SystemsEdge was a blog that ran from October 2007 - September 2008. It is now known as the Dell TechCenter blog, which resides on the Dell Community site.

On the Power"Edge" of Systems Management
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Blade Config Is Easy
11/3/2008 - Comments

I spent part of today getting a new Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade chassis up and running. We've been limping along on a beta chassis for a while and finally found some time to move to the new one.

Sometimes I forget how easy we make things. I used to work at IBM and did many things around that blade solution. When I brought a new IBM blade chassis up I had to run a crossover cable from my laptop to the management module of the blade, and it would boot up with a default IP address. So then I had to configure the laptop to be on the same subnet and then reconfigure the management module to be on the "real" network. Quite a pain.

On the Dell Blade chassis, I get access to the Chassis Management Controller (CMC) right through the KVM. When you hit PRNT SCRN to change blades the CMC shows up as an option. It's just like you were telnet'd or ssh'd into the CMC. I can configure the IP right from the keyboard. Soooo much easier.

Here's a picture of the CMC in the KVM interface and the single command I had to run to configure the CMC IP address.

11-3-08 - Blade Config is Easy - Comments - The Dell TechCenter

Scott - Comments
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SCVMM 2008 RTM
10/30/2008 - Comments

Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 was released to manufacturing last week. Todd downloaded it and will have some findings on the new version posted on his blog soon.

I've been working with one of our folks in PG to help put out some more demos on SCVMM 2008. They should be up and available in the next few weeks. We did some demos with the beta version that you can see here.

I was pleased with the ease of use in the beta version. I'm hoping to see much more stability in the RTM version. I'll let you know once I have the new blade chassis up and running with the new PowerEdge M905 blades, which will also be used for some Dell Management Console (DMC) testing as I've gotten my hands on the latest code drop for that beta.


Scott - Comments
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OM 5.5
10/22/2008 - Comments

OpenManage 5.5 is available for download from the support site. Here's a link that will take you to the downloads for the Dell PowerEdge 2950. This page will help if you are new to OpenManage and need help in figuring out what to download.

If you need the full-blown Systems Management Tools and Documentation DVD, here’s a quick tip: you can use any Dell Service Tag for the download—it doesn't have to be a Server System. I use my laptop service tag. :-)


Scott - Comments
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DMC Reporting
10/15/2008 - Comments

Still creating more content and demos over at the Dell Management Console (DMC) beta site. We’re trying out some of the reporting functionality. Here's a screenshot of one of the reports showing the Dell PowerEdge Server model types.

If you're interested in joining the beta site, let me know.

10-15-08 - DMC Reporting - Comments - The Dell TechCenter

Scott - Comments
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DMC Inventory Screenshots
10/10/2008 - Comments

The Dell Management Console (DMC) is actively collecting inventory information on our lab machines. Thought I'd take a minute to show you a screenshot of the Inventory Summary screen.

The icons are really nice looking.

10-08-08 - DMC Inventory Screenshots - Comments - The Dell TechCenter

Scott - Comments
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Testing DMC Beta
10/3/2008 - Comments

Getting around to playing with the new Dell Management Console (DMC), which is still in beta—can't say too much about when it will release. We are just finishing up the beta site that will have some demos and docs—and then code later to download.

One thing that was cool to see is a link to the Dell TechCenter OpenManage homepage from within the product! Kudos to all our followers and members out there that are making this a great destination site. If you didn't make it and find it valuable, I don't think we would have made it into the product. Pretty neat. I'll try to sneak as many screenshots out as I can, until they find us and tell me to stop. Heck, I probably won't even stop then...sometimes you just want to buck the system. :-)

DMC

So if you happen to be one of the three people that read my blog, send me a note and I'll sneak you into the back door of the DMC beta site when it goes live.

Scott - Comments
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My Thoughts on the vCloud
09/26/2008 - Comments

At the VMworld 2008 keynote there was an emphasis on vEverything, and in particular the vCloud. At the high level, the idea is a great one: be able to seamlessly move workloads in and out of the cloud, no matter where the resources exist in the cloud—my data center, your data center, their data center.

In my previous life I was lucky enough to work on the team at IBM that was engaged in the beginning of the TeraGrid project—a great project with a goal of uniting several academic HPC Cluster sites across the U.S., so they could share the computational resources.

We thought the biggest challenges would be of a technical nature, but it turned out the political and trust challenges far outweighed the technical challenges.

How can I trust my data is secure at your site? Who will have access to the data? I need admin rights on your site. How do we charge back for your hogging all the bandwidth with your project?

