We will be covering the hardware management features of the M1000E chassis, including the CMC and iDRAC interfaces. Our special guest is Roger Foreman - Product Marketing Manager for the Chassis Management Controller and godfather of DellTechCenter.com

Technical Community - Background Reading

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    Chat Transcript

    Dell-ScottH I'd like to introduce you all to Roger Foreman - he is the Product Manager on the Dell CMC (Chassis Management Control).
    Dell-ScottH Also he is what I call the "godfather" of Dell TechCenter ... was his grand vision in the beginning.
    Dell-ScottH Without further pomp and circumstance, I present to you ... Roger Foreman! - Godfather of the Dell TechCenter!
    Dell-ScottH Welcome Roger ... please start us with a few kind words.
    erson First question is obviously... what happened to the one-to-many update feature?
    Dell-RogerF One-to-many got deferred at the last minute. Didn't meet our quality standards. But it will come back.
    Dell-ScottH Of course all these user's viewed the demo before I pulled that part :-)
    erson It looked awesome.
    erson Especially compared to what your competition offers.
    Dell-ScottH I hate not having rehearsed, and not knowing the answer, but can you give any indication as to when it might reappear?
    virtualhints Will all systems currently under maintenance/support receive the update, or only new systems moving forward?
    Dell-RogerF Really good stuff. Video even made it to YouTube where a customer saw it and asked his sales rep where to get the download.
    erson virtualhints: Free update if you own a Dell PowerEdge M1000e.
    Dell-ScottH Completely Free!
    sdimas I saw the YouTube CMC 3.0
    ceri Free update if you don't too...
    Dell-RogerF Looking at the first release next year for it to see the light of day.
    Dell-ScottH For those reading the transcript - or new to the topic - here's the demo overview by Roger of the Dell CMC 3.0 - http://www.delltechcenter.com/video/9755124/dell+poweredge+m1000e+blade+cmc+3.0+new+gui
    virtualhints Dell-scotth: Thanks.
    erson I very much like the overhaul of the management interfaces.
    Dell-RogerF @erson Thanks!
    Dell-RogerF Also more functionality as the pages are dynamic now too.
    Dell-ScottH I'm happy to see all the interfaces getting an update, looked too much like OS/2 to me :-)
    ceri Any chance we will ever see BIOS and CPLD (complex programmable logic device) updates possible via CMC (I don't think they are yet - still on CMC 2.20 right now)?
    lopta Wait, you mean it's not OS/2? >:-)
    Dell-RogerF Well, the guy that came up with the OM (OpenManage) style guide did come from IBM.
    erson One thing that I think is lacking with regards to the Dell PowerEdge M1000e is a good way to show the connection between the different I/O ports to the respective server. I believe this is something most people owning such a system have trouble with.
    Dell-RogerF The goal for update is to leverage Dell Lifecycle Controller to enable updating of everything that it can update in the blade - BIOS, PERC, etc.
    Dell-ScottH @erson - you are thinking something of a more graphical nature?
    Dell-RogerF Unfortunately though, CPLD is actually a piece of hardware that needs to be "flashed" by itself. The engineers keep telling me that it doesn't need to be updated.
    erson You can always look in the WWN/MAC table to check for MACs and match your corresponding NICs and you can match the server slots against the port number on each I/O-module but I would like something more.
    erson Dell-rogerf: which is interesting since the Dell CMC v3.0 update readme.txt says that for example CPLD v1.03 is recommended for Dell PowerEdge M610 and Dell PowerEdge M710.
    Dell-ScottH Hate to fuel the fire, but funny how something that doesn't need updating is available on the support site download page ... yeah, yeah I know I work here.
    erson And that update has only been released for the Dell PowerEdge M610 and not for the Dell PowerEdege M710.
    Dell-RogerF Understand the issue with I/O mapping. Discussed the need for a GUI just this morning in fact.
    ceri @rogerf Aha. That's why repository manager wouldn't put the CPLD update on an ISO for me this morning?
    erson And Roopa also said that it wasn't needed and was only shipped with new systems.
    erson So why release the update for Dell PowerEdge M610 and not for Dell PowerEdge M710?
    ceri Dell PowerEdge M610s I got delivered this week have CPLD 1.0.3 on already, so that's something.
    ceri I actually have no idea what CPLD is. Enlighten me?
    Dell-RogerF Don't know the reason for this revision of CPLD, but can check and post back later this week.
    erson Not that I must have the latest version but the wording in the read-me made me think that it was something that I should upgrade to make CMC v3.0 as happy as possible.
    ceri CPLD version uncertainty is what's holding us back from deploying CMC 3.0.
    Eric_Szewczyk Will DMC (Dell Management Console) still have the same abilities to update the CMC 3.0?
    Dell-ScottH For those reading the transcript and looking for CMC download -- here you go -- 

