Designed to provide remote management capabilities and power control functions for Dell™ PowerEdge™ M1000e modular blade enclosures, the Dell Chassis Management Controller (CMC) offers a hot-pluggable systems management solution for monitoring and accessing system component information and status. In addition to features such as CMC Alert, remote power management, and security management this discussion will focus on new CMC features.

Technical Community - Background Reading

Chat Transcript

Dell-ScottH Today’s topic is on the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade Chassis Management Controller (CMC). We have Roger Foreman, product manager on the CMC, joining us to lead the discussion
Dell-Roger Afternoon
Dell-ScottH Everyone say hello to Roger. Roger please give us an introduction, and you have the floor
Dell-KongY Roger that ;)
Dell-Roger Well, product manager in Dell-speak means that I organize the requirements that are sent to our development teams doing CMC firmware. So this afternoon please take the opportunity to add to your wish list of features that you'd like to see in future releases
Dell-ScottH So that means we can tell you everything that needs to go into the CMC, and you'll make it happen, right? :-) The CMC 2.10 firmware came out mid-October and added some great functionality. See all of it here: t&osl=en&deviceid=13793&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=12&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=2&libid=51&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&fileid=350708
Dell-Roger Just a matter of time though
Dell-ScottH When and what is in the upcoming release?
Dell-Roger The 2.2 release just went to the Web today, and should be available soon
Dell-ScottH One of my favorites in the 2.10 release is remote file share; we did a demo here:
Dell-Roger The corresponding Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) 2.2 is already out there
johnnyheavens Wish list item: Be able to manage and configure any from the get-go—PowerConnect M8024, for example, is a view-only type of thing
Dell-ScottH And keep an eye on this page for updated demos on the 2.2 release soon:
Dell-Roger @johnnyheavens, yes, have heard that before. Reality is, though, that it takes considerable effort for our teams
Dell-Roger So Scott, are you going to do a new video walk-through?
asudduth Thanks, Scott. Meant to get in right at 3, but time got a way from me!
Dell-ScottH Yes, to Roger
erson On my wish list is to be able to go directly to each blade’s virtual console directly from the CMC
Dell-ScottH Would like to have them up before Friday when Dell shuts down for the holidays
Dell-Roger Expanding on the remote file share demo, what Scott did was use it to update multiple blades at one time
johnnyheavens Well, great efforts are generally greatly noticed, Roger :)
erson That was a nice demo
Dell-ScottH Thanks, I always have more fun with the ones I get to hack around on
Dell-Roger A couple of comments on the remote file share demo, though, if you're going to try it at home…
Dell-ScottH Roger, what are some of the new features of 2.2?
Dell-Roger The first is to look for errors in the iDRAC log, as that's where it will show wrong paths, passwords, etc.
Dell-ScottH And Erson, I'm with you on the virtual console directly from CMC. Would also be nice if you could just change to another blade right from the virtual console interface
Dell-Roger Three big things in the 2.2 release that just came out: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) authentication, PK authentication for iDRAC, and one-click remote virtual console launch
Dell-ScottH @roger, yeah that one bit me while troubleshooting
erson Scotth, yeah, that would be awesome
Dell-ScottH Oh, Erson, looks like you just got what we asked for
mcowger Any plans to introduce better third-party authentication for the CMC? Something that’s not Microsoft dependent?
erson Great
neomag00 Does the CMC have the capability (that is, circuits) to access KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) on blades without iDRAC and the baseboard management controller (BMC) getting involved?
mcowger Something more standards based—Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System (TACACS), Radius, something
Dell-Roger Can't switch between sessions, but you can launch the viewer directly from the CMC, or you can bookmark the URL
erson Whoop-de-doo, Lifecycle Controller 1.3 is out!
