Help Me Choose: iDRAC7 systems management technology

• The Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller 7 (iDRAC7) with Lifecycle Controller is an embedded device in your Dell PowerEdge server that helps you manage, monitor, update and deploy servers.
iDRAC7 is primarily the hardware component, and Lifecycle Controller is the engine for advanced embedded management.

iDRAC7
iDRAC7 helps you manage Dell servers in physical, virtual, local and remote environments, operating in-band or out-of-band, with or without a systems management software agent. iDRAC7 alerts you to server problems, enabling remote server management and reducing your need to physically visit the server.

Dell Lifecycle Controller
The Lifecycle Controller is delivered through 2GB of managed and persistent storage, eliminating the media-based delivery of system management tools and utilities. Lifecycle Controller's delivery model simplifies the server lifecycle management experience, from provisioning to deployment, patching/updates, service, as well as user customization. It also reduces the time to accomplish tasks, reduces potential for error, improves security and can result in more efficient enterprise management by enabling agent-free systems management. When utilizing iDRAC7 with Lifecycle Controller, it is not necessary to also install the OpenManage Server Administrator software agent.

OpenManage Essentials – Server Configuration Management
OpenManage Essentials –Server Configuration Management (ConfigMgmt) capabilities focus on the automation of PowerEdge server bare-metal deployment, quick and consistent replication of server configurations, and an automated maintenance process that helps ensure PowerEdge configurations remain in compliance with a customer’s pre-defined baseline setting.

Standardized templates and processes are utilized to easily, accurately and rapidly replicate server configurations and OS deployments, reducing the possibility of errors and ensuring server availability. Server configuration can be done as a single process –even before the server is ever turned on – to speed time to productivity.

Pre-requisites to utilization and access to the functionality and benefits of OpenManage Essentials Server Configuration Management are the purchase of iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller Enterprise or Express and the installation of the OpenManage Essentials console software. OpenManage Essentials is available as a no-charge software download from www.dell.com/OME.

Choosing an iDRAC7 option
When choosing one of the four iDRAC7 options, consider how you want to manage your server.
• iDRAC7 Enterprise – “I want to manage the server as if I were there.”
• iDRAC7 Express for Blades – “I want the features of Express with virtual console access to my blades.”
• iDRAC7 Express – “I want embedded tools, console integration, simplified remote access.”
• Basic Management with IPMI – “I want basic, low-cost server management.”
• OpenManage Essentials Server Configuration Management - “I want to automate PowerEdge server bare metal deployment, replication of server configurations and maintenance operations."
iDRAC7 upgrade path
  • The iDRAC7 Enterprise is an upgrade option for all servers 200 series and above. When purchased at point of sale, you can also buy either an 8GB or 16GB vFlash card.

Note: Virtual Console is only available with iDRAC7 Enterprise. The only exception is Express for Blades, which allows for a single user Virtual Console with remote launch.

  • The iDRAC7 Express is offered as an upgrade for 200–500 series servers and is standard with 600–900 series servers.
  • Express for Blades is an option on all blades.
The table below shows the upgrade path you can take with your server lines.

Server Lines200-500
Series
600-900
Series
Blades
Basic ManagementYes
Standard
iDRAC7 ExpressYes
Upgrade 
Yes
Standard 
iDRAC7 Express for BladesYes
Option 
iDRAC7 EnterpriseYes
Upgrade
Yes
Upgrade
Yes
Standard
vFlash SD card (8 or 16GB)Yes
Option
Yes
Option
Yes
Option 

After Point of Sale — Upgrade Options
New with Dell's 12th-generation servers, you can evaluate and purchase upgrades from Dell — right from your iDRAC web GUI. Depending on the server series, you may need to install hardware to obtain full-feature functionality.
 
For 200–500 series:
If you are evaluating iDRAC7 Enterprise, certain features are not available, as they require a hardware component to enable, such as dedicated NIC and vFlash for partitions. All other features can be enabled via a software license key. No server reboot is required. Log out of iDRAC and log back in for the changes to take effect. If you purchase an upgrade, there are several options available, depending on if you need the features that require the hardware card. If you do, you can order the card without the vFlash or order it with the 8GB or 16GB version.
Note: Installing the iDRAC Ports card requires you to turn off the server.
 
For 600 series and above:
You have a choice of ordering the software license or the license with either size SD card. Note that both the dedicated NIC port and the SD slot for the vFlash are present on the system, but neither is active until the license key has been activated. You can buy an SD card locally of any size (say 16, 32 or higher). You can create multiple partitions on the SD card, but individual partition size is limited to 4GB.

The tables below list some of the high-level features of iDRAC7 Enterprise, Express for Blades, Express and Basic Management.

OpenManage Essentials - Server Configuration Management (ConfigMgmt) is available with iDRAC7 Enterprise, iDRAC7 Express for Blades and iDRAC7 Express. The functionality of OpenManage Essentials Server ConfigMgmt is the same across all levels of iDRAC7.

