Tag Archives: Dell

Impressions of Dell EMC OpenManage Enterprise

Dell EMC OpenManage Enterprise has now been available available as a Tech Release for a couple of months now, and I have recently had a opportunity to sit down and do some evaluation of the product at work.

The following thoughts and comments are made based on the version 1.0.0 (build 543) appliance.

DellOMEnt02-blur

 

OpenManage Enterprise (OMEnt) is described by Dell EMC as the next generation of their  Open Manage Essentials (OMEss) platform. At face value it has some really good features going for it:

  • System is now deployed from an appliance template (OVF, VHD etc). No more having to customise a host build for the application, and no more licensing considerations.
  • The UI is now HTML5. I can’t begin to describe how happy I am to see the end of silverlight…
  • Information and UI simplification.

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Resolving Unknown Data Sources in Dell OpenManage Essentials

ome-unknown-health

Have you ever looked in OpenManage Essentials and seen the above when looking at a device? I recently had this experience when checking on a number of older servers that we were not receiving alerts properly for.

Checking on the iDRAC and server it appeared that the management agents were running and correctly configured so that the OME server could contact the device, but attempts to discover and inventory were still failing. What was going on?

The Dell Troubleshooting Tool is an excellent  utility by Dell to interrogate devices using variety of protocols. Querying the iDRAC using WSMAN soon found the problem:

ome-unknown-health2

Many of thew older servers had internal SSL certificates installed on them, which had subsequently expired. As most of the servers had been decommissioned, renewing the certificates had been overlooked.

Getting rid of the expired certificate is not as straight forward as it should be, with no ability in the iDRAC6 web interface to delete the certificate. This was resolved by accessing the IDRAC via SSH and using the racadm command:

racadm sslresetcfg

After the iDRAC interface rebooted to apply changes, OME was then able to discover and inventory the iDRAC interface.

The Dell troubleshooting tool proved to be a very useful tool in the infrastructure admin’s toolbox for dealing with non-obvious management protocol issues.

iDRAC Firmware 2.40.40 Introduces New TLS Settings, May Stop Dell OME Discovery/Inventory

iDRAC firmware 2.40.40 was released on 17th Oct 2016. Details can be found by following this link.

We have recently had the need to upgrade our iDRAC firmware to 2.40.40 on one of our servers while troubleshooting another issue with Dell and found shortly after that this particular server was no longer able to be discovered by Dell OpenManage Essentials.

We found that the TLS protocol the iDRAC set after updating was set to version 1.2, which is not supported by Windows operating systems less than Server 2012 R2 (Our OME server runs on Windows Server 2012). There is a patch available to fix this. This is all covered in the driver release notes.

The other alternative, which we have chosen to do for now  as this firmware is only on one device is to set the iDRAC to use the older TLS protocol, which can be found under the iDRAC Network Settings in the services tab:

idrac-tls

I’ll apply the Microsoft patch to the system, and then set the TLS back to v1.2

Fixing Errors When Trying to Configure SNMP on ESXi

One of the tasts I am working on is the configuration of our fleet of Dell servers to use Dell’s Open Manage Essentials monitoring and management platform. One of the servers however had been unwilling to have it’s SNMP configuration changed using the VSphere CLI tools and was generating the following error:

Changing notification(trap) targets list to: myserver.local@162/DELLOME…
Use of uninitialized value $sub in string eq at C:/Program Files (x86)/VMware/VMware vSphere CLI/Perl/lib/VMware/VIMRuntime.pm line 81.
Use of uninitialized value $package in concatenation (.) or string at C:/Program Files (x86)/VMware/VMware vSphere CLI/Perl/lib/VMware/VIMRuntime.pm l
ine 50.
Undefined subroutine &Can’t call method “ReconfigureSnmpAgent” on an undefined value at C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\vicfg-snm
p.pl line 297.
::fault_string called at C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware vSphere CLI\bin\vicfg-snmp.pl line 299.

Hrm OK fine. Lets try logging in to the Host’s ESX Shell and use esxcli to set the trap:

Community string was not specified in trap target: myserver.local

Clearly something is broken with the SNMP configuration. Luckily the VMware forums were quick to supply a solution.

The SNMP settings for ESX are stored in the XML file /etc/vmware/snmp.xml. You can either clear this file (cat /dev/null > /etc/vmware/snmp.xml) or if you know what the setting should be, modify it. in my case I needed to update the <targets></targets> XML Tag to have a community string:

<targets>myserver.local@162 DELLOME</targets>

Performance Benchmarking Dell R910 – Part 1

When someone say’s their Virtual Machine is running slowly, the first thing we do is check out the performance graphs with the vSphere client. Everything looks normal, and so it is easy to dismiss it as an application issue. However, what happens when this issue is the result of a previously undetected problem that appears to have multiple components to it?

This is the problem I am currently working on now with a Dell R910 Server. The Dell R910s are quite a powerful machine designed for more intensive workloads and certainly comes as a surprise that we are seeings performance issues.

This is currently an issue being worked on, and I do not know what the outcome will be. However I will be documenting the steps being taken in order to benchmark performance and how we might improve the performance.

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iDRAC default root password not working out of box

Where I work we have recently acquired a number of Dell R620 servers to be used in remote locations. Personally I think they are a great all round server for the light to medium workloads seen on the infrastructure we manage.

I’ve been pushing hard to use automated deployment systems that rely on the iDRAC interface, with the plan being that people take the rack and stack a previously unopened server at the remote site, use the front panel to configure iDRAC Network and then come back to work to provision the server remotely. The default username and password for the iDRAC is well known. That is until recently when we placed a server on site, confirmed we could remotely contact the iDRAC and came back, only to find the defaults not working.

It would appear that certainly the batch of servers we have, and some anecdotal reports from friends deploying Dell servers is that some server’s iDRAC interface appears to have a “faulty” default password. This was confirmed with a follow up call to Dell support. Current fix is (you guessed it) to ensure you set the password before going out on site. Whilst an inconvenience, luckily this was discovered after one server went out, and not all of them.

So just a heads for people that if you are relying on you iDRAC to remotely provision brand new boxes, you may want to set the default username/password yourself rather than making an assumption it will work.

RAC Bulk Update Script v1

It’s been a little while since my last post, after getting involved with some major projects, however now that much of that work has been completed, I am now getting back into configuration of iDRACs. With an incressing number of Dell servers appearing at work, I want to get on top of a standard configuration as soon as possible.

My iDRAC PS Library has been out there for a while, so it would seem appropriate to create a bulk updating script with it.

Downloadable from the Scripts Page.

This is relatively easy to use, with a command line of.

.\RACBulkUpdate -username [user] -pass [password] -RACConfigFile [ConfigFile]

please be aware that in order to run this script you will need the RAC PS Library and the racadm iDRAC tools from Dell (Available on the scripts page). Please make sure you configure the RACLibrary $racadmpath or the scripts will not run.