I would encourage Paul Maritz to meet with the leaders of TeraGrid and discuss those challenges and how they deal with those issues. It's the natural order of the world for us to learn from academia.

Scott - Comments
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VMworld 2008 Highlights
09/24/2008 - Comments

I had a great time out at VMworld 2008. Met up with some old friends and met many new ones this year—thanks to all the twittering.

I just uploaded all the photos from my phone and added them to Todd's album that he created for VMworld. If you look closely, you'll see several screen shots of the new vCenter product and some interesting ones on the layout of ESXi on the flash storage device.

The demo of the vAppSpeed was one of the coolest things I saw at the show.

Todd and I will discuss this demo and more in next week's chat session.

Scott - Comments
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VMworld Coverage
09/12/2008 - Comments

Todd and I will be covering the VMworld show next week. I've been spending much time over at our Virtual Exhibitor Booth on the VMworld.com site; that's why you haven't seen many updates from me over here lately. Funny how you talk about "spending time" at a virtual site, but that's really what it is when you get down to it -- where do you "hang out" on the web?

Same thing we've always done as human beings, just new media and different platform these days. They have even set up a virtual bar over at the VMworld.com Virtual Pavilion. Already had a few bar fights :-) ... and no I didn't start it!

So all next week, plan on following Todd and me on Twitter and at the virtual booth. That's where you'll find us hanging out -- well, maybe the Palms Hardwood Suite as well :-)

Roger will be pulling back some of the more interesting tweets and content. Ping us on Twitter, here, or email if you want some particular pics or information from the show.

Scott - Comments
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DUPs Script for ESX
09/05/2008 - Comments

I wrote a script a few months back to automate the deployment of Dell Update Packages, DUPs on ESX servers.

Got a message today that it might be broken with the new version of SUU.
Testing now. Will update here if it can be fixed, or if it is beyond repair.

** Update ** - Is working on my test server with ESX 3.5 and SUU 5.4.1 , anyone else experiencing problems ?

Scott - Comments
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ITA Mess
08/22/2008 - Comments

Shelley from the EBC, is always telling our customers, "It's great to have the tools, but if you don't have the people and processes in place, the tools will do you no good." .. very true

Being a lab, and one that reacts to test anything and everything from random tweets, I'd say our processes are pretty much shot, as evidenced from this ITA screen shot from my server :

ITA Mess

Looks like I'll be taking some time to apply some patches and updates ! Can anyone top this ?

Scott - Comments
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The Next Thing to Come in Dell Systems Management
08/04/2008 - Comments

I'm not so good at keeping secrets. Apparently neither are some others, or this guy either, or this one. As part of the activites around this new product, we need some volunteers to take a peek at the new product and provide some feedback. You might even be able to test it out on your own systems, depending on your enthusiasm and ability to PayPal me enough cash :-)

We're in the beginning stages of setting up a private site for the beta. Let me know if you'd like to join, and I'll forward details on getting you hooked in.

UPDATE - to request access for the beta - send a private message to this ID

Scott - Comments
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SCVMM 08 Demo
07/28/2008 - Comments

Just finished a demo on using Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 to initiate a VMware VMotion on ESX hosts. If you were following us on Twitter, you would already know that :-)

Scott - Comments
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We're Tweeting
07/22/2008 - Comments

In order to be as cool as you, we're now using Twitter at work. So if you want to know where we're headed for lunch, or what's going on in the lab, or what we're seeing at some of the geek conferences, come follow us !

DellTechCenter Twitter

Scott - Comments
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SCVMM 2008 and Hyper-V
07/18/2008 - Comments

We are gearing up for our Hyper-V management topic next week. Todd installed SCVMM 2008 on a system in the lab and handed my the keys. First thing I did was to add our VMware Virtual Center Server into SCVMM's console. That was very easy to do. I've posted some screenshots on this page.

Then I noticed when right clicking on a VM it had the "Migrate Virtual Machine" option ... you guessed it ! .. it performed a Vmotion through SCVMM. Pretty cool. But of course, there was no magic to Vmotion from the ESX host to the Hyper-V host :-(

I'm going to slap together a quick demo to show you what it looks like. Keep an eye out for it.

Scott - Comments
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Blade FlexAddress Demo
07/17/2008 - Comments

If you just see a big blank section on the screen, you are behind the Dell firewall. Go watch it at home :-) .. or download it from here.