Note: Also requires installation of the OpenManage Essential console software, available as a no-charge download from www.dell.com/OME
Automate bare-metal deployment and replication of PowerEdge server hardware configuration(s)

Maintain PowerEdge server hardware configuration(s) with pre-defined baseline(s), detect drift, and enforce consistency

iDRAC7 Enterprise
“I want to manage the server as if I were there.”

  • Virtual Console and Media with collaboration
  • Dedicated NIC 1Gbps
  • PK and Two-Factor Authentication
  • Directory Services support
  • System Backup and Restore
  • Remote Syslog
  • Crash video playback
  • Boot capture
  • Millisecond power capping and platform power monitoring
  • 8GB and 16GB vFlash card
  • Virtual flash partitions
  • All the features of Express and Basic Management

iDRAC7 Express for Blades
"I want the features of Express with virtual console access to my blades."

  • Single-user Virtual Console with remote launch
  • Virtual Media
  • All the features of Express and Basic Management

iDRAC7 Express
“I want embedded tools, console integration, simplified remote access.”

  • Web GUI and command line access
  • Power monitoring (including power budgeting)
  • Parts Replacement
  • Diagnostic features such as crash screen capture
  • Local and remote configuration and updates
  • SNMP v1 and v2 alerts
  • SNMPv3 Gets
  • NTP and Time Zone support
  • Scripting with remote RACADM
  • 1:M Hardware Configuration
  • Remote OS install
  • All the features of Basic Management

Basic Management (IPMI)
“I want basic, low-cost server management”

  • Basic hardware management via IPMI 2.0
  • Text-based console redirection
  • Embedded diagnostics
  • Embedded OS installation tools

 

Detailed Feature Comparison

Feature

Basic Management

iDRAC7 Express

iDRAC7 Express for Blades

iDRAC7 Enterprise

Interface and Standards Support
IPMI 2.0YesYesYesYes
Web-based GUI-YesYesYes
SNMP and IPMI Discovery-YesYesYes
WSMAN-YesYesYes
SMASH-CLP (SSH)-YesYesYes
RACADM command-line (SSH & local)-YesYesYes
RACADM command-line (remote)-YesYesYes
NTP and time zone support-YesYesYes
Connectivity
Shared/failover network modes (rack and tower only)YesYes

-

Yes
DNSYesYesYes Yes
VLAN taggingYesYesYesYes
IPv4YesYesYesYes
IPv6-YesYesYes
Dynamic DNS-YesYesYes
Dedicated NIC 1Gbps --Yes*Yes*
Security and Authentication
Role-based authorityYesYesYesYes
Local usersYesYesYesYes
SSL EncryptionYesYesYesYes
Active Directory---Yes
“Generic” LDAP support---Yes
Two-factor authentication*---Yes
Single sign-on---Yes
PK Authentication (for SSH)---Yes
Remote Management and Remediation
Embedded DiagnosticsYesYesYesYes
Remote firmware updateYes*YesYesYes
Server power control

Yes*

Yes

Yes

Yes

Serial-over-LAN (with proxy)YesYesYesYes
Serial-over-LAN (no proxy)-YesYesYes
Last crash screen capture-

Yes

Yes

Yes

Last crash video capture/ playback---Yes
Boot video capture/ playback---Yes
Virtual Media*--YesYes
Virtual Console*--Yes*Yes
Virtual Console sharing*---Yes
Remote Virtual Console Launch---Yes
Virtual Folders---Yes
Virtual Console Chat---Yes
Remote File Share---

Yes

Virtual Flash---

Yes

Virtual Flash Partitions---

Yes

Monitoring and Power
Sensor monitoring & alerting

Yes*

Yes

Yes

Yes

SNMP Alerts (v1, v2)-YesYesYes
SNMPv3 Gets-

Yes

Yes

Yes

Email Alerts-

Yes

Yes

Yes

DIMM Ranking-YesYesYes
Historical power counters-

Yes

Yes

Yes

Power budgeting-

Yes

Yes

Yes

Real-time power monitoring-

Yes

Yes

Yes

Real-time power graphing-

Yes

Yes

Yes

Real-time power capping---

Yes

Enterprise Group Power Management---

Yes

Logging
System Event LogYes*YesYesYes
RAC LogYes*YesYesYes
Trace LogYes*YesYesYes
Lifecycle Controller LogYes*YesYesYes
Remote Syslog---Yes
Lifecycle Controller
Unified Server ConfiguratorYes*YesYesYes
Local updatesYesYesYesYes
Driver PacksYesYesYesYes
One to Many Hardware Configuration (WSman or RACADM)-YesYesYes
Asset Inventory Export-YesYes Yes
Remote Services (via WSMAN)-YesYesYes
Part Replacement-YesYesYes
System Back up and Restore---

Yes