11 thoughts on “Fun with ESXi, IPMI and Dell BMC/iDRAC – Remote Power Cycle, Console and more

  1. Hi Mike.

    Disclaimer: I work for DELL Consulting Services.

    First of all I have to say … very well written post.

    Here are few tips …

    If you don’t have iDRAC Express or Enterprise and you have to rely on standard Intel BMC IPMI then I believe there is a way how to manage your OS remotely over console in case your OS console is text based like in BSD, linux, or ESXi.

    The only think you have to do is to redirect your OS console to COM2.

    ESXi DCUI console redirection settings are described here

    http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.install.doc_50%2FGUID-E17AB108-7AA0-43DF-8616-48625CD018DF.html

    and you should be able to use SOL not only for server POST messages but also for your OS console. To be honest I haven’t try to use SOL personally but it should work. You can test it and let us now 😉 This can help you in situation you don’t have server with iDRAC express/enterprise.

    Another tip … when you have DELL server with iDRAC express without virtual console/media you can ssh to iDRAC and uce racadm directly over ssh. When you are connected to iDRAC over shh there is also one undocumented command which will connect you to the serial port where console is redirected. The command is “connect”.

    Command connect is well documented for DELL blade chassis management controller (aka CMC) where you can connect to COM ports of servers and I/O modules like ethernet or fibre-channel switches but I it is not, AFAIK, documented for iDRACs in rack/tower servers.

      1. Thanks so much for the comments David – I think I’ll take a look at this and do a little tutorial specific to ESXi – great write up on your part BTW!

        1. I was thinking about writing my blog post on this topic however this blog post is excellent so it would be much better if you write update or next part 😉

          As I understand you need it in your environment anyway, so you play with it. It is quite easy and it should take you maximally 1 hour. You’ll spend more time with writing blog post 🙂

          Thanks for sharing your knowledge with community. I know how time consuming it can be, so really appreciate your effort.

          Take care.

          David.

  2. Hi Mike

    Excellent post about the Dell iDRAC features. There is another way of enabling IPMI over LAN! Install the Dell OpenManage Server Administrator VIB found here:

    http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/systems-management/w/wiki/1760.openmanage-server-administrator-omsa

    Once you have the VIB installed and the server has been rebooted, you can access the server using the Dell OpenManage Client. Login to the VMware server with your root credentials and you have full access to the BIOS configuration. This way you do not need stand in front of the server configuring these items. I have a picture showing the setting can be modified using this method.
    You can take it a step further and download OpenManage Essentials and install it on a Windows server then you can configure your VMware servers to send SNMP traps relating to hardware issues with the host. Also it provides: Firmware updating (using iDRAC only with VMware servers), Warranty reporting, and alert management. This is a great tool we use it for our many one-off VMware servers. I have attached a couple of pictures showing the product.
    Mike, if you want more information on either product give me a call at KPR.
    Take care
    Stephen

    1. Thanks Stephen!

      I have dabbled a little with Open Manage Essentials but have never set a side the time to to really look at it!

      Do you guys have the Dell plug-ins for vCenter over there?

      1. Mike,
        I have the Dell Management Center installed in our vCenter environment but we have not purchased the product yet. While it was in the trial stage I was able to update the hosts without issue. I find OpenManage Essentials easier to update my ESXi hosts than the plugin for vCenter. I would recommend getting OpenManage installed on a test ESXi host and installing OpenManage Essentials to monitor and manage the host. With those 2 pieces, you can do a lot of automation and configuration.

  3. Practical blog post – I was enlightened by the analysis , Does someone know if I could get access to a blank a form document to fill out ?

  4. I have tried to setup remote access to text based console of Dell PE R810 POST/BIOS/UEFI and ESXi DCUI over IPMI SOL. When it works for POST/BIOS/UEFI phase then it does not for ESXi DCUI. When ESXI DCUI is redirected to IPMI SOL as a text then POST/BIOS/UEFI cannot be redirected to SOL. When ESXi DCUI is redirected to IPMI SOL I can see the screen but the keyboard does not work.

    I wrote the blog post about it here
    http://blog.igics.com/2017/08/remote-text-based-console-to-esxi-over.html

    Any idea how to make it work is welcome but iDRAC Enterprise for 8 GBP from Ebay is probably the best solution for my home lab 😉

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