Doing more with less: updates to Dell OpenManage

Dell’s OpenManage portfolio includes innovative systems management solutions that ensure IT assets are managed effectively, provide optimal performance and deliver continuous service to our customers and to their customers. The most recent enhancementsto Dell OpenManage, available December 15th,  further demonstrate our focus on delivering management solutions that are simple to use, drive efficiencies across IT resources, and provide advanced features to ensure availability and security for your infrastructure.

More customers are telling us they  endorse our approach and our tools – and recently Dell OpenManage systems management won a Windows IT Pro Community Choice Award for Best System Utility, where community members voted Dell a GOLD recognition and declared, “Dell OpenManage makes the impossible easy!”

Dell OpenManage continues to accentuate simplicity by providing easy-to-learn, easy-to-use, essential functionality in the areas that most benefit efficient use of IT resources: people, processes, technology and budget. Our latest enhancements include:

  • Additional monitoring functionality—Agent-free monitoring capability now includes PCI device awareness, CPU throttling and predictive failure alerts.
  • Improved iDRAC7 with Lifecycle Controller interface and functionality—BIOS and firmware can now be updated, backed-up and restored directly from the iDRAC7 user interface, providing more control and higher systems availability with fewer tools.
  • Comprehensive command line interface (CLI) —for easier configuration and updating, iDRAC7 with Lifecycle Controller now offers improved command line capabilities.
  • Auto-sensing management connection—iDRAC7 automatically senses management port availability for easier cable management, which reduces set-up time and ensures out-of-band management connectivity.

Installing, certifying and maintaining systems management software agents is a time consuming process for IT staff and also consumes precious CPU cycles. It’s a common practice to require installation of agents to monitor systems and components, especially Network Adapters and RAID cards. But that’s not common with Dell PowerEdge 12th generation servers featuring iDRAC7 with Lifecycle Controller.  Though some vendors claim to provide  “agentless” monitoring, they actually require that an “agent-light” substitute  be installed. ; Not so at Dell, we have “fired our agents” to deliver truly agent-free  management  – including monitoring NICs and RAID.

We’re commited to help IT Admins alleviate time and resource constraints.  Our OpenManage  agent-free deployment, monitoring, updates and maintenance  solutions offer  further proof that we are delivering technology that addresses their issues.    For example, in a data center with 10,000 servers, not having to maintain management agents can result in a savings of up to $2.5M over the servers’ lifecycle.*

Additionally, customers are able to accomplish more with their time and maximize efficiency by leveraging these new features:

  • Time-saving support—Dell SupportAssist, integrated with OpenManage Essentials, is a proactive monitoring capability that ensures maximum system uptime by automatically transmitting troubleshooting information to Dell technical support, which in turn hastens resolution of issues should they occur  and speeds parts replacement if required. If PowerEdge server parts are replaced,   iDRAC with Lifecycle Controler  will automatically set the firmware level and configuration of the replacement part to match the original.
  • Accelerated system configuration—IT Admins can remotely capture PowerEdge  hardware configuration settings into an  XML file which can be edited, saved, and utilized to remotely provision one, or thousands of bare metal PowerEdge 12th generation servers.   The XML file includes BIOS, NIC, CNA, RAID and all other hardware settings.  By issuing one command for all servers to create a simple, streamlined process that eliminates human error, dramatically reduces system setup time and increase IT staff productivity.
  • Improved performance—Dell OpenManage agent-free, embedded lifecycle management is faster and more responsive than ever, giving you quicker downloads, configuration, and updates.

Additionally, our availability and security features assure customers that their vital applications are readily accessible and protected from disruptive operations. Dell OpenManage is able to provide this through:

  • Event simulation—iDRAC7 with Lifecycle Controller  can be utitlized to stage and simulate status events, allowing methodical testing of logs and notifications prior to implementation.
  • SNMP v3 “gets”—Authentication rules and privacy restrictions ensure that notifications of significant events go only to the appropriate recipients and “gets” are secure.
  • Predictive CPU monitoring—enables IT staff to prepare remedial action before a workload may become compromised.

 Dell OpenManage  gives Dell hardware and the operating systems, hypervisors,  and applications they support  best-in-class systems management. Overall, OpenManage   provides the foundation for Dell’s Enterprise solutions by giving customers highly automated, available platforms.

*Calculations based on February, 2012 testing by Principled Technologies on an enterprise with 10,000 servers supporting a total of 20 configurations of operating systems, applications, and hardware with fully-loaded system administrator costs of $98,000/per year.

About the Author: Kevin Noreen