This article provides out of the box setup information for Dell PowerEdge Servers of the 12th and 13th generation, including the inital configuration settings of the integrated Remote Access Controller (iDRAC), a description of Lifecycle Controller properties and links to advanced technical knowledge resources.
Table of Content
- Setup and Manage Your iDRAC
- Comparison of iDRAC Versions and Feature
- Understanding Your Lifecycle Controller
- Rack Installation and Power Planning
- Updates, OS Installation and System Management
Setup and Manage Your iDRAC
Note: IDRAC7 and IDRAC8 share the same firmware since version 18.104.22.168. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the properties are equal now.
The Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) is designed to make server administrators more productive and improve the overall availability of Dell servers. iDRAC alerts administrators to server issues, helps them perform remote server management, and reduces the need for physical access to the server.
iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller technology is part of a larger data center solution that helps keep business critical applications and workloads available always. The technology allows administrators to deploy, monitor, manage, configure, update, troubleshoot and remediate Dell servers from any location, and without the use of agents. It accomplishes this regardless of operating system or hypervisor presence or state.
The internal Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) factory default settings are:
A detailed step-by-step configuration is shown in the YouTube video Dell iDRAC Initial Setup (6:31 min, English only). The video shows the configuration of an iDRAC7, but the steps are similar for iDRAC8.
For full details on the iDRAC feature usage, check the iDRAC 7 User Guide or the iDRAC 8 User Guide matching to the installed firmware release. If the latest user guide release is not available yet, please refer to the next former release present.
Comparison of iDRAC Versions and Feature
The Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) with Lifecycle Controller technology allows administrators to monitor, manage, update, troubleshoot and remediate Dell servers from any location — without the use of agents. And it does this regardless of OS or hypervisor presence or state.
We've tailored our iDRAC offerings; and we now offer these options.
- iDRAC Enterprise
- iDRAC Express for Blades
- iDRAC Express
- Basic Management with IPMI
Server and iDRAC Configuration Options
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. Enterprise is an upgrade option for all servers 200 series and above. When purchased at point of sale, Enterprise has the option to purchase either an 8GB or 16GB vFlash card.
Note: The iDRAC Express does not support graphical console redirection (i.e. Virtual Console). Virtual Console is only available with iDRAC Enterprise. The only exception is Express for Blades, which allows for a single user Virtual Console with remote launch.
After Point of Sale — Upgrade Options
Since 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 Enterprise, certain features will not be 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; all you need to do is log out of iDRAC and log back in for the changes to take effect. For customers purchasing an upgrade, there are several options available, depending on if you need the features that require the hardware card. If you do, you have the option to order the card without the vFlash, or order with either 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 either just the software license or you can order the license with the 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 may purchase an SD card locally of any size, say 16, 32 or higher. You may create multiple partitions on the SD card, but individual partition size is limited to 4GB.
Description of iDRAC Options and Licenses:
"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
- Part replacement
- Crash video playback
- Boot capture
- Millisecond power capping and platform power monitoring
- 8 and 16GB vFlash card
- Virtual flash partitions
- All the features of Express and Basic Management
iDRAC7/8 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
"I want embedded tools, console integration, simplified remote access."
- Web GUI and command line access
- Power monitoring (including power budgeting)
- Diagnostic features such as crash screen capture
- Local and remote configuration and updates
- Scripting with remote Racadm
- Remote OS install
- All the features of Basic Management
Basic Management (IPMI) / iDRAC8 Basic
"I want basic, low-cost server management"
- Basic hardware management via IPMI 2.0
- Text-based console redirection
- Embedded diagnostics
- Embedded OS installation tools
For more details, read the IDRAC Comparison whitepaper
For additional information regarding Dell's iDRAC products, please see the following:
Understanding Your Lifecycle Controller
With the launch of the Dell PowerEdge 12th generation servers on Feb 27th, 2012, Dell has enhanced our embedded management without the need to install a software based agent within the host operating system. At the heart of the servers embedded management is the iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller technology, which allows users to perform useful tasks such as configure BIOS and hardware settings, deploy operating systems, update drivers, change RAID settings, and save hardware profiles. Together, they provide a robust set of management functions that can be leveraged throughout the entire server lifecycle.
