system first. The best solution for what we want to accomplish is to have an ethernet controlled device that directly interfaces with the Mac Mini power button cable. I stumbled upon this project that does exactly what we are looking to do: http://blake-foster.com/project.php?p=44

Here are the main parts I am looking to order to start testing with: Arduino Ethernet Microcontroller - http://www.robotshop.com/productinfo.aspx?pc=RB-Ard-25&lang=en-US SeeedStudio Arduino Relay Shield - http://www.robotshop.com/productinfo.aspx?pc=RB-See-102&lang=en-US

Since we may end up deploying several hundred of these I want to avoid soldering as much as possible to ease the assembly process, hence the relay shield listed above. Having 4 relays will also allow us to control some other devices that we are considering adding into this project. I'm guessing I would need to alter Blake's code a bit to get it working with this different hardware. Seeing as this is my first experience with Arduino I'm looking for advice on whether that relay shield is the way to go or if there is a better solution out there. Thanks!

Perhaps if you could explain the purpose behind wanting to have such fine-grained control over individual workstations. I can think of some valid reasons, but not if your organization is considering deploying a product that does not fit its own requirements... it must not really be a requirement.

So... is the purpose compliance or paranoia?

The Mac Mini's are going to be placed in public areas and will be locked in a cabinet, so it will not be physically accessible to those who are using them. We need the ability to remotely power on/off and reboot the machines in order to provide remote troubleshooting and perform updates and general maintenance without having to visit each individual machine to simply push the power button. As I stated in my original post, we are looking to bring basic LOM functionality to a Mac Mini.

As I stated in my original post, we are looking to bring basic LOM functionality to a Mac Mini.

Makes sense. Unless there is some software that is OSX specific, this really comes down to a business decision.

Do yourself a favor and just by the PC hardware with the LOM. It is the right thing to do for your business. I know the geek in you screams to do it the "cool way," but long term, it would probably be a bad idea.

A few years ago, I probably would have done this with a DIY solution, but I am so busy now, I have shifted to a "getting things done" practicality.

Most Macs will accept wake on LAN (WoL) if so configured. Look at "wake for network access" on the energy saver preferences pane, and google wake on LAN for a tool to send the magic packet to your mac(s).

-j

Since the Mac mini's are based upon unix machines. You could telnet to them and tell them to restart, shutdown or whatever.

decep: Unless there is some software that is OSX specific, this really comes down to a business decision.

Do yourself a favor and just by the PC hardware with the LOM. It is the right thing to do for your business. I know the geek in you screams to do it the "cool way," but long term, it would probably be a bad idea.

We need to be able to run both Windows and OS X, hence the need for Apple hardware. The decision has already been made and is not up to me. I just need to get this rudimentary LOM functionality working.

kg4wsv: Most Macs will accept wake on LAN (WoL) if so configured. Look at "wake for network access" on the energy saver preferences pane, and google wake on LAN for a tool to send the magic packet to your mac(s).

Yes, I already mentioned WOL in my original post and specified there that it is not sufficient for our needs. We need the ability to restart and shutdown as well.

richardv: Since the Mac mini's are based upon unix machines. You could telnet to them and tell them to restart, shutdown or whatever.

A possibility given that the Mac Mini will always be on and functioning normally, which will not be guaranteed. We need to be able to control the power state independent of the OS. If the OS crashes (either Windows or OS X) then we won't be able to remote in and issue a restart or shutdown command.

All I'm looking for here is if the relay shield I specified in the first post is the best way to go to interface with the power button cables. In fact maybe just forget about the Mac Mini altogether. Let's just say I want to reproduce the project I linked to in my first post without having to build a custom relay board. Is the relay shield the best way to go to accomplish this?

The only potential problem I see with your selections is that the relays on the relay board are only 3A rated. In the future you might want to find something a bit beefier.

How did this end?

I'd like to build the same thing so I can Reset/TurnOn my macMini when I'm on holiday.

Found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKyLJRs5Q3k