Scott - Comments
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Blades and vfd
07/09/2008 - Comments

So yesterday I needed to update the bootcode on our Qlogic mezzanine cards on the blades in the lab. I downloaded the file, your standard zip file with some files and a readme. Instructions seem simple enough, "boot to DOS, Run update.bat" .....I don't know about you, but then I see something that simple, my mind starts racing. Where am I going to find a floppy ? .... where's my DOS boot disk ? ... will these files even fit on the floppy after I make it bootable ?

So no I can't find a floppy, I don't have a DOS boot disk, and of course these files are too big to fit ! ... I'm not even in the lab, I was working from my desk. I don't want to drive over there, I'm trying to save the environment ... well actually I'm just really lazy most days :-)

There's a handy little tool in my toolbox called "virtual floppy drive" .. aka vfd. I wasn't sure if the virtual media of the Blade iDRAC would see it, but it was worth a try. Loaded it up, formatted with the "Create MS-DOS startup disk", then attached to the Blade via virtual media, and it booted ! Then I simply changed virtual disks in vfd to an image with the Qlogic bootcode and ran update.bat. Worked like a charm.



Scott - Comments
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Follow the Yellow Brick Road ...
07/01/2008 - Comments

Our manager (somebody bug her about a profile pic !) was traveling the world couple weeks back and evangalising the TechCenter. She was explaining how she was "showing" the site to people, and I thought, "quick 10 minute demo of the site would be right".

It's easy enough for us to say, "we got that on the TechCenter", but the response is usually, "Where ?" Search is good, we're tagging with keywords, but people want to know where stuff is "happening" on the site. So I did a quick demo that is posted on the home page at the bottom right. It's YouTube - so if you're inside Dell - tuff luck -- until the Windows Media file gets linked in a few days. If you are new to our site, check it out, should help you follow our thought process as we put new content on the site.

And no, it's not a how-to-use-the-web demo, although my mom still needs help with that ! -- How frustrating is it to watch her single click when she should double-click and vice-versa? You know what I'm talking about :-)

Scott - Comments
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New Blade Demos
06/18/2008 - Comments

I wish we could send out a new Dell PowerEdge M1000E Blade chassis to everyone ! ... but I guess the next best thing are demos of the Chassis Management Controller and iDRAC in action. I know .. the YouTube versions embedded in the page are grainy, that's why there is a link to download the WMV file, which is better..

I've received requests to see more features. I'll keep plugging away and you tell me what else you'd like to see.

Scott - Comments
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TechCenter Shirt ? Anyone ?
06/10/2008 - Comments

tvieson is looking for some help. First person to provide a WORKING solution, gets a TechCenter shirt. You can see it proudly modeled here by myself and Roger ( I don't think Todd is wearing any clothes under that Wookiee costume ! ).

If you're a writer on the community, simply add your code to the page. If your a regular member, you can simply respond to the thread. You will then have proven yourself worthy and be elevated to writer status ! A shirt and more power, can't ask for much more.

Scott - Comments
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Blade Systems Management
06/06/2008 - Comments

Beginning next week our focus area for the TechCenter is around Blade Systems Management. I'll keep that link updated with the information that is most relevant to architecting and using a systems managment strategy in a Dell PowerEdge Blade environment. We've got several guest speakers in the wings ready to talk about some exciting new enhancements to the Dell PowerEdge M1000e Blade chassis that are quickly nearing release.

Join us in the weekly chats and if you can't make the chats, be sure to review the transcripts. If you have anything you want queued up for discussion, drop me a comment.

Scott - Comments
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The community works !
06/03/2008 - Comments

I tested my script for installing OMSA on VMware ESX several times on multiple machines, so when I see a thread titled - "I don't think this script is going to work very well" - I tend to say, "Arrrggghhh, what did I copy and paste wrong ?!"

Happily, stoggy, had pointed out a better way to perform the snmpd.conf changes that was much more elegant than my hack. My linux skills are slowly fading, and I hate to RTFM .... I like it better when the community works and we all gain in the knowledge.

Thanks !

Scott - Comments
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Ooooooooommmm ....
05/28/2008 - Comments

No this is not your relaxation chant for Friday afternoon, but I want to clue you in on what seems to be a little secret when you install the OMSA agent on a server. There was a thread on the TechCenter this week about thermal monitoring. Of course, I read too much into the question like I always do, and answered the wrong question at first , won't be the first or last time I do that :-)

The question boiled down to, "How can I read the temp probes of my server and write them to a file for trend analysis ?"

