Remotely Managing the Dell PowerEdge 1855 Blade Server

Remotely Managing the Dell
PowerEdge 1855 Blade Server
Using the DRAC/MC
The Dell™ PowerEdge™ 1855 blade server provides two primary out-of-band interfaces for remote management: the Dell Remote Access Controller/Modular Chassis
(DRAC/MC) for the blade server chassis, and a baseboard management controller
for the individual server blades. This article discusses how to manage the blade
server chassis using the DRAC/MC.
he Dell PowerEdge 1855 system is Dell’s new-
Introducing the DRAC/MC architecture and features
generation blade server. In addition to providing a flexi-
The DRAC/MC architecture provides autonomous monitor-
ble, modular architecture, the PowerEdge 1855 blade server
ing of hardware, events, and recovery mechanisms. The
is designed to support advanced management features. The
DRAC/MC functions by using system standby power and
system enables high performance in a dense form factor
is designed to be operational as long as AC power is avail-
and can include up to 10 server modules; the Dell Remote
able to the chassis, even if the chassis is powered down.
Access Controller/Modular Chassis (DRAC/MC) manage-
Because the DRAC/MC works from standby power and
three or four hot-pluggable, redundant
runs its own real-time operating system (RTOS) and out-
power supply modules; two cooling modules; up to four
of-band interfaces, it can be used to manage and monitor
I/O module bays for I/O switches or pass-through modules;
the system even when the server module, chassis, or other
and a keyboard, video, mouse (KVM) switch module.
shared components are powered down.
While the system’s DRAC/MC is based on the
For example, when a problem occurs with power, tem-
standard Dell OpenManage™ feature set that is included
perature, fan speed, or the general health of the chassis, the
in the eighth-generation Dell Remote Access Control-
system generates a system event log (SEL) event. If properly
ler 4 (DRAC 4), the DRAC/MC has been enhanced to
configured, the SEL event can be sent as an alert in the form
support the modular blade server system computing
of a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) trap to
a console such as Dell OpenManage IT Assistant or as an
The DRAC/MC is a customer-serviceable module
e-mail to one or more DRAC/MC users, or both.
installed in the rear of the server chassis (see Figure 1).
The DRAC/MC offers the following key features:
The module has a serial port and a 10/100 Mbps RJ-45
port. Two state LEDs are visible from the back of the
Remote power-up, shutdown, reset, or generation
of a non-maskable interrupt (NMI) for each server
ment of the chassis and all of its shared components.
module in the blade server chassis
1 Redundant
module. The DRAC/MC is responsible for the manage-
DRAC/MC modules are planned for a future release.
February 2005
Cooling modules
PowerConnect™ 5316M
Ethernet switch module
I/O bay 2
I/O bay 1
I/O bay 4
I/O bay 3
Blade 1–10
TTerminal connection
through local serial port
Fibre Channel
Power supply
module 1–
KVM module
module 1–
Web-based GUI
Network I/O
module 1–
Power supply modules
TTelnet service
Figure 1. Rear view of the Dell PowerEdge 1855 modular blade server
Figure 2. DRAC/MC management architecture
Remote power-up and shutdown of the complete chassis
Monitoring of shared components, including power supplies,
items listed in Figure 3. This article assumes the use of the DRAC/MC
fans, voltage, and temperature
serial port for initial setup.