erson Dell-Scotth, smack the marketing department for me...pretty hard, and the iDRAC 2.20 as well, nice
Dell-Roger Still doing the iDRAC for the hardware access, so it's in the path
johnnyheavens Wish list: more power management on blades from the CMC. On PowerEdge M805 servers, for example, we have to change BIOS settings to keep the blades connected in VMware vCenter while doing initial configuration or the blade seems to sleep
Dell-ScottH @erson, marketing loves to get the message out before the downloads are ready. They seem to think it "builds" demand. :-) Hard to explain to them how that is wrong
Dell-Roger Yes, CMC is also going to implement LDAP for generic and non-Microsoft authentication. Won't be out until a future release though
mcowger I meant not LDAP either. LDAP isn't a standard for network-type device authentication; Radius, Kerberos, LDAP are
erson Dell-Scotth, building the hype is understandable; saying that you can download something when you clearly can't only builds frustration (not that I would ever be frustrated though) :)
mcowger Has anyone figured out how to make a blade light blink (for identification) from the CMC?
erson Hmmm, I think I upgraded the last CMC by choosing both CMCs and then did the upgrade just to see what happened. No warning message at all, and the entire chassis rebooted after the upgrade. People in the office wondered about the airplane-taking-off noise that was coming from the server room :)
Dell-ScottH @mcowger, click Servers and then the Troubleshooting tab to blink all or selected blades
erson Can we hope that CMC 2.20 is out on the Web this week?
Dell-Roger CMC should be out too
mcowger Cool, thanks, Scotth
Dell-ScottH Here's a real-time pic for you too: :-)
Dell-Roger @erson, so if you've been waiting for Lifecycle Controller 1.3, are you planning on doing some Web Services for Management (WS-Management) scripting to run it through its paces?
erson Dell-Roger, it's not on the PowerEdge M1000e page yet
mcowger Now, another one: sure would be nice to be able to see the link lights that are on the pass-through switches in the CMC. Right now I have to have remote hands go look at it
erson Dell-Roger, nope, no plans for that. Mcowger, I'm totally with you on that one
Dell-ScottH Not sure if there's any intelligence in the pass throughs to get that information; how about a webcam?
mcowger Cameras are not permitted in secure data centers :) Not to mention, I'd need 20 or 30 webcams :)
erson Oh, and can you make a fan-less version that I can have on my office desk? :)
neomag00 SAS 70 stuff man, no cams?
Dell-ScottH So 2.2 should hit any minute. We can expect Erson to keep hitting refresh, and he'll let us know the second it appears :-)
erson I already am...
Dell-ScottH Knew it
Dell-Roger At least that keeps my download counts high, showing customer demand
erson What about that dual CMC upgrade that reboots the chassis without any warning of any kind?
Dell-ScottH So that seems like an oversight. Roger, can you take that back?
erson I'm in a good position to try that again as soon as 2.2 pops up
Dell-Roger @erson, sounds like a bug, but I can ask the team what they know
Dell-ScottH Erson, you mind capturing screenshots and sending over?
Dell-Roger Will post my comment to the transcript page in a couple of days
jefferson I haven't had any problems with the entire chassis rebooting when I've done dual CMC upgrades
erson Dell-Scotth, dude, I'll even camtasia it... :)
Dell-ScottH Cool
erson Been playing with it recently and made video manuals for our customers; been using it to record the steps in my Hyper-V guide as well
jefferson Are there any plans to allow staggered startup of blades in a chassis? With rack-mount servers I can control boot order through network-managed power distribution units (PDUs), but I can't figure out how to do anything similar in our blade chassis
Dell-ScottH Roger, for those that haven't had a chance with CMC 2.10, you want to cover some of the biggest new features?
