Deploy and Manage Dell Management Suite Infrastructure


By request, this post is a reproduction of an internal operational document I handed over for the environment in which I installed it.

Overview

The Dell Management Infrastructure consists of two dedicated VMs in addition to relying on vCenter and a database. The two dedicated VMs run three separate Dell applications in a Windows Server 2008 R2 VM and a Linux Virtual Appliance. The three applications are Dell OpenManage (OME), Dell Repository Manager (RM), and the Dell Management Plug-in (DMP) Virtual Appliance itself. An overview of the infrastructure is below.

Management duties are essentially divided between the DMP (and vCenter) and OME. The DMP manages the ESXi hosts and OME manages physical servers. As can be seen in the diagram, the hub of operations is actually OME. Everything relies on the OME server because it retrieves the hardware and firmware inventories of all servers, both ESXi hosts and physical servers. Once an inventory has been taken, OME itself will manage the updates and alerts for the physical hosts but the DMP will retrieve the inventories for the ESXi hosts from OME and manage updates and alerts itself.

Server details

Details of the servers follow:

Function Hostname IP address Notes
OME and RM <hostname1> <ipaddress1>   
DMP <hostname2> <ipaddress2>
OME Database Server <hostname3> <ipaddress3> DB-Name\port: OMEssentials\1557
vCenter <hostname4> <ipaddress4>

The OME database can be on a common database server. The OME database can also be in a common SQL Server instance. In this case the database is named OMEssentials. In this implementation, OME communicates with its database over port 1557. Yours can be different.

Function Username Password
Dell Management Plug-in Virtual Appliance admin <secret>
Dell OME database service account s_dell_ome <secret>
Dell iDRAC root <secret>
ESXi root account root <secret>
vCenter admin service account s_vcadmin <secret>

 The Dell Management Plug-in Virtual Appliance username is used to log into the console of the virtual appliance. Once your vCenter servers have been registered with the appliance, you’ll access the day-to-day management interface via the vSphere Client.

The Dell OME database service account password has dbo rights to the OMEssentials database.

The other credentials mentioned are needed within the infrastructure and I believe are self-explanatory.

Data flows

Data flows occur along the lines in the above diagram. First, OME will inventory servers based on user input IP addresses. This is usually done by IP range, but single IP addresses can be used. OME uses SNMP and WS-MAN for both ESXi hosts and physical servers. WS-MAN gathers more detailed information than SNMP. A diagram of this is below.

Installing Dell OpenManage Server Assistant (OMSA)

All servers that will be managed with OME or the DMP are required to have OMSA installed. Physical servers should simply install their operating system’s version of OMSA. For Windows servers, this is simply an executable. For ESXi hosts, this is a VIB. The installation procedure is below.

The latest OMSA version supports ESXi 5.1 and can be found using the link below. It was current at version 7.2.0, A00, as of 18 December 2012

http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/en/en/rc1077931/DriverDetails/Product/poweredge-r710?driverId=Y0WHR&fileid=2990390081

Installation is pretty simple with SSH. Copy the zip file to a host with WinSCP or something similar. Save it to /var/log/vmware. Execute the following command

~# esxcli software vib install –d filename.zip

A restart is required after installing the OMSA VIB. After the restart, log back in via SSH and verify the VIB installed correctly

~# esxcli software vib list

You should get output similar to

Windows SNMP Configuration

All servers need their OS (or hypervisor) and their iDRAC configured for SNMP. A Windows server is configured similar to the following screenshots.

Test this SNMP configuration using the Dell Troubleshooting Tool (installed from the same media as OME) from the OME server. This tool is extremely useful when, well, troubleshooting. I’ve found many firewall issues using this tool to verify SNMP and WS-MAN communication.

One note about Windows Server 2008 SNMP configuration is that you need to enable Network Discovery.

iDRAC SNMP Configuration

Configuring all server iDRACs is essentially the same. These screenshots are taken from iDRAC Enterprise, version 6. You’ll want to configure the SNMP destination as the OME server and create a unique OME SNMP community string.

You’ll also have to enable Platform Event Filter Alerts.

Of course, you’ll need to enable the SNMP agent of the iDRAC, as well, to include the OME-specific community string.

ESXi SNMP Configuration

You’ll also need to configure ESXi for SNMP communication back to the OME server. Use the following vCLI commands from your admin workstation. Note that each command is on a single line.

vicfg-snmp.pl --server servername.company.com --username root --password P@ssw0rd -t dell-ome-server.company.com@162/dell-ome,dell-mgmt-plugin.company.com@162/public
vicfg-snmp.pl --server servername.company.com --username root --password P@ssw0rd --enable
vicfg-snmp.pl --server servername.company.com --username root --password P@ssw0rd -c dell-ome,public
vicfg-snmp.pl --server servername.company.com --username root --password P@ssw0rd --show
vicfg-snmp.pl --server servername.company.com --username root --password P@ssw0rd --test

In order, these commands

  • tell the ESXi host to send SNMP traps to the OME and DMP servers via port 162 using certain community strings
  • enable SNMP
  • add community strings for which to listen for SNMP queries
  • show the final configuration
  • send a test SNMP trap to the configured SNMP management nodes.