Access protection by password and privilege-level security
Factory defaults for the DRAC/MC include the creation of a
Remote upgrade of the DRAC/MC’s firmware through
default administrator user and settings for many of the database
Trivial FTP (TFTP)
object properties. Refer to Appendix C of the DRAC/MC User’s Guide,
Capability to deliver alerts by sending SNMP traps or e-mail
located on the Dell OpenManage Documentation CD, for a quick
reference guide to the object default properties.2
Access to the chassis SEL and remote access controller (RAC) log
Support for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) of
To view the basic syntax for the serial console commands, enter
the following command at the CLI:
the DRAC/MC’s IP address
Capability to provide an inventory of the chassis including server
modules, switch service tags (if applicable), I/O module types,
help (for a list of available commands)
and Media Access Control (MAC) addresses (if applicable)
help subcommand
d (for a list of the syntax statements for the
Serial port multiplexing for serial console redirection in
specified subcommand)
which one serial port is multiplexed to the server modules
and I/O modules
To view the basic syntax for the racadm CLI commands, enter
the following command at the CLI:
Figure 2 shows the three ways to access the DRAC/MC:
racadm help (for a list of available commands)
Web-based GUI: Using the out-of-band, Web-based graphical
user interface (GUI) to connect remotely through a Web browser;
racadm help subcommand
d (for a list of the syntax statements
the GUI supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption
for the specified subcommand)
Telnet service: Using a Telnet client to connect remotely to
the out-of-band, text-based console
Management interface
DRAC/MC serial port: Attaching directly to the DRAC/MC
Network physical control
Web only
Time zone
Web only
Web GUI time-out
Web only
Date/time format (12/24 hours)
Web only
User group
Web only
local serial port and using a virtual terminal such as
Hilgraeve HyperTerminal to connect to the out-of-band,
text-based console
Setting up the DRAC/MC through the serial port
Using the local serial command-line interface (CLI), administrators
can perform all actions on the DRAC/MC with the exception of the
2 The
Figure 3. Configuration objects not supported in the local serial CLI
DRAC/MC User’s Guidee is also available online at
For detailed information about serial console or racadm CLI
commands, refer to the DRAC/MC User’s Guide.
Configuring the DRAC/MC network
racadm config –g cfgRacTuning –o
cfgRacTuneTelnetPort value
Note: In the preceding command, the value for the Telnet port
The DRAC/MC network configuration consists of a network interface
must be entered in hexadecimal format. The hexadecimal format
card (NIC), Telnet configuration, and Simple Mail Transport Protocol
for port 23 is 0x17.
(SMTP) e-mail alert configuration. The DRAC/MC default network
settings are as follows:
Changing the network configuration does not require the
DRAC/MC to be reset. However, users attached to the DRAC/MC over
the network will lose the connection and be required to reestablish
DHCP disabled; static IP address; subnet mask
the connection when the network configuration is changed. Once the; gateway
IP address is known, DRAC/MC users can connect to the DRAC/MC
Physical control auto-negotiation (enabling the NIC to auto-
over the network using the GUI or a Telnet service.
matically detect the correct speed and duplex at which it
should be running)
Configuration using DRAC/MC database objects
SMTP enabled; SMTP server IP address
The network settings can also be set by using the DRAC/MC database
Telnet disabled; port 23 Telnet default
objects. To enable or disable DHCP, enter the following command
at the CLI:
The IP address of the DRAC/MC is used to gain access to
its remote interfaces over the out-of-band network. When using
DHCP, administrators should configure the DHCP server to use
racadm config –g cfgLanNetworking -o
cfgNicUseDhcp value
a nonexpiring, MAC-based IP address reservation. The current
DHCP-assigned IP address can be determined either by using the
Dell OpenManage IT Assistant discovery feature to locate the
DRAC/MC or by attaching to the DRAC/MC serial interface.
Note: In the preceding command, the value is either 0 to disable or 1 to enable.
To change the network configuration of the DRAC/MC to use a
static IP address, enter the following command at the CLI:
Configuration using the DRAC/MC CLI
To display the DHCP-assigned IP address, enter the following command at the CLI for the DRAC/MC:
racadm config –g cfgLanNetworking -o
cfgNicIpAddress ipaddress
racadm config –g cfgLanNetworking -o
racadm getniccfg
cfgNicNetmask subnetmask
racadm config –g cfgLanNetworking -o
To enable DHCP, enter the following command at the CLI:
racadm setniccfg -d
cfgNicGateway gateway
For more information on configuring the DRAC/MC network
using the DRAC/MC serial interface or DRAC/MC database objects,
To change the network configuration of the DRAC/MC to use
visit Dell Power Solutions online at
a static IP address, enter the following command at the CLI for the
Managing the DRAC/MC through the GUI
The DRAC/MC has an embedded SSL-encrypted Web server from
racadm setniccfg –s ipaddress subnetmask gateway
which it delivers an out-of-band GUI for remotely accessing the
DRAC/MC. After configuring the network settings, administrators
To enable the Telnet service, enter the following command at
the CLI:
can launch the GUI by entering the DRAC/MC’s IP address in a
Web browser’s URL address field. Then they can securely log in
with a valid DRAC/MC username and password. After the username
racadm config –g cfgSerial –o cfgSerialTelnetEnable 1
and password have been validated, the DRAC/MC Status page will
appear. Because each DRAC/MC user can have a different privilege
To change the Telnet port, enter the following command at
the CLI:
level, the GUI might appear different to each user based on those
privileges. For instance, a user who does not have the Server Actions
privilege will not see the Power tab or any of the other associated
February 2005
level privilege
Bit mask*
Log in to DRAC/MC
Managing the SEL and RAC log. The DRAC/MC maintains
Configure DRAC/MC
two persistent logs. The RAC log contains a list of user actions such
Configure users
Clear logs
Execute server
server control commands
Access console redirection
The SEL displays system-critical events that occur on the
Test alerts
DRAC/MC and shared chassis components. This log includes the
Execute debug commands
date, time, and a description of each event. To export both the
*Bit mask 0x80000040 is not currently used.
