iDRAC9 System Management

idrac lifecycle

Automating IT management

It is no secret that IT teams are continually challenged with increased workloads with reduced personnel. It is at this point when the focus shifts to automation. Automation is not a new concept to the iDRAC; it is been in practice for multiple generations. However, here are some of the items enhanced in iDRAC9.

Make the switch from IPMI to Redfish
Benefits
  • REST-based API
  • More secure and scalable than IPMI
  • Easier to script
  • Multi-vendor support
14G Enhancements
  • Latest DMTF additions for server configuration and update
  • Support for Dell Server Configuration Profile (SCP)
Dell’s 14th generation Lifecycle Controller improves automation management
Benefits
  • High Resolution Attributes: iDRAC continues to provide industry leading deep level details on components such as HDDs, PERC, NICs, and HBAs to help IT admins precisely and effectively manage details in scripts.
  • Reduce OPEX and increase availability
  • Extensive library of Python and PowerShell scripts
14G Enhancements
  • More Fibre Channel HBA attributes
  • Improved agent-free hardware and software RAID management without an OMSA agent
  • Gen 2 NVMe management
Speed up the server deployments using Dell’s Server Configuration Profile (SCP)
Benefits
  • Configure all the components in a Dell EMC PowerEdge server by using a single file—iDRAC, BIOS, Users, RAID, NICs, HBAs—everything in the server
  •  Import or export to multiple servers
  • Script by using various CLIs or use console tools such as OpenManage Essentials
  • The SCP can also be loaded on a USB key. This allows for error free bare-metal configuration if ToR switch is not connected.
14G Enhancements
  • Adds firmware deployment
  • HTTP(S) support for iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller interfaces
  • Selectable JSON or XML format
  • HTTP file streaming
  • Configure all BIOS settings from the iDRAC GUI; set or stages
Automatically sync both hardware and firmware baselines using iDRAC9
Benefits
  • The Zero Touch configuration automatically pulls server settings from a network share you set up.
  • The Auto Update feature pulls firmware bundles from network repositories (built with Repository Manager).
14G Enhancements
  • HTTP support
  • Complex RAID support

Management Made Simple

Dell EMC was the first to offer a mobile solution based on NFC to directly connect to the iDRAC to allow an easier method to “set the IP address” compared to the LCD panel—but with many more features such as setting passwords, and viewing logs.

Dell EMC introduced the notion of a front panel access to the iDRAC—no need to enter the hot-aisle and sort-through cables to connect a crash cart.

Added the ability to collect logs and reports required to open a ticket with Tech Support—reducing the need to install anything on the server, and greatly reducing the time spent on the phone.

Securely manage Dell EMC servers from your mobile device using iDRAC Quick Sync 2
Benefits
  • Capture critical server information in seconds
  • Provision key server settings in a single click
  • Send diagnostic reports direct to Dell support
14G Enhancements
  • IOS and Android support
  • Supported on all rack/tower PowerEdge servers
  • Embedded upsell option, not bezel-based
  • “Touch and roam” up to five meters
SupportAssist built into every PowerEdge Server
Benefits
  • No need to download special diagnostic tools such as DSET
  • Spend less time on the phone, more time on IT service delivery
  • Predictive alerting and auto-case creation reduce the down time
  • Phone home direct to Dell Support without the need for a proxy server
New iDRAC GUI Refresh for easier navigation
Benefits
  • Modern Web GUI, based on latest HTML5 technology for improved speed and customization
  • Navigate quicker and easier to key features
  • No Java plugins required for virtual console or media operation (although Java and ActiveX are still supported)
Simplify local server management with iDRAC Direct
Benefits
  • Connect a laptop via a USB cable to access the iDRAC GUI for easier “at-the-box” server troubleshooting
  • Also supports uploading configuration templates via USB key
14G Enhancements
  • Uses industry standard micro-B to Type-A USB cable
  • Secure, dedicated port to iDRAC (not shared with Host USB ports)

Security by Default

Security is a critical component for any IT department. There is tremendous focus on security at the OS and application layer. Dell EMC is also focuses on security at the hardware, BIOS and firmware levels.

Lock down the server configuration and firmware
Benefits
  • Prevent configuration “drift” in your datacenter when using Dell tools.
  • Protect against malicious attacks against embedded FW when using Dell Update Package
Securely erase server storage content with System Erase
Benefits
  • Quickly and securely erase 14G server storage devices including HDD and SSD/NVMe drives
  • Repurpose or retire servers in minutes rather than hours or days
Factory-generated default password for iDRAC
Benefits
  • Prevents against accidental exposure of new iDRAC’s on unprotected networks (DHCP is on by default in 14G)
  • Helps encourage effective password usage
Cyber-Resilient architecture

Cyber security is increasingly top of mind for many IT managers. But most of the focus is on protecting the OS and applications from malicious attacks; little thought or planning is given to how secure the underlying server infrastructure is including the hardware and the firmware. 14G PowerEdge servers offer embedded security via a robust Cyber-Resilient Architecture which includes:

  • Immutable hardware root of trust that authenticates BIOS and iDRAC firmware
  • UEFI Secure Boot support with option of using customized certificates
  • Rapid recovery after detection of malicious firmware and operating system attacks
  • Signed SHA-256 firmware updates for all key server components
  • Dynamically controlled USB ports for authenticated usage
  • FIPS 140-2 Certification (iDRAC, CMC)

Smarter Infrastructure Management

Remotely check your server’s networking connections
Benefits
  • Remotely and quickly check if server LOMs or NDCs and iDRAC are connected to the correct switches and ports
  • Avoid costly remote dispatch of technicians to remediate wiring errors
  • No more tracing cables in the hot aisle
  • Can be done via the GUI, or RACADM commands can provide information for all 14G connections
LCD panel is now an Optional Bezel
Benefits
  • LCD is available across 14G rack and tower servers (even XD servers)
  • Consistent, optimized viewing across all rack and tower servers
  • Allows maximum storage options on all servers
  • Bezel is stateless—can be kept at ToR or on crash cart and used as needed
iDRAC Group Manager
Benefits
  • No software to install (runs entirely on iDRACs)
  • Auto-discovers and monitors other servers on the same sub-net
  • Link and launch to other iDRAC GUIs or associated virtual consoles
iDRAC Service Module—Remote Full Power Cycle

iDRAC is OS- or hypervisor-agnostic, but there are still a few reasons to have a connection between the OS and iDRAC—such as the watchdog timer in the OS which advises iDRAC to start a crash video.

Coming for iDRAC9, iSM offers additional functionality, such as:

Full Remote Power Cycle by using iSM

Remotely drain all DC power from the server (including auxiliary power) and all its internal nodes for server troubleshooting

Benefits

  • No need for support personnel to be present at server to pull power cables and plug back in
  • Power is restored back automatically in about 20 seconds.
  • Significantly reduces time for remotely troubleshooting hardware
In-band iDRAC Access using host OS IP using iSM

iDRAC interfaces can be accessed by using in-band Host IP addresses (iDRAC GUI, Redfish, WS-Man, and SNMP traps)

Benefits

  • Helps customers to get to iDRAC by using the host’s in-band network without creating a separate dedicated network
  • Helps OMSA customers to migrate to iSM

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