The traditional approach to server systems management has been to install an agent in the server’s operating system, and proceed from there. These "in-band" agents were required to connect to various platform components to be able to discover, configure, update, and monitor the device. However, beginning with iDRAC7, and continued in iDRAC8 and the new iDRAC9, this requirement is drastically reduced because iDRAC’s "bare-metal" or out-of-band management capabilities became quite extensive.

As Dell EMC has added more improvements to iDRAC9 and the 14th generation of PowerEdge servers, the gap between in-band and out-of-band management capabilities has become narrow. There are, however, still some functions that require the use of the in-band agent—either the lightweight iDRAC Service Module (iSM) or OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA.) This paper discusses the unique iDRAC9 architecture & integration with vendors for peripherals such as network cards. This paper also includes a detailed functionality chart, making it easy to identify supported functions for each type of management to help IT admins transition from in band to out of band solutions.