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Luckily my old rack is too old to have ME. But are there alternatives out there when these old power-edge warriors finally die or do I have to start building a beowolf out of raspberry pis?

Ah yes, broadcom, the poster child of openness.

There is OpenPOWER, or ARM. Unfortunately all new Intel chips have the Management Engine, and all new AMD chips have the equivalent Platform Security Processor.

If you want to inspect the OpenPOWER firmware[1] or OpenBMC[2] - check out github for either project.

[1] https://github.com/open-power/docs/blob/master/README.md

[2] https://github.com/openbmc/openbmc/wiki

This has nothing to do with servers.

Almost. The Xeon 3400 apparently also has AMT but that's hopefully a rare beast in DC's. It's more of a workstation chip.

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