Dell-ScottH @jefferson, like on an unscheduled reboot of the whole chassis?
jefferson @Dell-Scotth, right. If for some reason the entire chassis looses power and needs to start backup from cold, I'd like to be able to control which order the blades boot in. (As I said, I've got that capability with regular rack servers through manageable power strips)
erson Check the fixes section here: &deviceid=13793&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=12&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=2&libid=51&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&fileid=350708
Dell-ScottH Seems like a reasonable request; Roger, I think you might get more to-dos out of this than expected :-)
Dell-Roger @jefferson, will take that back for a future release. Earliest would be end of next year though
erson For 2.10 and 2.11
jefferson @Scotth, Roger, thanks
Dell-Roger Definitely, welcome the suggestions. For CMC 2.1, the general areas of new features were networking, authentication, and error logging. For networking we implemented IP version 6 (IPv6) and virtual LAN (VLAN)
erson FlexAddress Media Access Control (MAC) for iDRAC was nice
Dell-Roger The VLAN scenario is interesting in that it would allow a hosting service to give their customers access to iDRAC on a blade while still maintaining a direct secure connection through the CMC
Dell-ScottH One of the things I really liked is quick deploy of the iDRACs where I select a starting IP and it populates all the iDRACs with a click. Here’s a screenshot I just took:
Dell-Roger Not just IP but also local accounts if you want as well. The other big area of improvement in 2.1 was single sign on, smart card authentication, and PK authentication for scripting
erson Scotth, agreed, used that a couple of weeks ago
Dell-Roger PK authentication is interesting in that you don't need to embed or enter the user and password; it's based on having shared certificates
Dell-Roger Anyone out there using PK authentication yet? Might be a good demo or paper for you, Scott
Dell-ScottH Or for you. :-) You know how much I love certificates
Dell-Roger Other suggestions or feature requests for future releases?
jefferson Anything you already have planned for 2.3, 3.0, or whatever you'll call the next release you can tell us about?
erson Scotth, can Dell sponsor a new F5 key for me, this one is starting to give up :)
erson Jefferson, great question
Dell-Roger @jefferson, I'd just get in trouble if I leaked something now
jefferson Figured as much, but it was worth asking
Dell-ScottH Lol!
erson Nah, Scotth just deletes it from the chat log :)
neomag00 Odds are if it has a smiley face in the text it stays
Dell-ScottH Maybe if Roger leaves it laying on my desk
erson Dell-Roger, will an NDA give us anything?
Dell-ScottH @neomag, ::big grin ::big grin ::big grin ::big grin ::big grin ::big grin
Dell-Roger NDA will get you the good stuff. Just have to go through the sales teams
erson Okay, the NDA seems to have a lesser effect when it's a newbie sales rep in the Copenhagen office though :(
Dell-ScottH Okay, coming up on the hour. Any last requests you want to leave on Roger's lap? Keep an eye on the demos page for 2.2 demos
Dell-ScottH Roger, thanks so much for leading the discussion today
jefferson Which demo page?
erson Jefferson, on the chat front page:
Dell-Roger My pleasure
erson Dell-Roger, thanks a lot
asudduth Sorry, I didn't participate much—got busy over here. But looking forward to the new CMC release. :) Love the PowerEdge M1000e :)
Dell-ScottH Reminder: we are on vacation. The next chat will be in the new year!
jefferson @erson, Scotth, thanks
Dell-ScottH Thanks all!
Dell-ScottH Appreciate Tiger Woods coming out today :-)
Tiger_Woods Thanks for the great updates on the CMC; nice distraction for me!
erson Hoping to see PowerEdge R810, PowerEdge R910, and PowerEdge M910 on CES or even announced—make that released
Dell-ScottH Oh, you don't want to see the announcement and not be able to order? :-) Alright, I'm out. Thanks to all again. Happy holidays and stuff
erson I just want to get the manual so that I can read it
Dell-Roger Happy Holidays
erson Same to you. Hopefully, Intel doesn't wait too long to release the new Xeon MP—would be a shame if they pushed it even past CeBIT
neomag00 I’m looking forward to putting virtual machine workloads on Nehalem to see how quick connects hold up
erson Oh, the manual for Lifecycle Controller 1.3 is already out
neomag00 Later, guys. Have a good holiday break