When you install OMSA it also installs a command line utility called "omreport". Open a CMD window and type omreport, from there you can walk the tree, or get this ... there is documentation ! I'm leaving the script writing part as an exercise for the reader. If you're in linux, it's easy enough to grep out what you need, slap to the end of a file and repeat. In the Windows world, it takes a bit more work. If one of you comes up with an elegant solution, post it on the OpenManage Scripts and Tools section, and I'll send you kudos, a badge, and a shirt !

And here's another little secret I'll let you in on, I didn't find out about the omreport CLI until I had worked with OMSA for three months !

Scott - Comments
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OpenManage Suggestions for Improvements
05/28/2008 - Comments

Thanks for all the cards and letters coming in on suggested improvements for OpenManage !

You haven't seen any responses on the threads yet, but that doesn't mean their isn't a flurry of activity going on behind the scenes. You can also "Vote" for any of the suggestions by clicking the yes/no boxes on the "Do you find this valuable ?" option. I'll keep poking people on this side, and you keep the suggestions coming.

Thanks !

Scott - Comments
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OMSA on ESX can be Scriptalicious
05/19/2008 - Comments

We've already got some great documentation from the Dell Virtualization Engineering team on how to install Dell OpenManage on VMware ESX. Definitely the first place to start.

Shelley, who talks to customers in the Executive Briefing Center daily, came by and mentioned that it would be great if we could package up the steps in the documentation. Write a script so customers could reuse it easily in their deployment processes and eliminate typo problems. DING DING DING, Thud (that's the sound of my head banging against the wall), of course that's what we should do !

For your viewing pleasure, I give you the Scriptalicious method for deploying OMSA on VMware ESX. Look through the code, about mid-way through you'll see me begging for help :-) ... of course I know all you admins just want to use what works and to heck with writing elegant code :-)

Scott - Comments
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Can I interest you in a tooth pulling ?
05/13/2008 - Comments

Quick raise your hand if you love to patch your servers ! .... anyone, anyone, Bueller, Bueller ? ... yeah, I didn't think so. It's something we have to do as admins. If you come from the HP or IBM management domain, I'm sure you've developed a methodology using their tools to bring some fun to this chore.

I've created a page on Patching Dell Servers. It will help you with the Dell terminology and the tools that we've developed to assist you in patch management of servers. If you have some tips and tricks in this arena, please feel free to add to the conversation. We've also got a place where you can show off any scripts or tricks you've developed.

Scott - Comments
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Starting Smart with Dell OpenManage
05/9/2008 - Comments

Yes, you should start smart with Dell OpenManage :-)

Scott - Comments
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Icons in ITA
05/7/2008 - Comments

Back in January I blogged about trying to figure out what the icons in the ITA interface meant. A few others on the Dell Community Forums had the same thoughts. I had the grand idea that we would all update a page and contribute our meanings to the icons. That quickly fell to the bottom of my list of things to do.

As I was looking through the DCF OpenManage section, I happened across this entry. Awesome, now it's as simple as reading the docs to interpret the icons.

I will hence forth call this the OpenManage Icon Interpreter.

Thanks documentation team !

Scott - Comments
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Dell OpenManage Suggestions for Improvements
05/6/2008 - Comments

Of course we want to hear from you ! We've already gotten some great email input and I should of thought of creating a page earlier, but that credit goes to Stuart that started a thread on the topic.

I created a page for Dell OpenManage Suggestions for Improvements. Now it is up to you to create the threads with the ideas. I'll point the Product Managers, Developers, and Development Managers in that direction. Many of them already lurk here, so don't be suprised if they respond directly to your thread.

Scott - Comments
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The Effect of Removing Server Power Supplies
05/1/2008 - Comments

We had a great chat session a few weeks back that took us down a strange path. A customer on the chat informed us that they remove one of the redundant power supplies from their servers in order to reduce power consumption. His original question was how to remove the Red-X from the ITA console so they would stop getting error messages.

Then the discussion turned into a, "how much can you save by doing this ?" discussion. Since both Todd an I were in the lab at the time, and we had the server in question and power monitoring equipment, we decided to do a quick gut check of the difference in power consumption. This first very "unscientific" test consisted of Todd yelling out numbers from behind the rack and me typing stuff in the chat box.

The discussion came up again with Fred. Fred talks to customers at the Briefing Center on a daily basis. Fred told me that he's had other customers who are doing the same thing.

That discussion prompted me to spend some more time in the lab and do a more thorough investigation of the differences. The results are about what we expected. Older servers have more inefficient power supplies, so they see a greater difference than newer servers with more efficient supplies. Also, as the workload increases, the percentage difference decreases because the inefficiences represent a larger portion of the measurement at idle workloads.

Can someone tell me where this trend started ?