as login and logout as well as alerts issued by the DRAC/MC. The
oldest entries are overwritten when the log becomes full. Each log
entry includes a brief description and information about severity,
date and time, user, and ID of each event.
DRAC/MC and SEL logs, administrators can click the Save As
button in the GUI. Refreshing the logs in the GUI by selecting the
Figure 4. User-level privileges and associated bit masks
Refresh button on the Web page before saving helps ensure that
the latest logs are exported. Both logs can be cleared by clicking
features that require the Server Actions privilege. Figure 4 indicates
the Clear Log button.
the level of permissions that a user must have to be able to perform
actions with the DRAC/MC.
Configuring chassis information. The Configuration tab
enables many remote configuration tasks including configuring
Accessing chassis information. The Properties tab of the GUI
the chassis, creating and modifying users, creating and modifying
displays access information about the DRAC/MC, session status,
alerts, configuring security for the DRAC/MC, configuring the net-
shared components, and server modules. The GUI tabs and their
work interface, and configuring the date and time.
associated links are available only if the user has the corresponding user privilege required for the feature. Information is shown on
Performing diagnostics. The Diagnostic tab allows administrators to display and execute basic network diagnostics, including:
three separate pages:
Chassis Summary: This page provides chassis, or enclosure,
information, which includes the DRAC/MC’s time, firm-
contents of the ARP table.
ware version and date when firmware was last updated,
current network settings, IP address, system model, service tag, asset tag, and chassis name and location. This
The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) button displays the
ping verifies that the destination IP address is reachable from
the DRAC/MC with the current routing-table contents.
ipconfig displays the contents of the network interface table.
netstat prints the contents of the routing table.
page also provides session status, including the number of
unused sessions, preliminary sessions, invalidated sessions,
Updating the system firmware. The Update tab allows admin-
valid sessions, the current session ID, username, user’s IP
istrators to remotely update the DRAC/MC firmware image by using
address, and login time.
the DRAC/MC Flash function. Before performing the firmware
Chassis Status: This page provides information about all
update, administrators must download the latest firmware version
shared modules and server modules. Administrators can use
from and then upload it to a TFTP server. The
this page to determine which modules are currently running
controller resets after the firmware update is complete.
in the Dell PowerEdge 1855 blade server as well as the service
tags, power status, and overall health status of these modules.
Integrating the DRAC/MC with other management applications
Power Budget Status: This page provides information about
The DRAC/MC offers a mechanism to integrate its own management
the current power budget status in the system. The page
capabilities with those of other management applications such as
shows the current amount of power available along with the
Dell OpenManage IT Assistant. An SNMP agent is embedded in the
current amount of power currently being used. Note: The
DRAC/MC; this agent implements SNMP management information
power values listed in the Power Budget Status page are
bases (MIBs) and SNMP traps. The SNMP MIB is a hierarchical set
static, maximum values; they do not reflect the actual power
of variables that can be read and written over the network. These
consumption of the system.
variables contain information about the managed platform, including
status, settings, and so on.
Monitoring chassis sensors. The Sensors tab shows sensor
The DRAC/MC implements the MIB-II standard, which defines
readings for the Dell PowerEdge 1855 blade server’s temperature,
characteristics of the system and network interface. The DRAC/MC
cooling fan speed, and power supply status. This page also provides
also implements an enterprise-specific MIB that provides manage-
warning and failure thresholds for temperature and fan speed.
ment data specific to the server module system and devices such
February 2005
as service tags for the enclosure and server modules, health status
for shared components, and so on.