    <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed / replaced from this post by Dell>

    Dell-ScottH For those interested in CPLD discussion, please continue reading :-)
    ceri :-D
    erson Scotth: Yeah, something more graphical. Just show me a picture of the blade and list the I/O-modules and show me what external ports are connected to that particular blade.
    ceri Any tie between OMSA (Open Manage Server Administrator) and CMC versions? I'm guessing not, naturally.
    virtualhints ceri: Complex programmable logic device. Basically a specialized processor that can be programmed to do what you need in hardware.
    Dell-RogerF No tie between OMSA and CMC versions. We are adding a quick link to launch OMSA from the CMC though.
    virtualhints To fill in the gaps in my memory, yes. :)
    Dell-RogerF With respect to DMC, no change to how it manages CMC or blades.
    ceri Thanks Roger. From an update POV, we're obviously being pushed to VMWare ESXi now, so anything I can do via CMC saves me having to teach ops to "jailbreak" it.
    erson To extend the new graphical interface, I would like to see a picture of the inside of every blade as well. With mouse over to identify RAM modules, CPUs, mezzanines, hard drives, and so forth.
    sdimas Is there a plan to create one console to manage multiple Dell PowerEdge M1000 chassis?
    ceri Oh, and I would really like it to be able to identify the CPU without the blade being powered on. And the moon on a stick.
    Dell-RogerF We've looked at adding the graphical pictures of the components. While pretty, I think there's more value in functionality like blade BIOS update and configuration.
    jefferson Are there any plans for power stagger from cold start so you can put delays on blades etc. (e.g., to ensure some blades wait to allow others to boot first for dependencies or perhaps to allow I/O modules time to fully boot before servers) like you can do with smart-PDUs (power distribution unit) and rack servers?
    Dell-RogerF Plans for all of the above. My priorities so far are group operations like BIOS update and more chassis in a view. What do you all think would be the most important?
    ceri @rogerf Can you expand on "more chassis in a view"?
    erson High on my wish list would be a virtual console in which I could switch between servers.
    virtualhints switchable virtual console++.
    ceri Yep, having to drop into iDRAC (Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller) is a little cumbersome.
    virtualhints Better Linux support. :)
    Dell-RogerF @ereson like a multi-screen view?
    erson Dell-rogerf: The one-to-many-update like in the video should be first priority.
    virtualhints (i.e.,: Linux desktop clients)
    ceri Something like the iKVM (Integrated keyboard, video and mouse) broadcast mode maybe.
    virtualhints Like when you have a physical keyboard/mouse plugged in, CTRL+CTRL pulls up blade menu.
    erson Dell-rogerf: Ability to switch would be more important than multi screen but sure, wouldn't mind multi screen :)
    erson Just like virtualhints said.
    virtualhints Or drop down menu.
    erson Whatever works.
    ceri Yes, what they said.
    Dell-RogerF @ceri CMC 3.0 will remove the need to launch iDRAC on the way to a console session. Actually hidden in 2.2 if you look at the server overview panel.
    ceri @rogerf ok, neat ;-)
    Dell-RogerF Good suggestions on switching between consoles. Ideas I hadn't considered.
    Dell-RogerF What else?
    ceri @jefferson I think the I/O Modules already have power priority over the blade.
    ceri In fact, I'm sure they do.
    jefferson Ok - I just have pass through on mine, so I don't have that issue. I just know some rack switches take multiple minutes to boot which could be problematic for servers that want network at boot time.
    Dell-RogerF Chassis "infrastructure" including IOM (I/O Modules), fans, etc. gets priority over blades.
    Dell-ScottH How often you guys reboot/boot a chassis? should be never.
    erson I haven't rebooted my Chassis since I started it.
    virtualhints The Dell PowerEdge m1000e is many orders of magnitude faster than the Dell PowerEdge 1855 Chassis, but faster response time is always better...
    jefferson Should be never - but we've had a couple datacenter wide power issues.
    ceri I've done cable pull tests to check that the right thing happens, but not once in operation.
    Dell-RogerF The "power issues" is where I've seen the issue where everything tries to come back up at once.
    Dell-RogerF Biggest power consumption on a blade turns out to be the memory test so would be nice to either limit the spike or stagger the testing among blades.
    mfredbo What about auto power on blades after a power outage is there a setting for that in CMC 3.0?