Scott - Comments
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Monitoring HP Servers in Dell ITA
04/30/2008 - Comments

My thanks to Philip for kicking off the conversation and asking how we can use Dell IT Assistant to manage HP systems.

There are two Dell PowerSolutions articles that explain how this can be accomplished. I'm currently in the process of adding our HP DL385 system to my ITA Console. I'll be using these articles as reference and documenting the process along the way.

If you've done this before, please feel free to give me your two cents on the topic.

Scott - Comments
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Switching to Dell OpenManage
04/28/2008 - Comments

For the next three weeks, I'll be focusing on helping you switch from HP's systems management platform to the Dell OpenManage platform.

Now of course it would be mighty arrogant of me to think that we've replaced all your HP gear with Dell gear. So I'd like to hear from those of you that have a mixed environment. How are you handling management of the servers ? Have you setup separate management servers for each vendor type ? What resources have you found helpful in making the switch, or integrating the gear ?

I've create a landing page that you can bookmark to keep engaged in the conversation. Currently it has some resources to help point you in the right direction if you are new to Dell OpenManage.

Looking forward to your input.

Scott - Comments
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Welcome Dell IT !
04/25/2008 - Comments

Seems that Dell IT has found us. Luckily instead of wanting to shut us down, they want to contribute :-)

I truly believe that one of the best things about our TechCenter community is that you have access to all kinds of resources "on the inside". Where else in such a big company are you able to talk to the people that write the code, author the documents, and design the solutions ?

So thank you Dell IT for coming to our community and sharing your best practices. Dennis has already authored a great article on doing mass bios updates with Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager.

Greg is also lurking around here, he's a Microsoft MVP, and frequent contributor on myitforum.com

There's also Donnie, Angie and some others lurking around here. Keep an eye out for a new section on Microsoft System Center and I'm sure you'll find the rest of them hanging out.

Hey, can I get some more disk space for my Exchange mailbox now ? :-)

Scott - Comments
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Applying updates to older PowerEdge Servers
04/21/2008 - Comments

I was checking out the Dell Community Forums this morning, and following up on one of the threads I answered. Towards the end of the thread, it was pointed out that some of the older Dell PowerEdge servers don't have DVD drives, and the SUU image is larger than can fit on a CD image.

Luckily we have many tools in the toolbox to work our way around problems. You can use Content Manager from the SUU image to create a custom repository. The custom repository will include the SUU GUI and CLI tools to apply the patches, and you'll only have those updates that you selected, not the entire repository.

If you haven't had a chance to use Content Manager, I've got a demo you can check out.

Scott - Comments
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Script for applying Dell Server Updates in ESX 3.x
04/10/2008 - Comments

Doing the daily blog search and came across this entry on the Lone Sysadmin blog, talking about SUU 5.4 working with ESX 3.5. Turns out there's a little confusion as to what works from the SUU DVD on ESX. The DUPs (Dell Update Packages) install, but if you try to install them through the SUU CLI (./suu -u) it will error out.

The ./suu -c command however, does work. So doing a little scripting and with a little help on regular expressions from an old friend, I was able to write a script that will use SUU to do the comparison, and then apply the .BIN files.

Use at your own risk, and modify to your hearts content. If you have other scripts you've found useful in the OpenManage world, please feel free to contribute.

Scott - Comments
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Secret Decoder Ring
04/03/2008 - Comments

You ever find yourself trying to explain something and no matter what you say, it's just not coming across ? When that happens to me I try to find a frame of reference that is familiar to that person. Take Systems Management, for example. You can define terms, show some examples, talk about OpenManage, ITA, SBUU, ContentManager, but it usually never clicks until they can relate it to something they are already familiar with.

In the systems management space, you are usually talking to a someone that is familiar with the HP or IBM offerings.

So now I give you, totally free of charge, the Systems Management Secret Decoder Ring.

Systems Edge - The Dell TechCenter

Use it wisely and now you too can compress a 30 minute conversation to 2 minutes.

Scott - Comments
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MD3000i - Blinky Blinky
03/28/2008 - Comments

One of our PowerVault MD3000i's in the lab has been blinking at me for the last few weeks. I could stand it no longer and it moved to the top of my list of things to do.

The MD Storage Array Manager is easy enough to use and told me, "some I/O was lost for extended period, we collected diagnostic data". It further explained that all I needed to do was reset the diagnostic data bit with a simple command and the light would go off, "reset storageArray diagnosticData;"

Hmmm easy enough, I connected my serial cable to the box and logged into the console of the storage controller and tried to execute the command. The serial shell promptly told me, "reset is overloaded ...... undefined symbol : storageArray". Maybe I had a typo ? ... tried again, no joy.

