By Kareem Fazal and Virender Sharma of the Dell iDRAC team 

The new 12th generation Dell PowerEdge servers offer Auto Dedicated NIC feature in iDRAC7 version 1.30.30 (links can be found on the idrac page in the Relase Summary section) which helps the customers to automatically configure the iDRAC7 network connection.

Many customers route iDRAC management traffic via the shared LOM to save on ports and limit cables.  Dell offers additional flexibility in this case via the Auto Dedicated NIC feature, as described in this paper.  Now, customers can connect a crash cart directly to the dedicated NIC port, and the DRAC will automatically switch from shared mode to dedicated mode, and then back again once the cable has been removed.

In iDRAC versions below 1.30.30, selection of iDRAC network connection could either be a dedicated NIC port or a shared LOM port. To use the dedicated port, it was necessary to change the setting via the iDRAC web interface or command line, as well as physically connect a cable to the server.

With latest iDRAC versions 1.30.30 and above, the Auto Dedicated NIC feature is available as an enhanced functionality and does not change the existing behavior of manual NIC selection. User intervention to change the NIC setting using the iDRAC7 web interface or a command line is not needed as Auto Dedicated NIC switches to the correct network automatically.

 Requirements:

  • Feature is offered on PowerEdge rack and tower servers only (not on blades)
  • iDRAC7 Enterprise license is required to enable the feature
  • For PowerEdge rack and tower servers 500 series and below (R520, R420, T420, R320, T320), add-in card is required to have the Dedicated NIC port.
    • If iDRAC7 Enterprise license is ordered at point of sale, then add-in card comes along with the server.
    • If iDRAC7 Enterprise license is ordered later than point of sale, then add-in card will need to be ordered.

This feature is disabled by default. It can be enabled using following interfaces:

  • iDRAC Web Interface
  • RACADM
  • WSMAN
  • HII

Following matrix describes the behavior when Auto Dedicated NIC is either on or off, plus the different NIC selections and their failover modes: 

Auto Dedicated NIC

 

NIC Selection = Dedicated

 

NIC Selection = Shared

 

 

 

Failover

No Failover

Failover

No Failover

On

 

Dedicated up

Not Possible

Dedicated

Dedicated

Dedicated

Dedicated Down

Not Possible

Dedicated

Selected or failover NIC

Selected NIC

Off

 

Dedicated up

Not Possible

Dedicated

Selected or failover NIC

Selected NIC

Dedicated Down

Not Possible

Dedicated

Selected or failover NIC

Selected NIC

By using this feature, customers have the flexibility to route server management traffic as needed—quickly and effortlessly. More information on the Auto Dedicated NIC can be found in this paper on Dell Tech Center. Additional information on iDRAC and Lifecycle Controller: Click here.