    ceri I'd like to be able to get at individual blade power consumption via SNMP; I think some headway was made on that in CMC 3.0 - could you comment?
    erson I could imagine some people would like to pretty graphs over power usage. Or the ability to export it into a nice format to graph it in Microsoft Excel.
    Dell-RogerF @mfredbo Auto power on is a setting on the blade itself.
    ceri @rogerf ok then a knob in the CMC to twiddle for that too please.
    ceri Just infer it from the current power priority settings would be good.
    erson How do I see in the CMC if DPSE is working?
    Dell-RogerF @erson Can I export the power data to Syslog for you to grab and graph?
    ceri @rogerf I need it in the SNMP (simple network management protocol) MIB (management information bases) really
    ceri @erson Working, or enabled?
    virtualhints Does the CMC support centralized Syslog?
    Dell-RogerF The only true indicator for DPSE is to see that it's taken a PSU (power supply unit) offline. But that's really only applicable on lightly loaded, i.e partially populated chassis.
    erson you can check if it's enabled in Chassis Overview --> Power --> Configuration
    erson Dell-rogerf: that would apply in my case.
    Dell-RogerF Output to Syslog was in CMC 2.1 last summer.
    ceri @virtualhints Yes. Up to 3 or 4 Syslog servers.
    Dell-RogerF @ceri Ok, got the request for power via SNMP.
    virtualhints I really should look through CMC more after updates...
    erson oh yes, the Chassis Location string can't use åäö.
    ceri Oh, I'd like to be able to power off I/O modules rather than just reset them.
    Dell-RogerF Like virtual reseat for IOMs?
    ceri Although that is super low priority and I can't even remember why.
    erson ceri: good one.
    ceri Virtual reseat would be useful, but actual power on/off would be good. Currently you can only power cycle.
    erson Firmware update for I/O modules from CMC would also be awesome.
    erson Can imagine that would be kind a hard though.
    ceri Basically when testing failure modes, I had to physically pull them as they were rebooting too quickly.
    ceri There's a complaint for you ;-)
    Dell-RogerF Virtual reseat to a blade is actually turning off the power. So that's why I was using that terminology.
    ceri Some way of disabling them. Call it what you like ;-)
    erson I actually had a blade hang so hard that I couldn't fix it remotely be using reset, power off/on, reseat from CMC. When I reseated it physically it kicked into action again.
    Dell-ScottH On/Off seems simple enough.
    Dell-RogerF We're in discussion about Firmware update for IOMs. But they need to implement part of the "lift" so it won't happen until the next generation or so.
    erson Next generation of what?
    erson Chassis, CMC update or?
    Dell-RogerF Next generation of the IOMs themselves.
    Dell-RogerF Just a longer timeline to make happen.
    ceri @erson I think I have an EOL (end of life) date for the Chassis.
    erson I'm guessing 2013.
    Dell-RogerF No EOL on my radar. Engineers keep finding ways to make it go another generation. Current "promise" is three generations 10, 11, and 12.
    erson Feels like the Dell PowerEdge M1000e has a lot of capacity if we're talking bandwidth.
    Dell-ScottH @erson, things would definitely not be the same without all your input ...which we really appreciate and I say that with no sarcasm.
    erson I've actually pondered the idea of getting a Dell PowerEdge M1000e for my upcoming server room in my house.
    ceri I was gobsmacked, double-checked twice and it's all official in our paperwork as of this morning, so now you have to ;-p
    erson ceri: Well, that is warranty EOL... that doesn't mean there's not a new Chassis within a couple of years.
    Dell-ScottH Coming up on the end of the hour and Roger's time ... I know he appreciates the input and feedback.
    ceri @erson That's true at least, but all the same to me.
    erson I'm a bit surprised that Dell hasn’t even released a small Chassis with the same server form factors.
    Dell-ScottH Roger any final words to add?
    Dell-RogerF Really do appreciate the questions and feedback.
    erson Recommendation in CMC read-me, out for Dell PowerEdge M610 and not for Dell PowerEdge M710 and so on.
    erson Like I've said before. A better joint launch of these major updates for the blade platform would be much appreciated. Make a thing out it and launch everything at the same time.
    erson This time the CMC was released first and then recommended BIOSes and iDRACs was released some time later on and most recently the CPLD for Dell PowerEdge M610.
    erson Forgot to ask Roger to get a Windows Phone 7 App for Dell CMC released :)
    ceri Dell CMC on Google Android, yeah ;-)