A note was sent to an engineering contact, with a quick reply of "right command, wrong environment. Run it using the SMCLI command." So, if I just would of RTFM'd a little closer, it clearly states to run the command from the CLI.

Ohhhh the little things in life that bring us pleasure. Now the light is again glowing a soothing shade of blue. I once heard from someone that studies were done around calming affects of different colors. The results of those studies resulted in the shade of blue light that you now find on servers, storage, stereo equipment, and many other things. Of course it could also be an urban legend.

Scott - Comments
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Dell and Altiris
03/26/2008 - Comments

Todd and I had lunch with Jordan from Altiris last week. Discussed a few things in the pipe between our two companies. I haven't worked much with Altiris in the past, so I'm going to install the Altiris suite of products on my Dell PowerEdge 2970 that I'm using for my systems management server. I've got OM, the Microsoft Systems Center suite of products, VMware Virtual Center, and some other SNMP tools on that box. We'll see how nicely it all plays together on the same box. Definitely not recommended best practices, but I'm in a lab and that == freedom :-)

Working on that this week and will install the Altiris Management Suite for Dell Servers and see what that is all about.

And btw, if you've worked with Altiris much, I'm sure you're familiar with the Juice Community. Be sure to check out Dell's section on Juice.

Scott - Comments
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OpenManage 5.4 Released for Download Yesterday
03/19/2008 - Comments

OM 5.4 is released and available on the support download site. Look for everything dated 3/18/2008 and that will help you narrow down the search. Also see my post below - "Download OpenManage - or - How to Navigate the Maze to OpenManage Downloads" - if you're new to OpenManage.

Here's the link to the Systems Management downloads for the Dell PowerEdge 2950 as an example. Again, look for everything dated 3/18/2008.

- Scott - Comments
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ESX 3i on Dell PowerEdge 2950 III
03/13/2008 - Comments
I installed ESX 3i on one of our Dell PowerEdge 2950 III's in the lab to see what Virtual Center would show me from a management point of view. I pulled our latest image from our internal source, dd'd it to a USB flash drive. Then just slipped it into the internal USB port of the machine and changed the boot order and voila, ESX 3i was up and running.

Configured the IP address and that was it. I followed some simple instructions documented by our Dell Virtualization Engineering team (document link coming soon - once it's published) and the server showed up in my ITA console under "VMware ESX Servers".

One useful thing that ITA allows you to do is add a Favorite Application. You can define a .exe or a URL and then assign that to the ITA groups so it shows up when you right click. You can also pass parameters as arguments to give it more functionality. I added the Virtual Center Client, so I can right click on any of the VMware ESX hosts and launch the VC client. Here's what it looks like in the ITA console :



One thing I can't find is how to pass the userid and password as parameters. Searched a little on VMTN but couldn't find anything. If anybody knows, or has ideas, please let me know.

The Favorite Application feature is nice because you can launch any tool in your toolbox from a single pane of glass. I'm a fan of using the right tool for the right job, and this feature lets you launch the right tool. In the VC Client, there is some new information you can see from the Configuration tab. ESX 3i has the CIM layer built in so you can see some health status information from the server. Here's what we see with ESX 3i on the 2950 III :



So you can see Fan, Temp and Power Supply information. I'm getting my arms around when the status changes from Green to Yellow to Red, and where the alerts get generated. I'll followup with another blog entry on my findings.

We've also got another yet-to-be-named machine in the lab with ESX 3i, it apparently has more instrumentation, because here's the screen shot of what you see in its Health Status screen :

VESO Health Status screen on VMware ESX 3i

Scott - Comments
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Job Opening - Chat - and some Vacation
03/03/08 - Comments

Just got back from some vacation in Sydney Australia, great time highly recommend a trip. Didn't get to see any of the outback, have to do that next time. Mainly spent time in the city and on the beaches. Also made it to the Hunter Valley wine region. The whole coastal area really reminded me of the California coast.

Logged on this morning and saw that we have a job posting ! .... geez guys it was only a vacation :-) Looks like Brian really wants the job.

The chat sessions have been picking up, we've got one tomorrow on OpenManage and VMware. We've been testing some things in the lab around 3i and will talk about our findings. As always, the discussion is also open to anything you want to bring up around that topic.

I'll have pictures up on my personal blog from the Australia trip soon. Looking forward to chatting with everyone tomorrow.