The test SNMP trap can be seen at the OME server as a Warm Start message as seen below.

Once servers are inventoried, you should see this reflected in Devices view of the OME management web interface. Many details are seen through this interface, even for ESXi hosts. Details include

  • Device Summary
  • Software Agent Information
  • OS Information
  • NIC Information
  • RAC Device Information
  • iDRAC Information
  • Processor Information
  • Memory Device Information
  • Firmware Information
  • Device Card Information (PCIe info)
  • Power Supply Information
  • Embedded Device Information
  • RAID Controller Information
  • RAID Controller Battery Information
  • Enclosure Information
  • Physical Disk Information
  • Virtual Disk Information
  • Software Inventory
  • TPM Information
  • Contact Information
  • FRU Information
  • Virtual Machine Information
  • Plus more

You should see green check marks next to each server. If you don’t, that’s an indication that the servers aren’t reporting correctly to OME. Check SNMP and WS-MAN configs and passwords and ensure firewall rules are in place for these protocols back to the OME server.

To be a bit more complete, the configuration for Windows OMSA and WS-MAN are fairly simple. Windows OMSA should be configured for SNMP, as well. There is no configuration for WS-MAN outside of knowing an administrator password. You’ll input community strings and admin passwords in OME when creating Discovery Ranges.

Update Repositories and Repository Manager

After inventories are taken, you can create Repository Manager (RM) bundles for each type of Dell server in the inventory, such as R910, R710, 2950, etc. The type of repository you create depends on whether you’re updating a physical server or an ESXi host. Create a repository for physical servers and a separate one for ESXi hosts. If your ESXi hosts are generally the same as your physical servers, a single repository can be used.

Physical servers can use OME inventories directly to create OME update bundles. Update bundles for ESXi hosts, though, use OME inventories by way of the DPM virtual appliance. Once they’re created based on good inventories, you can start updating your hosts and servers.

Performing updates with Dell Management Suite

Once OME and DMP are installed and configured, server inventories have been performed, and you’ve created update bundles with Repository Manager, you’re ready to update some servers! We’ll cover the ESXi hosts first.

Updating ESXi hosts

From within the Hosts and Clusters view of the vSphere Client, click on the Dell Server Manager tab and choose Run Firmware Update Wizard from the left-size menu.

Continue through the wizard, choosing to update from your saved repository and bundle. You be given the opportunity to update firmware such as the iDRAC firmware, CNA firmware, Lifecycle Controller firmware, Dell Diagnostics Software, BIOS, Dell OS Drivers, and Power Supply firmware as seen below.

For ESXi hosts don’t choose to update the Dell OS Drivers or the Dell Diagnostics software. Feel free to choose whichever other updates you want. Note that the updates can take more than an hour to complete for each host. I’ve found that updating CNA firmware must be done after others, such as BIOS and Life Cycle controllers, so you’ll have to run this update wizard twice. Of course, you’ll want to evacuate the host of virtual machines and place the host in maintenance mode.

Updating physical servers

From the OME web management interface, go to Manage > System Update > Non-Compliant Systems

Choose the servers you wish to update by checking their checkbox. Note the supported Update Method, as well: (OMSA) or (OMSA or iDRAC).

Further down, choose which updates you wish to apply, taking notice of their importance, type (driver or firmware), and upgrade or downgrade. In the lower right corner, choose to Apply Selected Updates.

Final notes

  • When first registering your vCenter server(s) with the DMP virtual appliance, watch out for Linked Mode vCenters using DNS aliases. See my earlier post for some hints on getting it to work. Also, be sure to add licenses to the virtual appliance for every host you plan on managing.

    https://virtuallymikebrown.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/dell-management-plug-in-with-dns-aliases/

  • After registering the DMP virtual appliance, go into the Dell Management Center in the Management view of the vSphere Client and make a few simple configurations like creating connection profiles, setting events and alarms, and creating inventory schedules.

     

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4 Comments on “Deploy and Manage Dell Management Suite Infrastructure”

  1. Mark says:

    This is fantastic, thanks for sharing Mike

  2. David Pasek says:

    Excellent write up!!! And I can say that honestly as I work for DELL Global Infrastructure Consulting Services specializing to vSphere and Infrastructure. Only one suggestion for improvement – you can definitely use esxcli for installing DELL OMSA however you can also leverage VMware Update Manager with DELL VMware depot. For more information look at http://blog.igics.com/2014/01/vmware-update-manager-dell-depot.html

    Another frequent question in larger environments is what protocols and ports are used for intercommunication among DELL OpenManage components. That’s pretty important for firewall configuration. I prepared document with these information and shared it on slideshare. My blog post about it is at http://blog.igics.com/2013/09/open-manage-essentials-network.html

    I guess this excellent article will have lot of visitors who are planning DELL management implementation.

    Thanks Mike.

  3. Italo says:

    I really like Cacti, but this is one of my bieggst bugbears. If you try to import a template on an older version you get the error stated above.The template should import on version 0.8.7d. What version are you using?


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