Faster, More Efficient, More Secure Local and Remote Deployment, Configuration and Updates
Dell Lifecycle Controller simplifies server lifecycle management— from provisioning, deployment, patching and updating to servicing and user customization—for servers located both locally and remotely. It was delivered as part of the Dell Remote Access Controller or iDRAC
(Express, Enterprise and vFlash
) starting with Dell PowerEdge 11G servers. On 12G and 13G servers, the vFlash feature is included with the iDRAC7 Enterprise License, so you no longer have to separately license vFlash starting with Lifecycle Controller 2. Dell’s 12G and 13G servers only use Express or Enterprise licensing. Lifecycle Controller includes managed and persistent storage that embeds systems management features and Operating System device drivers directly on the server, thus eliminating the media-based system management tools and utilities traditionally needed for systems management.
Lifecycle Controller reduces the time and number of steps taken to accomplish tasks, reduces potential for error, enhances server and application uptime and security, and results in more efficient IT management. Developed on the industry standard Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) platform and Web Services for Management (WSMan) interfaces, Lifecycle Controller provides an open environment for console integration that also allows for custom scripting for Lifecycle Controller
. Leading systems management consoles (e.g., Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager
, BMC Software BladeLogic® Operations Manager, Symantec Deployment Solution, Dell Management Console) have integrated Dell Lifecycle Controller, thus offering its features and capabilities to existing infrastructures where those consoles are installed.
Why did Dell develop Lifecycle Controller?
When Dell examined common management tasks and the inefficiencies associated with them, we discovered something interesting – it wasn’t the tools that were making management tasks take so long, it was how they were delivered. The most common activities like provisioning, deploying, and updating required multiple tools, multiple forms of media and scouring the Web for the latest enablement tools, including drivers and firmware. This traditional delivery model resulted in inefficient use of time, a potential for error and potential exposure to security risks. The following videos will give you a real insight into the power of the "Lifecycle Controller".
Lifecycle Controller - Local GUI:
Lifecycle controller supports local 1-to-1 system management tasks via a graphical user interface (GUI) on the servers KVM for operating system install, updates, configuration, and for performing diagnostics, on single, local servers. This eliminates the need for multiple option ROMs for hardware configuration.
Lifecycle Controller - Web Services API:
Remote Services are standards-based interfaces that enable consoles to integrate, for example, bare-metal provisioning and one-to-many OS deployments, for servers located remotely. Dell’s Lifecycle Controller takes advantage of the capabilities of both USC and Remote Services to deliver significant advancement and simplification of server deployment.
Lifecycle Controller Serviceability aims at simplifying server re-provision and/or replacing failed parts and thus reduces maintenance downtime
Rack Installation and Power Planning
Use the Dell Capacity Planner
to get configuration based estimates for power, cooling, airflow, and weight as well as other useful information about Dell Enterprise products.
Rack Installation Instructions — Sliding Rails
Rack Installation Instructions — Static Rails
Dell OpenManage Power Center
Improve your ability to monitor and manage power usage and energy consumption across your entire data center with Dell OpenManage Power Center, Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) Enterprise and Intel Node Manager.
Updates, OS Installation and System Management
Firmware and Driver Updates
General Rules for updating drivers and Firmware:
- Compare the Driver and Firmware revisions installed on your server against the latest version on www.dell.com/support a large jump in revisions may not be possible without going through some intermediary updates (Check the README).
- Some updates can take considerable time to complete.
- The Bootable Update Image is a simple way to update all firmwares of a single server, e.g. before first OS installation.
- In most cases firmware can be rolled back.
- Updates rarely fail, there are a number of checks performed prior to writing a new firmware image to a component.
- If you are unsure about the components that shipped with your system and you don't have "OpenManage Server Administrator" installed, an easy way to determine the original configuration is to go to www.dell.com/support, enter your Service TAG in the Product Search field.
Under the "System Configuration Tab" you will see a list of components that shipped with your server.
- The drivers and downloads TAB contains a full list of Firmware and Drivers and their criticality.
- If you have problems accessing the drivers and downloads section, as an alternative you can try using downloads.dell.com.
Operating System Installation
The Lifecycle Controller provides a simple way of installing a supported Operating System onto your PowerEdge server.
Find detailed information in the dedicated knowledge base article How to Install the Operating System on Dell PowerEdge Servers .
Dell OpenManage is a collection of software developed by Dell that helps you discover, monitor, manage, patch, and deploy to Dell server (OpenManage can also monitor networking and storage as well). OpenManage is useful to administrators that need to manage multiple servers because it allows them to easily view the status of all of their servers and manage them from a single workstation.
Find detailed information in the dedicated knowledge base article How to install and configure the local and remote system management options