Scott - Comments
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Download OpenManage - or - How to Navigate the Maze to OpenManage Downloads
02/08/2007 -- Comments

We use Google Analytics to monitor the traffic on our website. Great tool, I also use it on my personal blog. I was looking through the keyword searches that people use to get here and it looks like quite a few people are searching on "Download OpenManage" or "openmanage download". Actually, for Jan 8th -Feb 8th the top keyword for the entire site was "openmanage 5.3 download".

Since that is what is bringing you here, I thought I'd take a few moments to help you navigate the maze. Let's examine the multiple ways to get what you want.

First - the most obvious - go to http://support.dell.com and drill through your machine type. For example, if we choose the Dell PowerEdge 2950 and select "Systems Management" for the Category we get this list of files to download.

Now comes the fun part of deciphering these file names to what you may commonly know them as.

"OpenManage Server Administrator Managed Node" - This is more commonly know as OMSA. This is the agent that is installed on the server and can then be accesed via web over port 1311. You will see two different download packages, one with a .exe extension, and one with a .msp. The .exe is the full version, the .msp is a Microsoft Service Pack to upgrade an existing OMSA installation.

"Dell CD ISO - PowerEdge Updates" - This is the Server Update Utility aka SUU. Double check the dates, this one is usually the 5.2 older version.

"Dell DVD ISO - Dell Server Updates" - This is also SUU, but in DVD format because SUU is cumulative. This is a standalone bootable image that will apply Dell Update Packages (DUPs) to your server

"Dell OpenManage Management Station" - This is IT Assistant (ITA). This link also has two versions, the .exe is the full version, and the .msp is the upgrade from version 5.2.0 and above.

"Dell OpenManage Deployment Toolkit" - Commonly called DTK. Used to create scripts for mass deployment. See some of the functionality in my demo called "Scripting with Systems Build and Update Utility"

"Dell CD ISO - Dell Systems Build and Update Utility" - Ahhhh this one is easier to decipher. You see this commonly referred to as SBUU or SBU. I've got a couple of demos using this image.

"Dell DVD ISO - Dell Systems Management Tools and Documentation" - a 3GB bandwidth choking download of SBUU, OMSA, ITA, DUPs, Service/Diagnostic tools, and Systems Documentation. Everything you need. You sometimes see this called SMTD.

Secondly - the more old school way - drop into the ftp site at http://ftp.us.dell.com/sysman/ , now if you hit that link through your browser, you will be lost. It's a little overwhelming to see about 1,000 filenames all in alphabetical order. The better way is through an ftp client so you can sort by date. I use FileZilla. Now when you sort by date and have the knowledge of the naming conventions that we just learned, you can easily interpret the screen shot below.



Hope that helps. Should be enough to get you started.

Scott -- Comments
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Power Monitoring in ITA - ITA Icons
01/24/2008 -- Comments

Dave finished some testing on the 10G Blades, and I finally got some dedicated access to an M600 blade in our chassis. I've been wanting to look at some of the power monitoring capabilities. Here's a very preliminary look at some of the attributes you can measure. You need to have latest OMSA, I installed 5.3.1 on this blade.

I used a simple CPU load generator to ramp up the power. It's a single threaded app, so had to run a few instances of it. So weird to see 8 CPUs show up in Task Manager for a blade ! .... who remembers some of the big honking floor standing servers with 4 CPUs that took up the space of a small fridge ?

We are about to get our 2950 III. Todd has first dibs on it, but I'll get the OMSA agent installed and do some more power monitoring and report back those findings.

I also saw an interesting thread in the Dell Community Forums. A similar question I had when I started working with ITA, and actually a question I still have about some parts of it. What do all the icons mean ?? .... yes you can hover over some of them, and most of them make sense, but some are not so easy to interpret what they are trying to say to me. So I figured we could just do a wiki page on the ITA Icons and you could help me fill out the chart. I'll update this page with a link to it. I just got screen shots, now I need to pull out the icons and build the page.

Please help me with it. We can have the developers fix any of our misinterpretations.

Scott -- Comments
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Using ITA to update OMSA agents
1/11/2008 -- Comments

Last week I got an email asking about updating OMSA agents through ITA. Since I had just done some testing with the firmware and BIOS updates, I simply shot back a quick, "Yeah just generate a compliance report in the Software Updates and go from there."

Then of course I went to the interface to double check myself and bzzzzzzzt, incorrect answer. Which was quickly confirmed when the customer replied to the email with the same conclusion. So this just proves that I'm learning as I go, just like some of you.

An email back from one of the developers confirmed that OMSA agents get filtered out of the Repository because of some issues.