The DRAC/MC uses SNMP version 1.0. Because this version does
racadm config -g cfgUserAdmin -o
cfgUserAdminEmailAddress -i
userindex email_address
not provide complete security, the DRAC/MC SNMP agent does not
racadm config -g cfgUserAdmin -o
support SNMP set operations and is disabled by default. The agent
cfgUserAdminEmailCustomMsg -i
can be enabled by entering the following command:
userindex Custom Message
racadm config -g cfgRemoteHosts -o
racadm config -g cfgOobSnmp -o cfgOobSnmpAgentEnable 1
The MIB objects in the DRAC/MC are read-only. The get and
get next commands can be performed on MIB objects.
SNMP is often used to monitor systems for fault conditions
such as voltage failure or fan malfunction. Management appli-
cfgRhostsSmtpServerIpAddr SMTP_Server_IP
Enabling SNMP traps. Up to 16 SNMP trap entries can be
stored in the DRAC/MC MIB. To locate an available index to add
a new SNMP trap, execute the following command for each index
from 1 through 16 until an available index is located:
cations such as IT Assistant can monitor faults by polling the
appropriate object identifiers (OIDs) with the get command and
racadm getconfig -g cfgTraps -i trapindex
analyzing the returned data. However, this polling method has
its challenges. Performed frequently, polling can consume significant amounts of network bandwidth. Performed infrequently, this
After an available index is located, enter the following command to enable an SNMP trap:
method may not allow administrators to respond quickly enough
to the fault condition.
SNMP agents, supported by the DRAC/MC, can overcome such
limitations by sending alerts or SNMP traps to designated recipients.
The DRAC/MC can notify administrators when a system fails or is
going to fail. To receive DRAC/MC SNMP traps at a management
station running IT Assistant, the DRAC/MC must be configured for
racadm config -g cfgTraps -o cfgTrapsEnable
-i trapindex 1
racadm config -g cfgTraps -o cfgTrapsDestIpAddr
-i trapindex IP_Address
racadm config -g cfgTraps -o cfgTrapsSnmpCommunity -i trapindex Community_Name
the trap destination, trap community name, and so on.
The DRAC/MC can also be configured to notify different trap
To create a test trap, enter the following command:
destinations for different events by setting the proper SNMP trap
filter. When the DRAC/MC detects a new event, the DRAC/MC
racadm testtrap -i trapindex
inspects the event against each destination’s trap filter and sends
an SNMP trap to the appropriate destination.
Enabling powerful and flexible management of modular systems
Dell provides several methods for accessing the DRAC/MC,
Configuring alerts
enhancing management of the Dell PowerEdge 1855 blade server.
DRAC/MC alerts consist of e-mail alerts and SNMP traps. The e-mail
Using the serial console CLI, racadm CLI, and the Web-based
alert contains the following information: message, event descrip-
GUI, administrators can configure, monitor, and manage the
tion, date, time, severity, system ID, model, asset tag, service tag,
Dell PowerEdge 1855 blade server both locally and remotely.
managed system host name, and Embedded Server Management (ESM)
By offering powerful and flexible management options for the
version. The SNMP trap provides specific information describing
modular Dell PowerEdge 1855 blade server, Dell helps simplify
the cause and source of the event. This information includes sensor
the management of multiple server blades through a single man-
identification, entity or Intelligent Platform Management Bus (IPMB)
agement interface that seamlessly integrates into an existing
slave address, sensor number, sensor ID string (if possible), current
management network.
sensor reading, range, and threshold values.
Adding a user with alert capabilities. To add a user who can
receive e-mail notification, first locate the appropriate user index
by entering racadm getconfig -u username command. Then,
Michael Brundridge is a technologist in the Dell Enterprise Software Development Group.
He attended Texas State Technical College and has a technical degree from Southwest School
of Electronics.
enter the following commands:
racadm config -g cfgUserAdmin -o
cfgUserAdminEmailEnable -i index 1
Ryan Putman is a platform developer for the Dell Enterprise Server Group. He has a
bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree
in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University.