The workaround is to create a Report that is filtered on Agent name and Version, like this ...

Systems Edge - The Dell TechCenter

Then you can create a Software Deployment task for OMSA in ITA to perform the updates.

I guess I better get to work, look at the version on ora2650a ! -- 1.2.0

Scott -- Comments

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Happy New Year !

1/4/2008 -- Comments

Welcome to 2008 ! Got a chance before the break to get the demos posted on our main site -- www.dell.com/techcenter - check them out in the right hand frame. Although they got magically squished to 16:9 format in the player. I've got an open ticket on that and should be fixed soon.

Also we are now linked off the main Dell OpenManage site. Look for the link in the right hand navigation.

How was ya'lls break ? I had a ton of projects to do around the house. Luckily, Todd let me borrow his compound mitre saw. I had "borrowed" it for about a month and he told me that his father-in-law bought him a new one. So he let me buy the old one so I could quit borrowing it ! Thanks Todd ! ... .I've already got a a new laser guide on it.

That saw allowed me to put my mathematics degree to use. Anyone ever try to put up crown moulding ? Thank goodness for Google and people that share their information and insights. Kind of like what we are doing around here :-)

Which leads us to say thanks for all your contributions and please feel free to let your colleagues know we are here.

Scott -- Comments
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OpenManage 5.3 Demos are here !
12/11/2007 -- Comments

Got the demos up on the site. Check them out here.

But I'm sure what you are really interested in is the Vegas trip. You'll have to check out my profile on the wiki and find the link to my personal blog if you want that story !

I'm seeking input on other demos that would be of use. Just use the comments section and throw any ideas at me. I'm open and have some time the week before the Holidays to crank some more out.

Scott -- Comments

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OpenManage 5.3 Demos coming next week
12/6/2007 -- Comments

Just finished getting my head around all the new features in OpenManage 5.3. Great to have a lab with plenty of machines to test. Didn't even get yelled at once for rebooting any of my teammate's servers !

I took some time with my testing to capture screenshows. They are almost ready to go, getting some feedback from the team and then have to get them posted on Dell.com. So as soon as they get posted, I'll update you here with the links.

The first demo shows Systems Build and Update utility laying down an OS image on a bare metal PowerEdge server. SBU has other great functionality for deploying multiple systems. In the coming weeks I'll have other demos around that capability.

The second demo shows how to use Content Manager to download server updates to a centralized location for use with the Server Update Utility (SUU) over a network drive to update PowerEdge systems.

The third demo shows IT Assistant and the new Online Repository feature to keep servers up to date with the latest firmware/bios/drivers from the Dell support site.

Now that I've got a dedicated ITA machine, I plan on getting all the lab machines into ITA. Of course the lab has grown from a few machines to several racks of equipment. We've got maybe 4 different active directory domains, at least 3 different network segments, various versions of all the OSes. So it will be a ton of fun trying to architect the solution around all this. Maybe similar to how your environment has grown over the years.

So if you have any ideas on how I can tackle this problem in an easy way, I'm all ears. Luckily we have a lab tech, so I can put a lot of things on his to-do list :-) .... let me know how you've tackled this problem, maybe we can come up with some ideas together. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Ohhhh, just don't expect to get a response tomorrow. I'm headed to Vegas for a long weekend !

Scott -- Comments
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OpenManage 5.3 Released Today
11/20/2007 -- Comments

OpenManage 5.3 officially hit the streets today ! Download the bits from http://support.dell.com/ , just look for everything that has a release date of 11/20/07, under the "Systems Management" section.

I'm testing the new Systems Build and Update Utility that combines deployment, scripting, and updating all in one tool. I'll have a demo of the deployment portion of this on the wiki next week, with more demos soon after.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for demos you would like, or things we could test in the lab to aid in the understanding and use of the product. We've got a full complement of Dell hardware, storage, and software and are always looking to put it through the paces.


Scott -- Comments
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Welcome to the Edge
10/30/2007 -- Comments

Welcome to the "edge" of systems management. A discussion and collaboration place to share your thoughts and ideas on systems management topics. We will bring you the latest happenings in Dell's OpenManage line, along with what is happening in our partner space, from Microsoft, Altiris, VMware, and others.

We've got an entire lab of the latest Dell hardware ready to test all the latest releases. We can also try out your scripts other ideas.

We welcome you to join the discussion and participate on our wiki.

Scott -- Comments
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Welcome!
10/29/2007 -- Comments

Welcome to the Systems Edge blog !

Scott -- Comments
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